Pro Tools|HD for Mac OS X — Hard Drive Minimum Requirements

Storage Overview

Storage requirements have not changed from previous versions of Pro Tools. As with all Pro Tools systems, drive performance depends on a number of factors, including track count, edit density, CPU speed, single or dual processors, and the use of crossfades or processing like Beat Detective. For sessions with high edit density, we recommend the following configurations. Testing has been conducted using Digidesign's DigiDrives and Avid MediaDrives. Performance with other drives may vary.

  • Dedicated audio drive or drives (internal or external). Recording to or playback from system drives is not supported.
  • Support for SATA, IDE/ATA and Firewire drives, listed below.
  • When using QuickTime movies with Pro Tools|HD systems, for reliable performance of 16 or more audio tracks, video should be stored on a separate drive.

Macintosh Journaled File System Now Recommended for Pro Tools

Mac OS X 10.3 incorporates a journaled file system, which will automatically log any file modifications. If your computer crashes badly enough to require a restart (or a restart from a power failure), the OS will then use the journal to aid in fixing any disk problems caused by the crash.

Mac OS X 10.3 ships with journaling on by default. Digidesign now recommends that customers format their media drives with journaling turned on. When using Apple"s Disk Utility program to format drives, Digidesign recommends choosing "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" format, instead of "Mac OS Extended."

To enable journaling on an existing drive:

  1. Run the Apple Disk Utility, located in Application/Utilities.
  2. Select the disk or volume in the left column of the Disk Utility windows.
  3. Click "Enable Journaling" in the toolbar, or choose "Enable Journaling" or Command+J from the File menu

If you want to turn journaling off for any reason, select the volume and choose "Disable Journaling" or Command +J in the File menu of Disk Utility. Note that disabling journaling will slow recovery if your system has to be rebooted to recover from a kernel panic or power failure.

Optional Digidesign & Avid Storage

  • Avid MediaDrive rS80
  • Avid MediaDrive rS36/320 LVD
  • Avid MediaDrive rS73/320 LVD
  • Avid MediaDock iS36/320 LVD Shuttle
  • Avid MediaDock iS73/320 LVD Shuttle
  • Avid MediaDock Dual
  • Avid MediaDock Dual+
  • DigiDrive MediaDock
  • DigiDrive FireWire 80
  • DigiDrive SCSI Drives
  • SCSI-128 Kit (ATTO Express PCI-UL3D), qualified up to 192 tracks @48kHz using Avid 5th generation drives with Mac OS X and ATTO driver 3.0.2

Not compatible with Power Mac G5 or tested with Pro Tools 6.9:

  • SCSI-64 Kit/ATTO Express PCI-DC

SCSI Hard Drives

  • SCSI interface: Wide single-ended or low-voltage differential (LVD or Ultra 160)
  • Disk drive rotational speed: 10,000 RPM or faster
  • Buffer Size: 512K or larger

Additional SCSI Requirements for Pro Tools Systems

  • Drives must be dedicated for audio (internal or external)
  • Mac OS file system: Mac OS Extended (also known as HFS+ format)
  • Mac OS Standard (HFS) formatted drives can be used for transfer, but are not recommended for recording or playback
  • Windows NTFS formatted drives supported on Mac OS X for transfer only (FAT32 not supported for Mac transfer)
  • Pro Tools does not support RAID technology. Please do not activate this feature on any Pro Tools recording drives.
  • Supported formatting utility for IDE/ATA, SATA, FireWire, or SCSI drives: Apple Disk Utility, included with Mac OS X

Formatting Instructions

  1. Open from the following location: Applications->Utilities->Disk Utility, or in the Apple Menu when booted from the OS X installation CD.
  2. From the list of drives on the left, select the actual drive (the one on top, with the GB and drive manufacturer listed) rather than the user defined name of the drive below it.
  3. Choose either the Erase or Partition tab
  4. Choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
  5. If you plan on using your drive on both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, check the box next to "Install Mac OS 9 Drivers".

Note: partitioning is not an option using the Erase command. To increase performance and improve seek time Digidesign recommends that you allocate a portion of your hard drive for recording. In Pro Tools, Choose Setups/Preferences and click Operation. Under the Open Ended Record Allocation option, select Limit To and enter a number of minutes to be allocated.

ATTO Utilities

ATTO ExpressPCI Configuration Tool

You must install this if you are using a Digidesign SCSI|128 or ATTO EPCI-UL3D SCSI Host Bus Adapter card with a Mac OS X system.

The cards listed above control the flow of SCSI data to and from your computer, and they must have the proper firmware and be set correctly for maximum performance. If you are using one of these cards, you will need the ExpressPCI Configuration Tool. The ATTO ExpressPCI Configuration Tool can be downloaded from the ATTO website:

The Configuration Tool will allow you to update your firmware and set up your SCSI host bus adapter correctly. For important information on how to update your firmware for Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther" compatibility, please see the ATTO Utilities Read Me:

Supported SCSI Cards and Settings

Hard Drives

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

Notes

  • Pro Tools has a single audio file size limit of 2048MB. 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.

Storage Stats

Approximate Storage Consumption (Megabytes per Minute per Track)

Sample Rate (kHz)
44.1
48
96
192
16-Bit — MB per Min
5
5.5
11
22
24-Bit — MB per Min
7.5
8
16
32

As with all Pro Tools systems, drive performance depends on a number of factors, including track count, edit density, and the use of crossfades or processing like Beat Detective. For sessions with high edit density, we recommend the following configurations. Testing has been conducted using Digidesign DigiDrives and Avid MediaDrives. Performance with other drives may vary.

SCSI Drives — Approximate Track Counts for Power Mac G4, Dual 1.25 GHz model
(slower G4 models may have lower track/voice counts)

SCSI Drives
44.1/48 kHz
96 kHz
192 kHz
No Chassis or With 64-bit Chassis
192 kHz
With 32-bit Chassis
6
192
96
36
20
4
128
64
24
16
2
64
32
12
12
1
32
16
6
6

SCSI Drives — Approximate Track Counts for Power Mac G5

Avid MediaDrive rS73/320 LVD
44.1/48 kHz
96 kHz
192 kHz
No Chassis
192 kHz
With 64-bit Chassis
6
192
96
36
24
4
128
64
24
24
2
64
32
12
12
1
32
16
6
6

SATA Hard Drives

SATA drives are qualified for up to 32 tracks at 44.1/48 kHz with Pro Tools|HD and Pro Tools|HD Accel systems on Power Mac G5 models.

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 and Avid MediaDrive rS80 have been qualified with Pro Tools|HD and Pro Tools|HD Accel systems for the following:

  • Supported track count (per drive): 24 tracks per drive at 48 KHz/24-bit @ 2000ms edit density
  • Maximum 8 drives for a total of 192 tracks at 48 KHz/24-bit @ 2000ms edit density
  • Pro Tools|HD Accel systems: maximum 192 tracks

FireWire Drives — Approximate Track Counts:

MediaDrive rS80
DigiDrive FireWire 80

44.1/48 kHz
96 kHz
192 kHz
1
24
12
6
2
48
24
12
3
72
36
18
4
96
48
24
5
120
60
30
6
128
72
36
8
192*
96
36

* Track/voice count at 44.1/48 kHz may vary depending on CPU speed and processor count.

For more information and specific requirements for using FireWire drives, see FireWire Drive Requirements

Known Issues - Hard Drives & Pro Tools 6

32-Bit vs. 64-Bit Chassis

  • With a 32-bit expansion chassis, a –6042 error will occur at 192 kHz Sample Rate when playing over 20 tracks. The qualified 64-bit chassis will allow up to 36 tracks @ 192 kHz on Power Mac G4, and up to 24 tracks @ 192 kHz on Power Mac G5.

Important Note About Mixing Drive Types With Pro Tools|HD Systems

  • You cannot spread audio files from one session across different types of drives. For example, if you have a session with audio files on SCSI drives, you cannot record or play back Pro Tools files from an IDE/ATA or firewire drive. (this applies to audio files only, video can be on a different type of drive, or the same type of drive as the audio files in a session)

FW800 Drives - Currently Not Supported With Pro Tools 6.2.3, 6.4, 6.6, 6.7 or 6.9

  • A single FW800 drive was qualified with Pro Tools 6.2 on Mac OS X 10.2.8 only, and not tested with later Pro Tools releases. Multiple daisy-chained FW800 drives are not currently supported with any Pro Tools release.

FW800 Drive — Approximate Track Count with Pro Tools 6.2:

FW800 Drive

44.1/48 kHz
96 kHz
192 kHz
1
32
16
8

 


Digidesign Compatibility Documents Index