Really appreciate this info. I had considered the SSD route you suggested but wasn't sure just how significant of a difference it would make. Do you think it's worth it? Also I had considered the 27in IMac because I was told that was the only one I could upgrade to 16 GB of RAM. But I'm using a 32in flat screen for a monitor (adjustable swivel wall mount) and have become very attached to the large HD display and viewing angle. Suddenly the $2,000 iMac seemed not so cost effective. The the next option was the tower Apple sells for $3000 but I decided to stay married instead.
I've a nice inventory of work arounds ranging from rendering down to plug in choice and management, This philosophy has translated to VST choices as well.
I use Native Instruments on the super important stuff while mixing in GPO and Miroslav for the heavy lifting. I save T Racks for Bus Channels and Mastering duties and likewise delegate the other duties to Izotope, Fabfilter and the occasional stock plug ins. I have a black belt in Multi Out routing at this point too. I'm not complaining though, working this way has forced me to rely on my craft and skill set more. Hopefully this way when I can work with out restrictions someday I will make wiser mixing decisions.
Processor: 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
Memory: 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB
Presonus. Studio One Pro V3
Focusrite Saffire Pro 40
Presonus. Studio Channel Mic Pre
Presonus. V2 Monitor Station
Presonus. FaderPort 8
KRK. Rockit 5 (x2) subwoofer (X1)
KRK. KNS8400 Headphones
Roland. A 800 PRO
NI. Maschine MKII (Don't Hate)
Ibanez. 6 String Bass
Behringer. BXL 3000 Bass Amp
Keurig. Coffee Maker
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