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Pro Tools Addendum to the PC Optimization Guide (updated 05/15/07).

The recommendations in this addendum are meant as an addition to the standard PC Optimization Guide. They are not included in the standard guide because they have little to no relevance for other applications. Furthermore, as they are not intended to stand alone, they should only be used in combination with the standard PC Optimazation Guide, and then only by Pro Tools users.

Hardware Requirements

Digidesign has a list of PC hardware that is not supported by Pro Tools. The list is too broad to repeat here. Please see http://www.digidesign.com/index.cfm?navid=54&langid=100& and find your hardware, version of Pro Tools, and operating system. Each combination has different requirements. Make sure you are up to spec on ALL listed components.

Processors

Intel’s Core Duo processors provide a tremendous amount of speed and power, but have been known to cause some issue with Pro Tools. A few simple changes in the BIOS, in addition to the optimizations already covered in this and the original PC Optimization Guide, should solve the problem. In your computer’s BIOS, if you see C-State Transition anywhere, be sure to disable it. Also, find the Integrated USB Hub and set it to “High Speed,” (or a related value). Note that not all computers or BIOS’s will have these options.

Also, make sure you disable speed-stepping for your processor, if available. This option is usually disabled by following the “Power” section of the PC Optimization Guide, but some motherboards have a BIOS feature as well. This option is referred to as “AMD Cool n’ Quiet” in AMD processor motherboards, and can show up as various things in Intel-based boards. Sometimes it simply shows up as ‘speed-stepping.’ If your motherboard has this option, disable it, as it can cause major conflicts with the processor scheduling of Pro Tools and the USB bus. It’s usually found under the ‘Advanced’ tab. Disabling Speed Stepping in the BIOS is NOT necessary to make Pro Tools work on a Core Duo, but may solve otherwise irresolvable issues. If otherwise unexplained issues persist with a Core Duo processor, you may have to disable on of its cores.

Hyperthreading Technology (HT) is an Intel technology that utilizes the processor in a unique way, essentially making it act as a dual-core processor. It is only utilized on Intel Pentium 4 processors with speeds of 2.8 GHz and higher. This technology is fully controllable through the computer motherboard’s BIOS (Built In Operating System), and is not essential for Windows operation. Pro Tools supports HT in version 7.0 and higher ONLY. All other versions MUST have HT disabled. To verify if HT is enabled, go to the Device Manager. Under the “Processors” section, if you see two listings of the same processor, HT is enabled. To disable HT, you must go into the BIOS and manually disable it. Consult your computer’s manual or contact the manufacturer for information on how to disable HT.

Some dual-core processors are inherently incompatible with Pro Tools. However, there are usually fixes available for these. According to Digidesign, if you use a dual-core processor by AMD, you will need to:
– Download and install the AMD Dual Core Optimizer from http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/0,,30_182_871_13118,00.html
– To install the Windows Dual Core Hotfix, go to http://www.amdzone.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=3964 and CAREFULLY follow the instructions (failure to complete all instructions will make this fix ineffective).

If you have an Intel-based dual-core processor, you may need to download and install the Intel Application Accelerator, available here: http://downloadfinder.intel.com/scripts-df-external/Product_Filter.aspx?ProductID=663&lang=eng

Firewire Controllers

Digidesign recommends Texas Instrument firewire chipsets and controllers. This is for PCI cards, integrated firewire, and PCMCIA firewire cards. There have been documented cases of conflicts with RICOH firewire controllers that are common on certain brands of laptops, especially Dell laptops. RICOH controllers do not allow firewire innterfaces to effectivly communicate with the computer.

Chipsets

A chipset is a component of the computer’s motherboard that helps control how USB data is sent and received. Certain chipsets are incompatible with Digidesign USB devices, in particular the MBox and MBox2. These chipsets officially include, but are not limited to, the following:

– Intel 915G
– Intel 915P
– intel 925X
– any SIS chipset

For a full list of comatible chipsets, see Digidesign’s website.

NOTE: If you do not know what chipset model you have, you can run a utility called the “PC Wizard.” Go to http://www.cpuid.org/ and download, install, and run the latest version of the PC Wizard. This utility will give you information on your processor, chipset, motherboard, etc.

NOTE: It is strongly advised that you always update your chipset software prior to installing Pro Tools. For full instructions, see Sweetwater Knowledgebase article #30063.

Operating System and Service Packs

Pro Tools will not function properly under certain editions of Windows XP. Windows XP Media Center, Professional x64, and Tablet editions are not yet compatible with any version of Pro Tools. XP Home or Professional is required for proper operation.

A key component of all Microsoft Operating Systems is the Service Pack. These Service Packs contain updates and new features, mostly related to virus protection and internet services. Servie Pack 2 (SP3) is the most current service pack offered by Microsoft for Windows XP. Most older versions of Pro Tools, however, require Service Pack 2 or 1 (SP1). The reason for this is that SP2 contains a utility called Data Encryption Protection that is designed to automatically stop certain types of processes. The problem with this is that older version of Pro Tools use a similar type of processing that often gets interpreted as data encryption; consequently, Pro Tools gets shut down automatically. Later versions contain protection against this.

Pro Tools versions 6.7cs9 and higher are officially qualified for SP2, and may also work with SP1. Pro Tools versions 7.0 and higher require SP2. All other versions (6.7 and lower) must run with SP1. For help in removing SP2, see Knowledgebase article #28730. According to Digidesign, SP3 is qualified for Pro Tools versions 7.0 and later.

QuickTime

QuickTime is a background audio application from Apple that is required by Pro Tools. Systems without it may not be able to run audio correctly, and will not be able to run video at all. Make sure that you have a version above 6.5, but not yet 7.0. Sweetwater uses and recommends QuickTime 6.5.2; it is available at: http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/quicktime652forwindows.html

PACE Drivers and the iLok

It is highly recommended that you download the latest PACE drivers (seen in Windows as TPKD drivers). Having out of date drivers has been known to cause unexpected blue screen, shutdowns, and dropouts. You can update the drivers at: http://www.paceap.com/dldrvr.html. Additionally, there is a known conflict with Microsoft Outlook and the iLok.

If you are using an iLok for authorization of Pro Tools or additional plugins, and you get TPKD-related errors, you will have to uninstall Microsoft Outlook before using Pro Tools.

Latest Versions/CS Updates

Digidesign is constantly working to provide the most stable software possible. However, unforseen bugs and incompatibilities are bound to occur. In response to these unfortunate issues, the Pro Tools software is updated frequently in the form of new versions and customer service updates. It is a good idea to check for updates periodically at Digidesign’s website. Go to http://www.digidesign.com/index.cfm?navid=54&langid=100& and find the appropriate type (LE, HD, or TDM), version (7.1, 6.9, etc.), and OS (Windows XP vs. a Mac OS). The links in the appropriate category contain the downloadable latest versions and updates of Pro Tools.

Wireless/USB Devices

Pro Tools may not function properly if any wireless network devices are running. Such wireless devices include, but are not limited to, Internet adapters, keyboards and mice, etc. You must temporarily disable all wireless devices in the Device Manager by right-clicking on each device and selecting “Disable.” To re-enable them after you are finished using Pro Tools, right-click and select “enable.”

Certain USB devices have also been known to conflict with older versions Pro Tools. The most common conflicts occur with keyboards (computer, not musical) and mice running via USB. Pro Tools usually requires that any keyboard/mouse combinations be run via the standard PS/2. These issues appear most often in Pro Tools 6.7 and lower, and seem to have been resolved completely in Pro Tools 7.X. In addition, many USB hubs have been known to cause problems with Digidesign hardware that run via USB, such as the MBox, MBox2, and Command8. These devices need to plugged directly into the computer and NOT into the hub.

Antivirus Software

All antivirus software, especially Norton and Symantec, have been known to interfere with Pro Tools. The effect is similar to the data encryption issues that can occur with SP2. It is highly recommended to disable or shut off any and all antivirus software prior to launching Pro Tools.

The MME Helper

Digidesign hardware is proprietary; in other words, it is not designed for use by other applications. In order to hear other applications through the hardware, you need to download a small utility called the MME Helper ( http://www.railjonrogut.com/DigiMMEHelper.zip ). This utility allows outside applications to access the Digidesign drivers by creating a bridge between the two. For information on how to use it, please see Knowledgebase articles #29187 and #29802. The MMe Helper is necessary when using the MBox, MBox2, Digi002R, Digi002, and HD hardware. It is NOT necessary with the MBox2Pro.

Check with Digidesign

Digidesign’s website offers a host of useful information about recommended systems and known incompatibilities beyond what is listed here. Go to www.digidesign.com and click on Support, then Compatibility, and then the appropriate link for the combination of hardware, version, and OS.

We hope this guide has been helpful, and remember: if you run into any unexplained issues or errors after following this guide, consult our Knowledgebase at https://www.sweetwater.com/sweetcare/ . If that doesn’t help, you can send us an email or call us at (800) 222-4700 x 6400.

The Sweetwater PC Team

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