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New M-Series Mac - What should I purchase???

wglotz

Established Member
Since Apple is obsoleting my 2020 Intel iMac with their latest Logic software updates I need to buy a new Mac. I know most of you own an M1 or M2 (maybe an M3) Mac. Which system do you feel would be the most appropriate for me going forward?

My main applications are:
Logic Pro
UAD
Sonarworks SoundID 5.11.0
Slate Audio VSX 4.0.3
Final Cut Pro
Photoshop
LTspice
Sonarworks SoundID
Slate Audio VSX

Your expert opinions are very much appreciated!
 

rodd

Hall of Fame Member
What’s your budget? All of the Apple silicon Macs are more than capable of running what you’ve listed. Memory and storage are expensive, but I’d prioritize them in that order, then start to compare prices between the various models and specs for what you get for jumping between them. You’re going to find them pretty similar, with different port configurations, and portable or not. For example there’s not a lot of difference in price going from a 32GB Mac mini to a studio, but you get more thunderbolt ports on the studio, and higher end processor options. It’s kind of a rabbit hole.
 

wglotz

Established Member
Let's jokingly say my budget isn't a limitation. :rolleyes: I guess my first question is "which processor"? Is M3 the way to go? Does M2 do the trick for everyone who owns one? I believe an M4 has been released?
 

LixiSoft

Active Member

flandybob

Established Member
Get whatever current Mac Studio is (on refurb to save a few bucks), at least 32gb / 1tb with Mx Max.

unless you really want/need logic new features now, I think you can still get a lot out of your current Mac and can wait until the next Mac Studio refresh with M4 or whatever they will call it when they do
 

Eric Dahlberg

Purveyor of musical dreams fullfilled.
12-core M2 Pro is amazing. I can't imagine anyone needing more than that for audio.
 

Joe Porto

Hall of Fame Member
Apple just released the first M4 chip in the latest iPad Pro of all things. These are AI focused chips and I suspect Logic’s upcoming AI features will take full advantage.

According to macrumors.com, M4 will be coming to iMac and Mini later in the year, while the MBP and Studio will probably not see an M4 Max/Ultra until mid 2025. There is still rumor of an M3 Max/Ultra equipped Studio and Pro to be announced at WWDC next month.

I‘d at least wait until WWDC on June 10th before buying.
 

wglotz

Established Member
Thanks for the replies.

I think a Studio is the way for me to go; I really want the extra I/O. My iMac I/O is maxed out already.

Given all the above, it looks like a refurbished 32/512 GB, M2 Max will save about $300. I think I really need 1 TB SSD. I keep current projects on my local hard drive and back up current/past projects to two separate disks.

Is 32 GB memory the minimum most people would want?

Why is there no talk about an M3 Studio, were they not made for some reason?

Would love to wait for the latest M4 but I really want to use Logic's new functions in Logic Pro 11. Also, it looks like an M4 Studio would be quite pricey looking at the current M2 Studio prices.
 

Jedanor

Active Member
I have an M1 Studio with 128GB of RAM and it is snappy. I don't think you can really go wrong with the M Series.
 

Bear-Faced Cow

Hall of Fame Member
I went the other route with M3 Max laptop as I wanted a studio I can take with me wherever I go and I only want one computer these days. No regrets as it handles a lot of my Final Cut and Motion renderings almost instaneously and hardly breaks a sweat with Logic. I doubt Logic or FCP will do anything exclusive with the M4’s AI. It will similar to how FCP handles graphics cores. If they’re there, they get taken advantage of. However, most of what will be what Logic considers AI will probably be more in the case of machine learning, which many software already do without the need for a special processor.

jord
 

wglotz

Established Member
Why is there no talk about an M3 Studio, were they not made for some reason?
 

chrisharbin

Hall of Fame Member
The M3's are only available for certain models. All I saw for M3 was lappy's when looking last night. Still just M2's for mini/studio that I can see.
 

Bear-Faced Cow

Hall of Fame Member
Why is there no talk about an M3 Studio, were they not made for some reason?
Despite the various rumours that have been floating around, Apple can be tight lipped when they need to be. Considering this month is the month for both logic and Final Cut Pro, you probably won’t hear of anything beyond the iPad and the M4. WWDC is just around the corner, however. Apple has been known to do a hardware unveiling at the Keynote from time to time.

Jord
 

David MacNeill

Established Member
I worry about the M4. It shows all signs of being rushed to market, coming just months after the M3. I will take a wait and see attitude when the M4 Mac Studio is released. Apple claims the M4 is twice as fast as the M2 it would replace in the Mac Studio and that is certainly desirable, but a buggy microprocessor brain can only be fixed with a logic board replacement, not a software patch UNLESS that patch simply throttles the chip down or disables functions at the kernel level. I prefer my CPUs fully tested in the real world, thank you very much.
 

David MacNeill

Established Member
I sent my last post to my former boss and mentor in the tech publishing biz, an extremely knowledgeable man regarding microprocessor tech, and he replied:

"Just poking around a bit, it looks like the M3 and M4 both are 3nm manufacturing chips, so there shouldn't be issues with the lithography. The generic bugs have already been worked out with the M3, and the M4 benefits from that. However, from what I see, the M3 is an 8-core CPU (4 power, 4 efficiency) plus the 16-core neural engine, whereas the M4 is either 9-core (3p/6e) or 10 core (4p/6e) plus the neural cores. So from that aspect, I wouldn't expect much extra speed, and perhaps Apple did the M4 just to support the new OLED display, and, of course, also to get some extra leeway in charging more for an extra core or two.

As for speed, hard to tell. For example, "twice as fast" depends completely on which benchmark, and which test(s) in that benchmark. And with Apple products, a chip's performance in an iPad or in a Mac are two totally different things.

So I wouldn't worry too much about bugginess. If the 3nm M3 chips run fine, then one can safely assume that the 3nm M4 chips do, too. How fast an M4 Mac Studio is compared to an M2 Mac Studio remains to be seen (as is how much extra Apple will charge for extra cores and what will be available in which models)."
 

wglotz

Established Member
So when would an M4 Studio be ready for sale, mid 2025? Far too long for me to wait, and most likely, far too much for me to want to spend on it.

Is Rosetta required to run these apps?
Logic Pro
UAD
Sonarworks SoundID
Slate Audio VSX
Final Cut Pro
Photoshop
LTspice
 

UniversalAudio

Official UA Representative
So when would an M4 Studio be ready for sale, mid 2025? Far too long for me to wait, and most likely, far too much for me to want to spend on it.

Is Rosetta required to run these apps?
Logic Pro
UAD
Sonarworks SoundID
Slate Audio VSX
Final Cut Pro
Photoshop
LTspice
Rosetta is not needed for any of our software.
 
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