I Want a New (Old) Mac For My Existing Pro Tools Setup


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 17, 2020
Hello everyone! First post here. 🥰:apple:

My Pro Tools 9 rig works beautifully and uses RTAS plugins of which, I’ve spent a lot of $$$ on.
Any version of Pro Tools beyond version 9, uses AAX plugins which render all of mine, usless. Between the expense of a new system and the loss of thousands of dollars in unusable plugins, well . . . It’s painful to think about.

The Mac OS required by Pro Tools 9.0 is Snow Leopard 10.6.8 (no exceptions):(
I’m using an iMac currently and running Pro Tools off of Core Audio.

I‘ve been scouring the Internet to try and find the perfect combo and have posted in the Avid (Pro Tools) communities with no luck. They seem to be more software centric rather than Mac/Pro Tools focused and don’t tend to care much about “older systems”. On with the new! :mad:

I’m thinking about buying an old Mac Pro 2010 12 Core with 128 gigs of RAM and the largest internal drives that the unit can accommodate. I say “2010” because, as far as I’m aware, the 2012’s won’t run Snow Leopard (10.6.8).

The main reason why I’m considering a Mac Pro is for the PCI slots. I’d like to add a couple of Digidesign 192’s to the mix this time.

Someone on FB suggest a MAC MINI? I can’t imagine a MM (of the same era, using Snow Leopard), to be better than a Mac Pro though, unless I’m wrong?

Oh, and for any readers here schooled in Pro Tools, will my HD version of PT accommodate 192’s alright?

Many thanks! I appreciate y’all reading this.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 17, 2012
Rancho Bohemia, California
Visit the Mac Pro forum here to learn all about the 4,1 and 5,1.

One of these machines, hotrodded to 12-core 3.33 or 3.46 GHz CPUs will be a powerful, yet very affordable, machine. I am currently running a 2010 12-core 3.33 in my studio (Digital Performer is my DAW of choice) with great success and have a spare on hand to make sure I suffer minimal downtime in the event my primary Mac Pro fails. I have upgraded a number of MPs for friends and myself over the years; if you find a clean 2010 or 2012 8-core, an upgrade to 12 cores is really inexpensive, with used Xeon X5680 CPUs going for something around $100 a pair on eBay. I paid $45 each for the last two X5680s I purchased. X5690s (the fastest hex-core CPUs the 4,1 and 5,1 can run) are 4% faster, but cost somewhere around twice as much last time I checked.

If you are on a super tight budget, you can buy a 4,1 Mac Pro dual and upgrade from there, but caveats are: 1. CPU trays require either de-lidded CPUs or use of additional thermal pads and great care to avoid bending pins when installing lidded CPUs; and, 2. Firmware update required. If a single-CPU Mac Pro will do the job for you, 4,1s and 5,1s are both easy to upgrade.

RAM is also cheap on eBay and, of course, the 4,1 and 5,1 are very expandable. You can add an SSD in the optical bay, or two if you don't need the DV burner. In my studio Mac Pro, I removed the optical carrier completely (I have an external burner on hand for the increasingly rare times an optical disc is requested) and have four SSDs sitting in the area it used to occupy, with two attached to the stock SATA parts and two more attached to a PCIe SATA card. I use spinning hard drives only for backup these days.

Information about all of this can be found over at the Mac Pro forum.

Although I am now running Mojave, I (and many other Mac Pro users) recall Snow Leopard with great fondness. Because the 2010 and 2012 Mac Pros are both 5,1 with no hardware or firmware difference (other than some CPU options as originally shipped), I believe either will run 10.6.8, but a post over at the Mac Pro forum should get that question answered for you.

Good luck on your quest!