What's Inside Your PC
How can I check the compatibility of my PC to see if it will work with a Pro Tools system?
It is very important that your Windows PC has the compatible components in it to work with Pro Tools. PCs are built in so many configurations that it's impossible for Pro Tools to work with all computers.
These directions will show you how to identify which processor you have, which chipset is installed, how much memory (RAM), and if Service Pack 1 is installed. If you have built your computer, then you may be able to find out which model motherboard and FireWire PCI card you have by looking at the sales receipts or documentation you may have. It's better to have too much information than not enough.
Here's how to find out if your computer is supported with Pro Tools for Windows XP:
- Start menu > right-click on My Computer > choose Properties (My Computer may also be on your desktop).
- In System Properties > General Tab. Under "System" make sure you have Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2 listed there. If not, you will need to install a minimum of Windows XP Service Pack 1. If you are using Digi 002 or 002 Rack with Pro Tools LE 6.4, only Pro Tools LE 6.4cs9 or later (including Pro Tools LE 6.7, 6.7, and 7.0) are compatible with Service Pack 2 and 002. There are no known issues with Service Pack 2 and other Digidesign products with Pro Tools 6.4 and higher. For more information, see Windows XP OS Requirements
- In System Properties > General Tab. Under "Computer" see which processor is in your PC. It may say Intel, AMD, Celeron etc. The processor speed (GHz or MHz) will be there too. And the amount of RAM will be listed there as well.
So, now you should know which processor you have, its speed (GHz or MHz). if you have Service Pack 1 and how much RAM you have installed.
There is more to find out though. Which chipset you have is also very important to know...
To identify both Intel and AMD chipsets, try the free utility PC Wizard
If you have an Intel Chipset, you can download and run the Intel(R) Chipset Identification Utility
For other chipsets, as well as Intel chipsets, you may also be able to identify your chipset in the following way:
- Start menu > right-click on My Computer > choose Properties. Click on the Hardware Tab > Device Manager button. In the Device Manager, open the category that says: IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. You will see your chipset brand there. It could say Intel, VIA, NVidea, SiS, ALI, etc. This is the chipset brand that you have. It may also be possible to find out which model chipset you have.
- In the Device Manager, open the category System devices. In that category, find the driver listing for the chipset for System and Graphics Controller, or Processor to AGP Controller. It may say something like these examples:
- Intel 82810eDC-133 System and Graphics Controller, which would mean you have an Intel 810e chipset.
- Intel 82865G\PE\P Processor to AGP Controller, which would mean that you have an Intel 865G/PE/P chipset.
Keep in mind that it may not be possible to identify all brands and models of chipsets, but the above methods will identify quite a few.
Compatibility Alert — Intel 9xx Chipsets & Mbox
Digidesign's Mbox is not compatible with desktop computers with the following chipsets:
- Intel 915G
- Intel 915P
- Intel 925X
For more about this issue, see the following information provided by Intel:
The following chipsets have been approved with Mbox on desktop computers with Intel P4 processors:
- Intel 925XE
- Intel 915PL
- Intel 915GL/915GV
- Intel 875P
- Intel 865PE
- Intel 850/850E
- Intel 845/845E/845PE
The following chipsets have been approved with Mbox (and Digi 002/002 Rack) on laptop computers with Intel processors:
Other chipsets will be added as we confirm their compatibility with Mbox systems.
Be sure to check with the manufacturer for the model number of the chipset before purchasing a new computer, or the information provided on this page for determining the chipset on your current computer.
Making Your System Compatible
Using the information on this page, you should be able to find out which Windows XP Service Pack you have, and which processor, chipset, and how much RAM is in your computer. The Digidesign Compatibility Documents will tell you what elements you need for a supported computer, to work with your Pro Tools system. Hopefully, your computer is supported. If not, you will need to get a supported computer, or replace the unsupported element in your computer.
Remember that Windows is an open platform. PC manufacturers are able to use many different parts in their computers interchangeably, not to mention all the custom built computers that consumers can build themselves. Therefore, there is little consistency in how computers are built. It's impossible for Pro Tools systems to work on every configuration of PC there is (not to mention that it would be impossible for Digidesign to test every configuration of PCs to know how the performance will be).
Please take the time to find the compatibility of your PC. PCs that aren't compatible run the risk of not working at all, error messages that can't be solved, or poor system performance. Once you have a supported configuration, you will have the potential to have rock solid Pro Tools performance.
SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software. Advanced and free versions. The System Summary should tell you RAM, Processor, Chipset, Operating System information and much more.
From the PC Wizard website: "PC WIZARD 2005 is a powerful utility designed especially for detection of hardware, but also some more analysis. It's able to identify a large scale of system components and supports the latest technologies and standards. This tool is periodically updated (usually once per month) in order to provide most accurate results."
Intel's Technical Resource Center for Hardware Designers & Developers
Tom's Hardware Guide