Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Configure and optimize you computer for Audio.
Kaine
KVRAF
1815 posts since 4 Nov, 2004 from Manchester

Post Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:54 am

tehlord wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:09 am
Will you be selling configurable Mac Mini's? I'm sold.
Now I'm really confused.

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tehlord
KVRAF
7687 posts since 22 Sep, 2008 from Windsor. UK

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:00 am

Kaine wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:54 am
tehlord wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:09 am
Will you be selling configurable Mac Mini's? I'm sold.
Now I'm really confused.
Will Scan be selling Mac Mini's that can be configured!? :hihi:

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gunark
KVRist
90 posts since 1 Sep, 2003 from Studio Telex

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:36 pm

Got mine today - i7 model. Geekbench was 5382 / 21069. Didn’t try much but got a single Roland Cloud JX3P set to 8 voices with Blackhole and Echo in Ableton 10 and large chords were under 10%. Seems good.
Image

epiphaneia
KVRian
514 posts since 29 May, 2011 from Germany

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:42 am

My new i7 Mini arrived today. I installed 32gb RAM (the installation took less than 10 minutes and isn´t that scary at all -surely worth 300+$ to me-, it just needs the right tools at home: regular torx 5 + 10 and torx security 6 drivers). Smallest internal SSD.

External 1tb SSD connected via TB as a boot drive.
4 content SSDs (USB 3.0) hooked onto a USB C hub.
The rest (Maschine, Komplete Kontrol, keyboard, backup HD,...) hooked onto another USB C hub.

Of course, I was curious enough to run Geekbench 4 before doing anything else, and I exceeded the values seen in the Geekbench online browser.

Benchmarks are one thing though, real world performance another.

And here´s the verdict: Does what it says on the tin.

Even my old Mini could do quite a good number of simultaneous tracks, but started stuttering on live playing tasks (even at latency of 256) when I played more complex Kontakt instruments (Sample Logic = main offender...) polyphonically, or did /anything/ with Dmitry Sches´ diversion.

What brought my old Mini to its knees now peaks at less than half of one core, with higher playing polyphony.

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fmr
KVRAF
7812 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:58 am

epiphaneia wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:42 am
My new i7 Mini arrived today. I installed 32gb RAM (the installation took less than 10 minutes and isn´t that scary at all -surely worth 300+$ to me-, it just needs the right tools at home: regular torx 5 + 10 and torx security 6 drivers). Smallest internal SSD.

External 1tb SSD connected via TB as a boot drive.
What disk is that external you are using to boot? And how do you find the system behavior after booting from it?
Fernando (FMR)

epiphaneia
KVRian
514 posts since 29 May, 2011 from Germany

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:06 am

fmr wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:58 am
epiphaneia wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:42 am
My new i7 Mini arrived today. I installed 32gb RAM (the installation took less than 10 minutes and isn´t that scary at all -surely worth 300+$ to me-, it just needs the right tools at home: regular torx 5 + 10 and torx security 6 drivers). Smallest internal SSD.

External 1tb SSD connected via TB as a boot drive.
What disk is that external you are using to boot? And how do you find the system behavior after booting from it?
A regular SSD from Crucial I put in some random enclosure found on Amazon.

Booting from the external drive is super slow (3-4 minutes!), that seems to be a common problem with the latest OSX, at least there´s many posts in apple- and apple-related forums.

But once the system is running, everything´s blazing fast, including the loading of applications etc.

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fmr
KVRAF
7812 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:25 am

Thanks :tu:
Fernando (FMR)

bill45
KVRAF
2210 posts since 15 Jun, 2006

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:37 pm

epiphaneia wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:42 am
My new i7 Mini arrived today. I installed 32gb RAM (the installation took less than 10 minutes and isn´t that scary at all -surely worth 300+$ to me-, it just needs the right tools at home: regular torx 5 + 10 and torx security 6 drivers). Smallest internal SSD.

External 1tb SSD connected via TB as a boot drive.
4 content SSDs (USB 3.0) hooked onto a USB C hub.
The rest (Maschine, Komplete Kontrol, keyboard, backup HD,...) hooked onto another USB C hub.

Of course, I was curious enough to run Geekbench 4 before doing anything else, and I exceeded the values seen in the Geekbench online browser.

Benchmarks are one thing though, real world performance another.

And here´s the verdict: Does what it says on the tin.

Even my old Mini could do quite a good number of simultaneous tracks, but started stuttering on live playing tasks (even at latency of 256) when I played more complex Kontakt instruments (Sample Logic = main offender...) polyphonically, or did /anything/ with Dmitry Sches´ diversion.

What brought my old Mini to its knees now peaks at less than half of one core, with higher playing polyphony.
Which processor did you chose? What audio interface do you use?

epiphaneia
KVRian
514 posts since 29 May, 2011 from Germany

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:19 pm

The 6-core 3.2ghz i7, as modern instruments´ and effects´ CPU requirements increase all the time and I plan to use this box for at least 4-5 years, so I didn´t want to skimp on CPU (buying the smallest internal SSD was the better corner to cut, imho).

A MOTU ultralite mk3 hybrid connected via USB.

keyman_sam
KVRAF
3998 posts since 8 Mar, 2005

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:37 pm

Can someone with the newer Mac Mini run some real world tests on projects? Some plugin count, etc?

bill45
KVRAF
2210 posts since 15 Jun, 2006

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:19 am

epiphaneia wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:19 pm
The 6-core 3.2ghz i7, as modern instruments´ and effects´ CPU requirements increase all the time and I plan to use this box for at least 4-5 years, so I didn´t want to skimp on CPU (buying the smallest internal SSD was the better corner to cut, imho).

A MOTU ultralite mk3 hybrid connected via USB.
Thanks

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DrGonzo
KVRAF
2014 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from A Swede Living in Budapest

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:02 pm

epiphaneia wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:42 am
What brought my old Mini to its knees now peaks at less than half of one core, with higher playing polyphony.
Bloody hell... I've been insanely tempted by the new Mac Mini since I first heard about it, but been holding off to hear about IRL workloads. Bought a Macbook Pro about a year ago to replace my old 2011 iMac - and while it's better and got more power, I'm not entirely satisfied with its performance. Especially not when doing stuff in Final Cut - that just sucks the life out of it. So yeah... this thread might... nail it for me :)

The SSDs are bloody expensive in Mac-land and I cannot see myself do anything with less than a 1TB. Having stuff on an external drive sounds good, but I tried that a couple of years ago and it really didn't work out well for me. The TB drive sometimes decided to disconnect and while I never lost any data because of it - it was enough for me to lose all trust in it.

/C
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epiphaneia
KVRian
514 posts since 29 May, 2011 from Germany

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:13 pm

DrGonzo wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:02 pm
epiphaneia wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:42 am
What brought my old Mini to its knees now peaks at less than half of one core, with higher playing polyphony.
Bloody hell... I've been insanely tempted by the new Mac Mini since I first heard about it, but been holding off to hear about IRL workloads. Bought a Macbook Pro about a year ago to replace my old 2011 iMac - and while it's better and got more power, I'm not entirely satisfied with its performance. Especially not when doing stuff in Final Cut - that just sucks the life out of it. So yeah... this thread might... nail it for me :)

The SSDs are bloody expensive in Mac-land and I cannot see myself do anything with less than a 1TB. Having stuff on an external drive sounds good, but I tried that a couple of years ago and it really didn't work out well for me. The TB drive sometimes decided to disconnect and while I never lost any data because of it - it was enough for me to lose all trust in it.

/C
Regarding the performance I experience in Logic Pro, the geekbench single core scores translate quite well for me. That‘s the ancient problem of Logic insisting on never breaking up one track onto several cores. That‘s where my old mini regularly gave up - not the total amount of cpu capacity available which was always enough for my modest needs, but individual tracks being too demanding.

How about storing your DAW projects on the internal drive then (even the 128gb drive is probably enough for quite a few projects) and keeping sample data on external drives? A mere drive disconnect might in the worst case harm data being written, not data being read...

Sascha Franck
KVRAF
12471 posts since 14 Nov, 2000 from Hannover / Germany

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:00 pm

epiphaneia wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:13 pm
That‘s the ancient problem of Logic insisting on never breaking up one track onto several cores.
Hm, is it even possible to do this differently? I mean, after all, we're talking about serial processing here, no parallel processes. Can other hosts split the processing for one track to be done on multiple cores?
Others than that, I think LPX is pretty good at multithreading with 10.4.2. The main problem older versions had, was that the load wasn't instantly distributed to multiple cores (so you had to press stop and play a bunch of times to make it happen) and that the thread distribution would vary all the time. Plus, in yet some older versions there wasn't the "reserve one thread for live tracks" functionality.
All in all, I'm pretty satisfied how Logic is handling these things by now and there's very few occasions bringing this old mid 2010 Mac Pro to its knees, basically just happens when I go crazy with Alchemy and chain some more plugins serially on that track (and I'm running it at 32 samples buffersize all throughout).
There are 3 kinds of people:
Those who can do maths and those who can't.

Kaine
KVRAF
1815 posts since 4 Nov, 2004 from Manchester

Re: Anyone considering Mac mini for their new DAW?

Post Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:54 am

tehlord wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:00 am
Kaine wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:54 am
tehlord wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:09 am
Will you be selling configurable Mac Mini's? I'm sold.
Now I'm really confused.
Will Scan be selling Mac Mini's that can be configured!? :hihi:
Sure, would you like the option of gray or gray?

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