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.