I’m buying Cubase Elements 9 and considering an Imac to run it on. It has a i5 in it and 8 gigs of ram. (model MNE92LL/A) Is that enough to get good results with? and is it going to be enough to run the next update/upgrade/version on without throwing the imac away and having to buy a newer model computer? Thanks. This will be my first experience with both Cubase and iMac so I’m without a clue here.
iMacs come in a lot of different builds covering a wide range of capabilities. I recommend an i7 processor and at the very least 16gb of ram and at least a 1tb ssd.
The 4k and 5k screens are nice, but I would gladly sacrifice high screen resolution to get more ram or a bigger ssd. If you plan to use monster, sample-centric plugins like Hollywood Orchestra, which benefit from lots of ram and ssds, you should also think about 32gb of ram and a 2tb ssd. Your ssd will quickly fill up with samples. Many plugins will install several hundred gigabytes of sample files on your system that can be quite a drag in production unless they’re on an ssd.
Today a relatively future-proof iMac suitable for “real-time creative” projects like music and video editing will start in the high $2000 range. It is still the case that a home-brew Win10 machine offers quite a bit more computing power for the same money, but OTOH iMacs are very well integrated packages that you can just plug and use, just be aware that the entry level models can be disappointing.
I recently spent a day using a full version of Cubase on a 2 year old iMac with 8gb of ram and an i5 processor, using only Cubase’s standard plugins. That poor little computer was noticeably pokey at the user interface level and stuttered badly with a low resolution video clip. To its credit I didn’t hear too many glitches with the undemanding instruments being used, but it was a chore scoring the stuttering video which needed tight synchronization to the beat. I wound up using a click track most of the time. The job got done but it felt like a fight.
Elements should keep you happy for quite a while. Cubase is very deep and Elements is generous in what it offers for the price. There’s a lot to learn before you start pushing Element’s limits, plan on a few months to get up to speed. With luck there might be another upgrade special offer by the time you’re ready to move up. For now you won’t lose any money going from Elements to the higher level packages.
thanks for the reply. I doubt that I will use any plugins at all, simply play guitar, bass, a drum machine, sing and do background vocals myself. Never more than 8 tracks per song most likely. I just don’t want to buy a machine that wont run Elements well after a couple of updates and wanted to know if that particular iMac would be a good choice. I will definitely upgrade the ram but am hoping the machine would be enough other than that. Would also consider a desktop pc if that’s a better choice
Well I better leave specific comments to somebody who does what you describe on an actual Imac similar to your choice!
But I can confidently say this: there is a tendency for one’s ambitions to expand way beyond their original concept as time marches on! Have been through that myself. It’s always best to leave some headroom early in the process. I can just about promise that you will start to feel the relentless tug of plugins as you get more into it.
As far as building a PC goes, it can be a major learning experience unless you’ve done it before. A first time builder would want to have the help of a knowledgeable friend before going ahead, or possibly buy an assembled and tested CPU+motherboard+RAM combo and then add your own disc drives, video card, case, monitor, etc. Others may disagree, but as far as I can tell the more RAM and ssd storage you want in your system, the more your can benefit economically from a homebrew PC. Apple’s pricing on base iMacs seems very reasonable, but they get you on the upgrade stuff.