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TIMEKILLER
Apr 16, 2003, 02:43 PM
This is a great board, lots of good thought (hell, wasted a morning of my self-employed time reading it all!). Here is long post about the joys of searching for a new Apple or PC computer. Long post, but I've got to vent.

About 20 years ago I became an avid computer user (poor handwriting and a tech interest combined). I ran a TRS something notebook in early college, then a Mac (SE I think?), then a DOS box of some kind I cobbled together when the Mac died). After graduating I went to work in publishing, where I made the office PCs work thanks to an interest in DOS, but I really enjoyed working on the design side's Macs. I then switched to another company that ran all Macs, and it was brilliant. Appletalk, networked printers, it was light years ahead of the PC experience. At this point Apple was so far ahead it wasn't even funny. I bought a powerbook 100 (loved that trackball!), 160C, and XXXX something, etc. As a travelling journalist I found that these machines killed the comparable PCs. They all crashed a lot, but no more so than the PCS and overall the exerperience was way better. Prices between the two platforms were almost the same, at least in my memory.

About five years ago I became a self-employed consultant, and found that my Apple notebooks wouldn't talk to most of my client machines without a real hassle. I couldn't print that last-minute proposal half the time in their offices (had to find a disc, yada yada), couldn't hook up to their presentation systems, etc. I made it work for a while with various video converter dongles and discs and so on, but it was a real pain in the ass. I had to switch, and found that windows ME was actually OK if not as nice as my Mac OS. The hardware was lots cheaper, and as I upgrade machines about every one to two years on either platform this was good.

A little over two years ago the TiPB came out, and I wanted something I could do mobile video editing on. I did a ton of research, decided that Apple could now deal with the PC world, and spent about $4000 US on a state of the art TiPB with maxed memory and Applecare. Initially I loved it, then the experience went to hell. I would pick it up by the corners and it would crash (battery shorting on case). DVDs stuck in the slot. The keyboard ate the display. It crashed often. Presentations were inaudible to clients, and DVDs were jerky (as well as near-silent). I tried to find help on the road (two month trip with two other apple and one PC notebook user), but eventually had to send it back several times to get all of these problems fixed. I have never had so many hardware problems in any new machine, especially one that I paid a large premium for. The OS also wasn't a lot better than ME, but I did like it say 20 percent better. I felt totally burned, no matter how cool the machine looked. Finally, in a fit of frustration, I sold it for $2500 bucks (goodbye $1500 in two months!) and bought a Toshiba with a bigger hard drive, better display, audible speakers and a CD-burner for $2500 (you couldn't even get a CDRW in a TiPB at this point at any price). It has worked perfectly ever since; my clients can hear presentations, it works very well with XP (which is one massive step up from ME--I have yet to crash it despite running all kinds of weird programs at once), it is one great machine. However, it is heavy, ugly and the battery life is weak. I'm also doing more video editing, and I definitely prefer working in FCP (on a friend's desktop) to Premiere (Premiere is catching up, but still not there for me). The short of it is that I need to buy a new desktop or maybe notebook for video and a couple of GPS programs, what to buy?

Last month my girlfriend needed a new computer (she was working on an ancient cast-off PC notebook of mine, it was four years old!). She doesn't travel much, so after research I bought her a 17-inch Imac. Great machine for her, and I love working on it as well. It's not "way" faster than my two-year old notebook for video editing, but works verywell and the overall experience is very good. She has had some battles learning OSX after years in the PC world, but overall it's been a good experience for her (she doesn't edit video but can work with iMovie, pretty cool!). I thought seriously about buying one too, but you can't run an external monitor without a warranty-voiding hack, the DVD burner is slow as molasses compared to a modern PC burner, and the graphics card ain't all that great. These things don't matter to her, but they are relevant for me. OK I thought, I'll buy a G4 tower with one of those super-slick Apple displays, yeah! But I now live in Canada, where the total price is about $5500cdn for a dual 1.25 with a 17-inch display and Apple Care. A 2.6 ghz Dell with the same basic system and a three-year on-site warranty is $3100cdn (the numbers are different, but the ratios are the same in US$). There are slight differences between the system, but the basic hardware is very close (performance too). Do I like Apple/editing in FCP enough to justify spending an additional $2400? Serioiusly, this is what it all boils down too. You can nitpick about various small differences, but my own debate comes down to an additional $2400 ($1800US). There are some pros on the Apple side (I like the 17-inch LCD even compared to the 18-inch Dell that costs less), FCP, better color management, etc), and some pros on the PC side (My GPS programs will run on a PC, not Mac (Windoze emulation is worthless for "real" programs), my USB 2 slide scanner works faster on USB 2 machine, my compact flash card reader is faster, etc.), but honestly it's about price and how much more I'm willing to pay for the little Apple and FCP. I want it, I really do, but for that $2500 I could buy another massive LCD screen (digital too, although I'm still deciding exactly how important that is), or a new SLR digital camera, or another gazillion gigs of hard drive space, or a surfing trip to Mexico for two... I probably wouldn't buy my girlfriend the Imac given the deals on PCS now, but she is happy with it and that's worth a lot of peace to me. I'm willing to pay more for Mac, but aaaargh!

I still haven't made my mind up. I even toy with going back to the TiPB, but I can't run my now more important GPS programs on it so that's out (still think about it, but realistically no). Speed is not everything, programs aren't everything, OS isn't everything... I'm truly at a mind-numbing loss. If you got to here after all this thanks for reading my saga, I feel better now and may even be able to do some work this afternoon instead of looking at the pros and cons of it all on the web for hours...

One last comment: Mac notebooks are oddly closer to PC notebooks in price/performance, but I'd need a USB card to run USB 2 (why the hell can't Apple put USB 2 in its machines??), plus my GPS programs won't run on a Mac (flying stuff). The gap is really massive on the desktop side of things, but less on the notebook side from what I can gather. Finally, I'm a Kazaa lite addict, and can't run anything close to that on a Mac (please don't argue with me about this, I've been through it with my girlfriend's Imac--there are better hack and crack and steal programs on the Mac side I think, but for sheer volume and selection Kazaa lite wins). So I sit here whacking away on a two-year old PC notebook that still works great even if it makes my shoulder sore on the fourth walk of week between the concourses in Chicago...

cubist
Apr 16, 2003, 03:52 PM
You sound like a candidate for the 12" Powerbook, or possibly an iBook.

I don't have any of the problems you describe with my Tibook, but I can imagine them happening; but the new aluminum books are a lot more rugged. Feel the case click shut; no flexing and twisting when opening and closing.

I don't understand why the GPS programs wouldn't work. Most of the GPS gizmos just use simple serial interfaces (there's not a lot of data); I've seen some that work with a Palm.

I've never seen Kazaa but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work in VPC. It's just doing network I/O.

As for USB2, it's inevitable. In fact, on another thread, someone said the chips already support USB2, only the driver needs to be updated.

matthew24
Apr 16, 2003, 04:16 PM
I fully understand your difficulty in making the decision. About 7 months ago I bought my first Mac, A PowerMac SP G4/800, with a 17 Inch LCD screen, after years of frustration with PC's I am enjoying working with computers again. As a Mac user you have to cope with the fact that Macs will allways be more expensive, they have a healthy profit margin, PC's don't, and Apple does an awfull lot of innovation. Microsoft/Windows controls you, you don't control the system, you are not free. Every thing in the design of OS X points to the optimal ease of use and maintenance for the user.
In your case I would wait for the new Powermacs, they will be worth the waiting (3/4 months). To me the choice for Mac was also a point of principle, I could at a certain point afford it to buy a powermac and I did, because I know that right now Apple needs all the support it can get to survive the abusive monopoly policy of Microsoft. From the compatibility perspective there is no need to wait.
If you want to go for the best, go for Apple, but don't wait too long!!
I know that for me there will never be a PC again. Apple forever!

TIMEKILLER
Apr 16, 2003, 04:49 PM
Thanks for the thoughts--I see the points clearly. I do think apple notebooks are closer to PC notebooks in price/performance (the new Centrinos are challenging that, but they are as expensive as the Pbooks). One thing for sure is that the Mac users are one hell of a lot more unified and positive than the PC users!

For me now it comes down to FCP--great program, runs on Mac, not on PC. I'll probably just have to buck up and pay. It's like a bonus $1500 just to run FCP, so the real price of the program is $2500...

Naive, but why doesn't Apple make FCP for the PC world and shoot back at both Adobe and Microsoft a bit? Either they use FCP to extort hardware cash out of users, or they're afraid that the PCs will kick ass on Apple hardware?

As for the GPS stuff, I object to having to run slow (maybe it's better now, but VPC style programs were awful two years ago) emulators just to use a program, then go through a nightmare trying to export the data back and forth between the two worlds. The problem isn't so much that the VPC doesn't work, it's OK, but getting the data "out."

Thanks for the thoughts, back to work!

TK

GeneR
Apr 23, 2003, 05:50 PM
Question, TIMEKILLER: Why would Apple want to give PC users less reason to switch to a Mac? FCP kicks boo-tay, and since it's only on the Mac I think it's safe to say that you'll have a great time using it once you migrate to the Mac.

I've been using FCP since it came out and I have to say it's a real pleasure using it. And as far as costs are concerned, when compared with Avid's suite I wouldn't. FCP is really affordable and is making industry inroads at this point, and the lack of enthusiasm for the many flavors of Avid software seems to be the buzz from what I gather listening to other people.

But then again, it's all just hearsay right?

garzy
Apr 23, 2003, 06:09 PM
i read almost all of that

why is your name in all caps?
thats really annoying

anyway, you can save some money by buying a crt instead of an lcd.

lcds are not that great, the technology isnt there yet, especially when color is an issue.

TIMEKILLER
Apr 23, 2003, 06:20 PM
Hi GeneR and totalr0xx0r, I agree that FCP is the best desktop edit system, but I can't see why Apple wouldn't make it available for the PC world. There has to be one hell of a lot larger margin on software than hardware; given that only about two percent of the world's computers run on the Apple OS, why not increase the potential profit for the company massively? Those who love the Mac OS can still buy the machines, but those in PC world aren't likely to switch over to Mac for only one program (FCP, there are no other programs I like better that only run on Mac). There are a lot of more PC users out there dropping the $ on Adobe and Avid Express than current Mac users, no? From my experience in the manufacturing world I can say that hardware seldom has a big profit margin (even given Apple's prices I think this is still true)

At this point I'll probably buy another PC machine based on cost, and wait to see if the G5 chip kicks ass. I just can't justify buying a very expensive machine based on one, and only one program. If I were a full-time video editor I probably would. My girlfriend has not found OSX to be easier than XP in total use, and it's crashed more than any XP machine I've used in the last year. It's not bad, I'm not attacking it, just saying it does not kick ass on XP in the same way OS6 or whatever it was kicked ass on Windows1.

totalr0xx0r, sorry about the name in CAPS, not sure why I did that, see if I can change it (although I'm getting grief about my screen name from someone with yours, grin? As for your suggestion of buying an LCD to save money, doesn't it strike you as a little bit silly to buy an inferior monitor (I do have a CRT for video) so I can afford a machine that also has lower-performance hardware??? That's like saying, "Hey, skip the hot fudge sauce so you can have a sundae!" That's called a bowl of ice cream.

Best,

TK

GeneR
Apr 23, 2003, 06:31 PM
I suppose Apple needs to think of ways to maintain its territory in the film industry. And FCP is perhaps the best way outside of buying out Adobe or Macromedia (which, I think, would be a good idea).

Besides, even if Apple is hardware and software, they are selling a user experience. Personally, I hate Windoze and XP still feels clunky to me, much more so than OSX. Not knocking your girlfriend's POV, just that XP still hasn't sold me.

And with XP users bragging about being able to do anything that an Apple can (even if it isn't true) why give them another piece of software to validate their claim? It sounds that if Apple did sell FCP to PC users it would be shooting itself in the foot. IMHO.

garzy
Apr 23, 2003, 06:38 PM
Originally posted by TIMEKILLER

totalr0xx0r, sorry about the name in CAPS, not sure why I did that, see if I can change it (although I'm getting grief about my screen name from someone with yours, grin? As for your suggestion of buying an LCD to save money, doesn't it strike you as a little bit silly to buy an inferior monitor (I do have a CRT for video) so I can afford a machine that also has lower-performance hardware??? That's like saying, "Hey, skip the hot fudge sauce so you can have a sundae!" That's called a bowl of ice cream.

Best,

TK

First of all, a good CRT is definately not inferior to the quality of an LCD. Secondly, if you feel that Apple's hardware (A DP 1.25 PM) is a low performance, inferior product to a win box, then why are you even considering buying? For FCP? There are many other video editing apps, just none that are as good.

TIMEKILLER
Apr 23, 2003, 07:02 PM
Originally posted by totalr0xx0r
First of all, a good CRT is definately not inferior to the quality of an LCD. Secondly, if you feel that Apple's hardware (A DP 1.25 PM) is a low performance, inferior product to a win box, then why are you even considering buying? For FCP? There are many other video editing apps, just none that are as good.

A good CRT monitor, as I noted, is in fact generally better in my experience for looking at video, I fully agree. However, if you spend a lot of time looking at little letters as I do (writing) then a good sharp notebook or DVI LCD screen is a lot more pleasant to look at. I get headaches looking at a CRT screen for hours at a time, I don't with an LCD screen--this definitely makes a good LCD screen superior in my book. So buying a CRT so I can afford an Apple box seems silly to me.

As for speed, well, I could quote all the sites that have already proved that PCs run faster, but I'll bet you know them. Just go and try a $2700cdn Imac for speed versus a $2700PC and you'll also see what I mean, it doesn't take a fancy benchmark to see what's faster when you're running a batch command on a bunch of JPEGS or doing simple video edits...

FCP is the program I want to edit on; I like it better, all the editors in my area edit on it (I only know one guy who edits on Premiere), so it's a lot easier to get advice and deal with hassles. I am doing more and more video editing in Premiere (yep, on my old PC notebook or on FCP in another office), I just want to buy a faster machine that will run FCP--hence an Apple. Except I can buy a ripping PC for about $2000 cdn less than an equivalent Apple. The hardware is the same, I'd be paying $2,000 for the privilege of using FCP and OSX. That's the real nub of the matter... AAAAARGHHH!

Thanks for the thoughts. The real solution here is for Apple to either stop charging grossly inflated prices on desktops (and now, with the Centrino, notebooks) for roughly comparable hardware or make FCP for XP. The current situation is the sort of monopolistic ********* we expect from the "dark side," no?

garzy
Apr 23, 2003, 07:06 PM
no, the real solution is that you buy apple's computer products or you dont

superfunkomatic
Apr 23, 2003, 07:25 PM
i'm not sure if it's a fundamental difference in users on mac and pc. but if something works better, does everything you want, and runs the software only on that box - should be simple get a mac.

you seem to have done a lot of research it should be an easy decision. mac os x and the hardware are integrated - you know what you are getting, pc's are great hardware with substandard or adequate operating systems.

now the cost differential is minor, should be a mac, but... different strokes i guess.

patrick0brien
Apr 24, 2003, 03:01 PM
Originally posted by TIMEKILLER
but those in PC world aren't likely to switch over to Mac for only one program

-TIMEKILLER

I'm not trying to be confrontational here, please understand that. This little quote I grabbed from you is not true at all.

Post houses are switching in droves. Not because of any computer loyalty, their doing it because FCP is the best tool for the job anymore, and it's 13% the cost of the next best thing.

Ok, let me back that up a little :D
If you wish to equal the quality of FCP4 and DVD Studio Pro 2 in the Wintel world, you'd spend about $30,000 to get there ($15k for Avid, $14k for DVD). Wherease you can run FCP4 ($1,000) and DVDSP2 ($500) on a $2,500 laptop. (Gary Adcock can render real-time all but 14 filters on his 1gbRAM 800mhz TiBook)

We just reviewed these apps at CHIFCPUG last night.

Two words: Un Real.

Heck, 9 out of 10 Sundance films this year were posted in FCP.

And you should see how FCP deals with Hi-Def!!! :eek:

Personally, I buy the tools that will work the best for what I need them to do, and if Post-production is a thing for you, the Mac with FCP is the way to go. Really.

Macpoops
Apr 24, 2003, 04:38 PM
FCP for XP would cheapen the FCP experiance. Yes FCP handles its media and editing duties very very well. The user does not have to thing much about the inner workings of the programing that goes into it. FCP runs so well because it uses every OS and hardware optimization that apple has at it's fingertips. This is more true in FCP 4. Apple has spent alot of money to engineer a rocksolid program that is considered the best in it's field, hell the things won an emmy, can MS say that at all or Adobe say that as of late. If apple were to port FCP to XP they would run into the severe problem of re-optimizing everything to the Pentium. It may have a much higher clock speed people but it seems that the PPC provides much better multimedia optimization possibilities. Developing this would suck money and engineers from the current FCP department, the end result is a FCP that is short of it's potential

TIMEKILLER
Apr 24, 2003, 05:00 PM
Originally posted by Macpoops
FCP for XP would cheapen the FCP experiance. ...the end result is a FCP that is short of it's potential

Adobe seems to do OK at this--they don't necessarily tweak Photoshop to get every last iota of performance from Apple's hardware (I'm probably getting in over my head here technically, grin) from what I've read, but the programs work on both platforms reasonably well. Same with Avid from what I've read. Office also seems to do OK on both platforms. FCP is vastly more technical, but this doesn't seem like an insurmountable hurdle.

I don't know enough about high-end edit systems or FCP 4 to critique cost estimates on what an equivalent PC machine would cost for the features of FCP 4; my original point is that spending a lot more $ for hardware for one program seems somewhat wrong to me--sort of like having to buy a Bloomberg terminal to use their financial services, can you say, "Monopoly?" Since I posted the original post I've decided to definitely buy a new notebook rather than a full-on desktop edit system, I just don't do enough video editing to make that the absolute priority (if I did then perhaps a dual G4 tower would be the only way to go; I'd still have to pay a lot more $ to use FCP, but that's the way it is--get ripped off on hardware to use a program I really want, how'z about I add some cheese to that whine...).

Notebook prices are a somewhat closer for PCs and Macs; a high-end Centrino system is pretty close to a 15inch TiPB, and reading the reviews it sounds like the hardware epics I experienced with the first generation TiPBs are generally solved (Apple sure as hell lost some business from "switchers" over that one!). So far I haven't seen a Centrino system with DVI out. No TiPB has USB 2. I expect Centrino wallops a 1ghz TiPB for rendering (that really is an amazing process from the reviews), but speed is not everything for me (most of the speed issues I see with OSX are "cosmetic," like opening programs slowly and surfing the net with IE slower, that's clear), so I'm leaning toward a new powerbook. I may wait a touch longer to see if the 970-based machines are on the horizon, or just buy now and use a USB 2 card for the Ti book and deal with VPC for the GPS stuff.

Interesting, civil discussion, thanks for the thoughts.

TK

patrick0brien
Apr 24, 2003, 05:43 PM
Originally posted by TIMEKILLER
I expect Centrino wallops a 1ghz TiPB for rendering

-TIMEKILLER

You'd be surprised. Remember what I said?: "Gary Adcock can render real-time all but 14 filters on his 1gbRAM 800mhz TiBook"

This is just the powerbook. No external hardware.

Note: Gary Adcock is the President of CHIFCPUG BTW You can ask him yourself if you don't beleive me, go to www.chifcpug.org.

Macpoops
Apr 25, 2003, 12:51 AM
TIMEKILLER what exactly do you need USB2 for. your negative scanner, if it is worth a damn, should be backward compatible with USB1.1. I have yet to see a scanner that fully utilizes the bandwitch firewire has let alone USB2. If your using a USB2 hard drive i can understand but anything else should be usable with USB1.1. If you are using a USB2 hardrive you should be able to move the drive to a firewire enclosure. OK wait check that you'll be able to do the same thing with a powerbook by buying a USB2 card. It'll be about the same price but the USB2 card won't be as elegant

garzy
Apr 26, 2003, 08:58 PM
seeing everyone write TIMEKILLER is hilarious

TIMEKILLER
Apr 27, 2003, 11:22 AM
What's your issue? Most of what people have said is good, useful info. I spent an hour yesterday down at an Apple store, the comments people have made here helped me ask better questions and get better answers. Perhaps for you hardware $ are no big deal, but I like to buy the right gear--I have the $, it's a question of using them well, without blind loyalty to a manufacturer (either "side"). I am justifiably gun-shy of Apple hardware after my TiPB epic a couple of years ago. OS10 doesn't kill XP according to anyone who is slightly rational. The choice between the two platorms for most of the work I do is fairly even, it boils down to hardware and FCP. After a lot of thought I am buying an Apple, the points here on FCP (and some conversations about the new powers of 4) have convinced me.

So, thanks for the useful comments. If you find people's efforts to help answer my questions and thoughts hilarious then great, glad to amuse your sorry mind.

As for USB 2, yes, I got that wrong, thanks. Something else is going on there.

Smile,

TK

ilben77
May 26, 2003, 08:06 PM
Originally posted by patrick0brien
-TIMEKILLER

I'm not trying to be confrontational here, please understand that. This little quote I grabbed from you is not true at all.

Post houses are switching in droves. Not because of any computer loyalty, their doing it because FCP is the best tool for the job anymore, and it's 13% the cost of the next best thing.

Ok, let me back that up a little :D
If you wish to equal the quality of FCP4 and DVD Studio Pro 2 in the Wintel world, you'd spend about $30,000 to get there ($15k for Avid, $14k for DVD). Wherease you can run FCP4 ($1,000) and DVDSP2 ($500) on a $2,500 laptop. (Gary Adcock can render real-time all but 14 filters on his 1gbRAM 800mhz TiBook)

We just reviewed these apps at CHIFCPUG last night.

Two words: Un Real.

Heck, 9 out of 10 Sundance films this year were posted in FCP.

And you should see how FCP deals with Hi-Def!!! :eek:

Personally, I buy the tools that will work the best for what I need them to do, and if Post-production is a thing for you, the Mac with FCP is the way to go. Really.


I'm a director (and former editor)I do a lot of work in post houses, editing commercials and music videos. I can tell you post houses are definitely NOT switching in droves, if anything they are turning more and more towards wintel systems.

A couple of years ago Apple dominated the mid and highend editing post industry (with Discreet still dominating highend compositing today), based on Avids and Media 100's running on Apple.
All that changed over the last two year or so with the Avid systems running on NT and win2000 (media 100 lost the editing war). Most of the editors I work with adopted fairly quickly, they still keep working in Avid so basically nothing changed, exept for one thing the systems were a lot fatser and much more stable than the previous mac based systems. I'm reffering to the Media Compser and the Avid Symphony here.

But yes it is true though that a lot of independent films get editted in FCP, this is because a lot of indie filmmakers have to do it themselves due to lack of funding. And this is where FCP dominates (by the way most editors know like Avid dvexpress better than fcp)

Apple has almost completely lost the highend post sector, mainly because of their arrogance in dealing with Avid. They are trying to get into the compositing now that they bought Shake (which was a unix and windows app before). But I see the same arrogance again in making it unavailable to windows users. Bad luck if you happen to be working with shake on windows for years!!!
Same has happened with Emagic's Logic.
These are the same kind of tatics a lot of people on these boards accuse Microsoft of.

Schiffi
Jun 2, 2003, 03:37 PM
For my experience OSX has been more responsive than XP. Though the main gripe I have is that Premiere 6.5 has this capture audio sync problem that is driving my crazy!!! Other than that, I think TIMEKILLER should wait for Apples next line of computers. They should be faster that PC, if not then Apple may lose more Apple fans.

scem0
Jun 2, 2003, 05:11 PM
XP is either responds quickly, VERY slowly, or not at all (on my 2.4 GHz pentium 4).

nagromme
Jun 19, 2003, 01:25 AM
FYI I'm pretty sure, if you buy Final Cut Express, that you get FULL credit for that price if you later upgrade to Final Cut Pro. AFIK it's not a short-term deal or anything.

So to save some $$ you could see if FC Express does the trick, and if not, then upgrade without wasting any money. FC Express is supposed to do 99% of what most people used in the the second-to-most-recent (and highly acclaimed) version of FC Pro.

Just a thought. It's what I plan on doing!

Hold off on a PowerBook until new models come out in the next few weeks (probably just faster G4s and minor "revision B" design tweaks--but a better buy).

Good luck!