Apple Mac Mini i7 2.3GHz Late 2012 Running Pro Tools On Internal Soundcard - Power Test

11-26-2014 09:42 AM

Community member and post professional Ben Norrington has taken his Mac Mini i7 for the Pro Tools Expert Pro Tools speed test.
This is the basic test, just the Mac Mini, internal soundcard and internal drive, it’s just you, your Mac, an iLok, headphones and a USB micro keyboard.
Is it just fit for a few demo tracks or can you get some real work done… find out below.
Test Machine Specification

  • Mac Mini
  • Intel Core i7
  • Processor Speed: 2.3 GHz
  • Number of Processors: 1
  • Total Number of Cores: 4
  • L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
  • L3 Cache: 6 MB
  • Memory: 16 GB
  • Hard drive updated to Crucial M500 256gb SSD
  • OS X 10.9.4

Pro Tools Session Specification

  • Internal Mac soundcard used
  • Pro Tools 11.2.1
  • 96Khz - maximum with internal sound card
  • 24 bit
  • 5 minutes of mono audio, with edits at every 1 second
  • Volume automation recorded on every track
  • Disk cache disabled to emulate native versions of Pro Tools
  • All audio tracks had an instance of Avid Channel Strip and Dverb inserted

Results Of Test

  • 128 Audio tracks reached without buffer errors
  • A mono audio track would record without issue along with 64 audio tracks in playback
  • Instrument tracks were then added
  • 30 MIDI tracks with an instance of AIR Boom running with MIDI data
  • The session would not play at H/W buffer sizes of under 1024, once settled it seemed to run at 1024 without any further issues. The session could be set to 2048 samples if this was required and at this setting the session ran without issue.


As one would hope, but can’t always expect, this i7 outperforms the i5 by a mile, offering nearly double the track count for both audio and instrument tracks. You can see our Mac Mini i5 2012 Pro Tools power test here.
If you are looking for a Mac based audio solution then this is still a great buy, a little searching on Google showed up some great deals for this base model. For example Apple offer this base model in their refurb store for £479, to pimp it with extra memory is going to cost around £120.
Keep sending us your results as we build up this valuable resource.