Is it time to switch to PC for pro video/photo? (Premier/LR)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by rawdawg, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. rawdawg macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    The 'is it time to switch' question pops up often as the hardware updates near the 'ridiculously overdue' end of the spectrum. But eventually an update tides us over. I feel this time may be different and genuinely want your feedback. FYI, I am a videographer/photographer but not a professional editor which is why I am asking your advice.

    I hate PCs. I would have bought a MacPro by now but I just bought a MBP 2 summers ago to update my portable needs and have been trying to hold off to lengthen the lifespan of my computer purchases. With the amount of data I have a desktop is long overdue.

    I am learning more and more that video editors are switching to premier. FCP was the only thing really holding me to Apple since for photo I use PS and LR. Has the switch from FCP to Premier pushed more towards PC in such a way that Macs may seriously loose there Pro cliental? Are Macs worth the extra cost anymore?

    In a nutshell is it time to switch?
  2. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    Not sure who is switching to Premiere and for what reason, but most of the professionals are using Avid Media Composer / Avid Nitris DX / Avid Nitris - Sympony-
    For the past couple of years I've been working in Europe for major Hollywood companies, and over there we were using Avid as well. It's industry standard. No matter what FCP fanboys say :)

    Anyways... I understand your concern about the refresh and I do feel the same way. If you hate PC's your best bet would be to build on heck of a Hackintosh ( :p ) . This way you can keep the upgradability of the rig, still have OSX and have a fast machine.

    Alternatively you can just wait forever till the new MP's come out. Intel and Apple really need to get their stuff together because this is getting ridicilous. really.

    Long story short, if you want to (willing to) build your own Hackintosh rig you don't need to ditch OS X
  3. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    Thanks Blunti,
    I considered building a hackintosh a few years ago but decided my lack of hacking abilities would result in more headache than anything else.

    My big time professional editor friends all use AVID, yes. I guess I'm speaking of the more shooter/editor category. Since I am not and don't plan to be a fulltime-bigtime editor my choice has always been FCP. But now I hear Premier is taking FCP's fan-base.

    What are people's thought in so far as that category of professional?
  4. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    Premiere is good, don't get me wrong. I guess I got carried away in my previous post. Sorry ;)

    How about investing in a new i7 mac mini with the discrete radeon gpu while waiting for the new MP? Not sure what your budget is, but I do see this as a viable option. I've been checking the mac mini forums quit frequently lately and many people are using the new i5/i7 minis for photo editing and some light video editing.

    Might wanna give that a try if you don't mind spending ~800 on a mini.

  5. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    I was PC only for a very, very long time. I bought a 9600/300 PowerPC Mac thingy in 1998 or 1999 maybe, and dropped $50,000 making it into a Media100 suite back then. I think it ran OS7 or OS8. That was my first Mac, and it was ok. I was also using Avid back then, but I didn't buy that system, so I don't recall what the specs were on the Mac for it.

    Then I built a PC edit suite that kicked the pants off the Media100, and I never really enjoyed editing in Avid anyway. I learned Premiere... I think it was right when the first Premiere Pro version came out. I liked it a lot. I built new PCs all the way up to CS2. Then in 2009, I bought my second Mac. 3.33GHz quad Mac Pro with 16GB RAM and Production CS3. I loved it, and still love this machine, especially after my latest updates: CS5 and a fast 10TB 8-bay tower in RAID3 via an Areca RAID controller.

    When CS5 came out, I was frustrated for a bit. I could see that the Adobe suite favored PCs pretty heavily with the nVidia / CUDA situation. I found a used GTX 285 for Mac card, and it works great, but I still prefer my 5870. It works better in After Effects, which I use heavily. You can build a better PC for the same or less money than a Mac system right now, and that is why if I were doing it all over TODAY, I'd be very likely to build a PC or maybe a Hackintosh system. I have some industry buddies that built a killer Hackintosh system into a giant Pelican case, where the lid flips up with a huge screen built in it, and they edit native RED footage in the field with it, powered off generators on location. It's amazing. I would never try that on my Mac Pro.

    Then there's the Thunderbolt thing happening now. I keep thinking it may level the playing field again, but I have yet to hear of anyone editing RED footage on a MacBook Pro/Air via TB, so maybe it's not there yet. I think that right now, the scale still tips to PC edit systems. FCP X hasn't helped that any. I love Snow Leopard, but I enjoy my buddies' Windows 7 as well.

    In the end, I think your preferences will have to help you make the call.
  6. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    What are you going to switch to? The new pc workstations with Sandy Bridge E CPUs?

    What exactly has Apple done to wrong you? Apple cannot magic CPUs.
  7. bluesteel, Aug 9, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011

    bluesteel macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2007
    i didn't like FCPX, so for now i'm training in Premiere/CS5. its not too bad. i don't feel i can rely on Apple as much anymore when it comes to pro software.

    there is no reason to move to a PC if your going to use Premiere. it runs great on my Mac Pro, and i like the stability and virus-free environment of OSX.

    for high-end professional film and television, Avid is industry standard...very, very powerful software.
  8. neech7 macrumors member

    May 31, 2011
    I can only take so much. Sorry.
  9. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I haven't gotten a virus on Windows in probably 6 years, and lets face it, you're not likely to get a virus unless you look at questionable sites at work.

    I got a Dell because I didn't see the point of paying 2x the price for a mac with less specs, especially when all of the software I will be using is cross-platform.
  10. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    What doesn't make it any easier is that Adobe won't give you the Windows and Mac version of their software on the same disks, like for example Maxon does. A combination of Windows desktop and Mac laptop would be quite nice, but if you rely on Adobe software keeping both versions up to date gets expensive.
  11. charliex5 macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I had to do the hackintosh route because I'm a poor architecture student and can't afford a Mac pro. I needed the power and prefer OSX but also need windows. I did a lot of research and landed on tonymac and his multibeast program. Installing OSX was actually easier and smoother than installing windows.

    Give his site a look. Here's a link to some absolutely compatible builds.

    Good luck!
  12. IceMacMac macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2010
    I have a 2008 Mac Pro, a 2009 Mac Pro and a 2011 MB Pro.

    But moving forward I'm very much considering Windows. As a 3d artist I just can't continue to settle for paying twice as much for video cards that are literally half as powerful.
  13. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    The OP talked about photo and video, not 3D.

    Unless you custom build a PC, a comparable high end workstation from HP or Dell will still set you back a size-able chunk of cash. I looked into hackintoshing for a while but there is always the problem of maintenance and updating. Just the time needed to assemble all the right components and then hacking OS X into shape seemed horrendous at the time. Although it may have improved since then, I quote the tonymacx86 site, which makes me think otherwise.
    Windows 7 64 bit is certainly not a bad OS, but I'm still convinced OS X still offers a much better feature set and ease of use. Just setting up complex networks in Windows is enough to drive me up the wall for example. And there is something to be said for Apple's after sales service.

    It seems the OP does not need to update TODAY. Why not wait for the Mac Pro refresh and decide then ? Looking at the upcoming Intel platform shows that Apple can make a killer box, wait and see is what I say.
  14. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    If you really want to test the waters, why don't you buy a copy of Windows 7 and install it on your Mac Pro and download a 30-day trial for Creative Suite?

    Intel is first scheduled to release new workstation parts at the end of the year, so no one has a hardware advantage. There are even price-parity in the high-end workstation market.

    I am not really seeing those working on Mac OS X on a daily basis to make the switch to Windows (if they do, make sure your workplace has a "swear"-jar so you can hold some awesome parties to drink the pain away).
  15. jlc1978 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2009
    One thing to look at is the cost of hardware + software if you switch vs just hardware if you stay with a Mac. Then, decide if the benefits you'll get from switching outweigh the costs. If you have to buy the OSX versions of Primer/CS5 anyway, then the costs are probably a wash; in that case I'd look at which version you prefer to use. I've tried some of Adobe's OSX software (Captivate) and find it to be a poor port of the Window's version. But that's just my experience - try them for yourself.
  16. rawdawg, Aug 10, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011

    rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    Thanks for all the advice, I believe all angles have been covered!

    Perhaps this thread would have been better titled "I'm sick of waiting for a MP, with Premier getting better these days (and FCP getting worse--FCPX) would it be worth switching to PC". I say that because, yes, I can hold out.... I just wish I didn't feel I had to.

    Unlike in my videography where I easily drop $10,000 I do not share that when it comes to computers. My most recent purchase of Cine style lens for $35,000 will be worth $35,000 in 10 years-- not the case with computers.

    The truth is I need to realize the value of a system that depreciates so rapidly in that it eases and speeds up my workflow. Although at this point I do not make any money editing, but if I had a decent system maybe I would.
  17. csiguy macrumors newbie


    Aug 4, 2011
    my two pennies...

    Most people that hate WinPCs hate them because they are not buying the proper kit, or they are installing too much garbage software. One of the big problems with the WinPC arena is that there is too much hardware and way too much cheap/crap hardware. Too many vendors, especially the brand names, try to fool you with "specs", but often deliver sub-quality and proprietary components -- try running an extensive FurMark or Prime95 on most Dell, HP, etc. and watch the unit fail in short order.
    Most 'brand name' PCs also load up their units with piles of useless crap software, some of which you cannot uninstall, all of which causes usually more headaches.

    Macs do not cost any more than an equally equipped WinPC built with high quality components. I've priced numerous high-end WinPC vs Mac Pro units and they are always within a few hundred $$.

    For WinPCs, too many people price out either "brand name" models from HP, Dell, etc., or assemble kits with the cheapest hardware.

    I own a small company that does work in the video game industry (mostly tools development but some art and 3D). All of my WinPC systems are custom built using high quality components. I've had 2 hardware failures (1 WD drive and 1 Samsung panel) and no system crashes/BSODs in well over 10 years.

    Since we do WinPC game development, the Macs are relegated to other tasks.
    Next year's hardware budget will include a new WinPC super-computer and a new Mac Pro.

    I have Mac and WinPC systems here. The WinPCs are every bit as stable and virus free.

    Anyone running a company must have system usage rules in place, even if it is a company with one employee.
    WinPC Viruses are typically caught from the Internet, so a dedicated Internet access computer should be used. I have both an inexpensive WinPC and a G5 specifically for this.
    Any person caught surfing on a workstation here is an automatic dismissal.
    Even drivers and software are downloaded on one of the Internet access systems, validated, then moved to the server file storage for network access.
    The workstations are also limited to just their specific software role, eg. software development, 3D and art, game development, etc. Other 'useless' software is not allowed on the systems, which reduces stomping and other related software issues.

    What cards are you using?
    For example Apple wants $250US for an AMD HD5770 1GB in the Mac Pro which is just fine considering the MSRP is $269US

    A proper custom built WinPC is pretty much on par price-wise with a Mac Pro. Actually for some of the components you will get a step above the Mac.

    Windows 7 (other than the idiotic changes to Windows Explorer) is a good OS imho.
    I'm not sure what 'complex network' you are trying to set up and why, but networking in Windows 7 is very easy. Just be sure to get Windows 7 Professional Edition and don't use the "kiddie" HomeGroup stuff.

    I agree about Apple service. Unfortunately they have too few stores in Canada. There isn't even an Apple dealer in my city.
  18. telequest macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2010
    Sticking with Mac - for now

    As someone who makes his living editing, using a combo of Final Cut Studio and Adobe CS Production Premium, I wasn't happy with Apple's launch of FCP X – and what it may mean for their attitude toward the pro creative market.

    But who knows, perhaps FCP X will evolve into a tool that even folks like me can grow to love? Meanwhile, Adobe CS runs great in the Mac OS, 64 bits and all ... even without a CUDA graphics card. And Avid is also cross platform. So there's no need to switch to PC if you want to run Premiere or Avid.

    A Mac Pro will probably maximize your options. You'll have the choice of running Avid's and Adobe's offerings in either the Mac or Windows OS environments ... and if Apple's new generation of video tools mature in useful ways, you'll have the option of them as well. With a PC you shut yourself out from Apple's possibilities ... and as others have noted, a PC workstation of equivalent quality won't really save you much.

    BTW, I'm not certain of this, but I think Adobe allows users to switch their CS licenses from Mac to PC and vice versa. Saw it somewhere on these forums. Best to call an Adobe rep to find out the details.
  19. getz76 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2009
    Hell, AL
    I can confirm that. Just have a drink or two ready to get you through that call; licensing support at Adobe can be very trying on the patience. I have been routed to US based support and overseas support. The latter was probably the worst I have ever experience from a decent-sized company.
  20. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    I think what you wrote makes a lot of sense. Windows 7 Pro runs very smoothly on both my 2010 MP 3.4GHz and on my late 2009 mini 2.66GHz.

    When I switched from PCs to Macs a couple of years ago I tried to do the Adobe cross-platform upgrade but it just never happened. Pictures were sent, faxes were exchanged but I got nowhere with them. Finally I bought the full Mac version of PS CS5. Now I'm glad I did because I can still upgrade my Windows CS3 for CS5 or 6.

    Given the direction that Apple is going, especially with Lion and FCP X, I'm glad that I have a lot of system flexibility into next year. The MP makes an excellent PC.
  21. zephonic macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2011
    greater L.A. area

    It may be overlooked, but Apple/OSX/Bootcamp makes some of the best WinPC's in the business!
  22. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    I'm going to chime in about the cost difference between building your own super-PC vs buying a MacPro. Some people here are making good points that the price difference is really not that much. But, try upgrading that Mac in a couple years and see how that goes. Where the PC shines is the ability to extend the shelf life with the ease of updating components. Sure, you can update certain things on the MacPro, but you'll pay a premium for parts (if you can get them) and it's really a hassle to get in there to swap processors or the motherboard. If you have a PC, everything is pretty much upgradable if you buy a good case to start with. Also, there are more options readily available for the PC that Apple doesn't support without jumping through a few hoops. Want Blu-ray? On a PC... no problem. Same thing goes for USB 3.0.

    Another issue is the software. If you run AVID, it is more stable on a PC. A lot of high-end finishing applications are optimized for a PC running Windows or Linux. Some programs aren't even available on the Mac. Even Adobe devotes more resources to the Windows community. It has a larger user base, and they don't have to deal with the finicky disposition of Apple software policies.

    And finally, Apple appears to be devoting it's primary resources to it's new business model of devices and entertainment content. They are slowly moving away from the Pro market. That alone is enough to justify making the switch. You get over to the PC side of things, the worries about what Apple is going to do with Final Cut or any other of their professional line of products disappears.
  23. csiguy, Aug 10, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011

    csiguy macrumors newbie


    Aug 4, 2011
    While I do agree with your post overall, it isn't always as easy as you make it out to be.

    For example, if you had purchased a previous-generation i7-8x0 system two years ago (Q3 '09) and now you want to upgrade to an i7-2600K Sandy... the CPU has changed from LGA1156 to LGA1155, so you need a new motherboard... most likely you bought the OEM Windows 7 Pro, so now you need a new copy of Windows (yes, the license does dictate this). So your initial CPU upgrade of $320 has now turned into $900 (plus taxes and installation) for the CPU, mobo, OS.

    Further, the i7-8x0 was most likely on a motherboard with SATA2 and USB2 and the new motherboard has SATA3 and USB3, so you'll also want a new SATA3 SSD, possibly new USB3 devices, etc.
    If the RAM was DDR3-1066 you may want 1600 (yes, this can make a difference depending on your usage).
    If your video card was two years old, you'll want a new one for sure.
    Now you may need a new P.S. to provide more wattage.

    By the time you are done with your "CPU upgrade" nothing is original except the case and keyboard... rather pointless to have done the upgrade this way if you are only saving a couple hundred bucks, you may as well have purchased a complete new system.

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