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G5 Dead. Looking to buy a new Mac. Help me decide please!

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I have a (now dead) Dual 2.0 GHz G5. I don't want to spend the money to replace the logic board. I'd rather save that money for a newer machine. I don't want to go for the Mac Pro, because I want to cut down on the noise, and don't care about future expansion. My work is 95% sample based, i.e. Sampletank, Kontakt 2, 3, BFD, EZDrummer, Addictive Drums, Stylus RMX, EWQL Strings, and too many other synths to list. I also record acoustic guitars and vocals from time to time.


I looked at the 24" iMac, but having two FW800 & FW400 ports sitting on the same bus turns me off, and there's no option for something like an express card so that another FW bus is added. My main issue with the FW bus is that I have to have 2 external HD (1 for sample content, 2 for project storage and recording) + a FW audio interface (one of the MOTUS or Metric Halo). For those who don't know much about how FW works...it's either IN or OUT. In other words, if you're recording audio from through your FW MOTU, it has to travel in thorough the FW bus, get processed by the CPU and go back out via the SAME FW bus out to an external HD. I just don't see how the machine can:

1. Stream Samples from FW HD #1;

2. Pull Audio from the FW AUDIO Interface;

3. Record audio to FW HD #2.

AND DO ALL OF THIS NEAR REALTIME??? I doubt it...especially when my track count gets up into the 60's.


This brings me to a conclusion: "Buy a MacBook Pro!" With a MacBook Pro you can daisy chain 2 FW HDs via its native ports, and throw in an expresscard34 (http://www.sonnettech.com/product/fwusbexpresscard34.html) that sports more FW inputs.


I like the 15" because it's not as big and i can go to a local coffe shop and mix there (for mixing I like to escape from my typical studio environment). But the 17" Hi-res offers more real estate in terms of track count...and probably won't get as hot as the 15".


I'd like your opinion on anything that's been said here. Maybe someone is running a successful iMac setup?

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Sorry about this post's length, but you're making a complex decision.


All Macs with FW have a single bus, regardless of how many ports there are or their speed. Daisy-chaining FW devices is simply a bad idea WRT performance and stability. A good powered hub will make things much less flaky.


You say you're not concerned about future expansion. How about current expansion? If your work is 95% sample based with numerous VI instances, then you're gonna need a separate sample drive if you are to remain sane. If you require a separate bus for an audio interface and for storage, then iMacs are out of the running.


A MacBook Pro gives you a single expansion slot, to which you can connect a FW card. You can also install an eSATA card to get several times the speed of FW800. You can't do both, however. SATA wins that contest any way you cut it.


If you wish to use separate scratch and sample disks with SATA, you either get a multiple-port card or you use a port-multiplier enclosure with a multiplier-ready card. You're limited to 4GB of RAM, but an MBP is still a very capable platform. Its RAM ceiling doesn't matter much now, but will later on, when 64-bits is the norm. Until then its Big Trick is portability, and if that matters in your situation, the decision pretty much makes itself. An MBP is the only platform that fills the bill. If portability doesn't matter, there's more to consider.


I never have had a G5, so can't talk knowledgeably about its noise level. I've got 16GB RAM to cool now, and even with its fans running faster than Apple's default settings, my Mac Pro puts out only a fraction of the noise my PowerMac G4 did. I've got four big, fast drives installed, which permits me to keep everything separate, and effectively forget about hard drive performance problems. I have yet to run 60 tracks simultaneously. I can say, however, that 30+ tracks with very heavy plug-in and VI loads do not break 20% CPU usage on my MP octo. I'd be amazed if the machine couldn't handle double that load without breaking a sweat. I have yet to use any of three empty PCIe slots, but am concerned about future expansion. It's comforting to know those slots are there if I need them.


If you're serious about high bandwidth data processing but don't need portability, a Mac Pro is the big dog. No other Mac is in the same league.

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for mixing I like to escape from my typical studio environment


So do I.


I like to go to bigger studios with better equipment and a more typical studio environment.


Is your local coffee shop called Ocean Way?




Get the 15" Macbook Pro. My girlfriend has one (she does graphics and animation), they're fine. You can always connect a second screen if you need more visual real estate, and it doesn't get that hot.


Once you've ironed out all the Intel/Leopard bugs, which you're gonna have no matter what you get, you'll love it.

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I have a studio at home, and I first did the same. I bought a new iMac 24". Great deal, runs Logic. BUT....


You will run into things like:


:Overload- Due to the fact that iMac's vs. the Towers have issues with releasing memory that is not being used. - i.e. You use another program to process loops, then bring them into Logic.. You will have to reboot to clear that memory allocation.


I have wrote Apple till my fingers bled.. Then went and got a grown-up mac.


The speed difference is unbelievable. - I got them 2 months apart. My iMac is now in my daughters room... I must say.. Nice machine for the $$, but not for Audio & Video,


Another Downfall is USB.. - In Leopard there is an issue with External devices. I use Firewire from a Yamaha External Console. I also use a couple of other devices like iControl from M-Audio.. They start showing warning after you load up your Logic with anything much..


I had 4 Gig in my iMac.. (All it will take).. I have 8 in the new Pro. I wish I had 16..


I do radio shows and it eats memory...


My opinion and what happened to me.. I would be interested to know if you choose iMac if you have same issues.


So I can tell Apple that others are as well.





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Not a FW guru, so can't give you a very technical response. I've been processing FW video and audio for a lot of years, however, and used a lot of gear. I've found that device configurations that don't like each other when daisy chained can coexist peacefully when they all share a high quality, powered hub.


I don't pretend to know why this is the case, but have been advised it's due to minimizing power fluctuations when devices are powered up or connected. Your machine's bus can provide a relatively small amount of current to run devices that aren't externally powered. A powered hub reduces the load on your machine. I don't have FW stuff powered unless I'm using it, and I learned long ago never to hot-plug FW devices. Within those constraints I've found that a hub tends to make things more stable.

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Oh I see. Well all of the devices that I would be connecting would have their own power supply. Basically it's like this:


FW800 Port would hold: 1 external LaCie for samples + 1 external FW LaCie for Projects (daisy chained ---> speed reduced to about 400) = both powered.

FW400 Port would hold: 1 external Audio Interface (POWERED).


See I'd even go witht the 24" iMac if I knew that it would work for this setup.


Like I said, I could care less for further expansion. I paid top $ for my Dual G5 for that purpose alone, and 3.5 yrs later, I have yet to install an extra PCI card.


My main concern is data being streamed fast enough from external HD, because my music is pretty loaded, and none of the content comes from Logic's instruments.

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As speed seems to be your primary concern, I strongly doubt FW400 could sustain the kind of throughput you've been talking about - a lot of heavy VI tracks requiring simultaneous read/write/streaming via multiple devices. You'd be much better off with a MBP and eSATA card than you would be with a FW-only iMac. Not only would you be using two distinct busses for samples and scratch files, a SATA bus would support simultaneous transfers way better than a FW bus, and leave the FW bus free for an audio interface.


There is no self-contained portable that has separate high speed busses or sufficient internal storage for the kind of tasks you describe. Assuming portability still matters, the guy to talk to about using external drives with a MBP is dkgross. Do a search for his posts on these forums. I'm confident he'd be helpful if that's the way you're leaning. At the same time, you've got to bear in mind that using external drives of any kind necessarily constrains your portability.

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A good powered hub will make things much less flaky.


You're clogging the SAME FW bus with additional ports. How would that make things much less flaky?


I have consistently had better results using a FW hub.

There have been reports of timing discrepancies on other threads in

this forum when using daisy-chained FW devices.





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