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Old 01-07-1999, 06:02 PM
ProdInfo ProdInfo is offline
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Default New G3s and Pro Tools Support

PRO TOOLS SUPPORT PLAN FOR NEW POWER MACINTOSH G3 CPUs

As many of you know, Apple announced some new computers at MacWorld this week. As Apple Developers, Digidesign is working closely with Apple to support their new Power Macintosh G3s. While these new computers are as feature rich, powerful and as cost effective as their G3 predecessors, they introduce some fundamental changes to the internal architecture which present Digidesign and many other Apple developers with significant engineering challenges. Digidesign is working hard to release a new version of Pro Tools during early spring which will add support for these new machines and address the following issues:

NO BUILT-IN FLOPPY DRIVE - Digidesign and nearly all our software Development Partners use floppy disks for software installation and authorization. In most cases, the absence of a built-in floppy drive will require purchase of a compatible third party floppy drive for installation of Pro Tools and most optional software from Digidesign and our Development Partners.

NO SERIAL PORTS - Apple’s Serial Port is widely used by Pro Tools systems for communication with synchronization peripherals, external MIDI devices and machine-controlled devices. Absence of this port requires that Pro Tools be updated to add support for new third party USB-compatible MIDI interfaces and a USB-compatible version of Opcode’s OMS software. Connection of Digidesign’s Universal Slave Driver (USD) to Pro Tools will be via the DigiSerial™ port on the d24, MIX Core or MIX Farm cards. Connection to other third party synchronization peripherals which use standard serial ports for connection will require use of a USB-to-Serial Port converter, as will connection of machine-controlled devices to Pro Tools when using Digidesign’s Machine Control option.

NO BUILT IN SCSI BUS (INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL) - All Pro Tools|24-based systems require connection of qualified SCSI hard drives for audio recording. With the previous G3 machines, a SCSI accelerator was only required for maximum track count performance. With no built-in SCSI bus, the new G3 Power Macintosh will require use of a SCSI accelerator with all Pro Tools|24, Pro Tools|24 MIX and Pro Tools|24 MIXplus systems. (This card will use one of the three available full length PCI expansion slots.) Non TDM-based systems are not expected to require a SCSI accelerator.

Additionally, backup of audio material may initially still require use of SCSI-based devices via a SCSI accelerator until FireWire options from leading manufacturers are released. Connection of a CD-R for use with MasterList CD will also be via a SCSI accelerator until FireWire-based versions of popular CD-Rs are available and supported.

PERFORMANCE & THIRD PARTY HARDWARE COMPATIBILITY - Our aim is to provide the same performance and third party support with the new Power Macintosh G3s as currently supported by the Pro Tools product family and the original G3 Power Macintosh machines. However, while Pro Tools is always designed to achieve the maximum possible performance, fundamental changes to the computer architecture can affect performance in various areas and require re-tuning of the system. Additionally, these architectural changes may effect the integration of other third party products with Pro Tools. For these reasons, the exact performance and third party product compatibility is unclear at this time.

SUMMARY
As already stated, these new Power Macintosh G3s introduce an increase in power to the Apple G3 product line and have the potential to be a good choice for Pro Tools users. However, use of a new Power Macintosh G3 with a Pro Tools|24-based system will require purchase of one of more following pieces of hardware: a compatible floppy drive, a SCSI accelerator card, and/or a USB-to-Serial Port Converter. Additionally, it will take some time for many of Apple’s and Digidesign’s third party developers to add full support and deal with the issues presented by these new machines, such as FireWire and USB compatibility with MIDI interfaces, hard drives, backup devices, synchronizers, CD recorders, etc. Until all of these issues are resolved and Digidesign has announced full compatibility with Pro Tools, customers are advised to purchase the older Power Macintosh G3 machines.

BGP, Digidesign Product Information
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