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Old 03-30-2010, 02:59 PM
Alexander4444 Alexander4444 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: California
Posts: 44
Default Purchasing New Computer Questions

My currently am running Pro Tools LE v.8.0 on a:

Processor: Dual 2GHz PowerPC G5
Memory: 1.5 GB DDR SDRAM

My session workflow is continuously being compromised by error messages such as "Lost communication with hardware interface...try increasing hardware buffer size," and "you are running out of CPU power...try removing some plugins." While I'm not a huge production studio, I know its time to get a bigger fish tank so-to-speak.

Are there any issues to which could and should influence what and when I purchase?

My intensions:

1) In a given session I want to utilize several instances of PT native plugins and a couple instances of more memory intensive plug-ins such as those created by East West.

2) To include Video tracks and have access to up to 128 simultaneous audio tracks - I would purchase the Complete Production Toolkit ($1,995).

My major concerns are:

1) As far as processing power and speed, what differences does it make to have the processing independence created by HDs dedicated DSP cards as opposed to running LE on Apple's lastest very fast processors (Two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processors) contained in the 8 Core?

2) I was looking at Apple's latest 8 Core (starts at $3299) which comes with 6GB of memory. What confuses me is the fact that everyone says PT can only use up to 3GB. Is it completely meaningless to have all this extra memory if I'm only going to use the computer only for PTs? Is HD the workaround for this built in limit?

3) In reality I will also be using Final Cut Pro as well as Logic 9. Is 6GB of memory enough to handle all 3 applications simultaneously?

When all is taken into consideration:

8 core - $3,299
Complete Production Toolkit - $1,995
Third party memory upgrade (if necessary to run other applications) - variable price (but less than Apple's!)
Third Party Plugins - undecided.

Total - approx. $7,000.

I would be reluctant to spend the approx. $10,000 on HD, and then some for the 3rd party plugins I'm interested in using. I just don't know how soon an even new computer would be "hitting the wall" with the processing I intend to do in the future. In other words, I don't want to purchase the 8 core, Complete Production Toolkit, and plugins, just to find PT LE can't use the necessary memory to run the plugins + increased track count + video. Thanks for any and all advice!
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Old 03-30-2010, 04:01 PM
CME CME is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ardmore OK
Posts: 3,207
Default Re: Purchasing New Computer Questions

Just a quick reply but the newest Mac Pro's are pretty beastly. From what I've gathered a Mac Pro running PTLE with the Complete Production Toolkit can outperform your basic PTHD systems in a pure Plug-in/Horsepower shoot out. However there are differences. Most would say you are making the right choice.

As to the RAM issue. PTLE itself can access up to 4GB of RAM as it is a 32-bit app. However some VI's, plugs and the Operating System itself can use RAM outside of the 4GB's Pro Tools is using. There is a point of diminishing return and with my G5 Power Mac I noticed an increase in performance up to about 6GB of ram. However Final Cut and Logic may be able to use even more RAM. Also I've never used any of the East West stuff to know how much more RAM can help there. So long way around, typically the more RAM the better.

And just one more thing to mention. Intel has released 6-core Xeon procs that will probably show up in the Mac Pros very soon. So you might hold on just bit before pulling the trigger.
Dell T5810. Harrison Mixbus 32C. Haven't used PT since 2015 and never been happier.
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:51 PM
nst7 nst7 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Cincinnati OH
Posts: 9,859
Default Re: Purchasing New Computer Questions

Here's another thought about the complete toolkit. I don't know if you already have a 003 or 003 rack or if you have an Mbox or whatever. But you may want to look at the 003 rack complete, where it's all bundled. The entire thing usually sells for $2639 and also includes the factory plugins, which if you don't like you can sell off individually because they're Ilok based. They also have the 003 console complete but it seems like the cost savings is not as good as for the rack version.
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:07 PM
Alexander4444 Alexander4444 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: California
Posts: 44
Default Re: Purchasing New Computer Questions

Well that's great news! And thanks for the replies. My current interface is a 002. Regarding the standalone availability of certain plugins, I know that some (if not all) of the plugins East West produces can be run via an independent application called "Play". I will keep on looking into the RAM issues and report back at some point about a final decision about the overall purchases and ending functionality of the upgrade!
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