Home recording computer recommendation: new (2018) Mac mini

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Flappydoodle, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    There are many threads about people asking for the ideal home recording setup. Maybe this will provide food for thought for some people.

    I'm going to buy a new Mac mini to replace my Macbook Pro (2013) for recording purposes.

    https://www.apple.com/uk/mac-mini/

    I'll upgrade the CPU to the 6 core i7 3.2Ghz. And I'll go for 128GB SSD internal. The total cost of that will be £850 or so (without UK tax). I'll upgrade the RAM myself to 32GB, which costs around £200. 64GB gets more expensive, and probably not necessary yet.

    That little thing is beating out most Mac Pros, rivalling the 10 core xeon versions which cost £4,000+. That processor can easily handle audio production. The SSD read/write speeds are ~2-3GB per second, which is insane. My MBP is pretty quick at 600MB/s, and things load quickly enough. That will be great for handling large sound libraries, loading virtual instruments etc.

    Since it has 4 thunderbolt 3 ports, adding external storage is no problem. External SSDs are pretty cheap and can be bought later for even cheaper. Or, if just for archiving old projects, spend basically nothing and get some huge capacity HDD. The ports also allow connecting multiple 5K monitors, eGPUs etc if needed.

    And last of all, it's tiny (as small as an audio interface), silent, and I'm confident it will easily last 6+ years. My MacBook Pro is 5 years old now and it's traveled the world, been carried to work and back every day, received plenty of drops, dents and dings - and is still going strong. A desktop device which spends life on a shelf in a home office will last even longer.

    Personally, I think this thing is phenomenal. You can probably spec out a faster PC for slightly cheaper. But for me, I like OS X, have found it very stable, and I prefer using Logic and other Apple software (Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iCloud calendars, notes etc etc). This thing seems like a no-brainer.
     
    budda and buriedoutback like this.
  2. buriedoutback

    buriedoutback SS.org Regular

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    looking forward to the review after you have it all setup!!
    I'm rocking a hackintosh I put together for about $600 cad. osx sierra/quad-core/ssd/16G ram in a HP6300 small form factor. I would absolutely love a 6 core mac mini, but my hackintosh really works well for the moment.
     
  3. BLD

    BLD Fast Is Fun!

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    Sounds like a good setup. I recently picked up a refurbed Mac Mini (2012 model with quad core I7 and 16G ram). It’s been awesome for recording so far! It’s done so well I use it now to edit my Youtube videos (4K was locking up my Dell).

    My only complaint is I’m burning through my 1TB hard drive quickly. Now to find a good thunderbolt hard drive and bluetooth mouse to free up more valuable usb slots...
     
    buriedoutback likes this.
  4. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

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    I thought the problem was that you couldn't upgrade the internal components yourself.
     
  5. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    The RAM is upgradable (regular RAM too, which you can buy from Crucial), though you do have to undo a couple torx screws to get access. Not as simple as an iMac, but it's not soldered at least.
     
  6. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    I am still smarting from Apple dumping support for my iBook (or whatever it was) so quick in comparison to Windows that continued supporting much older PCs than mine for another 5 years or so.

    Also dumping support for firewire and adding all these external cable adapter thingies and dumping DVD burners has also kept me out of their camp. Considering that my latest EP is released on CD and selling rather well, I do need a burner!

    That has kept me out of the Mac camp and honestly lately the few Mac PCs that I've seen in my comp repair business failing has made me want to stay away from that brand, as everything they sell is 2x the price of comparable PC.
    I think the OS is more stable, also love the Mac OS interface, in comparison going back to Windows felt like using a brick for a computer, but I just couldn't justify the price vs quality vs performance, or couldn't see myself drinking the Mac coolaid as they became less and less "pro" and more "high end consumer status item".
    In your case, Mac Mini might be a good way to go though, I have friends that have bought them as entertainment PCs and ended up doing music production on the earlier models, and have been quite happy.
     

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