Smaller, Much Smaller

Mac Mini

A Mac Mini has replaced my Power Mac dual processor G5 tower for my Pro Tools HD rig.

How can this be? It is such a tiny machine.

I configured the Mac Mini with a quad core i7 microprocessor at 2.66GHz, 16GB of RAM and an internal 256GB Solid State Drive.

The old Power Mac could crank a score of about 1,700 on Geekbench. The Mac Mini scores over 11,500. Almost 7 times the performance of the G5.

The G5 was configured with a dual processor G5 microprocessor running at 2.0GHz with 6GB of RAM and two 160GB hard drives — one for the system and one dedicated to audio recording. Equipped with an HD 1 Core card and an HD 2 Accel card, this computer could support the following:

  • 64 channels of input/output
  • 192 tracks at 48KHz
  • 96 tracks at 96KHz
  • 36 tracks at 192KHz

There was also .96ms of latency from source to monitor.

The Mac Mini with the Pro Tools HD Native Thunderbolt interface supports:

  • 64 channels of input/output
  • 256 tracks at 48KHz
  • 128 tracks at 96KHz
  • 64 tracks at 192KHz

And it provides only 1.7ms of latency.


I have been pushing the Pro Tools environment really hard on a similarly equipped Mac to the Mac Mini — a MacBook Pro with a 2.6GHz i7, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB Solid State Drive — and I can run the largest sessions that I have ever mixed on the G5. Using native plug-ins. And only taxing the CPU by about 25 percent.

A far cry from the ADATs I was using in the 1990s.

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