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Old 04-06-2013, 10:22 PM
dblevins dblevins is offline
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Kensington CA
Posts: 3
Default 4 core versus 12 with new Mac Pro

Hi all,
I'm a bit of a PT 10 and Mac newbie ready to commit and upgrade my computer. I have been getting by running PT 9 on my Mac Book Pro for a year, but suffer CPU overload errors, etc. when running just a few tracks and plug-ins regardless of the buffer rate - about what I expect on a laptop. However, I tried PT-10 on a new 12 core Mac Pro desktop with 16 gigs RAM on Lion and it did not run much better than the MBP with PT-9 for the money. To top it off the fan was noisy so I sent it back. Really disappointed!

I am going to order another MP desktop but wonder if a quad core will run just as well as the 12 core. I've read various threads about PT 10 not using multi core Macs efficiently across all cores.

Appreciate any advice before I try this again.
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:39 PM
Dism Dism is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 6,154
Default Re: 4 core versus 12 with new Mac Pro

Don't buy either. Seriously.

If you can get a good deal on a used one, it might be worth pursuing but buying one new is a huge waste of money if you consider that the internal components are from 2009. There's nothing "new" about any current Mac Pro.

Apple is promising a Mac Pro successor within the next few months, if you can hold off. Otherwise, you'd be better off just building it yourself.

As per your questions about core usage... A 12-core will certainly perform better than the quad, but my understanding is that the 6-cores is the best bang for buck.

There is a lot of debate over how well Pro Tools uses multi-core systems, but you also have to consider how CPU power is used in audio. More CPU speed will give you faster rendering times and more power for plugins, whereas more cores gives you explicitly more resources for plugins. As it stands, 12 cores is probably overkill more than anything else, whereas a 6-core system will definitely have a higher clock speed and still plenty of resources for multitasking.

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Old 04-07-2013, 04:37 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: The Soprano State (NJ)
Posts: 16,073
Default Re: 4 core versus 12 with new Mac Pro

I would go for a refurb if you're looking for a desktop. A 27" mid-2011 iMac (that's the model previous to the current ones) would be a good one. Got one here. Or if you think you're going to need pcie card slots in a single package without an expansion chassis (which is what you'd need for an iMac or MacBook Pro) get a refurb 6 core 3.33 GHz Mac Pro desktop - that has serious power people have had good success.

As to your bad experience with a MacPro don't let it cloud your judgement. First off Lion is an old os and only until the more recent versions of PT10 was 10.7.5 okayed. Mountain Lion at 10.8.2 has been running good but unfortunately if you get any machine new or refurb from Apple it'll come with 10.8.3 which hasn't yet gotten the stamp of approval from Avid.

Oh yeah - fan noise. A lot of what people complain about with fan noise has a certain amount to do with the surface the computer is sitting on. Hard cased computer on a hard resonant surface (which most desks are) is a recipe for noise. Put some kind of soft surface between the chassis and tabletop and a lot of that conducted/resonant noise will go away. Certain fans will be noisy no matter what and remember that Apple fans are thermostatically controlled so the hotter it get the faster the fan will run. That's one nice thing with an iMac - they are very quiet. You'd have to be in an perfectly acoustically quiet room to even begin to hear the fan.
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:28 AM
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DetroitT DetroitT is offline
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Detroit, Mi, USA
Posts: 2,046
Default Re: 4 core versus 12 with new Mac Pro

" I have been getting by running PT 9 on my Mac Book Pro for a year, but suffer CPU overload errors, etc. when running just a few tracks"

I write with a 2008 MBP (4Gb-OS 10.7.5, PT's 10.3.4)(Intel Duo)(Vary between Core audio, USB audio, 002)
The only time I get CPU errors was with Ozone 5 advanced. I use a raid-5 for tracks and when getting heavy track counts the MBP fan revs up.
I use Instrument Expansion Pack, NI Komplete 8, Play on this system (Libraries on another fast drive).
Convert to audio early in my process.

It's not all about the buffers, but keeping a trim system, separate drives for OS, audio, video and libraries.
Cache, Fonts, Plug-ins etc... all interact.
50% plus- space on all drives.
It may be your need is not to replace but fine tune what you have.
Plenty of optimizing posts here to help.

"4 core versus 12 with new Mac Pro" CPU speed, Memory are also to be considered.
6 core or 4 with higher CPU speeds may give better Pro Tools results than Dual CPU systems.
(Vs. 12/8 lower speed Dual CPU systems)
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