Macs vs. PCs in content creation

Discussion in 'Hardware Rumors' started by Kethoticus, Dec 10, 2001.

  1. Kethoticus macrumors 6502


    Sheesh. Just skimmed through DV magazine's January issue, which features a workstation round-up. People, I was not impressed. In fact, I was DEpressed. The dual-800MHz G4 was blown away by the other workstations—all Win-x86 (one by Dell, Compaq, HP, and two by Polywell).

    I'm starting to think that the PC bias against Macs is not unfounded. Folks, help me out here. Does anyone have INDEPENDENT and RELIABLE evidence to show that the Mac is indeed capable of keeping up with its Windows-based brethren? To the best of my judgement, DV mag is not platform-biased, so these figures they came up with are especially disturbing.

    I know that the Mac has some ease-of-use features and software bundles with their machines that make them very reliable, and sometimes what you lose in rendering time you can make up for in productivity when your Mac is easy to troubleshoot. But nonetheless, to see that in some cases, the latest Macs would take almost twice as long to render a file as a Windows workstation priced just over $US4G is most disheartening.

    Not looking for a platform war, just some facts.
  2. Buggy macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2001
    With the recent release of "finalcut pro 3" the windows machines can not have any claim to being faster at rendering times without spending thousands of dollars on video cards. This then makes macs cheaper for compareable render times.

    It has been frustrating trying to find some video cards for Macs, but now that I am almost fully digital (firewire) I don't really worry about looking ofr a "great" video card.

    Card support is an issue in windows machines. Unless you are a techy or have a friend that is then stay away from the windows boxes...they are currently too glichy. They work. But look out for headaches.

    Sorry I do not have any "data" after I did my research a couple of years ago on deciding which machine to buy I have not kept up with the data. But I can tell you from personal experiance that render times are frustrating...but I can deal with that (washroom breaks, make a coffee, read and artical in a magazine..) But trying to debug a problem!!!! that to me is not productive even if it takes 1/2 the time as the longer render. That time is wasted time and frustrating "non creative time". Completely blocks the creative process.

    Check out final cut pro 3. I just ordered my upgrade and am anxiously awaiting its delivery.
  3. Kethoticus thread starter macrumors 6502



    Buggy wrote:

    "But trying to debug a problem!!!! that to me is not productive even if it takes 1/2 the time as the longer render. That time is wasted time and frustrating "non creative time". Completely blocks the creative process."

    Actually, I was writing a member of the Softimage user group about XSI being ported to the Mac, that DV article, etc., and he mentioned that Maya speed on a Mac had been disappointing during a SIGGRAPH demo. However, he also mentioned the same thing you did, about troubleshooting being so much easier. He said that he just got over a 27-or-so-hour period of trying to fix a problem in 2000. That, of course, was also time wasted.

    "Check out final cut pro 3. I just ordered my upgrade and am anxiously awaiting its delivery."

    Oh I am. I'm waiting to get a little more money and a G4 upgrade to my B&W G3 (or just a new G4 this January). But again, it boils down to money.
  4. tomfitz1138 macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2001
    Render Times aren't everything

    I have been working in post production for over 6 years and this debate has been raging since I first started. I use both systems on a regular basis so I believe that I can be fairly un biased in this question. So to the point...

    I currently use a Dual Processor 500 G4 and a Dual 1GZ P111 SGI machine. Without a doubt, the PIII renders most things faster, but the fact is, I can get work done significantly faster on the Mac. Windows has some very serious problems when it comes to work practices - little things that add up to slow your productivity. For example, my PIII is fitted with a wildcat graphics board (about 2K$ worth) but when it comes to moving windows under any kind of processoer load forget it. Windows open / save dialog boxes always revert to default every time you open them, making it difficult to work with multiple versions (viewing by date modified).

    When rendering on Win2000 you can pretty much forget about doing anything else. The other day, I was rendering on my Mac (under OS-X) in both Lightwave and AfterEffects, while copying frames across the network to our Flame system, at the same time burning a CD. (no kidding) When rendering on the PC windows just grinds to a halt.

    Networking on Windows 2K is a joke. Again both my machines are 100baseT connecting to Flame (SGI Octane 100base T) and transferring the same amount takes two to three times longer on Windows. This is even true doing a Windows to Windows transfer, compared to a Mac to Mac transfer.

    These are just some of the problems I have faced. I could go on for hours, but you get the picture. Many companies are dictating policy to operators and artists based on ill informed information by people who don't work with these systems on a daily basis. At the end of the day, any advantage of increased render times is completly negated by all the time you spend wrestling with your system as opposed to actually getting work done.

    Just my two cents worth !!!
  5. Kethoticus thread starter macrumors 6502


    Your 2 cents...

    ...was well worth it. I appreciate that. Yes, it does seem that the Mac has workflow / productivity advantages.

    On a personal note, I too have worked in a biplatform environment, but never noticed the things you spoke of. In fact, there didn't seem to be a noticeable difference between the systems in most things. There were tradeoffs like NT's memory management, and its greater stability. But the Mac was easier and more straightforward in other areas (I mean, to hafta press Alt-0150 just to get a frickin' m-dash--or whichever type that produces in Windows--is just plain ridiculous).

    But rendering time is an issue. I hope they can get those speedier G4s out soon (no, I'm not biting the G5 rumorbait just yet).
  6. Onyxx macrumors regular

    May 5, 2001
    PC = no FCP

    you also have to take into account that the pc's don't have Final cut pro. I have worked with primere, Avid xpress, and final cut pro and FCP has always come out on top when it came to ease of use, lack of problems (primere on a windows box crashes every 15 minutes), and actually getting things done without haveing "fatal error" pop up. Now that FCP 3 is out, those big "real time card" manufactures are going to get a run for their money. FCP replaces half of what a 6 grand card costs for less than a grand (300 educational!)! just my 2 cents on the issue
  7. Kethoticus thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mac software

    Good point. The Mac does have some software advantages. But still. It bugs me that I could buy a $700 Dell system packing a 1.4GHz P4 (inefficiencies or not), 128MB of RD-RAM, a 20-gig HD, a floppy drive, a CD burner and a 15" or 17" monitor (forget which), where the best Mac I can get for that price has a 10-gig HD, 128MB SD-RAM, CD-ROM (no removable media of any sort), a 15" monitor and a 400MHz G3--a 2 1/2-year-old processor.

    I'm not Mac-bashing here folks (I wouldn't have registered here if I was a Mac-hater). I love the Mac. It has a fantastic user environment and a "fun factor" that the PC simply can not match. But in terms of raw pragmatism...

    I dunno. I'm thinking of getting a PC *and* a new Mac when I get employed again. The Mac would probably be my internet and video editing box and the PC would be my 3D app box.
  8. Ensign Paris macrumors 68000

    Ensign Paris

    Nov 4, 2001
    just don't buy dell

    If you buy a Windoze box, you could put Linux on it!

    The only advice I have got is not to by Dell, Dells suck big time. My company bought 24 new dells the other day and 3 of them didn't work on arrival and the others were just build poorly.

    Get Compaq or HP.

    Also, Dell is Apples main rival so help apple and get an iMac.

  9. Kethoticus thread starter macrumors 6502


    Hey Ens Paris...

    You wrote:

    "If you buy a Windoze box, you could put Linux on it!"

    That is an option I've considered. Don't know if I'll be able to get my hands on Win2000 legally anymore, and XP, well, you can just plain forget that!

    "The only advice I have got is not to by Dell, Dells suck big time. My company bought 24 new dells the other day and 3 of them didn't work on arrival and the others were just build poorly."

    I'm surprised. In every workstation roundup I read (including the relative platform-blindness of DV magazine), the Dell workstations clean up the competition. My only problem with Dell's boxes is their unhealthy obsession for Intel and MS products. I've never heard of a Linux-driven Dell, and they STILL have yet to adopt anything by AMD.

    "Get Compaq or HP."

    HP maybe. Compaq? Never. I've read consistently substandard things about their boxes.

    Actually, if I do ever decide to get a Win/Lin/x86 workstation, it'll probably be one of three possibilities:

    a) a Polywell Athlon;

    b) a Boxx Athlon; or

    c) a custom-built Athlon.

    And it would be a SP unit utilizing DDR-RAM. Besides, with the Polywell and custom-built options, I can get this incredible brushed aluminum case. Wow. Whatta beautiful case that is. Don't know the name of the manufacturer though.

    "Also, Dell is Apples main rival so help apple and get an iMac."

    Might do this for my girlfriend's oldest daughter when she graduates junior high.
  10. mymemory macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2001
    My point of view

    PC's have good attributes over Macs in many ways, but down sides in others. In rendering PC's are more flexible, but you have to know how to set up your computer to do that, that mean that not any body can do it.

    For example: In my office there are 4 PC's and one Mac. We are doing a CD-Rom in visual basic. The same CD-Rom could be made in director but no one knows lingo that well. So, yesterday when we need to compile the software, 3 of the PC's COULN'T DO IT because problems with the OS and the software version. The programmer spends the entire day finding out how to compile something. So they had to take a 4th computer, reinstall the system and the version of Visual Basic for THAT system. I do not remember having half of that problem in experience as a Mac user in 8 years. So, what about if you didn't have a spare PC to try out the software? That is another question. So, you need to have some degree of computer science to resolve that issue? Because I do not see that you need a college degree to do something in Flash or Director.

    But definitely to use a PC you need a lot of experience and usually, to accomplish a job, more than one.

    I rather have a G4 400 than a 2GHz Pentium. The processor speed is not going to resolve any problem, as long there is not a quality control between the hardware, software and OS manufactures. There are too many people producing crap for PC's out there in hardware and software. And 90% of the really good ones produce the same software and hardware for Macs in very high quality standards.

    PC's are more flexible if you know how, but that is the point. 80% of the PC's at home are doing the same as a Mac but with 200% more problems.

    Another example. My mother has a Pentium something. That computer came out at same time when the first generation iMac came out too. That computer is slow and is impossible to upgrade, even the ram is a hell. Now, I'm about to get her for Christmas a use iMac (266MHz) from the same year because I know it will work for her ($400). That is what you are getting when you get a Mac, something that worth something not a piece of appliance.

    If you compare prices and features PC’s will looks good, but for me PC’s are like Fiat against TOYOTA, or a Geo Metro against a Corolla (even Corollas in the US looks cheaper than here).

    PC’s are selling you features at a good prices but the do not sell ratability.

    So, if you want to buy a computer that will last you (if you are not an obsesive buyer) for a long time, get a Mac.
  11. zuffen macrumors member

    Nov 16, 2001

    I made a comment previously on this DV article.

    Ignoring obvious price differences. I'm not happy about the prices either but if that is what Apple feels it has to do to stay in business and it works, why fix it if ain't broke.

    I'll still pay the extra money for a MAC, but not as often . I think it would benefit Apple to sell machines to individual repeat buyers at a substantial discount. Someone has to keep the hype alive right!

    The hardware stack up was not even and thus the comparison was flawed.

    None of the PCs were base line configured.

    You won't be able to go into Comp USA and find any PC with a SCSI card. Rambus ram and DDRram in a consumer machine are not common. And you won't find scsi raid arrays.

    So the article is ********.

    Now if you dropped SCSI into the mac, set up a raid you would see a more balanced comparison.

    The current specs on a MAC don't allow for higher speed ram. We can speculate that will be fixed at MWSF.

    You can argue about interface on NLE's and price all day long. I still feel that FCP is the leader in the under 30K range. As soon as some one comes up with a real time real world hardware render box for the MAC and FCP you will see total market domination.

  12. menoinjun macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2001
    Wow...this is one of the most interesting threads I've ever read!! Just a couple of things.

    Not to bash adobe, but if find FCP much much easier to use for EVERYTHING than Premiere. The software just doesnt seem to match up in the user interface. This says nothing of course for the quality of Premiere, which is top noch and I know it is fast, but the learning curve for FCP is much easier.

    NEVER EVER EVER buy a Compaq, and try to say away from HP. I work in retail, so trust me. Most of the machines that come back are those, and it's not just because they sell a ******** of them. Go for Apple (of course!) sony or dell. I know sony is quality, and so is dell (from experience) and dell's customer service is absolutely incredible.

    Since I don't know too much about the specifics of video production...ill shut up now. Bye

  13. neut macrumors 68000


    Nov 27, 2001
    here (for now)

    i am a a/v designer (mostly print design and audio creation), and i'm just getting into web design and video production. i've used PC's my whle life (since DOS), and have only used Macs for the past 5 years. i don't care how fast a PC is – i will always prefer working or playing on a Mac. I own a dual 450 G4, a 400 iMac, and an aging Micron PC. I love my Macs. I could never say that about any PC i've ever used. Apple just opens up my creativity even before i open the box; the PC's never did that for me. @ work we had 4 G3 Blue and White's and 1 Ghz PC. A couldn't stand that thing. I could never conciously work on it with the Macs there. Speed doesn't matter anymore. All computers are pretty quick nowdays.

    if i ever do buy a PC for some reason i'll probably get a sony. there pretty ****ing cool for a PC, but hopefully by that time i won't have to run windows.


    *i play my G4 in a band live on stage. people love to see that thing up there. they are amazed to see such a computer. When I played my PC; well . . .
  14. Onyxx macrumors regular

    May 5, 2001
    a multi tasking creature

    Heres another example of why I create on macs. Right now I am editing in Final Cut Pro, Rending a 720X480 animation in Cinema 4d xl, listening to my mp3 collection with Sound Jam, and writing this post in IE5; all on a POWERBOOK G3 400! Name the pc that will do that without choking. Sure it doesnt do everything at breakneck speeds, but it's great that I can edit, render, and listen all at the same time from a hotel room.
  15. Kethoticus thread starter macrumors 6502


    ptrauber wrote...

    "Wow...this is one of the most interesting threads I've ever read!!"

    It's great because everyone here is contributing to it in an intelligent and thoughtful manner. No one's turned this into a flame fest yet, and no one's taken anything I've said about PCs personally. I've learned a lot, too, and have appreciated the various comments made.
  16. Buggy macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2001
    Here is another anecdotal report.

    Just got back from my parents. My parents were so impressed by the ease of editting video on my G4 with iMovie that they decided to get a system of their own. So my father shopped around and bought a HP!!!! He didn't want to buy the Mac because it was too expensive. So there we are; myself, my brother and father sitting infront of the HP trying to configure the software to talk to the Dazzle breakout box (he has an analog camcorder). Seems to work for a bit then my brother instals a web cam and some other software..and guess no longer works.

    Honestly I wasn't much help. But it definately made me feel better for buying a Mac in the first place. I am sure someone with more skills in PC's could get it working. I am sure after awhile even lowly old me could get it working. But I am a user, not a Techy. I use my computer to create. I don't use my computer because I love to use computers. I would much rather spend that time reading a book.

    But to each their own.
  17. britboy macrumors 68030


    Nov 4, 2001
    Kent, UK
    in a couple of days i'm going back to england for christmas (i'm at university in germany). It's probably going to great to see the family and all that, but guess what's waiting for me at home? A PC that i set up for my mum before coming over here, that has now developed serious memory leakage problems (bloody Windows ME). For the past month she's been having to use her 5 year old PowerPC 7600/135, which still does everything she wants. This PC is less than a year old, and already i've had to completely reinstall all the stuff on it. Kind of makes me really glad i brought my PBG4 with me instead of the PC! What good is a top of the range desktop if it won't even work for more than a month before you have to gut the thing?

    Stick with macs, whatever the cost...
  18. MacAztec macrumors 68040


    Oct 28, 2001
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    This is a returning message to Kethoticis talking about you get more in a PC for 799. Do you get 2 firewire ports? Do you get USB? Do you get an optical mouse? Do you get linux? Exactly my point
  19. Kethoticus thread starter macrumors 6502


    Hey Mac_User

    You wrote:

    “This is a returning message to Kethoticis talking about you get more in a PC for 799. Do you get 2 firewire ports? Do you get USB? Do you get an optical mouse? Do you get linux? Exactly my point”

    But you see, that’s where the PCs have the edge: price/performance/features ratios of the hardware. The advantages described by everyone who’s contributed to this thread have been software-based (not that that’s a bad thing).

    The PCs have MORE features, on average, hardware-wise, than Macs currently do for the same buck. But everyone here, and even on a PC-leaning mailing list I’m on for Softimage, have said the same thing: for all the power of x86 hardware, the OS and apps themselves are such a pain in the wazoo, that the extra performance and peripherals provided for a mere $800 just are not worth it. They’d rather get their work done than work on trying to get their machine to work properly.

    In fact, one guy on this list wanted a Mac OS X version of XSI 2.0 (not gonna happen, but that’s another story). I wrote him privately about that DV magazine story, and he agreed: PCs have the better hardware and the better price, but he recently spent 27 hours STRAIGHT fixing a problem in Windows 2000. That’s time he could’ve spent working on his project. He said the admittedly slower Mac rendering times are a price worth paying for greater amounts of uptime that he feels a Mac would have provided.

    I guess it all depends on the user. Some love to mess around with, tinker, re-configure, etc., etc., their boxes. Some of us just want to get to our work and not *****-foot around with things.
  20. Unregistered Guest

    hi, i´m really a pc user, althoug i worked in video editing with both systems. i also read the dv article, it surprissed me cause that mag usually likes macs. now i have a dual processor running a matrox digisuite le. clearly i´m not a techy. i use my machine to create and work so time is really important to me. my machine has like 3 years old and has 4 usb ports, like most of mothers. you can also get mothers with 2 processors since years ago and also including fast drive controllers. i know, for you this seems new, but for us, we are used to it. maybe that´s why you think it´s for techys. i´m also a nt/2000/xp pro user, so stability for me is a reallity. i can burn cd´s, surf the internet, render... well i don´t usually do more things because i have a pair of eyes and another pair of hands, but i could, because the system can take it, and i don´t waste time telling the machine how much ram she has to use. the optical mouse is indeed a microsoft invention ( those devils!!! ) so i use it too. and the best part of all is, i can choose!!!! what drive do i want to burn dvd´s? dunno let´s chek the pionneer, or the panasonic or that new sony... yes, we pc users like to choose. in the end you have to use what you like to use or use what you use best. in case you want to make 3d, well, get a pc, and in case you like to choose get a pc too, cause you´ll find one according to your money and start working now, and if you work a lot, well, buy more pc´s because i´m really sure of one thing: THEY ARE TERRIBLY FASTER!
    bye! don´t take this personal:D
  21. Unregistered Guest

    ahh, i forgot, you can add a plug n´play dv in/out for 35$ from western digital (cheap, ain´t it?). yes, it works with every ohci compliant dv machine.
  22. Onyxx macrumors regular

    May 5, 2001
    This must be an isolated case because my school just bought a brand new PC based dv editing system with adobe primere 6 rt, 10 ultra 160 drives, 2 lcd monitors, dual pIII's, and a targa 3k realtime board for a song and then some and Well, you can't edit on the thing for more than 15 minutes because it has an addiction to crashing horribly (running win2k).It sounds like a boeing 777 taking off when you turn it on and many other little quibbles but come on, 15 minutes of use followed by 3 min restart (at least) and 5-15 min fixing the work you lost!

    Not to mention that primere sucks a monkey's @ss and the lcds are set up in such a way that evey little window, alert (including fatal errors ;)) pops up between the two screen so you cant read it. I'm sure this machine is a real "bargain" and i'm sure that it definate improves the work flow but the truth is that I get 10 fold productivity out of my humble g3 400 pismo! I edited in FCP 2 (soon to be 3) for 6 hours straight and didn't run into a single problem. Hmmm that sounds like 6 hours useable time for me rather than 3 hours actuall editing done on the high end monstrosity (this thing was "professionally built" by the way and has quite an extensive warrenty as well as tech support staff; who seem to add something new to the "you need this to do that" list everytime they atempt to fix something)

    Sure you may get a cheaper and faster machine, but for me the reliability, available software, and knowing that my 6 hours of sweat and blood won't be destroyed because my machine can't handle it, are worth the extra bucks to me. And once again, Final Cut Pro does not exist for the PC! Sure there is Avid and Edit but there also big stickers attached to those apps. When you compare the extra money of the apps to that of a decent Mac Tower or even the kick ass new iMac it just doesn't make sense. Not to mention that I am doing everything that the pro PC is doing but my machine is significanty older and "slower" (when i factor in the frequency of the PC's crashes my powerbook is just as or more efficiant as the real time monster). Hey im not going knock you're preference of using a PC to edit with, but untill you've edited a long piece in Final Cut Pro 3 on a dual processor G4 (any DP G4!!) i don't think you could possibly be able to say that a pc is worth the extra trouble (and they ALWAYS are) when it comes to handing high quality video in on time to an eager client. then again, it may just be an isolated case of good fortune with editing on PC's ;)
  23. Falleron macrumors 68000


    Nov 22, 2001
    Re: Mac software

    Any money u save on actually buying the computer could well be offset when you come to repair the pc or need technical support!
  24. PyroTurtle macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2001
    10 Minutes from Disneyland
    what's the point in the PeeCee's if they don't have the software?
    most companies in all reality could care less about the cost in the end...
    the fact is, what gets the job done?
    does the windows machine get your work done?
    does the mac machine do it?
    go with what works for YOU!
    as for me, i use macs, they do everyhtin and then some...
    XSI and EverQuest are the only apps i miss being a solid mac user and having a titanium 400...
    however, only in 3D editing does the PeeC have a real "lead" in cause there's crap for software in the mac department for 3D development...
  25. Ifeelbloated macrumors regular

    Jan 14, 2002
    some God forsaken place
    I'm hoping to God that Apple brings out some major dual processing power to the upcoming pro line. It sorely needs it. I just received my Final Cut Pro 3 upgrade and Lightwave 7.0b for OS X. They are waiting for the new machines. This waiting is killing me. I'm still in school and need to have this stuff up and running before the spring semester starts. I'm not sure my beige G3 upgraded to a G4 can handle those programs. I plan to use it run Photoshop 7 and Illustrator 10 eventually and the new machine will handle the others. Come on Apple, IMPRESS me!

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