Originally Posted by NickyNoNo
Thanks for the info. That's EXACTLY the type of feedback I was looking for. Also, I wasn't sure on 8-core or 12-core (for the money) but it sounds like, based on what both you and Brad have said, regardless of the route I choose, I should probably go with a 12-core machine, simply to stay ahead of the times.
So, a few others questions for everyone, what happens in either move with regards to plugs? I've got a series of VST plugs, as well as TDM and RTAS plugs. I remember reading that HDX uses a new format. Does that simply mean downloading updates for the TDM plugs and waiting on updates for the others? Will my VST plugs be useless? I know making the switch from PPC to Intel some of that was bound to happen anyway, so I'm just trying to get my ducks in a row. And, if I go to Native, do I lose the TDM plug functionality? I'm imagining the bigger names are on top of compatibility. My primary concerns are SoundToys and McDSP, and I'm pretty sure they're covered, but what's the story with the rest of them?
Have also read a little about HEAT. Seems pretty cool thus far. Anyone who went that route have anything positive or negative to say about it?
Hi! I am not as experienced using this stuff as pretty much anyone else in this forum so I hesitate to even provide an input. But I worked through some similar issues so let me throw out what I can in the "for what it's worth" department.
First, I have a 12-core Westmere Mac Pro (which is effectively a 24-core machine due to hyper threading - Pro Tools reports seeing 24 cores), 16gb, 4 1T hard drives (3T in a software RAID configuration) machine. I believe Pro Tools doesn't know how to actually utilize MOST of those cores. Implementing parallel processing is nothing short of an art form and most software companies, even those who advertise support like Avid with Pro Tools are actually utilizing them in an unsophisticated, minimal usage sort of way. There's a function in Snow Leopard and Lion called "Grand Central Dispatch" that allows non-specialists to design software that accesses parallel processing on Macs but I'm told its pretty unsophisticated itself. Large scale developers like Adobe don't use it on products like Photo Shop (a major parallel processing suitable app) or so I'm told (they code it themselves bypassing GSD). However, I do agree with your comment about staying ahead of the times. As improving processing power gets harder and harder to do in conventional processing hardware due to physical limitations, pressure to rely on things like parallel processing is going to increase on software manufacturers and as they get better at utilizing it, it will be good to have a machine that can be utilized.
My first system was PT9HD+HDN on that machine so I don't have any experience with HD. I can say that the only time I got close to using up my available resources was during an attempt to do so. I can't quantify this but I put a LOT of tracks up with LOTS of plugins and it finally started running out of juice. I just finished upgrading to PT10HD+HDX and the one useful thing I can report so far is the amount of native resources it uses to get the same job done appears to be no more, and possibly even slightly less than the HDN system for the same amount of Native plugins instantiated. They may have improved their multi-core utilization technology in PT10. So it seems to me that going from HDN to HDX is basically adding HDX power on top of HDN power for things that can run on the HDX dsps (in other words, nothing seems to be sacrificed on the native side - at least). And of course, the HDX dsps are doing the the mix/bus work so the load on the Native side starts off lower to be begin with. For what its worth, I haven't got anywhere near close to loading up the HDX system and probably never will.
TDM does not run on HDX (or HD Native). VST does not run on any Pro Tools system without a third part wrapper. I have no experience doing that so nothing to report.
Regarding support for the new AAX formats, software manufacturers are reporting everything from "we haven't gotten around to working it all out yet" (Massey for example) to "we will absolutely do it, and soon, and cross grade everyone for free" (McDSP for example - cudos to these guys by the way!). Sound Toys says they will develop AAX versions (any
company that plans to sell to PT users will have to) but haven't decided for sure if they will charge existing users for them but they say they probably will. RTAS, TDM and and Audio Suite will continue to run on PT10/PT10HD but will not be supported by the next major PT release. TDM requires HD card(s) and does not run on HDN. The reason Avid introduced AAX is they're trying to move to an all 64-bit implementation and they can't with those two fundamentally non 64-bit formats. They had to update them. Apparently folks like McDSP can do their -> AAX port in 64-bit right off, then when 64-bit PT comes out, those plugs will "just work" without any further development. So we're in a transition period now that we all asked for and need but that is going to be painful for everyone. I am assuming I'm going to have to shell out some dough to get all my plugs in AAX form over time. Avid has not ported most of their plugins to AAX either, a few come with PT10 and a few more are available for download from their site. From what I can tell, all my existing licenses work with those plugs in the new format (though there's something weird going on with Purple Audio's version of the 1176??). They claim they're working on the rest - but of course, we're talking about Avid here so you can't believe anything
they say. Ever.
HEAT is technically not a plugin and in any case only runs on HD or HDX systems because it runs directly in their dsps. There's always been talk about HEAT being developed in a native format but I personally don't believe it will be, at least in the near future. HEAT is amazing. It was developed (at least in part) by Dave Hill who developed Phoenix and a lot of other incredible stuff. I've never heard of anyone who wasn't pretty impressed with HEAT. Its worth watching the Dave Hill video on it on the Avid site (Avid | HEAT
That's about all I have on the things you asked about. I hope that was helpful and GOOD LUCK