Getting new Avids working

It’s been an interesting last few days as we installed two new Avid Media Composer software systems with Mojo SDIs at the facility. The new machines are Mac Pro dual-quad core machines; the Octo-Macs. They are screaming fast but they shipped with Mac OSX 10.4.10. This brings up an interesting predicament. As of this posting, Avid only supports OSX 10.4.9. That means to be officially supported one must downgrade the shipping operating system. Seems simple enough but you must first locate an older os install. We purchased our new systems from a local reseller who tested the machines with a set-up at their facility. When we got the systems in-house we noticed some severe popping and crackling of the audio on both machines. They were identical machines with the exception of one Mac with a second internal hard drive with a Final Cut Pro install and an AJA Kona card. We spent a whole day troubleshooting the issue with Avid support as well as our reseller. After much trial and error the reseller believed that the problem came from the way they had to “backdoor” the older os install. They had jumped through hoops and located a 10.4.8 install which was then updated to 10.4.9. When we updated to 10.4.10 the popping went away. That os isn’t supported by Avid. The problem was solved when the reseller located a true 10.4.9 install. We reinstalled everything and were up and running.

This brings up an interesting issue. How is a software manufacturer supposed certify new, faster computers when the shipping os hasn’t been certified. Avid is often criticized (by me included) that they don’t support Mac os upgrades quick enough. We always want the latest and greatest don’t we? A conversation with Avid support yielded some interesting answers. I asked how you can support a machine and not the os that ships on it … he said that is part of the game as Windows machines ship with Vista and Avid doesn’t support that yet either. It sounds like downgrading an os isn’t an unusual thing in Avid world when you want to use the latest and greatest and fastest computers. But the most striking thing the Avid tech guy said was that Apple used to supply pre-release operating system versions for Avid to certify. But they stopped when Final Cut Pro came along. Come on Apple, that’s very petty … afraid of a little competition? I wonder if they will do that with Adobe now that Premiere Pro is back on the Mac?

UPDATE: Andrew Kimpton from Avid posted a nice follow up to this article over on his blog. Thanks for going into some good detail Andrew.