iMac i5

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iMac i5

Post by OneWorld »

I like a tinker about and have been offered an iMac i5 1TB, 16gig ram, 27" 5K retina display, with Catalina for what I think is a good price £375, just has a slight scratch on the frame, not on the screen

Would this make a Decent DAW. I am particularly interested in the fact it has 2 thunderbolt connectors and I am keen to move away from Firewire and think the Thunderbolt bus is far faster than USB and as far as DAWs are concerned - the way to go?
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Re: iMac i5

Post by Sam Spoons »

It's probably faster than my 2008 Mac Pro and that price sounds decent. WRT Thunderbolt vs USB I wouldn't worry about it, USB2 is clearly fast enough for many more input and output streams than most people need. 32 x 32 of 16 bit 48kHz is certainly doable over USB2.
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Re: iMac i5

Post by OneWorld »

Sam Spoons wrote: Tue Jan 18, 2022 3:35 pm It's probably faster than my 2008 Mac Pro and that price sounds decent. WRT Thunderbolt vs USB I wouldn't worry about it, USB2 is clearly fast enough for many more input and output streams than most people need. 32 x 32 of 16 bit 48kHz is certainly doable over USB2.


Right thanks, a 2008 Mac Pro still going strong, that's a good enough sign as to the durability
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Re: iMac i5

Post by s_e_a_n »

I'm still using a 2014 1st gen 5k iMac as my main machine running Logic (which now requires a newer OS version to upgrade) and DP10 with no problems. I would love to upgrade to a better machine but the tiny speed bumps since have not been worthwhile (other than the iMac Pro which was a bit too expensive) and the M1 iMacs are only 24". I'm sure when they come out with a bigger M1 iMac I'll upgrade and then spend the next couple of years cursing Apple for the new range of problems I'll encounter 😏
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Re: iMac i5

Post by Sam Spoons »

OneWorld wrote: Tue Jan 18, 2022 3:55 pm
Sam Spoons wrote: Tue Jan 18, 2022 3:35 pm It's probably faster than my 2008 Mac Pro and that price sounds decent. WRT Thunderbolt vs USB I wouldn't worry about it, USB2 is clearly fast enough for many more input and output streams than most people need. 32 x 32 of 16 bit 48kHz is certainly doable over USB2.


Right thanks, a 2008 Mac Pro still going strong, that's a good enough sign as to the durability

I have two 2008 Mac Pros, They've been good but not completely trouble free (the reason for having two) I replaced a memory board in the other a couple of years ago and that one started crashing recently, probably due to overheating but I haven't got to the bottom if the issue yet. But they are pretty fixable and, as there seem to be plenty of used spares out there, reasonably cheaply fixable. The iMac OTOH is not such an easy DIY repair. But for the money that still sounds like a proposition to me.
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Re: iMac i5

Post by OneWorld »

Sam Spoons wrote: Tue Jan 18, 2022 6:22 pm
OneWorld wrote: Tue Jan 18, 2022 3:55 pm
Sam Spoons wrote: Tue Jan 18, 2022 3:35 pm It's probably faster than my 2008 Mac Pro and that price sounds decent. WRT Thunderbolt vs USB I wouldn't worry about it, USB2 is clearly fast enough for many more input and output streams than most people need. 32 x 32 of 16 bit 48kHz is certainly doable over USB2.


Right thanks, a 2008 Mac Pro still going strong, that's a good enough sign as to the durability

I have two 2008 Mac Pros, They've been good but not completely trouble free (the reason for having two) I replaced a memory board in the other a couple of years ago and that one started crashing recently, probably due to overheating but I haven't got to the bottom if the issue yet. But they are pretty fixable and, as there seem to be plenty of used spares out there, reasonably cheaply fixable. The iMac OTOH is not such an easy DIY repair. But for the money that still sounds like a proposition to me.

Yep, I inclined to buy it and try it, then if not quite what I expected then sell it on. And maybe see how the M1 Macs develop. Having said that, my PC is quite acceptable, Win10 is (cross fingers) trouble free, reasonably fast. The iMac is attractive because of the price and is something else to tinker with
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Re: iMac i5

Post by Sam Spoons »

Do bear in mind that if you buy a Mac there is a risk you will get sucked into the Apple ecosystem :D I don't see me ever going back to Windows, OSX is not faultless and intuitive (whatever the Apple fanbois say) but it generally does what you want in a relatively fuss free manner.
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Re: iMac i5

Post by Eddy Deegan »

What year is it from? We recently bought a 27" iMac second hand from a friend of a friend for £100. The latest OS it can run is Catalina.

Browsing is broken, you can't upgrade Safari, Firefox won't install on it, Chrome does but a lot of websites are kind of broken (there seems to be an issue with anything involving HTTPS/SSL).

The only things I can say about it that are positive are that it's got a lovely screen, access to all the old stuff I bought on iTunes back in the day and that it's good as a basic family computer running non-Apple software for the kids.

As a DAW, not even close. Apple seem to have condemned some otherwise perfectly good hardware to obsolescence and there's no practical way around that.

As Apple TV is also available on the Amazon Firestick now, I'm almost certainly going to nuke OS X on the iMac and install Linux in some form or other.
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Re: iMac i5

Post by Sam Spoons »

Catalina had a rep for being troublesome but I'm running El Capitan (OSX 10.11 which is the latest it will run) on the 2008 and both Safari and Brave seem to work fine on it. Have you tried running Mojave or High Sierra, I have the latter on my 2012 MBP and likewise Sierra and Brave work fine?

I keep trying Linus but lose patience before I can really get to grips with it. I guess learning yet another OS is too much hassle for me :frown:
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Re: iMac i5

Post by merlyn »

OneWorld wrote: Tue Jan 18, 2022 2:57 pm I am particularly interested in the fact it has 2 thunderbolt connectors and I am keen to move away from Firewire and think the Thunderbolt bus is far faster than USB and as far as DAWs are concerned - the way to go?

Are you sure it's Thunderbolt? It may well be, but it's worth checking as Thunderbolt looks the same as mini Display Port, which has been on Macs for longer.

Also on the subject of 'fast' -- there's bandwidth (what USB 3 has more of than USB 2) and latency (exactly the same on USB2 and USB3). Focusrite have explained this possibly subtle distinction in this article :

https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/ ... t-USB-3-0-

Useful Analogy

A good analogy is to think of it as a drainpipe and a tennis ball. The tennis ball is the data, and the width of the pipe signifies available bandwidth. With the drainpipe set at the same angle, letting go of the ball at the top of the drainpipe will see it arrive at the bottom in a given amount of time. That's your latency, the time it takes to go from end to end.

In terms of our analogy, USB 3.0 offers a much wider pipe. This means that it could allow a greater number of tennis balls (more data) to travel down the pipe, but the balls would not travel down the pipe any faster– there is no latency improvement. This is the same when comparing USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 in terms of the way they transfer audio data.


So for Thunderbolt it undoubtedly has more bandwidth you don't need, but is it faster?
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Re: iMac i5

Post by Kwackman »

If it's running Catalina, it will probably be this one at least, or perhaps a newer one.
https://everymac.com/systems/apple/imac ... #macspecs1
If so, they are thunderbolt ports.
I think Apple put a little lightning symbol on thunderbolt ports to distinguish them from the mini display port which has a different symbol, even though the ports look the same as Merlin stated.

The above info is given with no certainty!
Sounds like a nice iMac though.
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Re: iMac i5

Post by OneWorld »

merlyn wrote: Tue Jan 18, 2022 8:12 pm
OneWorld wrote: Tue Jan 18, 2022 2:57 pm I am particularly interested in the fact it has 2 thunderbolt connectors and I am keen to move away from Firewire and think the Thunderbolt bus is far faster than USB and as far as DAWs are concerned - the way to go?

Are you sure it's Thunderbolt? It may well be, but it's worth checking as Thunderbolt looks the same as mini Display Port, which has been on Macs for longer.

Also on the subject of 'fast' -- there's bandwidth (what USB 3 has more of than USB 2) and latency (exactly the same on USB2 and USB3). Focusrite have explained this possibly subtle distinction in this article :

https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/ ... t-USB-3-0-

Useful Analogy

A good analogy is to think of it as a drainpipe and a tennis ball. The tennis ball is the data, and the width of the pipe signifies available bandwidth. With the drainpipe set at the same angle, letting go of the ball at the top of the drainpipe will see it arrive at the bottom in a given amount of time. That's your latency, the time it takes to go from end to end.

In terms of our analogy, USB 3.0 offers a much wider pipe. This means that it could allow a greater number of tennis balls (more data) to travel down the pipe, but the balls would not travel down the pipe any faster– there is no latency improvement. This is the same when comparing USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 in terms of the way they transfer audio data.


So for Thunderbolt it undoubtedly has more bandwidth you don't need, but is it faster?

Yes but the more tracks, the more tennis balls can pass along. Do they travel in parallel or serial. If there is a train with 4 full carriages travelling down the track at 100mph, it is the same as 4 trains each pulling one carriage, at 25mph, the distance will be shorter, one train length v 4 trains length, hence shorter latency. I thought that was the advantage of FireWire over usb (Universal ‘Serial’ Bus) I believe FW maintained a consist speed whereas USB peaked at a given speed, essentially the data ebbed and flowed.

Ok, all this is academic, as far as I know even USB2 can transfer data fast enough for even the most demanding DAW use. But, if USB2 and beyond exceeds demands, why bother ‘inventing’ Thunderbolt? What were the shortcomings of USB that inspired the development of Thunderbolt?
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