Apple Mac Pro Customized for:
Audio Production

We found that majority of audio production professionals utilize Avid Pro Tools or Apple Logic Pro as their main recording software. These recommendations are based on experience and research after speaking with hundreds of audio recording professionals.

We participated in the Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in Los Angeles and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas, where we were fortunate to meet the head on-site technical representative at AVID who sets up systems for major companies such as NBC and Disney. He spent an hour with us discussing the ideal hardware for an efficient Pro Tools system.

Component Recommendations


According to AVID, the more cores, the better. The more tracks you run, the more cores you want to have. As a test, we performed an upgrade on the 2010 Model 5,1 Mac Pro from a Quad-Core to a 12-core while keeping an eye on the Pro Tools CPU Usage Monitor. The CPU usage decreased by 30% which is great because it improves performance and allows you to perform more intensive tasks.


For recording, the default memory configuration is fine. However, virtual instruments require a lot of memory. Since memory is low cost these days, upgrading is a good idea. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend 3-6GB of RAM per CPU core.


In general, we recommend a two to four hard drive configuration depending on your budget and desired performance level:

Primary Drive - OS/Software (SSD) - Includes your operating system, the base Pro Tools / Logic Pro installation, and your plug-ins. An SSD is highly recommended as it will greatly improve how fast the OS and programs startup.
Secondary Drive - Sessions (SSD/Hard Drive) - If possible, it is a good idea to separate your project files and disk cache onto a secondary drive.
Optional Tertiary Drive - Samples (SSD/ Hard Drive) - The performance of one SSD can support both the sessions and samples. For traditional spindle hard drives, having your sessions and samples on separate drives can at times improve performance.
Optional Storage Drive (Hard Drive) - For the larger sound libraries, the traditional platter hard drive is a good choice as they are still much cheaper per GB than SSDs.

  • Hard Drive = Standard spindle technology @ 7,200rpm
    • Hard Drive Bay = ~175MB/s
  • Solid-State Drive - connectivity via SATA3 controller
    • Hard Drive Bay = ~250MB/s
    • PCIe Slot = ~500MB/s
  • NVMe Storage = connectivity via PCIe controller
    • PCIe Slot = ~1250MB/s


Since the Mac Pro will be primarily focusing on audio, the standard graphics card is fine. However, they generally support only two displays. If you will utilize the video engine for syncing audio and video, we recommend at least a 2GB graphics card.


Generation Comparison

Tower (Original)

Production: 2010 to 2013
Model 5,1


Production: 2013 to 2019
Model 6,1

Tower (New)

Production: 2019 to current
Model 7,1

ProcessorsIntel Xeon X5600 series 'Westmere'
Launch Q1 2011
Intel Xeon E5-2600 series 'Ivy Bridge'
Launch Q3 2012
Intel Xeon W-3200 series 'Cascade Lake'
Launch Q2 2019
MemoryDDR3 ECC 1333MHz
Up to 64GB per processor
DDR3 ECC 1866MHz
Up to 128GB per processor
DDR4 ECC 2666MHz / 2933MHz
Up to 768GB / 1.5TB per processor
GraphicsCan upgrade to newer models for macOS support and increased performanceAMD FirePro D300 / D500 / D700
Launch 2013 - Upgrade not possible
Latest AMD Radeon Pro with PCIe 3.0 x16 slots for expansion
StorageCan upgrade to latest SATA and NVMe SSDs for increased performance. SATA SSDs limited to SATA2 speeds and NVMe limited to PCIe 2.0 speedsCan upgrade to latest NVMe SSDs for increased performance.
SATA external expansion
PCIe NVMe SSDs without performance limiting factors.
SATA and NVMe internal expansion
macOSApple support discontinued in 2018
Latest macOS - Mojave 10.14
Apple support estimated until 2024 to 2026
Supports latest macOS
Current generation
Supports latest macOS
USBOnboard USB 2.0
USB 3.0 and 3.1 optional upgrade
Onboard USB 3.0
USB Type-A only
Onboard USB 3.1
Type-A and Type-C - Latest
ThunderboltNot availableThunderbolt 2Thunderbolt 3
PerformanceOutdated technology, but excellent performance considering the cost. Cost effective solution if on a budget and okay with macOS Mojave limitation.Supports latest macOS with considerable performance. Cost effective solution if new Mac Pro is not within budget.Latest technology. Highest performing Mac currently available. Max longevity for macOS support.

Recommended Configurations

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New: Purchased new from an Apple authorized dealer. Never used.

Refurb Grade A: Pre-owned. Inspected, cleaned, tested, and upgraded. Excellent cosmetic condition. Might have a small scratch or scuff, but overall looks great.

Refurb Grade B: Pre-owned. Inspected, cleaned, tested, and upgraded. Good cosmetic condition. No bends, dents, or dings. Will have light scratches and/or scuffs. Nothing severe. We do not purchase units that are in poor cosmetic condition.