Mac or PC
I'm about to make an investment in a nice computer and ive ben doubting whether to go the mac or PC route. As i'm just starting out as a freelancer I'm inclined to go PC, for price and flexibility but i was wondering what other people in the business use and why. So what system do you use and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
Oh, puhleeze, not that question.
Don't ask this question.
It's your money, not mine. This decision cannot be made by anyone except you and you must not accept anyone's advice. Weigh your needs against your desires and your budget and buy what you want.
I've only ever used Macintosh for my serious video, writing, and photography work. Buy a Macintosh. You will love it.
Having a PC may benefit you in some way, dunno, never owned one. So buy a PC. You might like it.
Look at the software you want to run, then pick the platform.
A friend of mine, a director, runs Premiere and wishes he had a mac because virtually everyone he knows runs FCP. My service bureau runs FCP, but my old one ran Avid, I think.
AE runs transparently on either platform. But you have to pick one, of course, since an AE disk only contains one version.
Some 3D apps only run on Windows, but many run on both platforms. I like Cinema 4D, as do many. But if you're hard core 3D (Max/Soft), you'd probably pick windows due to the greater availability of render boxes, graphics cards and so on. I'm assuming you're not hard core, since you haven't picked a platform yet.
I have much fewer problems on my Mac than I did on Windows 3.1/95/98/NT/2000/XP. So I've been there. But I did a lot of great work on Windows, so it doesn't have some anti-creative vibe about it.
But for motion graphics, I'd lean Mac. Besides, you can run Windows on it.
Here we go.
If you search this forum and look at the "Comparisons: MAC vs. PC" topic in FAQ section above, you'll find tons of interesting input on the subject from various people.
Personally, I find Ron Lindeboom's comments in this thread to be one of the rare truly objective comments on the subject:
Re: Question about PC or Mac by Ron Lindeboom on Feb 8, 2006
In evaluating the various information/opinions you will surely get on this subject, it is extremely important to understand that the vast majority of the authoritative opinions offered come from individuals who have little or no experience with the platform that they claim to be not as good the other for any variety of reasons.
Having worked on both platforms daily in professional contexts for something like 15-20 years now, my humble opinion is that neither is significantly/noticeably "better" than the other ... there was a time when one platform or the other had the upper hand in media generation/manipulation capabilities, but that time is long in the past ... for at least the past 10 years, both platforms have essentially equal capabilities and both have pros and cons that offset each other so it basically boils down to which one you work most efficiently on and your budget ... things only you can decide.
I hope my two cents is helpful.
By the way, I hope this thread doesn't turn into yet another "platform war" as though any of us truly had any direct stake in either Apple or Microsoft ... if so, I hope it at least gets moved to the COW's "Platform Wars" forum, which seems to have been created to house those kinds of debates, unlike the AE forum.
I will attempt to deftly avoid a platform flame war by saying this -- I've got both Macs and PCs in my shop, and the hardware never drives my choice. For me, it's all about the tool chain.
Adobe and Cinema 4D run on both platforms, so that's a wash. I like Final Cut Studio, which of course is Apple-only, so edits and color correction happen on Macs. I design presentations, so anything that's Keynote-based happens on Macs, but anything that's PowerPoint-based happens on PCs. A lot of the specialty software that I use (Dataton Watchout, Vista System's Spyder controller, Ventuz) are PC-only. Many Autodesk packages are PC-only, or PC-preferred.
So what are your needs? Are there other software packages besides AE you'll rely on?
Do you have particular codecs that you need to work with? MPEG 2 and 4 are cross-platform, AVID is cross-platform, and WMV is available cross-platform, but if you're working with FCP-based editorial houses that want ProRes, you'll have to go Mac, because the Windows version is decode-only.
No matter which platform you choose, 64-bit is here to stay now, and if you're getting a new system, you'll want multiple cores, loads of RAM, and a 64-bit OS to let you use it all.
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Walter's post leads me to the conclusion that if you buy one, eventually you'll need to buy the other as well.
I use After Effects on Mac OS every day. I use After Effects on Windows every day. They both work well.
Personally (and it's important that you understand that this is not an official statement from Adobe), I like having Macintosh hardware and running Windows and Mac OS on it using Bootcamp. So, for that reason, I'd get a Mac. But I also understand why people go the other way for the lesser cost and greater customizability of non-Mac hardware. Advantages either way.
As others have said, PLEASE don't let this forum get into a platform war.
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
putting the 'T' back in 'RTFM' : After Effects Help on the Web
If a page of After Effects Help answers your question, please consider rating it. If you have a tip, technique, or link to share---or if there is something that you'd like to see added or improved---please leave a comment.
I think the answers so far are pretty on-point.
You can pick out times in the short history of video production on (what really qualifies as) personal computer workstations, and find periods where the software or hardware aspects of one were superior to the other, but performance-wise, they really are a practical wash as far as I can tell.
I ran Macs only in the 90s and PC with some Mac since about 2000...no good guys or bad guys, just different strengths and limitations.
one note about the "more expensive" mac comments, not just here but everywhere.
I was checking out pricing for top of the line, decked out systems. I first checked apple, mac pro, maxed out most everything except multiple graphics cards, including two 24in monitors, 16gb ram, 4x1TB hd. the closest equivalent dell I could build, spec wise, including two dell 22in monitors (they don't make 24s) the price was actually about $1900 more for the PC.
I agree there are many more options for cheepo win machines out there than macs, but as far as fully decked out, they come out about the same. (granted you could build a pretty nice win machine for less than buying from dell...)
There are a lot of PC systems integrators out there; Dell is just well known (not necessarily the best). Personally, I'm not crazy about Apple's selection of video cards and processors. For those prices, I want a Quadro FX or FireGL video card and the ability to choose from a wider variety of CPUs.
Coincidentally, I just bought a new workstation last week and compared between Apple, Boxx, Dell, HP and Bold Data Systems. A dual quad core machine with 12GB of RAM, 3 year support plan etc. from Bold Data was over $1,000.00 cheaper compared to Apple.... and for that, I got faster processors and a better video card.
Check out bold data systems. This is the second machine I've purchased from them. So far, they're still my favorite SI.
Anyway, that's my most recent experience buying a new computer, perhaps others have favored vendors they would like to highlight.
Is it fair to say that Apple has a more user-friendly OS (compared to Windows), but that a good PC systems integrator can get you more powerful hardware inside the box?
Which might reinforce the "hard-core 3D, go PC" idea?
(trying to stay flame-free here ...)
As the late Justin Wilson used to say on his cooking show, the best kind of wine to have with your dinner is "...the kind you like!"
I think the logic holds here as well.
They both work. Use what you feel most at home with and you'll be fine.
Just to put in my two cents. To me, the Mac VS PC decision is like comparing a Stanley hammer with a Black and Decker hammer; both will drive nails, but you may prefer the design of the handle on one, or the way it feels when you swing it, but both are wholly capable of getting the job done. I've worked with both in my career, and I've found that, once you get past the GUI, you're working with the same tools (FCP, 3D Studio, etc. platform limitations aside).
My business partner runs a mostly Mac shop, and mine is totally PC, but once we're into the software we're on the same page. Good luck with your choice - test drive both, and pick the one that gets you there most comfortably. Either one will pay for itself in a relatively short space of time.
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia