Re: Computer Setups
I have a 15" 2009 MacBook Pro, with a 2.53 Intel Core Duo 2. 8GB of RAM and a 500GB old-fashioned 5400 HDD. I rarely record more than six tracks at once, so the slower HDD is not an issue and improves the battery life - which is paramount to me. An SSD would be the next upgrade on the cards. My interface is an odd one - a Line 6 TonePort UX8, it was relatively inexpensive and the I/O on it is great - 8in, 8out and the latency is low, even when using all of the I/O (which has happened for live purposes once or twice).
My DAW is Reaper 64 and I'm very happy with it, as a long-time user of Logic I fancied a change and Reaper was very inexpensive and powerful. So far, I'm happy with the switch (about a year in). I also use Max/MSP a lot (5 - can't afford or need to upgrade to 6).
I like Macs and I love OS X but whether or not it's something that would work for you is entirely your choice. Try out all of the OS options if you can (and have a go on a couple of Linux distros, some of them are very easy to use and flexible with decent software support) and make your own mind up. I've had Macs since 2006 and think the hardware is great - even if it is a little more expensive. I still use my 2006 iMac casually for some audio work although the RAM (2GB) limits things a little.
I have a degree in Music Technology (Lancaster, 2008-2011) and record music in my own time. I have a lot of experience and knowledge but I'm not a professional audio engineer. I am a computer enthusiast but not a software or computing expert (though I do program on occasion in my spare time).