Macbook M1 vs Intel Desktop

Configure and optimize you computer for Audio.
KVRAF
4161 posts since 8 Mar, 2005

Post Mon Jul 26, 2021 7:59 am

keyman_sam wrote:
Mon Jul 26, 2021 7:58 am
BONES wrote:
Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:24 pm
keyman_sam wrote:
Sun Jul 25, 2021 10:13 pm
Like I said, it's the overall value proposition. At that price the M1 is still an incredible well valued machine.
For a Mac.
The HP is probably gonna be loud and warm up your room while it's at it. YMMV.
So what? Those things are irrelevant. No computer is "loud". It's absurd and a little bit desperate to suggest otherwise. The hiss I get from my monitors, just by having hardware synths plugged in, easily drowns out the fans on my laptop and I rarely hear either over the TV anyway.
Absolutely disagree. Loud PC is the difference between needing a computer room separate from your vocal recording room (which I had when I had 2 PCs) vs. recording in the same room as the producer (which I do now with a single Mac mini).

KVRAF
29239 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:07 am

Well... I guess it highly depends on what's "loud" to you (and, of course, where exactly you put your PC in your studio environment), but, I only can say that PC's have gone a LOT more quiet in the past 15 years.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

Banned
102 posts since 23 Jul, 2021

Post Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:27 am

Oh man! I totally don't agree Bones. Noisy computers are awful to deal with! My laptop has a fan basically the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner, just awful.

Now when I built this computer, I went all out in getting a nice carbon fiber case with noise shielding, a great Phantek CPU fan, and optimized it in the bios to be as quiet as possible. It never overheats and I think I've had it 8 years? :)

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GRRRRRRR!
12309 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Mon Jul 26, 2021 6:03 pm

Scotty wrote:
Mon Jul 26, 2021 12:52 am
If you have a small room and the computer has to live in that space with your condenser mics for vocals and guitars and other acoustic instruments that fan whine can ruin recordings. You can purchase solutions suchs as very quiet cases with rubber gaskets on the seals and on any part that vibrates, use low RPM high volume quiet fans or upgrade to Noctua fans to get the noise level down to below ambient noise levels in your studio. A quiet PC is a the goal of many studio owners.
Yeah, I used to wrap my PC tower with a sleeping bag to keep it quiet and record until it overheated and shut down but I wouldn't do that now because I got over that sort of shit ages ago. I don't sweat the little things any more, I've found through experience that it doesn't really matter most of the time.

I work for a TV network, in the promos dept where we make all the ads for the shows on our channels. The audio set-up here is awesome but when the pandemic lockdown happened last year, our voice-over artists started recording all their work form their homes. Our news anchor does his from home with his iPhone and do you know what? It all sounds great. No-one would notice any drop in quality. If the pros can work like that, we can too. I recorded the vocals for our third album in an office with really noisy air-con but none of that comes through on the mixes, even though it is at times very obvious on the raw takes. And it didn't take any extra effort because you always go through and fix all the noise floor issues anyway, don't you? In any event, I am sure you wouldn't pick up the fan noise from a late model laptop, unless maybe you set your mic up right next to it.
People are tweaking fan response curves to get the noise levels down on their Ryzen builds for this very reason.
That's not the reason.
CPU noise from the cooler, fans, and power supply is a real issue if you track quiet sources with multiple mics in a small space. Heat is also a factor. If you don't have an air conditioned room these things are like little space heaters.
I thought we were talking about laptops here? Laptops don't really get hot at all. Even the 16 core dual-Xeon workstation I have at the office never really puts out much heat. It's 2021, not 2001.
There are real advantages to the m1 from both a noise and heat perspective.
No, there aren't. I had a laptop a few years ago with liquid cooling - no fans, no noise and not enough heat to soften chocolate. And recording audio shouldn't make the fans kick in anyway, it hardly puts your CPU under load.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10, UR44C | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Thorn, Equator, VG Carbon | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

KVRAF
2272 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Post Mon Jul 26, 2021 6:30 pm

Double post deleted.
Last edited by Scotty on Tue Jul 27, 2021 2:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

KVRAF
2272 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Post Mon Jul 26, 2021 7:03 pm

BONES wrote:
Mon Jul 26, 2021 6:03 pm
STUFF
Your experiences and opinions as to what matters to you is entirely fair. It can't possibly generalize to every use-case scenario. You must know there are entire product classes dedicated to keeping cpus both quiet and cool? Noise is a factor whether you are concerned about it or not. You can't know my layout in my studio. I haven't shared it. You don't know how much work is required to clean up fan noise from a finger picked classical guitar in "my" space and the time it takes to remove it using spectral denoising tools because the broad spectrum denoisers don't do it to "my" satisfaction That is a time factor and we likely value our time differently and have developed compensatory skills that changes the math for both of us. I obviously place a high value on my time and prefer not to address the problem through software solutions which I find unsatisfactory and time consuming for some of my music. Other mixes are far more forgiving and I can get away with it. These are all individual considerations, individual preferences.

Regarding tweaking fan curves, noise is part of the consideration. I can keep my fans throttled up as my machine is in another room. My pal in the Netherlands who built the 5800x is trying to find the balance of noise, heat and performance. He is tweaking fan curves for these reasons. In fact he is replacing his case fans to get the noise floor lower and has decided he can sacrifice some speed for the sake of lower noise. He is talking with one of the participants in this thread privately now. He lives in an apartment without air conditioning and his computer is right next to his preamps and his room is tiny. His mics are practically on top of his desk. I have the luxury of space and bigger budget.

He mixes mostly in the box with virtual synths but when he does track with a mic the noise is an issue for him and he is spending money again (his build is only 5 weeks old as is mine) to solve it. Heat in the summer will continue to be an issue for him. I will leave it there. I give you the the last word. I should be finishing off this album.

KVRist
165 posts since 13 Jul, 2021

Post Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:03 pm

4damind wrote:
Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:53 am
I'm really strongly considering switching to the Mac for the next few years. I know that many now only use laptops and then only connect a larger monitor.
With which Intel CPU can you compare the more recent M1 Macbooks (13 inch)? I haven't heard of DAW Benchmark for a long time, I don't know if there are any more recent tests there?
Wait for the new chips to drop this fall. Weigh the pros and cons of Mac Mini vs MBP or MBA. Especially in terms of battery which I think is the main point you should be concerned about if you are keeping it connected to a monitor and not leaving your desk much. Maybe a docking station would be appropriate if you went that route especially for multiple monitors.

KVRAF
4418 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Tue Jul 27, 2021 12:46 am

chk071 wrote:
Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:07 am
Well... I guess it highly depends on what's "loud" to you (and, of course, where exactly you put your PC in your studio environment), but, I only can say that PC's have gone a LOT more quiet in the past 15 years.
My external SSDs are louder (coil whining) then my M1 running a full loaded session lingering at 0 rpm fan speed.

I dont think PCs have gone as quiet.
M1 Mac is an incredible piece of engineering.

Not to mention the absence of dust and aging coming from fans sucking in dust
Image

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fmr
KVRAF
10291 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Post Tue Jul 27, 2021 1:08 am

Ploki wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 12:46 am
chk071 wrote:
Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:07 am
Well... I guess it highly depends on what's "loud" to you (and, of course, where exactly you put your PC in your studio environment), but, I only can say that PC's have gone a LOT more quiet in the past 15 years.
My external SSDs are louder (coil whining) then my M1 running a full loaded session lingering at 0 rpm fan speed.

I dont think PCs have gone as quiet.
M1 Mac is an incredible piece of engineering.

Not to mention the absence of dust and aging coming from fans sucking in dust
This isn't a matter of "believing". Either they are or they aren't. These are factual realities that can be easily checked. You may believe whatever you want, but if people are telling you current PCs are silent, why do you think they are telling you so? PC people are not tied to a label as Apple fanboys. PC people change lable almost each time they buy a new computer (or they even assemble their own machine). They always seek for the best price/performance ratio, because they can - there is competition in the PC market.
Fernando (FMR)

KVRAF
4418 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Tue Jul 27, 2021 1:15 am

You can’t go quieter than no fans, apple nailed performance/watt and that’s what brought down noise and heat, and that’s what can potentially bring performance up if scaled successfully.

AMD and Intel simply don’t do so much per watt of energy so you need to cool them more.
It’s not believing yes - its physics.

No need to patronize me, i scolded apple and returned the 2018 i9 because it was garbage.
Not because 9th gen intel i9 was garbage, but because apple was too stubborn to accept reality that it’s a hot chip and work with that fact. Havent build a PC in decade, but will soon again, for some games.

Trying so hard to argue against apple when it finally does something right is a bigger indicator of fanboyism than acknowledging that they really did well for once.
Image

KVRist
141 posts since 24 Oct, 2006

Post Tue Jul 27, 2021 2:00 am

When it comes to laptops, Apple M1 is going to be the obvious choice for a lot of people. However, when it comes to desktops, I think the decision is more complicated.

For someone new to music production, buying an M1 Mac Mini and Logic is a no brainer. Nothing in the PC world will get you anywhere near that much value for money. However, most folks here are already wed to a particular DAW.

If a base level M1 Mac Mini will meet your needs, I think you'll struggle to find a PC that can compete on value. If you take Mac resale value into account, I think the argument is even stronger.

As soon as you start expanding the memory and storage of an M1 Mac Mini, a PC starts to become better value. The cost of RAM and SSD upgrades is just too high.

That said, value is highly subjective. I'll never buy a PC, because PC and motherboard companies do a terrible job of releasing firmware updates for CPU vulnerabilities. Dell seem to do a decent job on their high end workstations, but they cost as much as a Mac anyway. Most people don't have an appreciation of things like this, so it's not even a factor for them.
Last edited by echosystm on Tue Jul 27, 2021 2:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

KVRAF
2272 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Post Tue Jul 27, 2021 2:04 am

Ploki wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 1:15 am
You can’t go quieter than no fans, apple nailed performance/watt and that’s what brought down noise and heat, and that’s what can potentially bring performance up if scaled successfully.

AMD and Intel simply don’t do so much per watt of energy so you need to cool them more.
It’s not believing yes - its physics.

No need to patronize me, i scolded apple and returned the 2018 i9 because it was garbage.
Not because 9th gen intel i9 was garbage, but because apple was too stubborn to accept reality that it’s a hot chip and work with that fact. Havent build a PC in decade, but will soon again, for some games.

Trying so hard to argue against apple when it finally does something right is a bigger indicator of fanboyism than acknowledging that they really did well for once.

Regarding the M1 , Getting that kind of performance with that kind of energy efficiency is stunning. If I didn’t have a boatload of old projects with old plugins that I want to be able to work in a Cubase environment, I would be on the upcoming M1x train. If you are a Logic user without a lot of legacy baggage in terms of old projects this is already an incredible value proposition and they are on gen 1. Give a few months.
Last edited by Scotty on Tue Jul 27, 2021 2:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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KVRAF
8049 posts since 22 Sep, 2008 from Windsor. UK

Post Tue Jul 27, 2021 2:12 am

4damind wrote:
Mon Jul 26, 2021 2:38 am
tehlord wrote:
Mon Jul 26, 2021 1:55 am
I've run both Mac and PC for years (work related needs) and there's no inherent benefit going one way or the other until you go mobile, in which case a Macbook is the only option unless you want to bring and audio interface with you too. By the time you've specced a laptop to perform well for audio, you're at Macbook money anyway.

I ran a previous gen 6-core i7 Mac Mini which was more than enough for my needs (100 channels, no problems) and it's safe to assume that the newer M1's will perform at least as well, if not better.

Having listened to your music over the years, I can't imagine you're a massive 'power user'? But it's always good to have performance in reserve, so perhaps wait for the next gen M2 Macs if you can? They're likely to still be on a par pricewise with a good quality PC build anyway.
Yes, it's not very urgent with new hardware and actually I don't need a new system, but it's too old for Windows 11 and that's why I have to think about the direction it's going in.
Since I do video editing from time to time, a more performant system would be better. As far as I can see, even a Mac Mini M1 would be very good for this (or just the successor with the M2). A current AMD system would also be very good, but it's a bit more difficult to find the right CPU and all the necessary components.
A lot has happened recently: Windows 11 requires current hardware with TPM support. Apple has the very good ARM CPUs and AMD is back again ;) I think many will consider what they will do in the next 1-2 years in terms of hardware.
For me is new: I was never an Apple fan! For over 30 years I was always a PC user. Therefore I would be more interested in a PC with a current AMD CPU. But in the future I will also need to be mobile... so Apple seems to be the best solution for studio and mobile.
A lot of my work is video editing now too, and my previous i7 Mac Mini was absolutely fine for this, with the possible caveat of it feeling a little sluggish with a 4k timeline and Davinci Resolve. This was much better with FCPX, but I really don't like FCPX at all. This was mostly down to the fact that the mini didn't have any kind of dedicated GPU, which the new M1 architecture partially solves. There are lots of videos on Youtube claiming the M1 machines are great for video editing, up to a point.

I'm running a Ryzen 9 for my current main studio PC now and it's monstrously fast. It swallows up whatever video editing I throw at it now (although I'm no 'power' user) and 100 channel DAW projects are nothing too. I should be getting myself an M1 Macbook Air in the next month or so, it will be interesting to see just how well it copes with video editing, although I'm mainly buying it so that I can do sound design away from the actual studio.

But I'm with you. I don't care if I'm using Apple or Windows. For me it's just about the right tool to get the job done, and for a mobile computer, Apple is the only way to go on a practical level.

KVRAF
2272 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Post Tue Jul 27, 2021 2:33 am

fmr wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 1:08 am
Ploki wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 12:46 am
chk071 wrote:
Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:07 am
Well... I guess it highly depends on what's "loud" to you (and, of course, where exactly you put your PC in your studio environment), but, I only can say that PC's have gone a LOT more quiet in the past 15 years.
My external SSDs are louder (coil whining) then my M1 running a full loaded session lingering at 0 rpm fan speed.

I dont think PCs have gone as quiet.
M1 Mac is an incredible piece of engineering.

Not to mention the absence of dust and aging coming from fans sucking in dust
This isn't a matter of "believing". Either they are or they aren't. These are factual realities that can be easily checked. You may believe whatever you want, but if people are telling you current PCs are silent, why do you think they are telling you so? PC people are not tied to a label as Apple fanboys. PC people change lable almost each time they buy a new computer (or they even assemble their own machine). They always seek for the best price/performance ratio, because they can - there is competition in the PC market.
I’ve built two Ryzen systems over the past 16 months and they are acceptably quiet in their respective environments but it required careful part selection to get them there. A 16 core/ 32 thread core PC with all the fans spinning up when it is being pushed hard makes noise. If you are forced to sit on top of it in a small space it could be a deal breaker. It depends on your workflow, application and sensitivities.

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

5445 posts since 17 Aug, 2004 from Berlin, Germany

Post Tue Jul 27, 2021 2:36 am

tehlord wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 2:12 am
A lot of my work is video editing now too, and my previous i7 Mac Mini was absolutely fine for this, with the possible caveat of it feeling a little sluggish with a 4k timeline and Davinci Resolve.
This is a very interesting point and also very important for me. With Davinci Resolve I reach the limits with my system. The HD4000 on the i7-3770 is unsuitable. It would probably run fine with a really good graphics card, as Davinci in particular is very GPU dependent.
I guess you have a pretty good graphics card on the Ryzen system? Otherwise... yes, I've also seen some videos about the Mac Mini M1 with video editing... and that's really amazing what performance the little box has and that still for quite little money.

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