Advice needed for switching to PC

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by rawdawg, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. rawdawg macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    It's been a long time coming. My first Mac was back in the 80's. Only once did I get a PC in the late 90's and didn't like having to maintain and replace parts on it. I do not have the time or patience to spend maintaining a computer, which was why I was always a Mac guy. I have enough on my hands already, keeping up with computer issues isn't something I get excited about.

    I am a cinematographer and professionally I would like to be doing more in post requiring a capable computer. It doesn't seem I can rely on Apple caring much about their professional market.

    I have three concerns about this transition and was hoping to get advice from you all:

    1) Macs always last a long time. If I were to get a PC should I expect it to not last as long? Should I expect to do a lot of maintenance?

    2) Are there comparable MacPro options available or am I going to have to build this myself?

    3) I forget what #3 is.... :(

    I'm guessing I'll always keep a Mac on hand, for using iCal, Airplay to my AppleTVs, and other home use stuff.

    I should add I don't think Hackintosh would make sense because it was be so finicky to upkeep as well
  2. George Dawes macrumors 6502a

    George Dawes

    Jul 17, 2014
    Why not get a tricked out iMac 27 5k ?

    Quad core 4 ghz i7 isn't to be sniffed at
  3. Chicane-UK macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2008
    1. Microsoft seems to have turned over a new leaf in recent years, and provided you're willing to keep getting new versions of Windows, resource requirements between Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10 have been very similar so the same system will last you for years. Keep a close eye on malware, run antivirus, don't install tonnes of junk apps and there's no reason why your system should run problem free for years.

    2. If you want something comparable to a Mac Pro you want to look into, probably, the workstation offerings from the likes of HP and Dell. However the Intel desktop CPU's are so powerful now, you can probably comfortably get away with a high performance regular desktop rather than a specific workstation class system. There's no doubting the enclosures on these systems are nothing like as special as those on offer from Apple though.

    3. It's probably the frustration of Apple putting you in this position. Believe me, I understand. Tim Cook needs a firm roshambo'ing.
  4. aaronhead14 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2009
    NO iMac will ever be comparable to the powerhouse that a Mac Pro should be. People like us need 6,8, and 12 cores, NOT 4. And we need great GPUs, which aren't available in any iMac.
  5. v0lume4 macrumors 68000


    Jul 28, 2012
    Well if you're cool with staying in the Mac camp, @George Dawes makes a good point. However a Core i7 CPU isn't the same as an 8 core Intel Xeon for example.

    Building your own PC can be a lot of fun as well. And cheaper! :) However if you aren't willing to put in the time, I entirely understand. My answers to your questions:

    1) This is a heavily argued topic. I bought a (high-end at the time) Dell desktop ten years ago and it still works quite well. I've upgraded a few parts and reinstalled Windows a few times (something I have done on my Macbook as well), but the base computer works just fine. You'll find horror stories from others on these forums that talk about how their Windows PC crapped out after 6 months, but to be fair if you look hard enough you'll find similar stories with Macs as well. I personally don't think that one lasts longer than the other as long as there are quality parts inside. What do I mean by quality parts? If you buy a $200 computer from Walmart, don't expect it to last forever.

    A computer is a computer. A Mac is just a computer that runs macOS. I hope that someone chimes in with some manufacturer recommendations, as I don't have any unfortunately. I tend to build my own computers.

    2) PC's comparable to Mac Pros certainly exist! These are called workstation machines. So when you're searching for a Mac Pro-like PC, make sure that you specifically look for the word "Workstation." I said in my previous answer, I wish someone with more knowledge than me can make some recommendations, but I found this after a quick search on Dell's website: These are "Mac Pros," per se.

    3) Let us know when you remember #3. ;)
  6. aaronhead14 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2009
    I'm in the same boat. Love the Mac, but Tim is totally neglecting us. Personally, I'm building my own PC. I'll share my stuff with you:

    • Gigabyte GA-X99P-SLI Motherboard - $250 -
    • 6-core i7 6850K - $610 -
    • Cooler Master Heatsink - $28 -
    • 2x 16GB Ram Sticks - $176 -
    • Corsair 1000W Power Supply - $140 -
    • EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 - $650 -
    • Toshiba M.2 1TB SSD - $720 -
    • Corsair case - $60 -
    • ASUS 4K 32” 10-bit monitor - $1230
    • 4X Noctua fans - $80 -

    Or if you'd rather just buy a PC outright, the HP Z840 is probably the best Workstation out there for Pros.
  7. Chicane-UK macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2008
    The Dell Precision workstation has a fantastic range of options, including 30+ processor options with core count options up to 20 cores or more (depending on how flush you're feeling!) !!
  8. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    I would be open to a new iMac, I don't "need" a MacPro. But I'm not buying an iMac that old.

    Thanks, Chicane-UK. I do remember my old PC needing me to replace parts on it, which is what I meant.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 22, 2016 ---
    Thanks Aaronhead14, your list is helpful. So are you building this yourself? Do you expect to spend some serious time figuring it all out?

    Thanks agaion to Chicane-UK for that suggestion.
  9. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Dec 20, 2013
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    if you are hoping for the best bang for the buck, you probably want to wait for Intel to release the full powered core i and Xeons of the Kaby Lake architecture. probably late Q2 2017. this is probably when we will see new iMacs, Mac Pros and I'm speculating updated MacBook Pros. At that point we will have a much better idea of where Intel and Apple are heading and whether the move to Windows is necessary.

    if you are looking for reliability from a Windows machine you need to look at the machines PC makers call workstations. these are not only going to be the most powerful offerings but also the most well built (and with the best service and warranty). HP or Dell will have good options. I though find their websites near unusable. you would be best served by deciding what you want that machine to be and then calling and make them put it together for you. expect to be on the phone for a while. Workstations should also come with the cleanest Pro version of Windows and none of the bloatware that you will get on a $699 special from the local appliance center.

    as @aaronhead14 mentioned, you could also build your own if you feel up for it. that will definitely be the most cost effective route but then you are the providing service and support. if you really want to maximize your return on the dollar and get your hands a little dirty (and take on a little more risk), I've had great success going back a generation or two and buying used parts on eBay. the great thing about stepping back is that some parts drop to a fraction of their original selling price and things like cutting edge graphics cards cost the same no matter the machine you put them in.

    something else about getting a tower (now only Windows) is that you can grow it. Something that an iMac or the new Mac Pros will never let you do is throw in three large cheap hard drives and make a fast RAID that can hold multiple projects worth of res media and offer playback in real time.
  10. Chicane-UK macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2008
    I'm sure you could find a helpful local MacRumors 'vendor agnostic' enthusiast help you spec out and even build a system to your requirements.

    I'd help put together a spec but I'm a bit out of the loop on PC hardware these days!
  11. ITguy2016 Suspended

    May 25, 2016
    PCs can last a very long time. I'm still using one that's nine years old. It's had every version of Windows since Vista installed on it. Currently it's running Windows 10 and I have no plans to replace it anytime soon. Maintenance wise I do no maintenance on my PCs. I turn them on (actually most remain on 24/7) and use them.

    There are all kinds of options here. HP and Dell offer very nice workstation class systems. There are any number of second party offerings and then there's build your own if you want to go that route.

    My best advice to you is to approach this move with an open mind and do not expect the PC to be like a Mac. This latter part I can't stress enough. I suspect you're very familiar with the Macintosh...both positives and negatives. A move to a different platform is bound to emphasis the negatives because you're not used to them yet. Give it time and you'll find the new is no more difficult to use than the old. There will be things you like about it and there will be things you dislike about it. That's to be expected.
  12. TheMuffnMan macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2016
    PC's can and do last just as long. I just replaced my Dad's build that was 10 years old and the only reason was because the PSU failed.

    I built it in 2005-6 and it lasted until earlier this year. That was a dual-core AMD 4400+ with 4GB of memory.

    The new computer I built cost around $1200 and is insanely powerful.

    - i5-4460 (3.2Ghz quad core)
    - 16GB memory
    - ASUS Z97-A
    - Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo (heatsink)
    - Samsung 850 Evo (250 GB)
    - Seagate 2TB 7200RPM (storage)
    - Corsair 750W PSU
    - LianLi PC60 (case)

    He just needed integrated graphics but this thing colds boot to logon screen completely loaded in 5 seconds, seriously insane.

    Regarding your specific questions, personally I'd recommend the following two websites:

    PCPartPicker - helps walk you through a build. It only shows compatible components with your selection and searches for the best pricing across multiple sites.

    Reddit's /r/BuildAPC - these guys can critique your build and help make suggestions. Very helpful community.

    You don't mention your price point at all which is a big part of it. Your value of performance per dollar goes much further if you build it yourself however I understand wanting a single phone number to call for support should something go wrong.

    I haven't even seen it mentioned yet, but the new Surface Studio from Microsoft is aimed at professional graphics people, not sure if you'd be down for that.
  13. Hank Carter macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2015
    I just switched. Wanted a HP z840, but it was a little too steep for me. I ended up with a Dell 7810 workstation which I purchased factory refurbished from their outlet store at incredible savings. Dual Xeon 10 core and it smokes the fastest Mac out there.

    Unless you are the technical type I would suggest against building a workstation and getting one from HP or Dell. Maybe Lenovo, but I don't know enough about them.

    So far Windows 10 has been a pleasant surprise. Without a doubt it requires a little more work than MacOS, but it's not the end of the world.

    My two biggest challenges are transferring all of my data from the Mac RAID to the new PC RAID and Quicktime output under Win10.

    I would have preferred to stay on the Mac, but Apple has left me with no choice after being a loyal customer for the past +20 years. I'll still keep my MacBook for daily use like email etc. but the heavy lifting will be done on the PC.
  14. poematik13, Nov 22, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016

    poematik13 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2014
    So you're a cinematographer, OP?. Not sure what level of the industry you're at, but if prores is part of your clients or your acquisition workflow, just know that you won't be able to legally work with it (encode) on Windows. The bevy of shareware/DIY FFMPEG-based prores encoders for windows will not pass network or studio QC. The only non mac alternative for that would be running Resolve on CentOS (linux). If you're on Avid/DNXHD then it doesn't really matter, I guess. Do you have manage the post? You can cut/color the project on the PC and then roundtrip the EDL into a mac for the prores render/encoding.

    Anyway, if you're looking for a solid PC workstation, consider something from Puget Systems. They prioritize quiet cases/fans and elegant-ish layouts just like Apple. Just BYO GPU's because they charge stupid prices for 1070's or 1080's.

    But really, I suggest you go for a maxed out 5K iMac (its not "old" as you said...unless you think a 4ghz skylake i7, 64GB ram, 1Tb pci-e ssd, 5K 10bit screen, and m395x 4GB are old lol) and remote into a cluster when you need a little more power. Windows isn't ready for primetime when dealing with filmmaking workflows. Their 10bit color is still all over the place and isn't as systemwide and elegant as the way macOS does it, prores is missing, and constantly worrying about driver updates and security scans is annoying. Not to mention W10 has questionable data collection practices that you have to use tools like shutup10 to remove. Oh yeah, and thunderbolt 2 (and now 3) is a godsend and many people in my part of the industry can't live without it.
  15. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    Thanks to everyone for your advice.
    For poematik13, I only just started provided colorist services through Resolve which is something I enjoy. It's been since FCP7 was new since I've edited but I wouldn't mind messing around again.... (jesus, think about that, that's how long ago Apple gave up on us Professionals..) As for ProRes, it took the past 5 years to convince clients to accept it, so it's kind of funny how importance it appears it is based on your comment. DNxHD was always preferred up until this year for what I do. Are you saying I can still use ProRes inside Resolve on a PC?

    But yes, I do consider a 5K iMac not only old but overpriced.
  16. aaronhead14 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2009
    Resolve can only encode ProRes on macOS and Linux. (But to qualify for the Linux dongle you need to buy the $30,000 control surface). Resolve, however, can decode ProRes on Windows.
    The only legitimate way to encode ProRes on Windows (that I'm aware of) is with Scratch.
  17. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    Thanks aaronhead. There's plenty of other codecs to encode to so I'm not concerned about that. It's good to know I can still work with ProRes if I went PC.
  18. orph macrumors 68000


    Dec 12, 2005
    #19 are well liked i think if your American.
    if your a pro check after sales support and advice.

    i know a lot of "mac" users who install lots of bloat ware, never empty trash and operate with only 2GB free on a HD (not SSD HD), so mac's can be as slow as a pc badly looked after.

    if you keep it as a work box, dont instal bloat and never rush to update the os or apps or drivers when it's working well im shore it'll work fine.

    and if you need some mac apps get a macbook air or something cheep for lifestyle etc
  19. JimGoshorn macrumors 6502


    Mar 8, 2009
    As another person considering the change, I have been emailing with Puget for a while and they are definitely interested in happy customers and seeing that they buy a system that is right for them. Also of note, they don't install extra bloatware, just Windows itself.
  20. ITguy2016 Suspended

    May 25, 2016
    One doesn't have to worry about driver updates. Windows has them available but you don't have to update to them. As for security scanning I don't worry about that either. Windows comes with its own A/V and it is not intrusive at all.
  21. simonmet macrumors 68000


    Sep 9, 2012
    You obviously need to determine your requirements specifically as that will inform the size and form factor. Then find a case design that you like that meets those needs. There are some reasonably attractive cube-style designs such as the Corsair Carbide Air 240 and 540. If you want lots of internal storage or plan to run two or more high power GPUs you're better off with a bigger case (like the 540), otherwise most micro-ATX and mini-ATX cases can handle a decent CPU and one high power, full-sized GPU.

    Find a computer builder that specialises in either workstation or gaming setups and discuss your requirements with them. Get the most efficient power supply you can.
  22. poematik13, Nov 25, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016

    poematik13 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2014
    Sorry but I just cant take you seriously and participate in professional discussion when you say things like what I bolded.

    You sound like an easily impressionable videographer and less like a "cinematographer" like you claimed, what with most of your opinions taken straight from tech blogs. Very little of what you said seems rooted in actual industry experience as a DP.

    Your prores comment was especially hilarious. Like you've never heard of the Alexa or worked with one.

    And for the record, no, you can't encode prores on Resolve PC. But as the other user said, you can decode it i.e ingest it.

    Yes, and the license for that 650/year, so definitely out of OP's price range.
  23. Hank Carter macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2015
    I hope the industry dumps Prores across the board. Keeping Prores encoding exclusive to the Mac while peddling poorly designed and overpriced 4 year old hardware, as a 'pro workstation' is just giving the entire business the middle finger.
  24. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    --- Post Merged, Nov 25, 2016 ---
    I don't care much for your attitude. You know nothing about me and have said very little that has impressed me. No, I do not work in post. But I am an operator in the 600 union and for some reason HBO just keeps hiring me, so maybe I do know a little something.
    I would like to do more coloring because it's making me a stronger DP for when I work with colorists and also pays extra on the lower end jobs. Go back to trying to impress someone else
    --- Post Merged, Nov 25, 2016 ---
    By the way I do work on Alexa's but not nearly as much as F55's. Not everyone uses your workflow. Grow up. Chances are I'm not only older than you but may have more experience than you. I started shooting in the 90's.

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