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  #1  
Old 09-03-2019, 09:12 AM
JoeM JoeM is offline
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Default Looking to replace my 4,1 Mac Pro with a 2013 Trash Can - Some Questions...

Hi All,
I'm currently running PT 11.3.2 with a PT Native PCIe card and an HD Omni interface on an older 2009 4,1 Nehalem 2 x 2.26 GHz Quad-Core, 32 GB RAM along with a UAD Quad PCIe card for my UAD plugins and a MOTU midi express 128 for my MIDI gear. I'm on OS 10.10.5 Yosemite and everything is solid and working great.

I'm starting to run into issues with 3rd party plugins needing a newer OS and after seeing the price of the upcoming 7,1 Mac Pro, am thinking I might pick up a 2013 3.5 GHz 6 Core trash can with 48 GB RAM to get me by for the next few years. PT 11.3.2 is fine for the way I work and my recording needs so I don't need to go to PT Ultimate. If I had to upgrade PT at some point, I'd probably look for either PT 12, 2018 or maybe 2019

With the above in mind, I'd like to ask these questions:
1. Knowing my UAD Quad card won't work with the trash can, I'll probably sell it and buy an Octo satellite. That would leave me with only the PT Native PCIe card needing a home in a PCIe extension chassis. I'm thinking of looking for either a used OWC Helios chassis or getting a Sonnet Echo Express SEII chassis, both being PCIe 2.

My question: does anyone have thoughts on or experience with either of these two external PCIe chassis?

2. With the trash can, would Sierra or High Sierra allow PT 11.3.2 to run or do I need to update PT to use a trash can?

3. Regarding a needed video card for smooth meter performance, could I use the AMD FirePro D300 x 2 with 2 GB RAM or do I need to get an AMD FireProD500 x2 with 3GB RAM?

Thanks in advance for your help,

JoeM
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2019, 09:46 AM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Looking to replace my 4,1 Mac Pro with a 2013 Trash Can - Some Questions...

Why do this when your Cheesegrater is upgradeable to run up to Mojave? Not too hard to do, and well documented all over the Web.

Last thing I would be going for is a Trashcan, especially if I had multiple PCIe cards. How are you connecting storage? Or can you fit what you need on the internal SSD (best option may be to max out that single internal NVMe SSD... which can get expensive).

You are planning on giving up the Omni and all DigiLink capability???... they need Pro Tools Ultimate (and a DigiLink License after 12.6.)

If you do want to stay on DigiLink, you need the HD/Ultimate license. As for the HD Native card... sell it and get a HD Native Thunderbolt. Way less faffing around, and quieter than an expansion chassis.

And you may be skipping over the most important thing, what exact errors are being caused by what exact plugins and how confident are you that an newer OS will indeed fix things? And what exact OS and Pro Tools versions do you need to get to? Given the spectacular improvements in Pro Tools 2019 I would be planning to get there. And given Mojave will work on an upgraded 2009, and adds NVMe SSD boot support I would be planning to be there.

If what you have works OK now I would be costing all options out carefully, you may not want to move just for some plugins, once you see all the cost.

Plan your upgrade in safer steps with full clean installs of new stuff, ideally on fast SSD, and ability to boot back to the old.

Last edited by Darryl Ramm; 09-03-2019 at 10:35 AM.
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  #3  
Old 09-03-2019, 11:54 AM
JoeM JoeM is offline
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Default Re: Looking to replace my 4,1 Mac Pro with a 2013 Trash Can - Some Questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
Why do this when your Cheesegrater is upgradeable to run up to Mojave? Not too hard to do, and well documented all over the Web.

Last thing I would be going for is a Trashcan, especially if I had multiple PCIe cards. How are you connecting storage? Or can you fit what you need on the internal SSD (best option may be to max out that single internal NVMe SSD... which can get expensive).

You are planning on giving up the Omni and all DigiLink capability???... they need Pro Tools Ultimate (and a DigiLink License after 12.6.)

If you do want to stay on DigiLink, you need the HD/Ultimate license. As for the HD Native card... sell it and get a HD Native Thunderbolt. Way less faffing around, and quieter than an expansion chassis.

And you may be skipping over the most important thing, what exact errors are being caused by what exact plugins and how confident are you that an newer OS will indeed fix things? And what exact OS and Pro Tools versions do you need to get to? Given the spectacular improvements in Pro Tools 2019 I would be planning to get there. And given Mojave will work on an upgraded 2009, and adds NVMe SSD boot support I would be planning to be there.

If what you have works OK now I would be costing all options out carefully, you may not want to move just for some plugins, once you see all the cost.

Plan your upgrade in safer steps with full clean installs of new stuff, ideally on fast SSD, and ability to boot back to the old.
Thanks for the help and reply. There's a couple of reasons why I don't want to upgrade my cheese grater and why I want to buy another machine. First and most important is that I'm also a designer and photographer and am using Adobe CS 6 on my current Mac. I'd lose that by going further than I already am at and be forced into a $600 a yr Adobe subscription. I'm thinking to leave my current Mac as is in order to continue to do my design work there while moving my audio projects to a new machine.

I currently have multiple drives in my cheese grater, One dedicated as my PT system and boot drive and another for projects. For a new Mac, I'll just get whatever drives I need and run them externally if it's a trash can. I planned to put a 2 TB SSD in the trashcan so that would take care of the system and any apps with plenty to spare.

I really don't want to give up my Omni and I read of people having issues with the HD Native Thunderbolt so I was planning to stay with my Native card which has always been solid with no issues.

You bring up a great point about DigiLink, which I thought I didn't need to purchase as long as I stayed with HD Native and my Omni. I know I have to go for Ultimate if I want it in the current system but I'm perfectly happy with PT 11 and was hoping to stay below Ultimate if I do have to upgrade PT.

As far as errors, I'm not having any with my current system. Rather, some software needs newer OSs in order to work and I can't install them until I get to at least 10.11 or further. You make a good point about rethinking if I actually need them. I'm basically a singer/songwriter doing everything myself. My track count is relatively small but I have a great collection of UAD and other plugs that do everything I need. But great stuff keeps getting developed and I'd like to have the option of using it. It's just an issue of my OS not supporting newer releases.

That's why I was hoping a modest trash can and a slightly newer PT but not Ultimate would give me some ability to add newer plugs from time to time. Given your advice I might be better off getting a 2012 5,1 cheese grater instead of the trashcan. Only from prices I see, they are just as expensive as the trashcan, when adding a metal video card and I don't get TB.

Thanks again for the advice!

JoeM
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  #4  
Old 09-03-2019, 12:36 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Looking to replace my 4,1 Mac Pro with a 2013 Trash Can - Some Questions...

This still seems confused.

If you want to use an Omni, you need a HD or Ultimate software licenses, it will not work with Pro Tools standard, and after 12.6 you *also* need a DigiLink license (Which you get when you upgrade to Ultimate/HD Bundle).

Too much stuff here seems “I heard of problems” without you providing details. I am not aware of a DigiLink interface issue specific to the HD Thunderbolt box, if there is I expect folks would be screaming about it here... given that is how DigiLink is used with many Trashcans. And plugins? They may well have issues, or may not. Have you searched here or elsewhere to see if they work at all? Why don’t you ask here if anybody has the exact ones you are looking at running on your old OS?... or if you don’t need them then just don’t. You are looking at a lot of possible disruptive pain here.

I am also not sure that avoiding upgrading to Adobe Creative Cloud for $53/month is a good factor here. Upgrading to a Creative Cloud gets you the latest Adobe products... which I would expect to help you if you are working professionally with those tools (I used to work for Adobe on InDesign and related markets), ...and it’s a tax deduction for you. All vs. buying a Trashcan with all its challenges. And now start factoring in another ~$1k plus ~$600 in subsequent years for Pro Tools Ultimate... or needing to buy a new non-DigiLink interface. I am not sure avoiding $53/month for Creative Cloud really should be driving this decision without clearly understanding all the other costs.

Last edited by Darryl Ramm; 09-03-2019 at 12:56 PM.
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  #5  
Old 09-03-2019, 02:29 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Looking to replace my 4,1 Mac Pro with a 2013 Trash Can - Some Questions...

... and the more you change stuff, hardware, plugins etc. the more you risk problems with Pro Tools AAX that was not really addressed until 2019.5 and later. So if you plan to say stick on a Pro Tools 11 and move... it might be possible, but I know exactly the advice you will get here if there are problems.

There are so many dimensions to this decision, I would be writing them all down in a spreadsheet, including costs. And for some hard compatibility questions maybe planning on testing stuff... get extra SSD drives and just try stuff out on then if needed.
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2019, 02:33 PM
JoeM JoeM is offline
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Default Re: Looking to replace my 4,1 Mac Pro with a 2013 Trash Can - Some Questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
This still seems confused.

If you want to use an Omni, you need a HD or Ultimate software licenses, it will not work with Pro Tools standard, and after 12.6 you *also* need a DigiLink license (Which you get when you upgrade to Ultimate/HD Bundle).

Too much stuff here seems “I heard of problems” without you providing details. I am not aware of a DigiLink interface issue specific to the HD Thunderbolt box, if there is I expect folks would be screaming about it here... given that is how DigiLink is used with many Trashcans. And plugins? They may well have issues, or may not. Have you searched here or elsewhere to see if they work at all? Why don’t you ask here if anybody has the exact ones you are looking at running on your old OS?... or if you don’t need them then just don’t. You are looking at a lot of possible disruptive pain here.

I am also not sure that avoiding upgrading to Adobe Creative Cloud for $53/month is a good factor here. Upgrading to a Creative Cloud gets you the latest Adobe products... which I would expect to help you if you are working professionally with those tools (I used to work for Adobe on InDesign and related markets), ...and it’s a tax deduction for you. All vs. buying a Trashcan with all its challenges. And now start factoring in another ~$1k plus ~$600 in subsequent years for Pro Tools Ultimate... or needing to buy a new non-DigiLink interface. I am not sure avoiding $53/month for Creative Cloud really should be driving this decision without clearly understanding all the other costs.
Sorry if this seems confused. I was trying to keep my story short while just addressing my questions. Maybe I can explain further. I'm retired now, so my design and music creation is for my own purposes and enjoyment now and being retired, I want to keep my monetary expenditures as needed. I really have no need for the latest software by either Avid or Adobe and can create everything I want with what I have.

My design career spans 20 years and dates back to Photoshop 5 while my music career dates back to the 70's working with 24 track 2" tape and digital audio dating back to Atari SMPTE Track, Deck and on Mac ,SD II and StudioVision Pro.

I basically use my setup as a turn key system, my only problem being new software I might want that is released and requires newer operating systems. For instance, I was on Mountain Lion but IK Multimedia Amplitube Leslie, which I wanted for my music, required Yosemite to work. I was able to clone my ML drive, purchase another and install my full system with Yosemite allowing me to use the app. Some of the Waves apps in the Abbey Road Collection, while working in my current system are struggling a bit. There might be an amp sim released in the future that I might want so that is what I'm looking to accomplish, if possible. Hopefully this will explain my situation and why I thought a trash can might give me a few years of upgradability.

In all honesty I would probably be happy with PT 12 but I'll have to brush up on Avid's new licensing as far as DigiLink is concerned so I can decide what I PT I need. My goals are to keep my costs down while getting the limited expandability I'm hoping for and to not have to spend my time struggling with a kluge system. If the HD Native TB box isn't problematic as you say, I would be happy to pick it up but my concern is in selling my HD Native card. There are quite a few for sale online already and I don't see them moving.

You've given me some great suggestions and things to think on so I guess I need to cost out a few more scenerios and brush up on the DigiLink licensing.

I appreciate the help,

JoeM
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  #7  
Old 09-03-2019, 02:35 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Looking to replace my 4,1 Mac Pro with a 2013 Trash Can - Some Questions...

... and the more you change stuff, hardware, plugins etc. the more you risk problems with Pro Tools AAX that was not really addressed until 2019.5 and later. So if you plan to say stick on a Pro Tools 11 and move OS or hardware... I know exactly the advice you will get here if there are problems

There are so many dimensions to this decision, I would be writing them all down in a spreadsheet, including costs. And for some hard compatibility questions maybe planning on testing stuff... get extra SSD drives and just try stuff out on then if needed.
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  #8  
Old 09-03-2019, 03:29 PM
JoeM JoeM is offline
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Default Re: Looking to replace my 4,1 Mac Pro with a 2013 Trash Can - Some Questions...

Good advice! That’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Thanks,

JoeM
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