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Old 11-13-2015, 06:17 PM
Trainwreckmusic Trainwreckmusic is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Salem ,Oregon
Posts: 149
Default How much processing power is enough for PT 12?

Ok I have decided to take the upgrade to PT 12 plunge!

Time to retire my 002 & 2009 mac mini they have served me well but it is time move on.

I wish that I had the money to buy a new Mac Pro & TOL HD interfaces but thats not the reality of my world.
Just like I can’t afford a brand new car but I can afford a nice late model used one that will meet need for years.

I recently acquired a very nice used RME Fireface 800 as my replacement interface so I have settled on that part of the equation.

And I am now in the market for a used 5.1 Mid 2012 MacPro5.

Now the question is which Westmere processor do I need?

Avid supports/qualifies 3 different 2012 Mac Pros

(A) Mid 2012 MacPro5,1 12-core 'Westmere'
2.66 GHz

(B) Mid 2012 MacPro5,1 6-core 'Westmere'
3.33 GHz

(C) Mid 2012 MacPro5,1 8-core 'Westmere'
2.4 GHz

I have a personal “project studio” it is not a commercial for profit endeavor.
I just track & mix audio for myself & friends.
It will be used to track up 30 channel at one time & to mix & edit said tracks.

I do not need or run surround sound or do any video editing. I don't run many VI or tons of plugins at this time.

So what is the best choice for what I do?

Is the 6 core 3.33 all I need?
Are the 8 & 12 cores over kill?
Or something I will be glad I invested in in the future.

If I don't need all that cpu power.
Should use the savings to invest in better mics. pres or outboard gear?

How much RAM is plenty to run PT 12 .
I see some of these mac pros with 12 core processors & 64 gigs of RAM I know that is over kill!

I guess I am like “Goldie Locks”
That CPU is not enough and that CPU is way more than I need.

There are resellers that will configure a used Mac pro to my needs.
How should I have them configure the next computer I purchase?
What OS?
How much Ram
And is a SSD hard drive the way to go?
What about video cards to run 2 monitors?

I want something that meets my needs today & I wont out grow when PT 13 & 14 is released in the next few years?

AnY advise and help is greatly appreciated.

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Old 11-13-2015, 06:47 PM
NealMiskin NealMiskin is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Vancouver BC
Posts: 26
Default Re: How much processing power is enough for PT 12?

The minimum specs necessary to run PT 12 are listen on Avid's website, there's no real need to go over them again.

I recommend getting the most powerful system that is within your price range, you might well get more than you actually need for PT12, but future versions of PT will likely require more powerful computers; so in theory, the more powerful your computer is the longer it will be able to keep up with the current software versions.

Also a Digi002 need not be retired necessarily, they will still work just fine if you download the drivers.
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Old 11-13-2015, 07:51 PM
roberts roberts is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Toronto, Ont
Posts: 2,438
Default Re: How much processing power is enough for PT 12?

protools is multithreaded application more cores = more DSP
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Old 11-14-2015, 12:22 AM
Trainwreckmusic Trainwreckmusic is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Salem ,Oregon
Posts: 149
Default Re: How much processing power is enough for PT 12?

I am presently running PT 10 on a Duo core 2.53Ghz
4 gig of RAM.

The last thing I recorded was 17 tracks bussed down to 6 aux stems and masterfader.

System usage Window on the that project I mixed was running at...

CPU Native 16%
CPU Clip 4%
Disk 13%

I understand PT 12 is now 64 bit increased from 32.
How does that figure in to my cpu needs and affect the quality of my recordings?

I guess I am questioning how much "Protools recording power" & cpu do I really need to record a typical 4 or 5 piece bands audio projects.?

I certainly dont want to run out tracks or CPU when tracking & mixing. It is great having all of PT’s features & capabilities that I can grow into.

On the other hand I am not sure I need 120+ track counts monitored in Dolby 7.1 surround & 4K video capability. It seems like a bit of a wast of resources that would be better invested in room treatment,better monitoring microphones & outboard gear.

I guess I am just trying to figure out what I need and use. And what is overkill.... In my studio I try to get the most bang for my dollar. Nobody that walks in my door is rich or famous. But we all want to make the best recording that we can given our level of talent,experience and budget constraints.

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Old 11-14-2015, 03:31 AM
nigelpry's Avatar
nigelpry nigelpry is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Home
Posts: 2,154
Default Re: How much processing power is enough for PT 12?

I still do some recordings using my 2009 17" Core2Duo MacBook Pro. I don't like to take my Mac Pro out from home, or one of the iMacs out from the studio.

I can record 24 tracks at once onto my MacBook Pro, and then play back while overdubbing, no problem. A total of upto 40ish audio tracks is fine on it.

I used to use a firewire drive with it, but when the dvd drive started to get flaky I replaced it with a second hard drive, which drops the battery life between charges but has given it a new lease of life. And with disc cache on too, I don't get any problems.

Some VI can trouble it, but others don't tax it too much.

When I mix on it, I can throw some native plugins into the session, but I tend to stick to the basics natively. I have an UAD Satelite Quad Firewire and a UAD Solo Expresscard that give me a chunk of extra DSP processing, so I use that for things that need 'special' treatment, and reverbs, delays etc.

Core2Duo is old, for sure, but it is still capable of putting in a good day's work if you don't ask too much of it.
Mac Pro 2009 with 2010 firmware, 12-Core 3.46ghz, 64gb RAM & working Thunderbolt, OS 10.13.6 and Windows 10
Macbook Pro 2011 17", 2.2ghz i7, 16gb RAM OS 10.12.6
Digi 003 Console, Focusrite Octopre and MOTU Traveler for extra analog-ADAT conversion, UAD Apollo Quad with Thunderbolt card, Apollo Twin mk11 and pci-e Octo, Adam A77X monitors.
Pro Tools 2018, Media Composer 8.9, Sibelius 8.7, Cubase Pro 10, Wavelab Pro 9.5, Logic Pro X, Mainstage 3.
Various apps, soft synths, FX plugins.
Plenty of hardware synths, rack gear, microphones etc.
And then there's the studio ;-)
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Old 11-14-2015, 04:42 AM
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JFreak JFreak is online now
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Tampere, Finland
Posts: 17,531
Default How much processing power is enough for PT 12?

How much? Well...

PowerBook G4 667MHz with 512MB memory was plenty back in 2002 when we were happy with standard FireWire storage speed.

Sure, things have changed a lot as far as OSX is concerned, but point here is that audio mixer itself doesn't consume much resources. Whatever plugins you need to use is the real resource hog.

Generally speaking; nowadays you want to have i7 CPU and minimum of 8GB memory. Most of that extra (compared to G4/512MB) is spent on operating system.
What we do in life, echoes in eternity.
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Old 11-14-2015, 07:33 AM
VRW VRW is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,318
Default Re: How much processing power is enough for PT 12?

Originally Posted by Trainwreckmusic View Post
There are resellers that will configure a used Mac pro to my needs.
How should I have them configure the next computer I purchase?
What OS?
How much Ram
And is a SSD hard drive the way to go?
If you want to be prepared for PT13/14 as well as you say I definitely would use one of the latest Mac OSX now,
maybe Yosemite. As from my experience Yosemite for example probably still will work with PT13/14 as well while
older versions of OSX probably will not anymore.

Because the Fireface is not the most current interface anymore Yosemite will be a good idea as well because there
still a Yosemite driver is available for it but sooner or later there will be no recent driver for it.

So if you install Yosemite for example your Fireface still will work and probably even PT13/14 still will be compatible
with it in the future as well. I would not recommend to use any older Mac OSX actually.

As for how much Ram I strongly would recommend to put in 32Gb at least, maybe more. Enough that you would be
able to load your whole session into the memory.
Because even PT12 Native uses disk cache now this could be extremely helpful when recording 30 tracks or more at
a time.

Fact is that with 16GB it is not possible to load a complete mid-sized session into the memory at all. I use a Late 2014
2,5GHz Macbook Pro Retina with 16GB Ram and Pro Tools 12HD and I have tried it but it definitely did not work.
I can run it with the default setting without any problems, it works like a breeze but if I try to load it in 100% it fails.

Therefor if you have the chance to get as much Ram as you can afford, get it and use it.

As for the drive, yes, get a high quality SSD drive with 512GB at least for the OS drive and another even larger (1TB
minimum) SSD for the Pro Tools audio drive.
Me once used 2 Samsung 850 Pro SSDs in a 2012 i7 Quad Mini with 16GB Ram and those 2 SSDs completely changed
the character of the Mini. After having installed both the Mini started to fly and got super stable at the same time.
It is really worth the money!

If you got these 3 things (32GB+ Ram and 2 high quality SSDs with enough storage space) even the 6-Core Mac will be
more than enough for sure. It´s not only the CPU but the sum of all components/the quality of all the components in the
computer all together which will make your machine fly at the end of the day.

As for the video card just get one which is officially qualified by Avid. This may be the most important requirement. And,
yes, of course it´s nice to use 2 monitors if possible, have the Edit Window on 1, the Mixer on the other for example.
However as you describe your intended kind of work it may not be necessarily needed.

The best of success to you and lots of fun with your new system!
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:41 PM
Trainwreckmusic Trainwreckmusic is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Salem ,Oregon
Posts: 149
Default Re: How much processing power is enough for PT 12?

Thanks for all of the info & helpful suggestions.
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Old 11-14-2015, 04:02 PM
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SpinningDisk SpinningDisk is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,474
Default How much processing power is enough for PT 12?

Got PT 12 Friday. Downloaded it with no problems. Runs fine on my late 2012 iMac with my 003. 60 plus tracks if I want to push it. Got VI's going to.

PT 11, PT LE 6.0, DIGI 001, DIGI 003, 27" Late 2012 Intel iMac, Blue and White G3, Reason 7, Celemony, Waves, A.I.R., Softube, XLN Audio, IKmultimedia, Massey
Alesis Masterlink, Alesis Adat LX20,
, Yamaha Motif ES8, Sure SM58, Sure KSM27, Byerdynamic MC 834 N, Event Project Studio 6, Pod Line 6, Focusrite Trakmaster Pro DI, Glyph Drives, Lexicon,
Fender Strats, Ibanez Acoustic, Ibanez Bass, Ibanez Electric.


Live and Let Live
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Old 11-14-2015, 04:42 PM
mesaone mesaone is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 5,257
Default Re: How much processing power is enough for PT 12?

Baseline (the generally accepted minimum, contrary to the specs Avid lists) is as follows, for either Mac or Windows computers:
  • i7 with 4 physical cores
  • 16 GB RAM
  • Separate drives for operating system (SSD if possible) and for recording (7200 RPM spinner at least, with no energy-saving features - avoid so-called "green" drives. SSD would be even better). AVOID FUSION DRIVES.

Of course more cores would be better then fewer. Go for the highest core count you can afford. More RAM is better than less, if you can afford 32 GB then go for it. If you're buying a Mac, then you need to either (a) make sure the RAM is user-replaceable or (b) configure the machine with as much RAM as you can afford when ordering from Apple.
Pro Tools HD 12.4, Pro Tools "Vanilla" 12.4, Artist Transport, 2x Artist Mix
Studio Blue: RME UCX, Win7 Pro, i7 960, 16GB || Studio Green: RME Babyface, Win10, i7 7700HQ, 16GB
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