updated 10:25 pm EST, Thu December 15, 2005
Pro Tools|HD for PCIe
today announced that is now offering two versions of its professional Pro Tools|HD digital audio production systems. By continuing to provide the existing PCI version and releasing a PCI Express (PCIe) version, Digidesign says it is ensuring continued compatibility of its Pro Tools|HD systems with a wide range of PCI, PCI-X, and PCIe-equipped computers. The company said that existing Pro Tools|HD systems are designed to work in PCI and PCI-X slots only and are not compatible with PCIe technology. Digidesign announced that it has qualified Pro Tools|HD systems for PCIe with the new range of Apple's Power Mac G5 computers, but noted that the PCIe versions will have some limitations.
"Since the new Power Mac G5 computers have only three usable PCIe expansion slots, initial Digidesign support for PCIe-based Pro Tools|HD systems is limited to a maximum configuration of three cards. If you plan to use the new PCIe-based Power Mac G5 computers and want to build an expanded configuration (beyond three cards), you will need to use the PCI version of our Pro Tools|HD cards in conjunction with the newly introduced Digidesign Expansion|HD expansion chassis."
A Windows version of the PCIe-comaptible Pro Tools|HD system is not expected to be available until a standard configuration is available for testing. Digidesign said that Windows-based computers equipped with multiple PCIe expansion slots are not yet commonly available, but that it is planning to test and qualify its PCIe systems with Windows-based computers once machines with at least three PCIe slots--as a standard configuration--are introduced to the market.
The company also touted its Digidesign Expansion|HD expansion chassis, a new six-slot PCI expansion chassis that connects to the host Windows or Mac computer using either a PCI/PCI-X or PCIe expansion slot. With the Digidesign Expansion|HD, you can install expanded Pro Tools|HD configurations on a wide range of PCI, PCI-X, and PCIe-equipped computers. Both PCI- and PCIe- host cards are available
PCIe-compatible Pro Tools|HD systems are the same price as their PCI counterparts. Pricing starts at $8,000. Digidesign has expanded its hardware exchange program, allowing users to exchange Pro Tools LE or legacy Pro Tools TDM system up to a Pro Tools|HD system for PCIe or PCI. In addition, Digidesign is offering a crossgrade program for PCI users who want to transition their Pro Tools|HD system to a host computer with PCIe slots. Digidesign is offering two new Pro Tools 7 Software Upgrade PLUS options for Pro Tools|HD and Pro Tools LE systems, enabling users to upgrade their Pro Tools 7 software and receive two additional plug-ins. The Pro Tools HD 7 Software Standard Upgrade is available for $175, while the Pro Tools LE 7 Software Standard Upgrade is available for $75, while the PLUS versions are $245 and $100 (respectively).
Pro Tools HD software version 7.1 will be required for the PCIe systems. As with Pro Tools 7.0 software, users of PCIe systems wishing to exchange sessions with users of Pro Tools 6.9 or earlier software will need to perform a simple "Save Session Copy" operation.