Pro Tools TDM for Mac OS 9 — Hard Drive Minimum Requirements

Pro Tools TDM for Macintosh — Hard Drive Minimum Requirements

With Pro Tools 5.1.1/5.1.3 for Mac OS 9

To provide full 64 track, 24-bit, 48 kHz performance a Pro Tools|24 MIX system must include at least two hard drives, minimum, three recommended. For 64 track sessions that have substantial edit densities (such as one edit every third of a second across 64 voices) or large amounts of crossfades, up to four drives may be required, allocated with 16 tracks per drive and two drives per SCSI channel. Pro Tools|24 systems (non-MIX) are limited to 32 tracks.

Additionally, these drives must meet the following requirements:

Minimum Drive Requirements

  • Dedicated audio drive or drives (internal or external). Recording to or playback from system drives is not supported.
  • SCSI drives recommended for maximum performance.
  • Note that there is limited support for IDE/ATA and Firewire drives, listed below.

SCSI Hard Drives

  • SCSI interface: Wide single-ended or low-voltage differential (LVD or Ultra 160)
  • Disk drive rotational speed: 7200 RPM or faster
  • Buffer Size: 512K or larger

Additional SCSI Requirements for Macintosh Pro Tools|24 & MIX systems

Hard Drive Families from the following Manufacturers are recommended:

Manufacturer Drive Family
Digidesign DigiDrive*
Avid rS, iS Plus, iS Pro
Seagate Cheetah, Barracuda
IBM Ultrastar

* First generation DigiDrives are not supported in LVD mode

SCSI Accelerator Cards

IDE/ATA Hard Drives

IDE/ATA drives meeting the following requirements are qualified for up to 32 tracks at 44.1/48 kHz with Pro Tools TDM systems:

Firewire Hard Drives

The DigiDrive FireWire 80 has been qualified with Pro Tools|24 MIX systems for the following:

  • Supported track count (per drive): 24 tracks per drive at 48 KHz/24-bit @ 500ms edit density
  • Maximum 2 drives for a total of 48 tracks
For more information and specific requirements, see FireWire Drive Requirements

Approximate Storage Consumption (Megabytes per Minute per Track)

Sample Rate (kHz)
16-Bit — MB per Min
24-Bit — MB per Min


  • Pro Tools has a single audio file size limit of 2048MB, even when used with Mac OS 9.x and the HFS+ file system. This equates to about 4.5 hours at 24-bit, 44.1 kHz.
  • High Speed Drives require manufacturer-approved enclosure to ensure correct heat dissipation, required for sustained drive reliability
  • Windows 2000 is unable to create a FAT32 partition on a drive that is larger than 32 GB. If your drive is larger than 32 GB, either use a partitioning application such as PartitionMagic® or use the NTFS file system

Pro Tools III for Macintosh Systems — Additional SCSI Requirements

  • Pro Tools III Disk I/O: Wide drives require cable adapter, such as Avid PN 0070-00469-01 (12" 50-pin female Centronics to 68-pin male high-density)
  • Pro Tools III Disk I/O: Some 3rd Generation LVD DigiDrives and LVD hard drives from other storage manufacturers will not mount when connected to a Pro Tools III Disk I/O. Digidesign has confirmed that 3rd Generation LVD DigiDrives containing mechanism model numbers beginning with "ST" will function correctly. DigiDrives with mechanism model numbers beginning with "D" will NOT function correctly. The DigiDrive's mechanism model number can be viewed during initialization within your drive formatting software. Note that the new 4th Generation Ultra160/LVD DigiDrives do not have this incompatibility and are qualified to work with Pro Tools III Disk I/Os.
  • Pro Tools III is limited to 16 tracks, 16-bit, 48KHz with 1 Disk I/O. 32 tracks requires a second Disk I/O, 48 tracks a third Disk I/O.
  • Each Pro Tools III Disk I/O must have a hard drive connected with a maximum 16 tracks on each drive.