So for many of us the switch to version 11 of AVID's ProTools is either imminent or you're already there. HD system owners are likely taking this upgrade a little more gingerly and I'd like to add some insights here, having upgraded the HD3 TDM systems at RMIT Uni up to HDX3 systems - 54 AAX-DSP chips!
The new HDX PCIe audio cards are incredible, let's make that clear. 18 DSP chips per card rated at 5 times the power of the previous HD chips makes for some awesome grunt. But how much power is "enough?" For ToKwerX I was originally upgrading an HD2 system to an HDX2 system at an upgrade cost of $7k for each of the cards. That would give me 36 DSP chips to call upon for audio processing - oodles you might say. But it has become very clear that most of the 3rd party plug-in manufacturers are not upgrading their software to embrace the AAX-DSP, only the AAX Native format, which doesn't use HDX cards at all - merely your host processors: WAVES, SOUNDTOYS, FABFILTER and AVID. The outcome is a huge outlay of funds for processing that in many cases will be sitting dormant - not a prudent use of funds in anyone's scenario.
So before you dive into an HDX system that will have enough power to run your State consider the options. I am a big UAD-2 user and as such do not use the host or DSP for processing, so an expanded UAD-2 card is a clear option here; If my favourite plugs are all ported to AAX Native I may as well spend more on a greater number of Host processors - better use of funds by far. At the risk of purchasing more power than I actually need, or more accurately power in the wrong places my 2014 upgrade now looks like this: 1 x HDX PCIe card (18 DSP) + 2 x UAD-2 Octo PCIe cards (16 DSP) + 12 Host processors on a new Mac Pro. This reduces the cost by around $5k and ensures that I have plenty of power but importantly, power in the right places.