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Joined: Jan 18, 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:28 pm    Post subject: iMacs...
Subject description: SSD? 3.6 GHz i5?
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I browse iMac models every now and then, and just noticed some new configurations.

They've started to put in 256 Gb of SSD along with the normal disk. I am thinking that this might be very nice for music, keeping soundfiles on the SSD and other non-crucial stuff on the ordinary drive. Is that how it should work? Hefty price tag attached to the SSD though.

I also noticed i5 models clocking at 3.6 GHz. i5 means quad core, right? I've read somewhere that there is some clever stuff going on in i7s that means the performance gain for those are higher than a simple clock frequency comparison will tell you. How does a 3.6 GHz i5 compare to a 2.93 i7? Live announced better multicore support in one of their releases maybe a year ago - how good are DAWs and other music-related software at utilizing parallell processing these days?

I'm mainly looking at iMacs because it would be cool to have a great big screen, and I'm very used to working with my 4-year old Macbook Pro. Looking at the numbers, I have felt that it wouldn't be that worthwhile upgrading to better hardware, but I guess the simple stats can fool you, since memories and disks and everything improves too. Do any of you guys in the know have a feeling for what kind of boost I'd experience if I upgraded? One issue I do have is hitting the ceiling in Live when playing around with its built-in softsynths and physical modelling thingies.

It's possible I won't invest in anything tomorrow or in a year's time, but one can always speculate.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

SSDs are great. We are just looking at the very start of the race towards affordable SSD devices. As for being expensive.. hard to say really.. possibly not.. but they will become more affordable soon.

There is a sort of controversy regarding OS X and SSDs though. It kinda automagically works pretty well even though OS X seemingly doesn´t have a documented garbage collection command and such like Win7.

As for performance, SSDs will speed things up noticeably. Obviously the performance gains will improve disk IO quite remarkably. When I start up my mail server with 2 SSDs drives ( one is the boot drive ) it kinda looks like it was sleeping rather than turned off - booting with SSDs is very cool. )

In general the best way to configure a general purpose machine or a DAW is to use the SSD as a startup drive. If you have room for several disks then you can consider adding more later.

We haven´t yet seen the new generation of tower macs with the new Intel Light Peak bus:


Apple brought the concept of Light Peak, an interoperable standard which could handle large amounts of data and replace the multitudinous connector types with a single universal connector, to Intel in 2007 with the intention of Intel producing and developing the technology.[1]
Intel has designed a prototype PCI Express card for desktop PCs as an add-on.[4] This would mean many people wouldn't need to buy a new motherboard for the new cable type. The card has two optical buses powering 4 ports. On many machines, however, such a card would not be able achieve the full 40Gbit/s bandwidth of four Light Peak ports, as that bitrate would require a 16x PCIe slot (1xPCIe is 4Gbit/s) for optimal performance, and most machines only have one 16x slot, usually occupied by a video card.
On May 4, 2010, in Brussels, Intel demonstrated a laptop with a Light Peak connector (indicating that the technology had become small enough to fit inside such a device) and had the laptop send 2 distinct simultaneous HD video streams down the connection (indicating that at least some fraction of the software/firmware stacks and protocols are now functional). At the same demonstration, Intel maintained that it expected hardware manufacturing to begin around the end of 2010.[5]
In September 2010, some early commercial prototypes from manufacturers were demonstrated at Intel Developer Forum 2010.[6]

As a single universal replacement for current buses such as SCSI, SATA, USB, FireWire, PCI Express and HDMI, Light Peak aims to remove some of the problems in the computer industry that are now apparent such as the limited transfer speeds and multiple connectors, many of which must be supported and then are often fated to go completely unused.
A major problem in single-cable connection is the maximum length of electrical cables – DC power and electrical signals diminish rapidly over more than 5 meter distances.
In theory, a device under 5m away could be easily served by either a 10Gb DC PoE or 4.8Gb USB 3 interface on a single cable for both power and data. However, if the device must be more than 5m away it will be separately powered by AC and must necessarily rely on an optical cable anyway to achieve sustained 10Gb speeds, whether this is an Ethernet "short reach" (300m) or Light Peak (100m) cable.

If Apple is to adopt Light Peak then it will happen with the next big Mac Pro upgrade and this is likely to happen just before or at the same time as the launch of OS X 10.7

However, Steve Jobs leaked that a new version of Final Cut Studio is coming early next year and as it is almost as likely that we might see an early version of the next generation Mac Pros then.

My point is this:

Apple is pushing SSDs hard. This is quite understandable because Apple hardware is huge in the video, music and design industries. Apple has also been pushing Light peak pretty hard. SSDs + Light Peak makes perfect sense as does a new motherboard design for the upmarket products that can handle light Peak and SSDs in a sensible way. Apple traditionally also tends "leaks" high end tech into the mid range consumer products.
This is good news, but this means that whatever you buy now is "outdated" soon. But this is how this works anyway.

A Charity Pantomime in aid of Paranoid Schizophrenics descended into chaos yesterday when someone shouted, "He's behind you!"

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