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850$ PC or Mac Mini
Old 15th September 2012
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
850$ PC or Mac Mini

I have about 850$ to spend on a studio computer. I'm debating between a Refurbished Mac mini i7 (dual 500 gb) or a custom PC. (Not including monitor)

I'll use the computer mostly for tracking and a bit of production, but I do want to eventually learn to mix.

Also I'll be using Protools mainly.

Also, if I go with a studio computer, any suggestions on the build?


Thanks
Old 16th September 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Paul in SoCal's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Needless to say, the PC will be a lot more powerful for the same money.
Old 16th September 2012
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Mac are the industry standard in the entertainment business, especially the music business. If you really want to get in the music business it would be pretty stupid not to buy a mac.
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
  #4
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norbury brook's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sm912 ➑️
Mac are the industry standard in the entertainment business, especially the music business. If you really want to get in the music business it would be pretty stupid not to buy a mac.





MC
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
  #5
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Paul in SoCal's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sm912 ➑️
Mac are the industry standard in the entertainment business, especially the music business. If you really want to get in the music business it would be pretty stupid not to buy a mac.
Many of the pros who work with Cubase have PC's, because the program runs much more efficiently in Windows 7. Not to mention the pros that work with Sonar, which is only available for Windows.

So, you're telling us that Hans Zimmer is an amateur?
Old 16th September 2012
  #6
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
The Mac Mini Server quad core is cool but that may too expensive for what you want to spend.

I've used PCs and Macs. OSX, Windows and Linux. I don't like Windows in general. I think Windows 7 is better though. I used Linux for ages. It's much more efficient than Windows but software is limited. In fact it's better than OSX in terms of the basic architecture of ALSA and Jack. However I'm using OSX on a Mini now. I simply like a system that just works and keeps working without any problems. Some DAWs may not be so good on OSX as Windows. I've tried a few and wasn't impressed but I'm using Logic now.
Old 16th September 2012
  #7
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
My DAW crashes every day on Windows. I don't know if it is my interface or the DAW, but it crashes. If I was working with a client, that would suck really bad. I lose my work and everything. It doesn't save at all. Then again, my PC was super cheap ($400). If you think you won't be working with clients, get a PC (it isn't that bad), but if you are going to work with clients, go with a Mac.
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by efflux ➑️
The Mac Mini Server quad core is cool but that may too expensive for what you want to spend.

I've used PCs and Macs. OSX, Windows and Linux. I don't like Windows in general. I think Windows 7 is better though. I used Linux for ages. It's much more efficient than Windows but software is limited. In fact it's better than OSX in terms of the basic architecture of ALSA and Jack. However I'm using OSX on a Mini now. I simply like a system that just works and keeps working without any problems. Some DAWs may not be so good on OSX as Windows. I've tried a few and wasn't impressed but I'm using Logic now.
Bitwig studio is a new cross platform DAW, so we might see some improvement for Linux audio software. It is only for Ubuntu though, sorry. (I see you use Debian by your profile pic).
Old 17th September 2012
  #9
Manufacturer contact @ GS
 
Grahamdwc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunjji ➑️
My DAW crashes every day on Windows. I don't know if it is my interface or the DAW, but it crashes. If I was working with a client, that would suck really bad. I lose my work and everything. It doesn't save at all. Then again, my PC was super cheap ($400). If you think you won't be working with clients, get a PC (it isn't that bad), but if you are going to work with clients, go with a Mac.
I think you are maybe expecting a bit much out of your $400 PC.

There are many Daw builders providing great stable Windows based systems for reasonable prices.

Also many people, with a little knowledge, build their own PC's that are rock solid for audio purposes.

Also bear in mind,
The reason Specialist Daw's work so well compared to some cheaper off the shelf systems is because :

A) of the Daw builders knowledge on what parts work best with each other

And

B) they have the experience to know what settings may need changing to improve their systems for audio.

Whether your working with clients or not should have no affect on which computer platform you choose.

Best,
Graham

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus
Old 17th September 2012
  #10
BOP
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
I would recommend you to get a PC if you want more power for the money.

The mac mini would only make sense if you have interest in OS X which is of-course excellent or if you want to use Logic.

If you had enough money to buy a used Mac Pro (which would be about 1000 pounds, not sure how the pricing fluctuates in your chosen currency and country) then I would recommend that instead of a PC.

Ignore the Apple vs PC debate as it is and always was bull****.

Ignore the "Industry Standards" as this is just marketing bull****.
The industry is a sinking ship anyway just like the economy and is changing constantly trying to save what's still above water.
Anybody up for taking a Business course with a Curriculum designed pre 2009?
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grahamdwc ➑️
I think you are maybe expecting a bit much out of your $400 PC.

There are many Daw builders providing great stable Windows based systems for reasonable prices.

Also many people, with a little knowledge, build their own PC's that are rock solid for audio purposes.

Also bear in mind,
The reason Specialist Daw's work so well compared to some cheaper off the shelf systems is because :

A) of the Daw builders knowledge on what parts work best with each other

And

B) they have the experience to know what settings may need changing to improve their systems for audio.

Whether your working with clients or not should have no affect on which computer platform you choose.

Best,
Graham

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus
I think that the OS should be able to contain the crash and prevent my work from being lost. I had some application crashes on my mac, but I never lost work. That was with a 5 year old 32 bit mac which is worth about $100 nowadays.
Old 17th September 2012
  #12
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
I should also say that I use my computer with Linux and it has never crashed under heavy load.
Old 17th September 2012
  #13
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
custom build a pc
Old 17th September 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Dave_Ionic's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Do what you want don't ask people here. You will get the Mac users that love their Macs. You will get the anti Mac, PC guys who will be so quick to tell you get more for your money with a PC.
Truth be told its a toss these days. Use the platform that works for you. It may not be the one that works for others. I have friends in the business who are quite successful that use a PC. I have many others that are quite successful that use Macs.

In the end its whatever you are comfortable with and productive with. For me its a Mac for you it might be a PC.
Though asking here is only going to get a bunch of differing opinions and opinions are like a......'s everyone has one.
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sm912 ➑️
Mac are the industry standard in the entertainment business, especially the music business. If you really want to get in the music business it would be pretty stupid not to buy a mac.
Old 17th September 2012
  #16
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I've worked with Macs and PCs and i dont like the mac OS. But thats just a personal preference. DAWs run fine on both OSes nowadays, so its just down to whether you personally would prefer a Mac or a PC.
Old 17th September 2012
  #17
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Leevi's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
If I would be you, I would probably choose PC.
Old 17th September 2012
  #18
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Michael E's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by A.M.G ➑️
I'll use the computer mostly for tracking and a bit of production
Mac
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
rksguit's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sm912 ➑️
Mac are the industry standard in the entertainment business, especially the music business. If you really want to get in the music business it would be pretty stupid not to buy a mac.
Maybe 5-10 years ago,but even then,these statements reek of blind obedience,and what with apple not upgrading the macpro/logic,that should indicate[in the least] where their former "supposed alliance with creative professionals" has gone.
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #20
Manufacturer contact @ GS
 
Grahamdwc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dpro ➑️
Do what you want don't ask people here. You will get the Mac users that love their Macs. You will get the anti Mac, PC guys who will be so quick to tell you get more for your money with a PC.
Truth be told its a toss these days. Use the platform that works for you. It may not be the one that works for others. I have friends in the business who are quite successful that use a PC. I have many others that are quite successful that use Macs.

In the end its whatever you are comfortable with and productive with. For me its a Mac for you it might be a PC.
Though asking here is only going to get a bunch of differing opinions and opinions are like a......'s everyone has one.
+1

Graham
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #21
Manufacturer contact @ GS
 
Grahamdwc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunjji ➑️
I think that the OS should be able to contain the crash and prevent my work from being lost. I had some application crashes on my mac, but I never lost work. That was with a 5 year old 32 bit mac which is worth about $100 nowadays.
As i say if your system is set up correctly (including making regular backups) then it really shouldn't have to worry about crash's regardless on which platform you choose.

But simply dismissing one platform because of human error (not making backups etc) seems just a bit myopic.

I have used both (solely just as Daw) + i really didn't notice much difference, both great, both just tools.

@OP Imho....the Mac mini is a lot of power considering the small form factor and the keen price for a refurb machine.

Atb,
Graham
Old 17th September 2012
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Building a β€œHackintosh” or
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunjji ➑️
Bitwig studio is a new cross platform DAW, so we might see some improvement for Linux audio software. It is only for Ubuntu though, sorry. (I see you use Debian by your profile pic).
Yes, I have been using Debian for ages. I've also used Ubuntu. I still use Linux for graphics stuff but I'm using Arch for that now. Debian seems to have become bloated and unreliable like the rest recently. Arch allowed me to set my system up the way I wanted. I've stopped using Linux for audio now. I will probably change that picture soon. I've really become quite negative towards Linux recently. lots of huge changes. Architectures get ripped out and replaced before they even get to stable working condition. It was a nice to go back to OSX and not have to deal with all that stuff. It's very frustrating because Linux is so fast and efficient at dealing with audio.
Old 19th September 2012
  #24
Lives for gear
 
fastlanestoner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Pc all the way Mac minis are a joke
Old 19th September 2012
  #25
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Desktop PC because you can upgrade yourself. The software are about the same on either OS. They are available for both OSX and Windows.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by efflux ➑️
Yes, I have been using Debian for ages. I've also used Ubuntu. I still use Linux for graphics stuff but I'm using Arch for that now. Debian seems to have become bloated and unreliable like the rest recently. Arch allowed me to set my system up the way I wanted. I've stopped using Linux for audio now. I will probably change that picture soon. I've really become quite negative towards Linux recently. lots of huge changes. Architectures get ripped out and replaced before they even get to stable working condition. It was a nice to go back to OSX and not have to deal with all that stuff. It's very frustrating because Linux is so fast and efficient at dealing with audio.
Yep, sometimes it is annoying when they change everything all the time, even if it is making an improvement. Damn, we got PulseAudio, ALSA, and Jack, I can hardly keep track of it without my DAW, let alone actually making music. Maybe they will try to get there stuff organized after Bitwig and Ardour 3 are released.
Old 20th September 2012
  #27
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Shuttle SZ77R5 Intel Core i7 / i5 / i3 (LGA1155) Intel Socket H2(LGA1155) Intel Z77 Integrated in CPU 1 x HDMI Barebone
Item #: N82E16856101129
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$359.99
Newegg Promotional Gift Card - $30.00
Item #: N82E168GC000001
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EZEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822236339
$84.99
G.SKILL Value Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9S-4GBNT
Item #: N82E16820231421
$71.96 [email protected]($17.99 each)
Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K
Item #: N82E16819116504
$229.99
Newegg Promotional Gift Card - $15.00
Item #: N82E168GC000001
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116986
$99.99
Subtotal: $846.92

A simple build that I have implemented in several professional and home studios that is shredding everything they throw at. A nice template if you needed one, season to taste and enjoy. I am also running a version of this build at home and it is quiet and out of the way. Not a Mac Mini (size wise) but way more power then what you referenced.
Old 20th September 2012
  #28
Lives for gear
 
tvsky's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
the mac mini server quad i7 is a little monster . great little machine to have in the studio to handle all your mac needs like logic should they arise

while your at it though build a nice little i5 budget pc for 400$ to handle all the pc stuff you need , so many great plug ins still not multi platform . It will still be more than enough to handle most DAW needs and its not going to break the bank.

my last daw cost around that , core i5 2500k , 8gb ram , 1gb hdd , nice coolermaster case and psu. I did recycle an old kyb/mouse/monitor though to keep costs down. The o/s has never crashed and it must be 10-12 months old now.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvsky ➑️
the mac mini server quad i7 is a little monster . great little machine to have in the studio to handle all your mac needs like logic should they arise

while your at it though build a nice little i5 budget pc for 400$ to handle all the pc stuff you need , so many great plug ins still not multi platform . It will still be more than enough to handle most DAW needs and its not going to break the bank.

my last daw cost around that , core i5 2500k , 8gb ram , 1gb hdd , nice coolermaster case and psu. I did recycle an old kyb/mouse/monitor though to keep costs down. The o/s has never crashed and it must be 10-12 months old now.
He will need a motherboard which you left out and your HDD link is to a graphics card while your CPU link is an ended ebay auction(@$420) which comes with a pictured case but no information on what's included. No mention of an OS. Can you clean this up and explain where you got the $400 number from because an i5 2500k and Windows OS is normally $320 for just those 2 items. Did it auto hyperlink you as well?
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
tvsky's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by teksama ➑️
He will need a motherboard which you left out and your HDD link is to a graphics card while your CPU link is an ended ebay auction(@$420) which comes with a pictured case but no information on what's included. No mention of an OS. Can you clean this up and explain where you got the $400 number from because an i5 2500k and Windows OS is normally $320 for just those 2 items. Did it auto hyperlink you as well?
I didnt link to anything dude , who are you talking to/about?

as an example , and remember this was a while ago so somethings are not avaliable anymore and some things like hdds and ivy bridge cpus are more expensive than they were (compared to sandy) . Prices in $AUD

i2500k $210 - could have saved 20-30$ and got a i2500 - never overclock anyway . All the sandy CPUs were being discounted at the time , hence why I took advantage and did the build.
gigabyte z68p-ds3 $70 - could have spent 40$ less and got a cheaper chipset , most of the z68 features are for overclocking . store had asrock h61s for 29$
segate 1tb - $75
generic 2x4gb -$30
coolermaster rc30 - $55 . could have skimped on this , heaps of old cases and psu's lying around from old machines but this was nice

$440

I have left out whatever O/S you so desire or your conscience is comfortable with . I found an old keyboard and mouse lying around , a old 14' 4"3 screen (due to lack of space in the studio , a widescreen wouldnt fit on the monitor platform with the mac mini monitor already there) and even scavenged a passively cooled nvidia 7200gs from an old dead machine . the intel cpu graphics are probably more powerful , but hey it was there and it has no fan at all so if it keeps the cpu a little cooler thats good.

I also built an AMD 8 core 8120 build a couple of months ago , the cpu was on special for 160$ . That machine would come in under 400$ with the above components and despite what the expert daw sellers say its a remarkably powerful budget machine .

Also , recycle! you can find old dead and obsolete machines everywhere for nothing , replace the guts and keep the stuff that doesnt matter , opticals , mouse , keyboard , case , psu . even non 16-9 screens are getting chucked out these days .
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