I have a Harpertown Mac Pro and it very much looks like if I want HDX I am going to have to replace the Mac Pro as well.
We then have the rumours about the future of the Mac Pro and Apple’s continuing move to the consumer market and away from the pro market. So should I spend a load on money on a machine and cards for a computer forma factor that might not be around? On the other hand you can delay making just about any equipment related decision because of a rumour of what might be round the corner.
Taking all of this into consideration I have been looking at cross grading my HD2/192 system to an HD Native. I have read a lot over the weekend on the DUC about going from HD2 to HD Native and it seems to me that most of the negative comments relate to users using Pro Tools natively but not using an HD Native and there are clearly major differences between HD Native and non HD Native solutions. I only have to read my own HD Native review to see how impressed I was with it and how I failed break it. So my concern now is centred around the latency issue, again about which a lot has been said, but again most of the negative comments haven’t come from actual HD Native users.
and then a further post with more deliberations ….
I have been trying to decide which way to go with my Pro Tools rig…..
- Do I keep my HD2/192 system on a Harpertown Mac and just upgrade to Pro Tools 10 HD software?
- Do I upgrade my HD2 to HDX? If so I will need to buy a new Mac and that isn’t going to be cheap to get one that is as powerful as my current 8 core Harpertown.
- Do I cross grade my HD2 to HD Native?
With cash is short supply, option 1 would be the easiest but will leave me in a corner when Avid do the next upgrade. So at the moment the HD Native route is looking very interesting. I have been doing some research and the comments on the DUC have been very promising from those who actually have an HD Native system. There are alot of comments about latency performance of native systems but these appear to relate back to LE Native systems, rather than the HD Native system.
As part of my research I was checking details on the Avid site and found myself looking at my own words. More recently I picked up on a post from Brent Heber in which he outlines his attempts to break HD Native with a monster session he created and you can download to try it for your self.
So what did I decide? Well I looked at what I am doing and the fact that I earn my living from Pro Tools and eventually decided to go with the most expensive option and take the Upgrade to HDX route which also meant buying a new Mac. I had a little bit of luck on this one. Went on the Apple refurb site last night and they had an 8 Core Westmere machine going with a 15% discount. For anyone who hasn’t made friends with the Apple refurb store, you should. The machines are completely refurbised, look like new and most importantly are the only refurb machines for which you can take out Applecare, which again as I earn my living from this machine, is a no-brainer.
For me the decision in the end was having the best tools for the job, I suspect if I was only undertaking dubbing work I might well have gone for the HD Native route, but I do music work as well and having all that additional hardware and no latency worries at all swung it in the end, having that peace of mind that it won’t complain when I ask a lot of it under pressure clinched it for me. I have had 3 years out of my pci-e cards and my Harpertown Mac, before that, 3 years out of my pci-x cards so I am set up for the next 3 years and will start to plan financially to replace this system in late 2014. Its all part of business planning, ignore at your peril.
I will be getting the hardware in the new year and will of course blog my experiences of the change over. The new Mac Pro is going to have a shed load of memory. I was about to buy more memory for my Harpertown Mac but 4Gb was going to cost be around £100. But the good news is that for the new Westmere Mac Pro I can get 12Gb for the same money. When the memory prices rocket you know you have an old machine!