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2019 Intel iMac with custom upgrade vs Silicon iMac

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

I am looking for advice, opinions and insight.

A friend is replacing his 2019 27" iMac, the custom upgrade model with the 3.6 GHz 8-core i9 processor, with Radeon Pro Vega 48 8GB graphics and internal 2TB SSD with 64 GB RAM. It is set up with Venture 13.6.4 It is in perfect condition and he is asking $1500 for it.

I would be replacing my 2014 27" iMac 4 GHz Quad-core i7 with 32 GB RAM, AMD Radeon R( M295X 46 GB graphics, 500GB internal Fusion drive running on Catalina 10.15.7 which is as far as I can go on this machine. I running LUNA 1.4.6, UAD 10.2.4 build170102 on this 2014 machine.

Is it worth it to do this upgrade as opposed to moving up to a Silicon machine at this time?

There are, of course, limitations with my 2014 that I deal with and I have learned to live with. For example, mixing with LUNA's window made smaller to avoid any hiccups and others that have become second nature. I sure wouldn't mind not having to deal with them.

Would this upgrade be worthwhile for a working Singer/Songwriter or should I be considering something else, money being an issue?

If I forgot any details to further inform your responses, let me know.

Looking forward to hearing what you think.
 

LesBrown

Hall of Fame Member
At that price, I would say no upgrade from a 10 year old Mac to a 4 year old Mac. If I was in your position, I would buy a refurbished M1 or higher. If you need more than 16 GB or RAM (I would), that points toward a Mac Studio like this one, but you'd still need a monitor.

 

JamesNorth

Hall of Fame Member
I think $1500 is way too much and that cat is not going to get that much selling it on the market.

A refurbished Mac Studio is $1500 USD ish … yeah less ram but the internal hard drive is about as fast as the ram in that Intel iMac.



As Les says - grab a cheap monitor and you’re set for a while.

Intel Macs are dead money.
 
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At that price, I would say no upgrade from a 10 year old Mac to a 4 year old Mac. If I was in your position, I would buy a refurbished M1 or higher. If you need more than 16 GB or RAM (I would), that points toward a Mac Studio like this one, but you'd still need a monitor.

Thanks for your input Les. I appreciate it.

What are your thoughts on where to land on MacOS version and Luna/UAD versions with a silicon machine? Reading this forum gives me the impression that there are still issues but I haven't followed too closely as I did not think I was quite ready to update my music Mac. Figured everything would be different when that time came.
 
I think $1500 is way too much and that cat is not going to get that much selling it on the market.

A refurbished Mac Studio is $1500 USD ish … yeah less ram but the internal hard drive is about as fast as the ram in that Intel iMac.



As Les says - grab a cheap monitor and you’re set for a while.

Intel Macs are dead money.
Thanks for your input James. Much appreciated!

What's your take on the questions I replied with to Les?

Where to land on MacOS version and Luna/UAD versions with a silicon machine? Reading this forum gives me the impression that there are still issues but I haven't followed too closely as I did not think I was quite ready to update my music Mac. Figured everything would be different when that time came. Perhaps that time is now.
 

LesBrown

Hall of Fame Member
What are your thoughts on where to land on MacOS version and Luna/UAD versions with a silicon machine?
I run 2 M1 Macs on the latest everything without a problem.
 

chrisharbin

Hall of Fame Member
Yeah, with UAD, don't be afraid of Sonoma. Also, I have the Mac Studio M2 and it's great, 32 gigs of ram here. Fast, quiet and really quite nice. Now I paid full price for it, 2k. But if you can get one refurbished, that isn't a bad option at all. I would not go for the older one personally, but that's just me.
 
Yeah, with UAD, don't be afraid of Sonoma. Also, I have the Mac Studio M2 and it's great, 32 gigs of ram here. Fast, quiet and really quite nice. Now I paid full price for it, 2k. But if you can get one refurbished, that isn't a bad option at all. I would not go for the older one personally, but that's just me.
Thanks Chris!
 
I’ve got a M2 Max Mac Studio … just upgraded from M1 Max … very seamless.

Both machines flawless on latest Sonoma - UAD stuff was quite early with support in Sonoma.

One benefit of the M1 version is the internal hard drive reads and writes twice as fast as the M2 version … 6000MB/s vs 3000MB/s.
Thanks James. I welcome any other insight. Suggested monitors?
 

electro77

Venerated Member
I’ve got a M2 Max Mac Studio … just upgraded from M1 Max … very seamless.

Both machines flawless on latest Sonoma - UAD stuff was quite early with support in Sonoma.

One benefit of the M1 version is the internal hard drive reads and writes twice as fast as the M2 version … 6000MB/s vs 3000MB/s.
How is M1 performing better than M2? Any noticeable difference in CPU strength?
 

JamesNorth

Hall of Fame Member
How is M1 performing better than M2? Any noticeable difference in CPU strength?
It's a bit of a known thing that the 512GB hard drives of M2 Macs run at half the speed of the M1 versions ... I don't know what the deal is, but it's very real and I confirmed it with tests as I was doing the swap over.

I don't really notice much difference yet, but I'm sure when I've got larger projects open over the next couple of weeks I'll see some differences.

I had no issue with the M1 Max - other than the normal 'you can cripple a DAW using just two channels and a big chain of plugins' thing.

Main reason to grab the newer model is my wife is a visual artist and her late-gen Intel iMac was starting to play up, so we did a deal!
 

chrisharbin

Hall of Fame Member
I did not know that. One reason that I got the M2 version of the studio was that the M1's had been known to be noisy.

Don't really care, this is plenty fast.
 

JamesNorth

Hall of Fame Member
I did not know that. One reason that I got the M2 version of the studio was that the M1's had been known to be noisy.

Don't really care, this is plenty fast.
They weren't really 'known to be' noisy - a couple of people posted that they had this issue very early on in their release and it got out of hand online ... my M2 very is exactly as noisy as the M1. I bought the M1 Max very early in the cycle as well.

And yeah 3000MB/s is still really fast .. but I think if the machine starts swapping it definitely comes into play as 6000MB/s is comparable to RAM from not that long ago.
 

Dumpling

Active Member
I am using an iMac 2020 with 12GB Graphics Card and 64 GB RAM. It works nicely!

I did some stress testing on an Macbook M1 with 8GB RAM and it was definitely LESS capable than the iMac.

The iMac began to crackle with 150 Tracks playing at the same time, the M1 with 60.

But the base M1 is just a toy. I would recommend you the M2 Max Mac Studio for 2100$ and maybe add more RAM up to 64 GB (Its shared now!) and for 1 TB SSD.

What holds me back is, that I for sure, dont pay 2000$ for an Apple Screen, which is only 27“ and besides it has 500 nits (the iMac 27“ has 400 nits) its the same as in the iMac.
 

chrisso

Venerated Member
I agree that M1/M2 is the future.
I have a fairly average powered M1 MacBook Air that I bought used as a stop gap and it is working flawlessly with Luna, also programmes like Davinci Resole and Capture One. Go with the best M1/M2 you can afford.
I'm using a Ben Q monitor that I got for about $800 new and it adds more connections, I can have my arrangement on the big screen, mixer on the lap top, or vice versa. It is perfectly calibrated for photography and video. Operation of the M1 MacBook is noiseless in my experience.
The whole set up cost me around $2,200 and the UK generally has much higher prices than North America.
 

flandybob

Established Member
Buying an Intel Mac in 2024 is a mistake, especially at this price. It’s sad for your friend but unless it’s an amazing deal like I wouldn’t take it, and only if you are the kind of person who freeze their system until the next computer
 

jonnytheshirt

Established Member
Yeah big drop in Intel prices - I got a MacBook (second hand) recently for just standard use for someone else - was really surprised at the price drops on Intel models. Of course there’s a reason for that. what I would say it’s not all about the latest M series you can afford - there’s optimum value/configuration in the middle ground. Personally I’ve no reason to upgrade from the M1 I have.
 
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