Last week in the second of our series of articles and polls on looking at what Apple Mac Pro Tools computers, you own, when you will replace them and now in the 3rd and final article in the series, we ask what will you replace your Apple Mac Pro Tools computer with? Will it be another Mac or could it be a Windows computer?
Mike Thornton - Mid 2010 Mac Pro 'Cheese-grater'
I currently have a Mac Pro Cheese-grater - 2 x 2.4GHz Quad-core Intel Xeon. It is a Mid 2010 Mac Pro which I bought in December 2011 when I went HDX as my previous machine would not support HDX cards.
I am planning to run this setup for as long as possible as currently don't like any of the options enough to change what is working very well for me.
I am an Apple Mac user through and through, I have never owned a Windows machine and as I use my Mac for everything, if I changed to Windows I would miss a lot of the Mac apps that have become embedded in my workflows. I could of course find Windows replacements but the Mac eco-system and complete integration with mobile devices would be a major hassle to change over from. I could go Hackintosh but I am not so keen on living on the edge and having to deal with the outcomes of Apple OS changes etc, and living outside the supported hardware zone.
Looking at the options in front of me, I see two possibilities and they would depend on whether I would want to retain my HDX Pro Tools system.
If I decided HD Native was enough I would probably go for a Mac Pro Trashcan and an HD Native Thunderbolt solution.
If I felt I still needed to stay with HDX, my current view would be to go with a Mac Mini and a Sonnet expansion chassis that would house the Mac Mini and the HDX card and some drives all in the one unit so I would retain most of the features of my current Mac Pro Cheese-grater, but that too has it's drawbacks as you can no longer get a quad-core Mac Mini, so as I said last week I am staying with my Mac Pro cheese-grater for the foreseeable future because I don't like any of the alternatives currently available..
Dan Cooper - Mid 2010 Mac Pro 'Cheese-grater'
I have the same machine as Mike that I upgraded the RAM and hard drives in 2013, but it is starting to show signs of its age.
I am planning to replace it at some point this year as it is over five years old and that makes me nervous as I've had Mac computers last for less time. I cannot afford for this machine to break down on me but I have to get my pending house move out of the way first. I plan to either stay on the Mac platform by investing in a current Mac Pro or jump ship altogether and start a Windows journey. Windows computers are certainly gaining a lot of traction out in the professional/creative industries so it's little wonder why I'm considering Windows as a viable solution for computer replacement. As for my HDX rig, I'll most likely sell that on and change my audio interface as well as USB 3, Audio Over IP and Thunderbolt solutions all look to be, on paper at least, very good these days.
Peter Barter - Late 2013 iMac 27"
I am currently running a late 2013, 3.5GHz Intel Quad Core i7 iMac with 512GB SSD which I bought in mid 2014.
I am planning to replace it when either it breaks or whenever I feel that its performance is costing me unnecessary time and/or money.
The big question is would I get an iMac again if I was forced to upgrade today? Given that current lineup of Mac Pro’s haven’t seen a refresh in over 3 years I think I probably would – but let’s keep hoping that the folks over in Cupertino will give me some more options when the time does finally come around.
James Ivey - Early 2009 Mac Pro 'Cheese-grater'
My main studio machine is a early 2009 Mac Pro Cheese-grater, which originally shipped as a single quad core machine but about 18 months ago it was upgraded to 2 x 3.46GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon processors and 32Gb of RAM.
I'm not just planning my next machine I have ordered it. I have ordered a HP Z840 with Dual 6 core (12C) 2.4Ghz Xeon E5 V3 64GB 2133Mhz ECC Reg Ram (8x8GB, leaves 8 ram slots for future expansion). Video will be handled by an Nvidia GTX1070 8GB GPU giving me 4 video outputs. Two of these can be at 4K resolution. This machine gives me Thunderbolt 2.0 PCIe (3 ports) a 15 in 1 media card reader (very handy for getting data from cameras)and a 4 slot 2.5" hot swap drive caddy. It will run Windows 10 Pro 64bit and it will be rack mounted to keep the studio nice and tidy. The machine is being built and configured by Rich Rogers at WorkStation Pros and should be ready for delivery in early March 2017. Does anybody want to buy a early 2009 Cheese-grater?
Russ Hughes - Mac Pro 'Trash-Can'
My studio computer is a Mac Pro Late 2013 'Trash-can' bought in June 2014. It is a 6-Core and Dual GPU, 3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 32GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory, Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each and 256GB PCIe-based flash storage.
I'm not planning to replace it any time soon so I've not even considered what that would be.
Julian Rodgers - 2012 Mac Mini
I have a late 2012 2.5Ghz i5 Mac Mini with 16GB and a 512GB SSD, which I bought second hand from Russ Hughes in May 2016
I don't think I'll be looking to replace this machine for maybe two years if I can, but I'm very conflicted about what to replace it with when that day comes. None of the current Apple machines appeal. The best of the current crop would be a good spec iMac but I'm looking seriously at a PC. I've built plenty of PCs in the past and that is an option but considering the number of Mac users considering "the switch" I expect that the number of companies offering audio specific builds is going to grow more and more over the next few years. PCs don't present any serious obstacles for Pro Tools for me but I'd really miss Final Cut Pro, OS X (particularly Core Audio) and Screenflow. At least I'm not a Logic user though...
Alan Sallabank - 2011 MacBook Pro 8.1
I have a reconditioned, "pimped" MacBook Pro 8.1 which I bought in December 2014.
My replacement issue is that my MacBook Pro fulfils two purposes. First it is still a very capable mobile Pro Tools system, but more importantly it maintains an Apple presence in my studio. Until more developers write for the Windows platform, I'm stuck with having to have an Apple Operating System at least, as part of my setup. This doesn't however necessarily mean I will stick with Apple hardware. I might end up using a Windows laptop with USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 for mobile studio use, but build a Hackintosh to be able to run Apple only applications. One thing's for certain, with their current hardware lineup and pricing strategy, I'm very unlikely to purchase any new Apple kit again. They might surprise us and reverse a decade long "walled garden" strategy, but personally I don't see that happening.
Tell Us What Your Plans are
So now you have read our stories, in the poll below, please tell us what you plan to replace the Apple Mac that you use with Pro Tools and please share your stories and thoughts in the comments below as well. If you looking at a Windows or Hackintosh solution do share your thoughts and plans in the comments below.