Dual Core or Quadcore Macbook Pro for music software, Protools, Logic, Sibelius etc

#1
Im looking to purchase a Mac book pro for uni as i am doing a degree in music with a double major in creative production, and am looking to get pro tools and logic for some home recording and other software such as Sibelius and Auralia. Im tossing up between the new 2011 13 inch macbook pro with the 2.7 ghz dual core i7 and the 15 inch with 2.0 ghz core intel i7.

Im basically trying to decide between the dual core processor on the 13 inch, or pay more for the quad core processor on the 15 inch, so my question is, is it worth it to go for the quad core? Even though its a lower speed, does it it have such a big advantage in multitasking etc and does music software like protools or logic or even the plug ins, effects and instruments etc within them, really benefit from a quad core or not, and how does this compare to a dual core?

I plan to upgrade the RAM to 8GB from 4GB as from what i understand the more RAM the better with music software.

Also the less i spend on the computer the more i can spend on the software, audio interface (e.g Mbox), mics and etc so i dont want to fork out more than i have to. There is about a $500 AUD difference between the two models with the configuration and upgrades i want.
Any advice and insight would be greatly appreciated
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#2
In windows, quad core will only be used if the system can take advantage of it.
If the software can only use dual core, it will only use 2 of the 4 Cores.. and I think that means you'll get less performance seeing as t'other has 2.7 for 2..

It depends on if enough software is justifiable for using more cores.

I'd go for the 13 inch.. you'd save A LOT for other hardware. You can always plug it into a bigger moniter right? (I think macs can do that).

Sorry if I'm talking bs.. just trying to help
#3
RAM will help, as will the Quad Core processor..

But to be honest, the dual core processor will probably be fine. The Quad Core will just be a bit better. Depends if you'd rather spend the money on something else really..
#4
I dont mind spending the extra money if its going to get me a machine that is more "future proof", so im leaning towards the quad core as in the future alot of software like logic and protools might start to take advantage of multiple cores more.

But i dont wanna spend more money if its going to get me a machine that performs worse because it has a lower processor speed. Thats my main problem, but how much of a difference is there between 2.0 and 2.7 ghz? Noticable?
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#5
It's a toss up. On one hand the quad core will probably be a little faster, will probably give you more flexibilty in having more tracks going at once, lots of VST's active, etc.

But on the other hand, the dual core will probably run everything just fine unless you're trying to record like 32 tracks or something ridiculous. Does the triangle really need it's own dedicated track?

I'd save the money and get the dual core, and spend the cash on hardware (mics,etc). Also a good idea to get a good quality SD card, or external hard drive to back up everything you do. I recently had my PC crash and had to reinstall windows. lost everything. Luckily I hadn't really started recording anything yet, so my losses were limited to a few files.

A cheap alternative for backup is dropbox. It's free with a 2 GB limit, and all your files are stored on their server, and accessible from any computer. Pretty handy, and 2GB is a fairly decent capacity.

EDIT: I doubt you'll notice a difference between 2.0 and 2.7 honestly. Maybe if you have 37 windows open, and are trying to record while you convert and burn a DVD or something lol.
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Last edited by jpatan at Mar 23, 2011,
#6
Speaking from my experience; I'm a windows user, always have been. My specs are a 2.4GHz Quad Core intel i5, and I've found it's worked perfectly fine, even better. I record on Cubase 5 and I think both will work fine. Music software does need a lot of processing, but I don't think it needs as much as most people will think. As for RAM, you don't need to upgrade to 8GBs. Many people think more RAM means it's faster when in reality, it has nothing to do with it. Cubase 5 uses only 1GB of RAM, and unless you're running Photoshop CS5, Sony Vegas, Firefox and iTunes on the side, I don't think you'd need 8GBs of RAM.

But then again, I don't know how much RAM the Mac OS uses and Mac software does, this is all speaking from a strict Windows user. (I've never used a mac for music related things).
#7
I'm running a dual core 2.8Ghz Macbook Pro with 4 GB of DDR3 RAM and I have yet to come even close to taxing this processor. I've used this with Logic, Garageband and Reason/Record and I've never had any problems/crashes. I'd say stick with the dual core and spend some extra money on hardware.
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#8
I have a 3.4GHz Quad Core w/ 4 GB RAM, although a Windows system.

I use a ton of VSTs, especially on my electronic stuff. I have been limited on RAM before (many times in fact), but I am usually sitting well in terms of processor. I imagine if you are doing it in a degree in music production you won't be using amp sims and stuff like that. That is the stuff that eats up my processor if I have like 7 POD Farms open lol.

If I were to redo it I would get 8GB RAM. If you have never gotten close to using 4GB of RAM though it is totally unnecessarily. In fact unless your a VST and VSTi ***** like myself, you prob will never need for 4GB.

With that said I am moving up to 8GB this summer and clocking to 3.8GHz lol
#9
Quote by FireHawk
That is the stuff that eats up my processor if I have like 7 POD Farms open lol.
I use 2gb of ram and can have around 8 Pod Farms + like 50-100 other smaller vsts [about 10 loaded per track with usually 5 in use] (cab sim, reverb, effects etc) before the computer starts going slow. All un-muted and active.
6 un-muted will be smooth, 7 will start slowing a bit but not too bad, and then 8 becomes too much.

This makes me believe ram isn't as important as people think it is. :\
#10
Quote by TechnicolorType
I use 2gb of ram and can have around 8 Pod Farms + like 50-100 other smaller vsts [about 10 loaded per track with usually 5 in use] (cab sim, reverb, effects etc) before the computer starts going slow. All un-muted and active.
6 un-muted will be smooth, 7 will start slowing a bit but not too bad, and then 8 becomes too much.

This makes me believe ram isn't as important as people think it is. :\


I meant I start to notice slight delay. As soon as it starts slowing done even like a fraction a second of delay. I have never really got an unoperatble amount of stuff open.

Its the inefficient Izotope, and VSTis that kill me more than POD Farm lol

I personally need the RAM cause a lot of time I run Microsoft office at the same time, thats right.....I do keep track of some stuff and write down a ton of stuff while recording. Thats why I say my need of 8GB is rare lol
Last edited by FireHawk at Mar 23, 2011,
#11
Agreed with Tech. Type

My 2007 iMac is a dual core 2.06GHz (I think) with 2GB RAM and I've never had any problems... I run Logic Studio 8 on Leopard and OS X is quite easy on the processing... only time the CPU and HD meters hit high in Logicare when I bounce tracks becausr I bounce offline and it obviously rushes through the song running all plug-ins way faster than normal.

Snow Leopard (which is standard on new Macbooks/iMacs is supposedly even lighter on CPU so you should be fine with the dual core!


Oh, and for the record I've done mixes with 40+ tracks and many conv. reverbs etc. with no hassle, not just talking about small projects hehe.


Edit: I also run at the smallest buffer size, 32 samples, both for tracking and mixing.
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Mar 23, 2011,
#12
Quote by jpatan

But on the other hand, the dual core will probably run everything just fine unless you're trying to record like 32 tracks or something ridiculous. Does the triangle really need it's own dedicated track?


If it doesn't have its own track then where would it go?


I'd go with the 15 with the i7 quad core... cause thats what I did... but Im running an Asus N61Jq as opposed to a mac, it was half the price with the same or better specs. Plus my band and myself have used macs and had issues with them... So I personally feel better with windows, you are different and thats fine, its your money.
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#13
Quote by Ethanb08
If it doesn't have its own track then where would it go?


I'd go with the 15 with the i7 quad core... cause thats what I did... but Im running an Asus N61Jq as opposed to a mac, it was half the price with the same or better specs. Plus my band and myself have used macs and had issues with them... So I personally feel better with windows, you are different and thats fine, its your money.

Which OS are you running - 7? Because 7 is a bit more CPU-hungry than Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) but I imagine you're having no problems and probably wouldn't at dualcore... that being said, you know your usage better than me hehe, I just think as far as Macbooks go, he'd be better off saving a little. The main reason I'd want to pay the extra would probably be the screensize but he hasn't mentioned that as an issue. I just dread to think the amount of scrolling to be done if you want to zoom in on a waveform a lot!
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