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  #1  
Old 01-28-2020, 08:52 PM
ramonetl ramonetl is offline
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Default Is the current Macbook Air acceptable as a B machine for Protools?

Hey folks, I am thinking about replacing my 15.4" macbook pro with a new lighter more compact computer. That said let me preface by saying my main protools system is a mac pro 6 core w 64gb ram and 1TB ssd. This system would be more for when I travel or just want to play with mixes and ideas away from my main rig. There is probably a 13.3 refresh coming but I am enamored with the idea of a super light system. The big caveat of the air is the limited TB ports but honestly I think two is enough though the ilok may be an issue. I have a quad apollo twin that I travel with so dsp is not really an issue for me most cases. If I got a 16gb with a 512 it would probably be fine but I am wondering is it worth it to up it and go for a macbook pro 13.3? I think that with a new one coming the current ones should drop dramatically in price but that is not my primary concern. Size is so 16" is not really what I am after. All thoughts and musings are appreciated. Peter
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  #2  
Old 01-28-2020, 09:50 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Is the current Macbook Air acceptable as a B machine for Protools?

Nobody here can possibly give you any useful advice... as nobody has any clue what you are doing with this.

What config is your current MacBook Pro?

The glaring difference between your Mac Pro is it's 6 core, likely 12 core with hyperthgreading, with what a 3GHz CPU? vs. a 1.6 GHz dual-core i5 without hyperthreading in a thermally constrained design, and your Mac Pro may have a better memory subsystem.

You can test this yourself. Install XCode on your Mac (it's a huge fat install, but go with it), and run the Instruments.app utility, and use preferences CPU slider in that to disable all but two CPUs.

What DIMM config do you have in the Mac Pro... you can also unplug DIMMs in the Mac Pro to get close to 16 GB (ideally pick an unbalanced single channel (likely single DIMM?) DIMM configuration in the Mac Pro).

Now run sessions you expect to run on the MacBook Air... this should give you the *best case* feel for it it might work.

...Or if your current MacBook has 16GB or memory just use Instruments on that to configure it to run dual core and see how that works. If that has a discrete GPU, disable that and test.

What version of Pro Tools are you running and is that supported on the macOS version that ships on current MacBook Air... ie.. Catalina, or can that Air be downgraded (e.g. to Mojave).
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  #3  
Old 01-28-2020, 10:18 PM
ramonetl ramonetl is offline
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Default Re: Is the current Macbook Air acceptable as a B machine for Protools?

Sorry was not going that deep into the question. I simply was curious if anyone is running PT on a air and if it runs decent. Im not going to be tracking etc more just mix and playing around. My current Macbook pro is a 2013 quad with 16gb and it runs just fine. I more was trying to determine if a mac air for travel is simply too light to run Protools efficiently as it would be more just me mixing and tweaking my existing projects transferred from my mac pro while traveling. I suppose this might just be a stupid post but I was trying to decide if buying a macbook air is stupid in this case. I am running the latest 2019.12 on Mojave on the pro. BTW great info on testing. If costco had the higher end macbooks that would be perfect because I could try it and return it if not ideal. BB is ok for his but a little trickier on return policy. Probably best thing to do is just get one and install and see if it flies.
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  #4  
Old 01-28-2020, 10:25 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Is the current Macbook Air acceptable as a B machine for Protools?

If it's worth worrying enough to ask it's worth you testing... beside time downloading all the XCode junk it should take you 10's of minutes to test... and it will not hurt anything.
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  #5  
Old 01-29-2020, 01:22 AM
Sardi Sardi is online now
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Default Re: Is the current Macbook Air acceptable as a B machine for Protools?

Apple also has a 14 day return policy, so you can test and return if it doesnít suit. If you donít have a store near by you can buy online and return online too.


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  #6  
Old 01-29-2020, 03:30 AM
TNM TNM is offline
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Default Re: Is the current Macbook Air acceptable as a B machine for Protools?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramonetl View Post
Hey folks, I am thinking about replacing my 15.4" macbook pro with a new lighter more compact computer. That said let me preface by saying my main protools system is a mac pro 6 core w 64gb ram and 1TB ssd. This system would be more for when I travel or just want to play with mixes and ideas away from my main rig. There is probably a 13.3 refresh coming but I am enamored with the idea of a super light system. The big caveat of the air is the limited TB ports but honestly I think two is enough though the ilok may be an issue. I have a quad apollo twin that I travel with so dsp is not really an issue for me most cases. If I got a 16gb with a 512 it would probably be fine but I am wondering is it worth it to up it and go for a macbook pro 13.3? I think that with a new one coming the current ones should drop dramatically in price but that is not my primary concern. Size is so 16" is not really what I am after. All thoughts and musings are appreciated. Peter
The macbook pro 13" is only a few hundred grams heavier.. I checked this out myself yesterday for my niece for school, as she wanted the macbook air specifically for the weight.. But I told her the 2 ports with one of them used for charging would be an obstacle. Of course you can always get a hyperdrive 8-1 or something to add more ports.. but, even the very top Air is only a dual core.. I honestly would spend the bit extra to get the quad core, 4 TB3 port 13" model.
One thing of note, the Air has the classic function key layout where as the 13" has the touchbar, so if you hate the touch bar that might be a determining factor for you. I do believe the 13" will eventually get the redesigned thermals and physical escape key, but that could be a year away.

Still, for basic mucking about duties as you seem to be describing it, the air would be OK I guess.

I am going to say something maybe unpopular.. did you ever think of perhaps a razer 13" instead and use windows for your on the go stuff? Projects are fully compatible between the two and you'll get a lot more computer for the same money as the Air. (PS if you go the windows route do not go Dell, they all suffer shocking DPC latency, just a warning on that one).
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  #7  
Old 01-29-2020, 06:43 AM
Mark Ziebarth Mark Ziebarth is offline
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Default Re: Is the current Macbook Air acceptable as a B machine for Protools?

Hi,
Iím using a 2017 pre Retina Macbook Air when travelling and for some mix work at home. Itís equipped with a 2 TB m2 SSD and a 2k 27 inch display is connected at home. I can do 50 to 80 track audio sessions with moderate plugin-use without a problem. But I canít use the video engine seriously because itís limited to 8 GB of RAM. The actual Air can do better Iím sure.

Best

Mark
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  #8  
Old 08-22-2020, 03:44 PM
NewdestinyX NewdestinyX is offline
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Default Re: Is the current Macbook Air acceptable as a B machine for Protools?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Ziebarth View Post
Hi,
Iím using a 2017 pre Retina Macbook Air when travelling and for some mix work at home. Itís equipped with a 2 TB m2 SSD and a 2k 27 inch display is connected at home. I can do 50 to 80 track audio sessions with moderate plugin-use without a problem. But I canít use the video engine seriously because itís limited to 8 GB of RAM. The actual Air can do better Iím sure.

Best

Mark
Mark I have to believe that a brand new 2020 Air with Catalina or Mojave running PT 2019 (HD) will then also playback 40-50 tracks at 48K/24bit with plugins.. and if Iím using a Behringer XAir as my A/D - (no A/D needed from Air itself - it could also track 8/16 tracks?

My Late 2011 MBPro was a great workhorse. But I have to believe even the newest 2020 entry level Airs are at least 2 times the computer a 2011 MBPro was for audio playback and cutting a few tracks via usb from a pre-digitized stream like the Behringer XAir.. no?
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  #9  
Old 08-23-2020, 12:11 AM
Mark Ziebarth Mark Ziebarth is offline
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Default Re: Is the current Macbook Air acceptable as a B machine for Protools?

I have to guess but think the actual Macbook Air is a good machine for occasional Pro Tools work. You need at least 16 GB of RAM and a SSD with enough space. The CPU can be a limiting factor if you push the machine too hard with higher track counts and small buffer sizes.
I guess it should do even better than my Ąrustyď Air.

Best

Mark
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  #10  
Old 08-23-2020, 03:34 AM
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JFreak JFreak is online now
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Default Re: Is the current Macbook Air acceptable as a B machine for Protools?

Macbooks will be windtunnels once you stress them, but if it is for travel work or something like that well maybe it is "acceptable" (assuming you have good pair of headphones and do not track anything)
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