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Re: OT: Adobe raising our costs by 600%

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Chris Kenny
Re: OT: Adobe raising our costs by 600%
on Mar 2, 2013 at 7:38:42 am

[Chris Jacek] "I don't argue the "eureka moment" premise, for someone who is fully engrained in post and likes to play with toys. But even as one of those people, I'm unlikely to pay the Mac tax just on the chance of that eureka moment happening for me. I got my first Windows machine in 20 years last summer, and can honestly say that the transition hasn't been bad at all. As a loyal Mac apologist for those 20 years, I always felt that the extra money you paid for a Mac was worth it. I cannot say that I believe that any more. "

For what it's worth, I've had exactly the opposite experience. We built a Windows machine primarily as a Resolve grading system given last year's lack of a (real) Mac Pro update. I figured hey, I'm a Mac guy, but this system is going to pretty much run one app. How much difference can the OS make?

A lot, as it turns out. A few annoyances, some of which we anticipated, some of which we didn't:

- Explorer just isn't as 'rich' as the Finder is — you can't have it calculate folder sizes in list view (just when hovering over a folder), there's no column view, there's no QuickLook, its search features aren't as nice.

- Working with QuickTime media is frustrating — codec support is incomplete (no ProRes encoding, no XDCAM decoding, etc.), performance isn't great. I guess this is in some sense Apple's fault rather than Microsoft's, but either way it does make Windows worse for our use cases.

- The whole way Windows deals with drive letters and file paths ends up requiring us to either manually assign mount points for every drive we use with the system (like a six step process that's not easy to explain to interns), or constantly relink things when drive letters for external drives decide to change of their own volition.

- Virtually every client drive that passes through our hands is Mac formatted. We use MacDrive to work with these drives in Windows, and it's pretty good, but just not quite as solid as we'd like, honestly.

- Ejecting drives is also weird. Windows is back where OS X was with this prior to 10.6, where often drives would claim to be in use, and the system wouldn't tell you what process was using the drive or let you force eject it. Additionally, depending on what controller they're attached to (and there are a couple on the motherboard, plus we've got an SAS controller installed), Windows may decide a drive is internal (even if it's not) and not offer to let you eject it at all. I'm told there's some registry hack to fix this; I haven't tried that yet.

- Boot times are considerably worse than for any modern Mac, despite an SSD boot drive. Pretty painful if the system acts up and you have to reboot in a client-supervised session. Or (see previous point) if you have to reboot just to safely remove a drive.

- Windows just seems to be a little quirky with hardware support. The system sometimes, entirely at random, takes 15 extra seconds to notice the keyboard and mouse when it's booted. Sometimes USB 2.0 devices don't quite want to work when plugged into USB 3.0 ports, despite the fact that those should be 100% compatible. It took probably 30 hours of my time to really get the system up and running the way it should (all the right drivers installed, the right PCIe slot arrangements, everything properly updated), significantly longer than equivalent tasks have ever taken me on a Mac.

So... the system is fast, it was damned inexpensive by a Mac user's standards, and it does fundamentally perform the tasks it was 'hired' for. But we will immediately buy any new Mac Pro, or any plausible replacement Apple comes up with for it. It will easily be worth the extra expense to make these issues go away.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

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