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MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro

Buying or building computers for Hauptwerk, recommendations, troubleshooting computer hardware issues.
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MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro

PostTue Aug 01, 2023 11:43 am

Looking for advice regarding a new Mac for Hauptwerk

I'm trying to decide between a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro. I know that getting as much RAM as possible is desirable. My question is regarding how much processor I need. The Air tops out at an 8-core CPU and a 10-core GPU. The Pro tops out at a 12-core CPU and a 38-core GPU.

How important is CPU and GPU power with Hauptwerk? I'm struggling to find anything in the documentation that discusses recommended CPU/GPU power.



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Re: MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro

PostTue Aug 01, 2023 12:43 pm

Based on the three benchmarks listed at nanoreview, the 12 core Max or Pro with 8 P (performance) cores is about 70% faster for multicore performance, and about the same for single core, and supports more RAM, than the 8 core M2 with 4 P cores.

So it comes down to what you can afford and whether you want to run large, demanding samplesets.

The Air with 24 GB may only load samplesets that fit in 16 GB of memory, which also limits how much CPU you need. If you're happy with the selection of 16 GB or smaller organs (where I'd plan to load 20 bit samples, not 16 bit), then that may be fine. The memory requirements for samplesets are usually on the producer's web site under something like a "Features" tab.

The Pro with 96 GB can load samplesets up to 64 GB, which includes most of them, and has the CPU capacity for all but possibly a few very demanding organs where you might need to compromise on some audio quality settings a bit.

(I'm using Martin's estimate of a Mac's usable memory for Hauptwerk at very roughly 2/3.)
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Re: MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro

PostTue Aug 01, 2023 1:13 pm

Hello Jcvtpo,

To add to Mark's comprehensive reply (thanks as always, Mark), CPU performance mainly determines the polyphony that can be achieved (i.e. the number of virtual pipes that can sound at once, bearing in mind that surround sample sets often have 2, 3 or 4 virtual pipes for each real pipe, and that voices of polyphony continue to be consumed until pipes' reverb tails have died away). Click on the 'Technical info' link near the top-right of this page for information on how CPU performance is relevant to Hauptwerk:
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.



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Re: MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro

PostTue Aug 01, 2023 5:21 pm

Good answers so far.

GPU is useless for Hauptwerk, so no point worrying about that unless you are also going to play games, do a lot of graphics/video work on it, or plan to run AI image software on it. The M1-2's in general are fast enough that it probably shouldn't be a problem CPU wise for most sets. My M1 max has 10 CPU cores, and that's more than enough for all but the most demanding sets on max. So the only thing that really matters in my opinion is RAM. I have 64 GB of RAM, but the OS is so RAM hungry that the biggest sets I can fit are around 40 GB, as previously suggested. More RAM tends to come with more CPU cores and GPU cores though, but that's unavoidable. At least it will future proof the machine somewhat. So I'd say go for the most RAM you can afford, without worrying whether it is a M1 or 2, or how many CPU or GPU cores it has.

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