Ha, dual core? How last year can you get? It’s all about eight-core now, baby:

The Pro Tools HD 7.3.1 cs3 update can be installed over Pro Tools HD 7.3 or Pro Tools HD 7.3.1, and includes all updates that were previously made available in the 7.3.1, 7.3.1cs1 and 7.3.1cs2 releases. Pro Tools HD 7.3.1 cs3 is currently available as a free download for registered Pro Tools HD 7.3 users. For details visit the Digidesign support web page at: www.digidesign.com/support.

Given that Digidesign built their business on taking processing off the CPU and onto dedicated DSP hardware, it is pretty funny that they’re now pushing native processing — even if Pro Tools itself still benefits from enhanced computing power. That said, is there really anything stopping Digi from going native somewhere down the road? (Speaking of which, where’s the LE support, which would actually run native on these cores?) Either way, it’s nice to see Digi being aggressive in this space. Fully supporting additional cores does actually require some effort on the part of the developer. It’ll be interesting to see if all these extra cores can really benefit real-world situations. In the meantime, I find even a lower-end dual-core Intel chip — even on a laptop — to be plenty luxurious for music production, which is really good news for mobile music creation or going digital on a budget.

For all the talk of Apple needing to create a Pro Tools killer, though, this should remind you again that Apple wins either way. Even as Windows has made inroads in the audio market, Pro Tools users still lean Mac. Want Logic? Apple will sell you a computer. Want Pro Tools? Apple will sell you a computer. Want Ableton Live? Max/MSP? Ardour? Live coding in ChucK? Apple will … you get the idea. Plenty of PC musicians out there (I’m one of them, about half of the time), but Apple has a lucrative market in music creation. Nice to reflect on that, given at one point the company was in such trouble it looked like music might get jettisoned altogether. Apple can remain cozy with Avid, even as direct competitors.

  • Dunno, all those rtas and vst wrapped plugins would benefit. I use protools, and would ditch windows for a linux version, but not the mac version. Hell I am already paying the hardware tax once to use the thing.. 🙂

  • Well, I expect 8-core support will show up on the PC, too. What I'm actually unclear on is whether they're going beyond just certifying these systems — i.e., doing anything to ensure they'll benefit. That's a question not only for Digi but other developers, as well. For now, that many cores is a pretty niche market to say the least, but in a couple of years, who knows. Then the question is, what's the payoff for audio — not only if things are fully optimized, but even if you really benefit much beyond two cores, let alone beyond four. (And that will likely get into other architectural details of the OS and processor platform, as well.)

    So, uh, actually, I'm not sure if I'm getting at anything here, other than Apple does have a great computer hardware business! (Even if Steve Jobs argued at Digital D they're really a software company. I'm personally glad they still like selling boxes.)

  • the ONLY thing bad about the windows version (at the moment) is when you write your projetcs at home, then take your External Drive to the studio, there running OSX….what that means is you drive will only act as A "Tranfer device"…cuz it MUST be formated with HFS+ in order for OSX to write to it.

    I stopped using thw windows version because of that and having to have copys of copys…so annoying.

    I use Linux, OSX and Windows and no longer feel the need to have to prove myself loyal to ANY company or software…….Im a musicain I use what gets the job done.

    although I'am A little BIAS to Trackers 🙂

  • Well… Digidesign have always tried to support all of the Mac computers on the market, which of course makes sense. There is a difference in processors and the DSP cards you use for Pro Tools HD though, it doesn't matter how many or how fast computer processors you stuff into the Macs, they still can't handle TDM processing.

    Now, I'll be the first one to say that the Pro Tools HD cards out there need an upgrade. You touch on the subject of Native vs DSP. For many, the Symphony system was a presentation of native killing DSP. I like the Symphony solution, have thought about getting it myself, but I think it's naive to think that way. It challenges Pro Tools HD in terms of latency for instance and it's used as a marketing tool for the MacPro, but isn't it true that almost ever generation of Macs have been said to be so bad-ass we won't need power? Certainly the same things being said about the MacPro today have been said about the G4.

    The problem is that when people compare native to DSP, they compare the latest MacPro with a Symphony setups to Pro Tools HD that are, quite frankly, getting old. Believe me, HD works very good and is great to work with, but it's an unfair comparison because of the age difference. It's going to be interesting to see what happens when Digidesign comes out with a new HD system, after all, we have already seen better DSP cards, like the Fairlight systems.

    This is getting long, I think I'll just grab my coffee now 😉

    BTW, 8 cores, something new? Bah! Look at this! 🙂


  • Justin

    The question is, will it FULLY use 8 cores, or just TRY to use them..

  • Justin
  • bliss

    Here's a report comparing the Mac Pro 8 core and quad core: http://www.barefeats.com/octopro1.html

  • Thanks for the benchmark links! And, yeah, this is clearly just the "official" support. I do notice in the barefeats blog, the 8-code doesn't really beat the quad-core in real-world circumstances where there hasn't been some specific multi-threading.

    On the other hand, the quad-core is plenty, plenty fast, so not necessarily worth losing sleep over. 🙂

    Stiff, I hear what you're saying, and I agree those are sort of apples-to-oranges comparisons. At the same time, I think the answer to your question is, haven't we been saying this since the G4 days — well, yes. And, in fact, since the G4 days (and earlier) plenty of people *have* been able to work on native systems. The comparisons may be unfair, and Pro Tools may offer something unique, but it's also true that you can get projects done in each. You don't *need* Digi's DSP hardware. You also don't necessarily *need* a computer, though, so … it comes down to what you want to work with.

    That said, I'm still interested in what Digi may choose to do with the native end of the equation and their own tools.

  • Peter, for sure… I made good music on trackers and I'm sure you can make good music on tape (an incredible amount of music proves that), what PTHD have offered so far that native has been unable to do is getting close to zero latency, even when the projects are taxed with loads of plug-ins. I hear the Symphony challenges this, and hey, that's great! What will be interesting to see is what the next generation DSP cards can do.

    What I wanted to point out with the G4 comparison was that while all this may seem very powerful now, in two years from now we'll probably be using even more power demanding things.

    But go native! I'm native 90% of the time myself so… 😉

  • Watch out for the version of OS X 10.4.9 that comes preloaded on the 8-Core… a lot of users are telling us they have problems until they install the combo updater from apple see Apple 8 core now Pro Tools approved

  • Cem

    I'm new, but a fast learner…

    1) When is that Leopard update coming?

    2) All I keep seeing is that 8-core is approved for HD systems… where is that LE support? or does LE just join the ride simultaneously?

  • Joe

    Exactly my question. will LE setups be able to utilize quad core at least??.