Is a macbookpro with M2Pro processor enough to run BBCSO Pro?

I know there are a ton of these kinds of requests on these kinds of forums, but I'm hoping someone will have some insight.

I'm considering purchasing a MacBook Pro w/M2Pro (12-core) 32GB/2TB to run BBCSO Professional. Do you think it would run effectively with about 30 tracks and maybe at least 3 mic channels?

My other (slightly more expensive) option would be to halve the SSD and upgrade the chip to M1 Max with 64GB.

I'm stuck here because the SSDs on these machines are super-fast and will load these samples very quickly. I'd rather not have an external SSD drive because I like laptops and having an SSD attached is very awkward when writing on the go. On the other hand, I've seen on forums like VI-Control, that 64GB is really necessary to run BBCPro.

I'm not a professional so I'm not trying to impress a producer with a good sounding mockup. I'd like to get the BBC Professional version though, for the soloists and extra articulations.

What do you think? 1TB drive and 64GB or 2TB drive with 32 GB? I use my computer for other things as well so spending 640GB of the SSD just on BBCSO makes the computer somewhat less useful for me.

Is anyone else using an external SSD on the go? What are your secrets to making it less awkward?

Thank you for your thoughts,

_ michael


  • Hi @mbishop, there are so many variables, but as an illustrative data point: I run BBCSO with 30 tracks easily enough on my 2020 M1 Macbook Air (16GB RAM, 512GB SSD); I increased the buffer size, but that's it I think. Generally I only use one mic when laying things out, and get quite disciplined about using "freeze track" by the time I'm adding mics. The macs are pretty good at shifting virtual memory on and off the internal SSD, though, so I wouldn't be surprised if it did manage it - especially since those M2 Pros should have a lot more welly. I rarely challenge it on battery; I'd expect it to struggle without changing settings, but can't say for sure.

    I used BBCSO Core from the internal SSD and it was fine, but I think using an external SSD is wise: partly because you need less internal SSD (so you can get more memory, or pay less); but mainly because it frees up the internal SSD to handle virtual memory and the rest of the OS. Downsides are that, at first, you'll probably forget to plug in the SSD a couple of times and wonder why the plugin breaks; and that a laptop is inevitably fiddlier to move with anything plugged in.

    Some benchmarks show the M2 Pro's internal SSD is slower than the M1's; it doesn't look like it'd make much difference in the real world to me, but something you may want to read about first. More importantly, if you're buying a drive, be careful of the absurdly confusing USB names for different standards/speeds if you want to maximise your bang/buck: see the table on the Wikipedia page for "USB 3.0"; alternatively, Reddit, for the whole tech industry just... ranting.

    Hope that helps!

  • Hi Aldous,

    I really appreciate your response. Some good thoughts there. I’m especially interested that your are running it on a macbook air and that it’s possible.

    _ michael

  • Hi @mbishop - no problem; and yes, eminently possible on the M1 Air. The only time I've had to cajole it a bit is when adding some Solo Strings tracks (but that didn't involve any witchcraft: just being more diligent about freezing tracks.) My guess is that all the latest macbooks will work just fine and that, from there, it's just a question of how much you want to spend on portability/headroom/future-proofing. Good luck!

  • It turn at home with my Mac mini 2018 32go... 200 tracks... (but I increase the buffer in reaper).