Just thought I’d add my real-world experience to this…
I have been a Cubase user since the Atari days, working through Cubase VST on PC to 5, 6, 7 and now 7.5.
I had to rationalise and simplify my home recording setup last year. I had been using a built-for-audio PC - i7 3.4 gHz, 32 GB, fast 250 GB SSD for OS and 3 x 1TB 7200 rpm SATA II HDDs for audio, samples and ‘other stuff’. Not the best PC in the world but pretty good nonetheless. There was nothing on the PC other than audio software - no internet connection - nothing to ‘contaminate’ it. As you might expect, it ran Cubase just fine and I never once had a problem.
Because of other interests I had long been interested in switching to a Mac. I no longer had the time, space or energy to run different computers for different tasks so looked apprehensively at the 2012 iMacs as an all-in-one solution. I was planning to buy a 27" iMac with i7 CPU and basically max it out, even though it was eye-wateringly expensive compared to building a PC to the same spec.
An almost-new 2012 iMac appeared locally on eBay at a great price and I snapped it up. The spec was not as I wanted but I thought I’d give it a go and sell it on if it didn’t work out. The spec: 21" screen, i5 2.9 gHz CPU, 16 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD + 1TB HDD ‘Fusion Drive’. It now has Mavericks installed.
I’ve been running this setup for about 10 months now and can report ZERO issues.
I use a Focusrite Scarlett audio interface and typically about 16 midi tracks utilising Halion 4 and NI Komplete 9, about 10 stereo audio tracks (vox, guitars, etc) and various other VSTs (PPG Wave, Oddity, etc).
The only compromise I’ve had to make is using a small external USB 3 HDD for my sample library as Komplete is about 400 GB by itself!
The whole lot is backed up to a 2TB Apple Time Capsule which runs in the background brilliantly. I never found a backup solution I was happy with in Windows…
Totally against my old ‘standalone PC for music only’ principles, the iMac is connected to the internet, runs iTunes in the background (serving Apple TVs and music to an Airport Express in the kitchen!) and never skips a beat, literally.
Some say that Cubase runs better on a PC than Mac but I don’t see a difference here. The only issues I’ve noted is that the CPU / ASIO light peaks sometimes when I hit ‘play’ and that I can’t get the ‘information line’ to go away. Hardly show-stopping problems.
No doubt that I am not a power-user compared to some here and my setup could only be considered a ‘good’ hobbyist studio at best. I do think though that computers have come on so much since the ‘old’ days of dedicated HDD, non-networked machines - my little iMac has worked perfectly and elegantly.
I’m sure there are reams of specs, stats and reviews that contradict me but here in the (my) real world I’m getting on making music. iMacs are obviously not perfect but I am so glad I’ve left Windows behind (I do still keep a Win 8 i7 laptop for live use until I can afford a MacBook…) and am very much enjoying the uncluttered, streamlined, quiet machine that sits on my desk.