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New iMac: Which is Better...Bigger Drive or More RAM?


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Hi there,

 

I've been mostly out of the loop the last couple of years, but am diving back into recording with much enthusiasm. I'm about to replace my 2008 Mac Pro with a new iMac running Logic Pro 10.4. The iMac is a 21.5" (my current monitor is an old 20" so it's still an improvement, and the 27" would put me over budget and won't fit on my desk in any case), and I plan to upgrade it to the i7 processor, 500GB SSD, and potentially 32 GBs RAM. Someone suggested I might be better suited getting a 1TB SSD and just 16 GBs of RAM, so I thought I'd ask here to see what your thoughts are.

 

I plan to use my old computer's 500GB SSD as my recording drive by way of an HD enclosure (USB 3.1) and, after working with a friend's UA Apollo interface, have decided to take a small step into the UA world with their new Arrow Thunderbolt 3 interface. I realize it only has one processor, but I think that'll be fine for my needs initially and I may grow later into one of the satellite devices.

 

I'll be recording just me at home (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, bass, all synths are in the box). In the past I licensed some songs and scored a few very independent films using my Mac Pro with 16GB RAM, earlier versions of Logic, and a Firewire Apogee Duet, and I plan/hope to be doing more of all that.

 

Since upgrading the RAM myself is next to impossible with this iMac, do you think going ahead with 32G RAM is a good idea for future-proofing against any RAM hungry apps, or would 16GB be enough to accomplish what I want? I'm hoping this computer will last me a good long while as the Mac Pro did. I don't know that I'd really need to up the system SSD since I actually have a few extra HDs for storage, but someone suggested to me that it's not really necessary to have a separate recording drive if you're using an SSD. Haven't read up on that.

 

Any thoughts or advice you have about all this is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Since you already have spared SSD HDs for external storage purpose, I would opt for bigger RAM. Providing that you restrict using your iMac's system HD for Logic and music related software/data (besides 3rd party sampler libraries and projects which I would store on external SSD. 500GB is not that much nowadays, but sufficient if you don't stuff it up or use your iMac as a family computer.
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Thanks, Atlas007...I'm doing good with about 200 GBs free on my current 500GB drive, and I don't have too much in the way of samples or sample libraries outside of what's offered by Logic (I keep it pretty simple mostly), so I agree that I probably have enough storage, for now anyway...like you said 500GB isn't that much anymore and it sure can fill up fast!
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  • 2 weeks later...

I upgraded the RAM, CPU, and internal HDD to a SSD in my 2017 iMac 21.5"

Sure, you have to disassemble the thing but it's more just time consuming, not really hard. If you don't have delicate hands or are accident prone, maybe you shouldn't try.

I've got an intel i7 7700 with 32gb ram and a 1TB ssd. It's pretty sweet.

https://www.ifixit.com/Device/iMac_Intel_21.5%22_Retina_4K_Display_%282017%29

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