Academy Dashboard Forum Studio Gear Talk Mac computer Reply To: Mac computer

Samuel Botstein

    Hi Anders,

    I highly recommend macOS, especially for Pro Tools. However, I strongly recommend against Apple hardware. Thus, I suggest building a "hackintosh." It is very easy, quick, and inexpensive to do this these days. Please find build guides, tools, and lists of compatible parts at the link below.

    There are also community support forums and troubleshooting discord servers (that almost definitely won't even be needed).

    These are just some of the reasons I strongly recommend against Apple's own hardware (from extensive experience):

    They are expensive.

    The desktops are either very, very old (have not been updated or refreshed in six or more years) or very mismatched in terms of the hardware configuration inside. The extravagantly expensive new iMac Pro for example has soldered-down (irreplaceable, non-upgradable) AMD Vega graphics cards which would be fine except that it has an unnecessarily high-resolution screen requiring about twice the number of pixels as compared with the number for which those cards were optimized. Once something as intensive as the Pro Tools interface gets going, it starts to choke. The iMac Pro is the only computer they make configurable with enough RAM to meet and exceed the recommend minimum requirements for Pro Tools HD, but as it's a sealed, never-upgradable monolith, one has to commit to the cost to do this up-front. The "trash can" Mac Pro can be configured with more RAM by the user - not by Apple. They all have decent processors in them but none have adequate cooling.

    The notebooks are a disaster. They are stuck at 16GB of RAM max, half what is recommended for Pro Tools HD, and have flaky butterfly keys and no physical function keys. I have run every version of the MacBook Pro products, and am sad to report that when doing anything like running Pro Tools the fans are so loud that I can hear them through closed headphones while music is playing at a safe volume. Recording in the same room as one of these notebooks is only a memory. The wide-band noise is just too obvious. Other than Arrow, just about anything one might want to connect to these things requires costly dongles and/or adapters (including every version of iLok and Apple's own mobile devices). I have had two of them literally go up in flames, and another needed to have its main circuit board replaced more than twenty times until I was able to convince an Apple Store manager to give me a new one instead of doing this costly repair. I was happy to have a computer that worked again, but of course this newer, top-of-the-line MacBook Pro has only integrated graphics despite the enormous resolution of the screen resulting in issues similar to those with the new iMac Pro mentioned above.

    Every single macOS product they currently offer has inadequate cooling. This means that despite whatever specs are in there, the computer will quickly and dramatically thermal throttle, meaning that it will blast the fans and slow down everything to avoid overheating, mostly unsuccessfully.

    • This reply was modified 6 years ago by Samuel Botstein.
    • This reply was modified 6 years ago by Samuel Botstein.