Geek Speak – Don’t ever be fooled by the spec of things.
So a long time ago I bought the fastest computer Apple made (at the time) in the form of a Power Mac Pro Quad core G5, it cost me around £6000.00 all told with all the drives and memory etc and for me it was a no brainer as I was writing so much music I needed all the power I could get.
The thing is I really used that computer and I seemed to have limitless space and power to be creative and so it has stayed with me now for over 7 years (Yes seven years) you would not think a computer could last that long and still be usable but 4 core processors and the expandability made it last and work perfectly with no real issues in my work flow.
So I knew I had to buy a new computer as a whole generation of intel processors had passed me by, but that series had stagnated for a while and so I was waiting for the latest Mac Pro to be released as I though I was doing ok with what I had.
So I waited and I waited and waited and right near the end, I got so frustrated I went out and bought a Mac book Pro Retina 15”, due also to me going to work abroad and needing something that would be portable so i treated it as a stop gap.
It’s taken almost 6 months to make a studio in this intel box and leave the old tower system to begin collecting dust but with this transition I have realised a few things that are really important and that I think are very important to share.
You can not compare products by processor speed or cores anymore. When you look at a computer you might think that a 2.4 Mhz processor is the same as a 2.4Mhz processor of last years model or 5 years a go model but they are not. The speed of the processors do not really increase anymore as they all seem to top out at around 3GHz yet every year a new process comes out.
Having my seven year old G5 Quad core I though I was still kicking the envelope in processor speed and in a way I was as most laptops I know about did not do more than 2 cores so my old beast I though was still faster. I’m pretty sure now that I was wrong in this respect as the incremental designs in memory and processors have made a new duel core faster than my old quad core, yet the top speed of the processors seem on paper to look the same for both and I have four cores against two cores?
So what am i saying here? the best way to put it is if you bought a car in the 1900’s with a top speed of 100 mph would it be as fast as the latest design car with a top speed of 100 MPH, on paper, yes but in practice one will get there faster and the other will get there slower.
The new processors are blisteringly fast in comparison due in part to all the other parts in the stream and as such new processors can actually process more commands in a shorter amount of time making them faster in ways that can not be measured by the limits of the processors top speed.
My new Macbook Pro Quad core laptop is off the scale in what it can do in comparison to my 7 year old Mac Pro G5 Quad core desktop computer and that’s the real reason why updating your computers is actually really important if you are in the business of being productive and creative on a Mac.
I’m currently on a massive project writing the Dub Step mix album (vol.6) , it’s a 49 minute constant mix in story form with about 10 different musical songs across over 150+ separate tracks and I can not believe this little laptop is holding up. I would have maxed out at around 60 tracks on my old G5 Mac Pro.
I’m pushing this little laptops limits and I could fry an egg on it as it gets so hot. I know now I have to get the latest Mac Pro (8 core) but this laptop is still allowing me to be more creative and adventurous with my ideas than I could have ever dreamed of before.
As a side note : If you have the old Macbook Pro non Retina (pre late 2013) I can guarantee if you upgrade you will not believe the difference, all these little incremental upgrades Apple do, are far more than a simple processor spec update.
One final worry I have is these new Intel Processors coming at the end of the year (Broardwell-Y) as Intel are claiming that they won’t need a fan due to them being a thinner 14nm Fab process and so this will allow laptops to become thinner. Sounds good but..
I really think Apple need to keep a fan in their Pro laptops as Pro’s push their processors to their max and they get really, really hot and need cooling down. I had to work with the air conditioning unit pointing at my laptop just to keep it from crashing out and that’s not due to bad design it just I’m really pushing the absolute limits of this machine. hence why I now need to get the new Mac Pro (8-core) to finish this project.
People who think they are doing well on their current or 3 year old computers will be blown away when they upgrade to the latest Mac’s and with the new OS around the corner and new Mac laptops in the wings, 2015 is going to be the best year to upgrade.
P.s You can hear some snippets of the new DubStep story album taking shape on my website main page. Click the album image to get the player.