iMac and USB interface: Reccomendations?

I´m currently using a MacBookPro for all may computer work including midi and audio recording. For several reasons I would like to switch to an iMac for home use and use my MacBook for out of home sessions only.
There are 2 questions regarding the iMac where I could need some advice from you:

  1. Is the iMac´s cpu sufficient for non professional recording in a home recording studio (basically recording with VSTi as well as a microfone for the singer and maybe a guitar (no multi miked drums). I´m using K4 quite often with larger orchestral sample libraries. Would the power be sufficient? Do I nedd an i5 or i7 processor?
  2. My major question: the iMac has only limited firewire slots (which I would need for my external discs which I use for disc streaming) and the new thunderbold interface as well as USB in/ output. My Mac Book uses an RME audio interface which is connected via a cardbus interface. I won´t be able to use this for the iMac so I thought about switching to an USB interface instead. Are there any reccomendations for an interface with something like 4 inputs and outputs as well as SPDIF In/out? How is the performance of an USB interface compared to firewire as USB has traditionally not been the strong side of Macs?
    Thanks very much for your help
    Best regards
    Raindog

Aloha R,

I am sure there are some other takes on this but
personally I would stick with FW audio interfaces
and stay away all from USB ones.

As for how a new iMac will perform;

Mine will be two years old in January and I have been able to get,

1-40 VSTi’s (Vst Collection) and 12 stereo audio tracks going for
several 10-11 minute songs with no prob.

2- 24 stereo audio tracks with 12 VSTi’s and also no probs.

HTH
{’-’}

Aloha R,
I have been thinking about this a lil further and I realized that
some of Steinbergs own hardware is USB and supposedly
has 0 latency.

Might by worth checking it out.

Just click on the MySteinberg link above, log in and go to:
Products—>Audio Interfaces

HTH
{’-’}

Thanks for your reply. The Steinberg interface does look very interesting, though other companies ssuch as RME have quite high quality interfaces available too. My major concern was that USB performance is not very reliable on Macs as my experience from the past hasn´t been too good when it comes to USB and Mac (other than USB and Windows which seems to run much smoother). Anyone who has more experience with disc streaming vi USB connencted harddisks or audio streaming via USB audio interfaces. If everything fails I would stick to a firewire audio interface and buy one of those extra expensive thunderbolt discs for audio streaming.
Best regards
Raindog