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New PC or Mac?

Buying or building computers for Hauptwerk, recommendations, troubleshooting computer hardware issues.
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Clavecin

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New PC or Mac?

PostTue Dec 28, 2021 7:14 am

I'm taking the plunge into Hauptwerk in the new year and am hoping for some advice on computers.

I've priced up a new Intel NUC mini PC, running the latest i7 chip with 64Gb RAM and 1Tb memory.

I intend to run the system as 4 speakers + sub, so will be using a Focusrite Saphire 4i4 audio interface. I'm interested in the Rotterdam and Salisbury sound sets. 2 touch screens.

However, for a further outlay of cash I can get a new or refurbished 'previous generation' Mini Mac running Intel i7 series 8 chip with 64Gb and 1Tb memory, with Catalina OS.

Can anyone kindly offer advice as to which of these 2 routes would be the best?
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larason2

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Re: New PC or Mac?

PostTue Dec 28, 2021 9:27 am

Welcome to the forum! It’s really hard to say which is the best. Some are Mac fans like me, and some are PC fans. The specs you have given us above are pretty similar. Windows requires a bit more tweaking to get it Hauptwerk ready, but once it’s set up, it works pretty well. It all depends, are you more of a Mac or PC kind of person? Apple is currently making the switch to bespoke CPU’s, which are well reviewed. So if you really want to go Mac, it makes sense to wait until they release the new Minis with the “A” processors, since that will last you longer.
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mnailor

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Re: New PC or Mac?

PostTue Dec 28, 2021 10:35 am

You can compare CPU performance of i7 processors here: https://www.cpubenchmark.net/CPU_mega_page.html

Without the specific i7 model numbers (i7-8xxx vs i7-11xxx) to compare, the range of performance of gen 8 goes from "too feeble to run Hauptwerk" up to "okay for Rotterdam but not exactly future-proof when you want new organs". The upper range of gen 11 is much more powerful, and isn't going to be obsoleted by new OS and driver versions as soon as gen 8.
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Clavecin

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Re: New PC or Mac?

PostWed Dec 29, 2021 6:31 am

Thanks for the advice.
I've always owned Windows PCs and have no experience of Macs, although all the things I read about Hauptwerk recommend Macs as being the best platform, likely to present the least issues.
The MiniMac i7 processor is a 6 core 3.6Ghz. Here in the UK the premier Hauptwerk organ builder has used this machine as their standard installation
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mnailor

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Re: New PC or Mac?

PostWed Dec 29, 2021 8:12 am

I can't find any gen 8 (Coffee Lake), 6 core i7 processor at 3.6 GHz base clock speed.

You would need the actual numbers to compare. The gen 8 are numbered like i7-8700. The gen 11 are numbered like i7-11700. Both can be followed by a letter, which matters for performance.

If that's impossible to find out, I'd go with the NUC with the fastest gen 11 processor you can get. Intel lists a NUC with an i7-11700B. That's much faster than any of the gen 8 i7 CPUs were.
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larason2

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Re: New PC or Mac?

PostWed Dec 29, 2021 9:43 am

If you’ve always owned PC’s, then you’d likely be annoyed with the mac’s quirks. Once a PC has been through the performance tweaking for Hauptwerk listed in the manual, then it is just as reliable as a Mac for Hauptwerk. Given that, I’d recommend the NUC as well.
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abroms@icould.com

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Re: New PC or Mac?

PostTue Jan 25, 2022 4:41 pm

I just upgraded my Hauptwerk from v4 to v6 and wanted RAM capacity to run sample sets like Rotterdam wet. I had an old 2012 Mac mini with 16G RAM and was about to buy one of the new Apple M1 Mac minis until I found out they are not upgradeable beyond 16G RAM. My research indicated that because the RAM is hardwired onto the motherboard in these latest generation minis, there is no easy way to add more RAM anytime in the near future. Perhaps Apple will add higher RAM options to the next mini release. What turned out to be the best option was to buy the last Intel based Core i5-7 mini which is still sold new by Apple and upgradeable to 64G RAM. However, there are many of these used which are available significantly cheaper on eBay, usually with 8 or 16G RAM. I bought a used 16G RAM i7 mini and separately bought a 64G RAM chip set which is readily available online (not from Apple) and installed the memory upgrade myself. It takes less than half an hour and is easy for anyone without technical knowledge but decent manual dexterity. A video instruction manual was included and very easy to follow. The total for the used Mac Intel core i7 mini 64G RAM, 512G SSD was about $750 (vs $2100 new on Apple).
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Clavecin

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Re: New PC or Mac?

PostSun Apr 17, 2022 11:18 am

Have decided to go down the Windows route with a new i9-12900K/128GB machine, on the strength of a friend recently purchasing a similar spec PC for his Hauptwerk system.
This comes in at considerably less than the Mac Studio M1 Max with 64GB, the 128GB version of the Mac Studio being many times the price.
I figure that it will be 'future proof' for quite a while.
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mnailor

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Re: New PC or Mac?

PostSun Apr 17, 2022 1:35 pm

12900K Windows 11 with 128 GB is what I have. Haven't found any performance limitations running HW 7 on it. But all the recommended Windows tuning is required or it will be frustrating, so be prepared to spend a day or two on that.
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Clavecin

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Re: New PC or Mac?

PostMon Apr 18, 2022 7:40 am

https://www.organworks.co.uk/news/wp-co ... -audio.pdf

This would appear to be a good starting point for configuring a new windows PC for Hauptwerk.
Although it's describing what to do in Windows 10, I wouldn't have thought there would be much difference configuring Windows 11.
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mnailor

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Re: New PC or Mac?

PostMon Apr 18, 2022 9:20 am

Nope, that doc left out some things, although his list of services to disable is useful. Do the Windows tuning list in the HW Installation and User Guide's performance tuning section first, then use the doc you mentioned. Windows 10 and 11 have mostly the same tuning requirements, though it's harder to find some settings in 11.

(I don't get why so many people don't study the actual user guide and go for third party interpretive rewrites -- sometimes full of plagiarisms -- and youtube videos instead.)

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