Mach 4 Upgrade Question

I have a 2’ x 3’ Benchtop Pro purchased several years ago. I purchased Mach 3 with it. I have been away from using the CNC for a couple years & have only used it a couple times.

I plan on using it much more often and am considering upgrading to Mach 4. I am computer literate in Windows / Python etc. But by no means in CNC software. My question is this; I have a dedicated laptop that I use with my CNC that has Mach 3 on it. If I load Mach 4 (prior to purchasing a license), would I be able to keep the Mach 3 software on the machine? If I like Mach 4, can I purchase a license later and keep the installation?

I like the fact that I could use the Avid Mach 4 software and follow the documentation / videos provided. Just don’t want to screw up something that currently works ( but still has a couple bugs in Mach 3 that are annoying!).

Thanks for any help,


I believe you should be able to do what you are asking as long as you have the Avid plug and play electronics. I have never used Mach 3 so I don’t know much about it or if it was ever an option from Avid.

Here are my specs:

I purchased the CNC in 2018

Assume when you say the plug and play electronics, it is as above.



You should be good to go then. You can just download the Avid Mach 4 installer from here:

You can try it first to make sure everything works. Once you verified that, you can purchase the license.

Yes, you can download Mach4 free and run it for free. It can co-exist with Mach3, they install into different folders. You want the Avid CNC version of Mach4 because it has customizations to get you running quickly with your supported configuration.

You’ll be able to do everything with it before buying the license, but there is a time limit or gcode limit so it’s not fully useful until you license it.

I have a laptop that has both mach3 and mach4. They are compatible, but each time you change there will be a process where the avid controls will update to the correct firmware for the type of mach you select. It is done automatically and takes only a minute or 2.
I’d recommend the advice given in the previous response by DavidsPostProcessor.

Thanks for the replies, I appreciate. My laptop is not connected to the internet. Does the firmware change mentioned in the previous reply need internet access?

Also, I’ve written to Avid support several times (other questions) in the contact area of the website, but I never hear back (I always put my order number in so it is know I am a previous customer) - is that normal? I see in several videos I’ve watched that in each they state to reach out to support if help is needed… I’m wondering if I’m doing it wrong? Should I be using direct emails Vs the contact page?

Thanks again!

No internet needed, but the other thing that catches people out when upgrading is how much more demanding Mach4 is to run than Mach3 was. For example, a laptop that has run Mach3 for nearly 6 years is probably not going to run Mach4 without problems. It’s often reported here as ‘skipped steps’ but generally come to find out it’s PC performance related.

You can find newer, refurbished laptops and mini PCs quite inexpensive, but that $200 Mach4 upgrade may end up costing you closer to $500. Just something to keep in mind.

Yes, I just purchased a refurbished laptop from a supplier called Blair Tech. I have bought several items from them in the past and am pleased with their support. For $172, I purchased a:
" Dell Latitude E7270 12.5" Laptop - Intel Core i5 - 8GB DDR4 RAM - 256GB SSD"
I saw that the RAM minimum suggested was 8GB and my current dedicated laptop was only 4GB.

It will take a week to get the new laptop. Is it OK to license both the old laptop and the new one? Or is the license only good for 1 unit?



Hi Rick,

I don’t want to spook you too early, but this might not work out in your favor. With a quick search I came up with this matching link. Two things that stand out to me are that this is listed as a 6th gen processor, which means it dates to 2015-2016*. The second thing is that it lists as having 2 cores (dual core) which is below the Avid minimum spec of 4 cores (quad core).

I happen to be familiar with that series of Dell laptop, and this likely translates to an Intel Core i5-6300U 2-core CPU. I do not believe this will be sufficient, based on my experience and others on the forum. I have successfully run my PRO4848+Mach4 on a laptop similar to this one and would not recommend anything less.

*Quick primer on Intel processors - the ‘generation’ is basically annual starting from around 2009. 3rd gen ~2012. 6th gen ~2015. 10th gen ~2019. We’re entering 14th gen now.

Thanks for the input. I have reached out to Blair Tech to see about changing to the following:

Refurbished Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series (E7470) Laptop Computer: 14" Display, Intel Core i7 (6th Gen), Windows 10 Pro, Webcam

Thx again,