Is Mac Mini sufficient, and in what configuration, or is it better to buy an already powerful Mac Studio and ensure longevity?
For longevity, I think any of Apple’s lineup at this point is about the same. Buy whatever you feel you need at the time you need it and count on getting a new one around 5 years if you want to keep playing the ‘stay current’ game with the OS.
No matter what you buy, in 1-2 years, Apple is going to release a newer M# or a Pro/Max/Ultra version that is always going to be ‘better’ than what you just bought… If you feel you need the power of the M2 Studio model, get that, if you think you can make do with the Mini, get that. New Macs always come out during Spring and Fall, so if its close to that time, wait a bit longer and see if anything updated drops…
He means in terms of running longest before you feel the machines performance is urging you to upgrade.
And i think the Base Studio is enough for most and is the optimal choice.
Unless you’re only considering a (close to) base Mac Mini… because once you start upgrading components the price makes less and less sense until you’re at Studio Price for a less performance machine.
Base 512GB storage is enough. Get a TB dock with 2x NVMe slots and add storage that way.
I would also consider a discounted base M1 Max Studio, at this point, if you can save $4-500 on the purchase.
You just need to get the computer that matches your budget. I just went with a MacBook Pro M2 Max Chip 32G Ram and 1TB Drive. It was not cheap. Like $3300 US before Tax. I need the 1TB because I have Cubase/Pro Tools/Wavelab + plugins and a few instruments. I use about 550G of the 1TB for my system and a few files. I have plenty of space to store a couple of current projects then when they are done I move them to backup or Dropbox. I really think if you go with 512G is not going to be enough. I have an M1 Pro and that was good but the M2 max is much faster and you see a difference in loading times and bounces.
thank you for your comment
I have a 2011 iMac (so I’ve been using it for 13 years) and have been pushing it for several years without applying updates. I now feel the need to upgrade my set up and at the same time upgrade my home studio to produce in another way
Your approach corresponds to my conclusion after some research and reflection before posting here.
Thanks for your comments, it helps me to finalize my choice
I have a 16GB/512GB M1 Pro MBP.
I have Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro, Motion 5, Compressor, MainStage, Cubase/WaveLab/Dorico/SpectraLayers Pro, Absolute 6, Komplete 13 UCE + Maschine 2 + Additionals, Reason 12, Resolve + Fusion Studio, almost all of iZotope and a lot of other plug-ins.
The device has like 380 GB of free storage with all of that installed, because I simply put the content files on external storage. Content is the only thing that eats up a lot of storage. My TB3 Enclosure (with 2x NVMe drives in it) is around the size of a Focusrite Scarlett Solo.
I would never use 400GB of storage on a MBP, because that would mean I am using the internal SSD as a Scratch/Video Project/Project drive which is kind of madness to me. I have one NVMe in my enclosure used exclusively for that stuff, and the other is used to store Content Files/Sample Libraries (Logic, Komplete, Steinberg, etc.).
I actually don’t think loading times are going to be all that much of an issue for OP, and bouncing is completely irrelevant as it’s a passive task like video render - except it not going to take nearly as long as a video render. Whether to go for a Max over a Pro or vanilla M2 (or M1) depends largely on the compute requirements you need for the types of projects you tackle. Same with RAM. Now, if you also edit video or do motion graphics/visual effects and want faster playback and/or faster pre-render/transcode/etc. the M1 Pro or Max is absolutely worth it for that alone, as you may do a lot of that stuff and it takes much longer than bouncing instrument tracks. Also, the GPU cores have huge performance impact for multiple NLEs - in some cases, more noticeably than the CPU upgrade from M2 to M2 Max.
If you’re working primarily with recorded audio, or doing EDM, Hip Hop, etc. then you probably don’t need 32GB and it’s really mostly a bonus item for going for an M1/M2 Max machine (as that is the base RAM capacity in those spec packages).
It’s cheaper to get a 2TB NVMe and put in a TB3 Bus-powered enclosure than upgrade from 512 to 1TB storage for MacBooks. Lol. Unless I go to 2TB, the upgrade isn’t even worth it [to me, personally] as 1TB isn’t going to deliver any additional convenience to me at all - since my content payload requires at least 1TB of additional storage (if I am discriminate).
I would still go straight to a 14 or 16" MBP (if getting a laptop) for the screen alone. The MiniLED ProMotion screens are a huge upgrade. It’s very noticeable, and I would never go back to an IPS Retina Screen (those give me migraines) or even the Liquid Retina.