It has come time to replace my ageing Mac Pro in my home studio, and I am in a quandry as to what to choose.
Up until now, the sensible choice has always been a Mac Pro, because it allows a number of hard drives (separate drives for audio, and for virtual instruments) to stream at high-speed, which was not possible with a laptop using external USB or firewire drives.
Thunderbolt changes all this, and I’m now wondering whether to replace the Mac Pro with a MacBook Pro 15" Retina, and connect two external drives via Thunderbolt for my audio and virtual instruments…
The alternative is to get a newer Mac Pro, and I’ve noticed a demo 2.66GHz quad at a great price at my Mac dealer.
I’m really not sure which way to go. On the one hand, I like the idea of just one computer (the MacBook 15") for both studio and non-studio work, as it would mean I no longer need my 13" MacBook for non-music related tasks. I also like the idea of the main drive being SSD in the Retina. The MacBook 15" can be specced with 16GB of RAM, letting go of the previous RAM limits of earlier MacBooks. The downside is that external Thunderbolt hard drives are still incredibly expensive, and I’d need two!
On the other hand, the Mac Pro is brilliant in that it can house all the hard drives I need, is expandable port-wise (although is that really such a big deal these days?), and it would mean I have a dedicated computer in the studio just for music, and can keep my non-music stuff separate on my 13" laptop.
I’d love some thoughts on what will do a better job for me in the studio. Perhaps I’ve missed a key benefit of one of the approaches above, that actually puts one option significantly ahead of another!
Keen to hear people’s thoughts, perhaps from people who have had experience running DAWs on both machines I’m looking at.