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Hardware advice- get the Mac Pro OR switch to PC?

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jim bachalo
Hardware advice- get the Mac Pro OR switch to PC?
on Oct 20, 2013 at 2:44:46 pm

I seriously need to shorten my render times, as well as improve live playback performance.
I currently own a 2 yr old 27"iMac which is barely adequate for most HD projects but as a filmmaker who also does all his own color grading and post work, my iMac is quickly becoming a bottleneck. NO GPU support and LONG render times once I start adding any sort of filters or effects.

I'm REALLY tired of having to 'upgrade' my Mac every couple years, and really can't afford it anymore.

Is anyone reading this in the same boat and considering either the new Mac Pro or possibly switching to a PC?

In addition to After Effects I also use Davinci Resolve which has pretty hefty GPU demands, though seems to have an amazing rendering engine, much quicker than AME in my informal resting.

Local is the new global

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Ridley Walker
Re: Hardware advice- get the Mac Pro OR switch to PC?
on Oct 21, 2013 at 7:36:05 pm

This can be a thorny issue, its really no wonder that you've had no response. There are still strong opinions on all sides of the OS / hardware debate.

I think the real questions are what software you intend to use, how big your budget is, – what other consequences arise from switching platforms that may affect peripherals, transfer of software licenses etc, – and how comfortable you might be switching.

Performance on a high-end PC currently outstrips the top MacPro, at a cost. Its easy to spend 10-12k building a super machine. Apple is releasing a new Mac Pro soon but its cost and specifics aren't yet known.

Its clear that there are more configuration options on the PC side, more video cards, larger cases to accommodate drives, upgradeable processors. If you'd prefer to buy off-the-shelf HP makes some terrific workstations, the Z820 and Z600.

As far as the software goes, you'll barely notice a difference between the Windows and OSX versions.

And if you are brave, you could always try a dual boot PC, Windows and Hackintosh.

I'm still working on a 2 1/2 year old 12 core Mac Pro that I've upgraded with a stock nVidia card and 64GB of RAM which still serves my current needs.

My next machine may not be a Mac. I built a low end Hackintosh this summer to see how difficult it was, it proved to be trivial. The machine is stable and hasn't crashed once, though I'm just using it as a media server, not for real work.

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Walter Soyka
Re: Hardware advice- get the Mac Pro OR switch to PC?
on Oct 22, 2013 at 3:11:04 pm

I was a Mac guy for a long time, but I added PCs to my little shop two years ago when HP sent me a Z800 to evaluate. I liked it enough that I bought a couple more HPs. I'm even thinking about replacing my MacBook Pro (my daily-use laptop) with one of the new ZBook.

I agree with Ridley that you have more performance options on the PC side, and that once you're in the software, the OS doesn't matter all that much. I have actually come to like quite a few things about Windows, and I've also come to realize that my worries about viruses and stability on Windows were out-of-date prejudices. This is heresy in some corners, but it turns out there are even a few things I actually like better about Windows than OS X.

That said, Jim, let's come back to this discussion after the new Mac Pros are announced so that we can evaluate price/performance, not just absolute performance.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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