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Advice on Avid Workstation: Mac or PC?

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jack wormell
Advice on Avid Workstation: Mac or PC?
on Sep 1, 2012 at 10:24:00 am

Hi All

I know this is a long post but hopefully I'll get some expert advice.

In about a month or so I want to buy myself an edit setup and I need a fair bit of advice as to which way to go: PC or Mac.

My situation is this: I'm looking to spend about £1,800, maybe a little more, to run Avid Media Composer 5.5 (but as soon as it is installed I will upgrade to 6) and possibly After Effects as well, but that's less important.
So first off, I need the whole compatibility issue with the latest MAC OS and Avid cleared up. At the moment I am sharing a Mac Pro with someone. It had Snow Leopard and I installed and ran Media Composer 5.5 on it no problem. Then the other user of the computer ugraded to Lion and has the newest patch of that. Avid began to act funny, it took ages to open etc and I learned that the latest Lion upgrade didn't have the Avid seal of approval. I use it, but there are a couple of glitches.
So, if I buy a new iMac 7 (which will no doubt have Mountain Lion on it) can I successfully install Avid 5.5 from the the disc I have, and then upgrade to Avid 6? Because if this will be a problem then I better go for a PC straight off the bat...

Next: In everyone's humble opinion what is the best option? I, personally, know Mac's a lot better, but I use Avid on a PC at work and I'm learning more about them everyday. People say PC's are cheaper but is this factoring in buying a monitor etc? I also would like to have at least 8GB RAM. I will be using the computer for basic editing of my own films so I want it powerful enough to do a bit of online but I don't need it so powerful as to edit R3D or H.264 files natively; I'm happy with the AMA to transcode process.
I'm keen to go with PC as I think there will be less compatibility issues in the future and I'm also a bit sick of Apple's closed systems and 'let's make things out of date as quickly as possible' policies. I'm learning more about computers everyday and I like the idea that I could add things to my machine as I gain the know how. But I'd kind of like someone to confirm this or unconfirm it. I hear that the z800 is a very good machine, but it's a little out my price range at £2,700. What about the z400?

So, I know I've asked a lot of questions, but I'd really appreciate some advice.

Thanks so much


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Bouke Vahl
Re: Advice on Avid Workstation: Mac or PC?
on Sep 1, 2012 at 1:19:37 pm

Just look at the Avid qualified machines, i bet the z400 is on the list.
I'm still happy with a HP XW 8400.
For both (as well as an avid licence) you could shop on Ebay.
(for Avid, make sure the licence is transferrable.)

I would go for PC as i have a bit of a beef with the way Apple is behaving. They seem to be a bit more big brother than i like them to be, and they seem to want everyone to shop only at their shops.
(eg, in the latest os, you need to set a switch to enable to run applications not approaved by them. I bet in a year or two the switch won't be there anymore, and you only can run apps controlled by Apple...)
But that is personal and probably belongs in the platforms war section...

smart tools for video pros

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Michael Phillips
Re: Advice on Avid Workstation: Mac or PC?
on Sep 1, 2012 at 10:21:18 pm

The z400 is a nice machine and is supported by Avid. I am still running an 8600 as well as a z800. My only OS X is a MacBook Pro. But there is an interesting "control" being brought on by Apple - probably more so than the big scandal of a few years back of Microsoft loading its own browser on its own operating system. I am curious as to what is considered a monopoly in business - hardware, operating system, and purchasing software - everything getting funneled through the 30% cut.


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Robert Lawson
Re: Advice on Avid Workstation: Mac or PC?
on Sep 3, 2012 at 10:41:09 pm

The hp z400 works well. Make sure you get a Gen-2 6-core system.

Or hold off as long as you can. I am told that qualification of the z420 CPU is coming soon.

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