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pro tools hd vs. a monster computer w/ pro tools LE

Discussion in 'Pro Tools' started by song4gabriel, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    Hey ALl- Happy Easter everyone

    I am getting way to jammed up lately with plugins and track count and my current pc is definitely maxed out. I was figuring on building (or buying) a turbo charged monster pc so that t can alleviate this annoyance once and for all.

    I just started to give consideration however, to perhaps venturing into PT HD territory and was wondering if someon had a suggestion as to which route to take.

    Money aside- which scenerio would be the wisest?

    MEGA PC w LE OR Pro Tools HD Accel

    p.s.- I also use cubase alot (but mainly because I've gotten more bang out of it without cpu issues but now that is even starting to happen)


  2. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member


    A pretty good question.

    There's a good argument for using LE and a supped up PC. It's mainly around the cost factor of LE vs an HD system.

    As to whether LE can take full/total advantage of multi-core processors... I believe it can. I know an HD system does.

    The reason I personally went with HD3 is because the offloading of the plug-in's from the processor allows even greater track counts and larger I/O capabilities for the same amount of CPU loading. Well, that and the connectivity/integration to the Icon.

    There are limits to either system philosophy. One of the common limits is to the number of CPU cores that can be fully utilized. AFAIK, the limit is 4 cores. After that, neither LE nor HD will actually hand off threads for processing. However, the OS does utilize those extra core's... but is it realistic to think that its worth the extra dollars for the minor increase in speed? I dunno... it wasn't for me.

    HD's limitations is in the processing protocol for the HD cards. The system is an older technology, that while mature and stable, could actually be better and may soon become obsolete. However, the fact that it's in a mature state is a testament to it's stability.

    The thing that I would be aware of in an LE system, is that once you hit a plateau of saturation, there is nothing you can do short of upgrading the box. (DUH, right?!?... you're already at the limit of your current box.) So how much more horse power do you need? You also need to determine your overall system bottleneck(s). Do you need faster drives, faster drive w/more cache, faster mobo, bigger PSU, more CPU core's, more and faster RAM, more drives, faster OS, faster NIC, etc???... ad infinitum. And IMHO, your time has got to be worth something... so do you want to spend days and weeks going through the ritual of digging through countless tests and tweaking? Only you and your budget can determine that.

    As to which system is "better", I can't honestly say. I would look into the price point per track count and see which one gives you the better bang for the buck. For me, it was simple... HD3 with the option to expand if I need to.
  3. MarkG

    MarkG Guest

    I have been tossing this question around every year for the last 5 years.
    If I won the lottery, I would be on the phone to sweetwater in about 2 seconds to order the biggest baddest HD setup they had.
    However, I am on a limited budget and have to be careful about my purchases. Here a a few questions I ask myself when I am tempted to upgrade from my 002 to HD

    1. How often to I neeed to record 20+ tracks simultaneously.
    2. How often do I need to play 40+ tracks.
    3. Can I record more efficiently, so I need less plug-ins.
    4. How often to my clients ask "Do you use HD?"

    The answers to 1,2 and 4 are usually "rarely"

    I realize some people legitimately need HD, but there have been a lot of great recordings done on 24 tracks or less. I think 5k or 6k worth of mics and preamps are a better investment.

  4. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    I would suggest you a cheaper solution: Buy a Pt HD1 Accel with an 8 core Mac Pro.
    You will be at PT HD and also with a very powerful machine, providing lots of RTAS juice.
    You may even buy an used MAc Pro 2.66, put 8GB RAM and you will be pretty fine.
  5. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    ProTools LE is already limited so, IMHO, you might as well go with an HD1 system. I hope you have the preamps and A/D converter already. A base HD1 runs around $12000 retail with 1 192 i/o. That's 9 chips of dsp power though so, you don't really need to concern yourself too much with your PC's power.
  6. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Rather than a 192, save yourself some bucks and go with an Aurora 16.

    You can get twice the I/O for about the same money.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well, I think, therefore, I'm alive.

    Budget? What budget?

    You really have to ask yourself, do I feel lucky today and how many tracks do I need to record simultaneously? (I need 24+ for live recording)

    You want higher definition? Lower-cost? ProTools? Consider the new M-Audio FireWire interface with 8 simultaneous inputs with ProTools M-Powered as opposed to ProTools LE. I believe it's 24-bit, 96kHz? So it's up there in your higher def region. You don't really need 192kHz do you?

    That, with a new "supercomputer multicore box" should do you quite well. Supplement that with some wonderful microphone preamps and voilà!

    Two practical
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  8. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    thank you to ALL WHO POSTED!

    i think i have made up my mind...to go in the direction of amping up my pc to a full fledged tweaked out powerhouse. i hadn't realized pt hd costs so much (apparently i was just pricing the cards!)...you all have been very helpful!!!

    ps remy-check your pm's i sent you one last week.

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