looking for a new laptop - will Iris Xe be powerfull enough??

I need a new laptop that can handle:
some gimp files and
VCV rack and some basic video editing,
beside this I only do some libre-office and firefox
no gaming,
but I know VCV needs some good graphics power.
has anyone experience with the Intel Iris Xe?
Is it strong enough for these tasks?

I would like an i7 or i9 cpu and 32gig ram,
but my most important need is that
the laptop is really silent when used normally (no fan noise, if possible)

I don’t want to be “that guy”, and the computer I am using is a pc/intel machine. But what you are describing is a mac arm laptop. Get one of those.


I’m going to say exactly the same as Bruce. But if you absolutely want Windows (which you don’t say explicitely) then the best route is to get a so called “gaming laptop”, which is built for GPU and CPU performance. But since you’re asking about builtin Intel graphics I’m assuming you’ve made your mind up to get a fairly cheap Windows laptop and outside of small/simple Rack patches with efficient modules there’s no way in hell you’ll get one of those to be really silent. Sorry, I know the truth sucks but there it is. For a really silent laptop for Rack there’s no way around a new Mac laptop with an ARM chip (they all have those), it’s in a different league where silent is concerned, plus you get to enjoy a really quality experience and far fewer headaches. Just do it, trust me :slight_smile:

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I totally agree - coming from a long time (35+ years!) Windows only user - M1 or M2 MacBook Air is clearly superior to any Windows laptop for a relatively cheap, yet very powerful VCV platform. The performance, the battery life, the blessed silence - they are all wonderful, and cannot be beat for the price.

I am thrilled with my original barebones M1 MackBook Air with only 8GB RAM, still available for $999. It is the first Apple product I have ever purchased. It has easily handled everything I have thrown at it. I was a bit worried whether 8GB would be enough, but I have never had any problems. Then again, I do not do much with samples. If you do, then perhaps you want to upgrade to 16GB RAM.

If I were buying today, I would pony up the extra $100 to get the M2 model. But the enhanced features are not enough for me to switch now. Or if you have the cash, you might want to spring for the $1300 15" 8GB model for the extra screen real estate (plus whatever memory upgrade you might want)

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thanks everyone for the good advice,

@LarsBjerregaard well your assumption of a fairly cheap laptop is wrong,
I was thinking about the Iris Xe because of maybe less noise from the laptop.

But I see the Macbook Air is the only fanless laptop atm with reasonable power for VCV
and all the other tasks.
the only apple product I’ve ever owned was an ipad2,
so I have no idea how the macbook work and if I really will like it after 30 years of winDos,

but I think I would like to go for a Macbook Air M2 15" with 16gig ram and 512 ssd. is there anything else I should consider?
Or maybe try a Macbook Pro M1 16"?

Based on your listed intended uses, coupled with my own experiences, I think the MacBook Pro would be way overkill. Just one man’s opinion.

My work computer is an M1 Pro. I think it has fans, but they rarely come on. I like it. But I haven’t run VCV on it.

I use a M2 pro everyday with VCV, 16go of unified memory, and I have not heard any fan noise at all. It is a blessing. Before that I was allmost hating on Apple… But those M things are something I did not know was possible, and I love it… CPU is probably enough with a lower priced ARM like the Air, but I needed the different connectivity (I use the three USB C and the HDMI quite often).

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That would be an excellent machine! You will be amazed at the silence and the power.

Using the Macbook, especially with the excellent trackpad, will be more like the iPad than you think, so if you like your iPad you’ll love it. Other than that - all the basic concepts are the same: Windows, applications, etc. There’s a lot less (as in mostly none) fiddling with drivers and instability, just always buy class-compliant USB hardware (which is good advice on any platform). You’ll almost certainly need a powered USB hub and you can just get any that fits your need. Oh, and don’t install 3’rd party utilities on the Mac unless you know that you really really need it, which you mostly don’t. macOS really is a JustWorks™ system, you’ll love it unless you love aggravations :slight_smile:

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The Mac’s are great. One thing to keep in mind: you cannot expand the harddisk memory on a mac, once you have it. 512GB sounds like a lot, but I would recommend 1TB (especially if you do work with multiple large multitrack recording projects and do not use an external disk)

Also -and this is why I opted for a macbook pro, the pro has a physical hdmi port, 3 usb-c ports and a headphone jack. The Air only has 2 usb-c ports and a headphone jack.

True, although an external fast USB drive will fit the needs for huge files for 95% of people and I would consider 1TB big overkill for an Air. It’s pricey and money could be better spent elsewhere, say by getting an M2/M3 Macbook Pro with bigger screen instead. The specs he listed is a very balanced machine and he did not indicate he wants to use it for very heavy work.

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Fair enough. The Air is indeed a perfect laptop for VCV use etc. I use a macbook pro M1 in live setups, so if the OP is planning on expanding his practice, a pro would be wiser.

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Yes, if his list is too optimistic, and he wants to use it for heavier work over the next 5-8 years, a Pro would be a good choice.

so I understand the air will be good enough, but the Pro would be even better,

I have one more question as I really don’t know the mac’s
would 8 gig ram be enough or should I need 16 gig?
How is the ram used and what advantages does it bring?

On my old Win Laptop I often max out the 8 gig ram it has, just by using firefox and VCV.

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Bigger is always better :slight_smile: The trick is to get a well balanced machine so money isn’t wasted. Definately don’t get less than 16GB of RAM. Apps only get bigger all the time and you’ll be thrashing the SSD with only 8GB because of swapping so don’t go for 8GB. The specs you listed for the M2 Air is a very well balanced machine. You never listed your money ceiling but the next good and balanced config going up is a Pro with 16 or 24 GB RAM, 512 or 1TB disk and a Pro chip and a 16" screen.

In general the resource usage of macOS is better than Windows, but the trick is always to calculate ahead, and figure what you’ll be using the machine for in 5-10 years. A Mac is a very good longterm investment so it will probably live and be useful longer than you think.

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Same thinking here, I ended up with a M2 pro, 16 go of unified memory, 1To internal hard drive, and bought a 2To external ssd for storage, external libraries etc. The thing is cheap and so fast I don’t notice it’s not on the computer but outside of it, even when working on Final Cut Pro… It’s the first time in my life I went for the “cry once” approach when buying a new computer but I have to say I absolutely love it and won’t come back to anything less… My wife has got the same computer for heavy use of photoshop, lightroom, and she has nothing bad to report either.

Also, I don’t miss having any of the drivers issues I had every other week on Windows, even when not changing anything to my setup…


thx evry1 for the input,
after some more research I try to get hold of an
allmost unused 2023 16" Macbook Pro M2 with 16gb ram and 512gb storage.
a second hand store not far away is selling it for about 600 € less than a new one. I consider this a good deal.

any advice what I should check before buying it? ( the battery is at 97% with 28 cycles)

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Used Mac: check the physical ports, make sure they function. Like any used device.

But in particular: make sure the computer wasn’t previously provisioned to some organization and not de-authorized. System Preferences > Profiles should show “no profiles installed”.


You can always reset back to nothing, can’t you? Won’t that get rid of any past crapware on there?

No, it writes to firmware and must be ‘disenrolled’. Item #7 in the link here.

Actually, Stephan – or anyone else – this is a terrific short writeup on everything to check when buying a used mac.