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To Mac or not to Mac? And which Mac?

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July 9, 2010 9:30:49 PM

Hey there. I've been a fairly advanced PC user for some 10 years now, and as the times have changed I've been less involved with computers in terms of everything I use to use them for (i.e., gaming, programming, modding, socializing). For the most part I only use the computer for looking stuff up on the internet and obtaining media. Also for programs like guitar pro to learn guitar and bass, etc. Over the next year or two I want to start getting into recording my own stuff and maybe doing some video editing and such.

For my job I work as an Audio/Video technician doing event productions, mostly corporate but we do festivals and stuff too sometimes. I could see myself need to do some video editing as I get more into the directing side of things. Everyone has been telling me that when it comes to any kind of multimedia applications that Macs are the thing to use.

I was wondering if it is a good idea to make my next system a Mac or a PC? I'm looking for something portable so I'm probably going to get a laptop. And if I should get a Mac, what are my options in terms of Mac laptops and do you guys have any advice?

Thanks, Steve.

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July 9, 2010 9:43:51 PM

no thats bs you dont need a mac for av editing. get a nice pc laptop and load it up with good software, and itll do the job just as well as a pc, along with being more secure (yep), cheaper, and more versatile.
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July 9, 2010 10:28:43 PM

shovenose said:
no thats bs you dont need a mac for av editing. get a nice pc laptop and load it up with good software, and itll do the job just as well as a pc, along with being more secure (yep), cheaper, and more versatile.


Personal recording and music production are a much bigger focus for me than video editing. Am I better off using recording software with a PC?
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July 10, 2010 12:33:25 AM

Mac and PC both have more then enough power and software for the task at hand. Either on can perform similar to the other.

Or get a hybrid Mac/PC like mine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3Qjrq6xKV4

I build several of these including i7 flavors.
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July 10, 2010 4:35:04 AM

That just seems like way more than I need.

All I want is a laptop to browse the web, that in the next few months to a year I can use to plug instruments and recording equipment into and record directly to the hard drive. I don't really know too much about recording software on the PC and I'm not set into any kind of comfort zone regarding this. I'm open to the idea of trying a Mac but am wondering if it's worth the money? People be telling me that a quality Mac laptop is in the neighbourhood of $4000. While I know I could get a good pc laptop for less than half that. Does anyone know any reasources I can check out that would help me assess the situation for myself?
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July 10, 2010 6:39:20 AM

Well if video editing is in the future, you really need a desktop.
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July 10, 2010 6:43:15 AM

Hi Steve,

My household consists of both a PC and Macbook Pro and I have worked in IT support for both.

First, your price range for a laptop capable of video editing is closer to $1000 PC and $1800 mac. You can go higher, but don't really need to for a casual video editor. Any decently powered laptop (i5 or higher, with a real graphics card) should handle it. Dont get the 13 inch macbook-- the 320m graphics are integrated--the 330m is much better.

Your basic decision is one of price and personal preference.

The general stereotypes you hear are true to some degree--Macs generally have high build and component quality, strong software integration, and fewer problems--making them ideal for users concerned with portability and software reliability. MAC OS is simpler than Windows, and is geared toward multimedia production. Also, the Macbook Pro in our house is just beautiful. Its hard not to touch it, and its sturdier, quieter, and cooler than most PC laptops. Macs are better for picking up girls ;) 

That said, Macs are still way overpriced. You are paying for a lot more than just the above features, and its not just the initial purchase cost. Mac software costs more, upgrades cost more, etc. etc. Additionally, MAC OS can be frustrating--as it is borne of the personality of Steve Jobs. Mac OS does not allow the tinkering and customizing that many PC users enjoy. For example-- when I plug a camera/device into MAC OS X it automatically downloads the pictures, syncs the device, etc, etc. It never asks me permission. As a control freak that pisses me off--but many people like it when the computer just takes care of things for them.

A PC will offer you a great deal more software/hardware variety than a Mac. If you are a person with the patience and tinkering nature to manage a PC you can get more value out of it--but if you are not, the investment in a Mac and the expensive premium software to run on it may be a good choice. As you have realized, many professionals in the media industry have chosen macs--meaning that there is a clear precedent for you to follow--and an Apple store with geniuses trained to help.

Steve Jobs has said he views Apple as the BMW/Mercedes of the computer industry--and I think it is a telling description. It is a premium computer for people willing to invest.
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July 10, 2010 8:22:02 AM

I think it also depends a lot on how you have grown up using computers. If you've been using a pc your whole life, a transition to mac might be a trifle hard. Also holds true vice versa.
Personally, I think the only thing any Apple product can do is look good & interact well with the user. Technology wise: Zero. Value: Negative
You could build a PC that is almost literally twice as fast as a Mac, & costs half as much.
Also I like to be in charge of what-how-when-which apps I run. That pretty much rules out the Mac.
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July 10, 2010 10:31:28 AM

It's an unfortunate fact that, the way Apple are going with their other products, OS X is going to become more and more tightly bound to and controlled by Apple. Applications will have to be approved by Apple, and bought from the Apple store, else they won't run on OS X. And developers will be told what languages they can use to write those applications and which ones Apple won't allow. This is just an extrapolation of their policy with the iPhone and iPad.

I can see Apple's reasons for closely controlling the hardware that OS X runs on, and the applications that can run on it, as it is then much easier for them to make the OS stable and secure (although all the indications are that it is no more stable than Windows or Linux and somewhat less secure), but it is not good news for the end user who wants to do things other than those that are "approved".

If you're happy to do things the Apple way, don't want to get too involved in the technology, and can afford the premium for their hardware then Macs are a sensible choice. But if you want to be in control then it's a PC every time.
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September 8, 2010 12:03:31 AM

Just look at all the film and music industry that's your primary source of information for your kinda work and it clearly shows that Macs are better with that stuff. I agree that Mac will cost you more but there is a reason why the pro's use a Mac its obvious.
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October 12, 2010 3:40:23 PM

Ijack said:
It's an unfortunate fact that, the way Apple are going with their other products, OS X is going to become more and more tightly bound to and controlled by Apple. Applications will have to be approved by Apple, and bought from the Apple store, else they won't run on OS X. And developers will be told what languages they can use to write those applications and which ones Apple won't allow. This is just an extrapolation of their policy with the iPhone and iPad.


You are presenting a couple of misnomers here. First, I do not understand what the problem is if Apple gives the consumer a bundled package with "approved" software. The software that comes with a Mac is far superior than what is available on a Windows box..ie, Garage Band, some of the utilities, etc. You are making an assumption about what developers are being told, there is the Flash isssue but not more beyond that. Apple provides a pretty sweet development suite free to developers that uses C++.

Ijack said:
I can see Apple's reasons for closely controlling the hardware that OS X runs on, and the applications that can run on it, as it is then much easier for them to make the OS stable and secure (although all the indications are that it is no more stable than Windows or Linux and somewhat less secure), but it is not good news for the end user who wants to do things other than those that are "approved".


What could the possible end-user want to do that is not available on a Mac? You are making assumptions that are not true.

Ijack said:
If you're happy to do things the Apple way, don't want to get too involved in the technology, and can afford the premium for their hardware then Macs are a sensible choice. But if you want to be in control then it's a PC every time.


You pay more for a Mac, but when you start comparing the performance to parts to price, then the Mac is just as competitively priced as a Win box. Sure, you can get a piece of crap Win PC and cannot build your own, but not everyone is content with *** hardware and/or may not like to DIY with computers.

Regarding the multimedia question above. There are some nice apps available for the Mac that will not break the bank. Final Cut Express for video (you can get Pro for around $500), Logic Pro Express for audio recording (Pro for around $500), Apeture, the entire CS5 Suite, etc. The software is great for both novice and pro use. The advantage with a Mac, IMO, are the graphic capabilities. Sure a PC is nice, but the Mac graphics blow them away. You need to realize that the Mac OS has also put their graphics first. Finally, you have the Unix/NeXT kernal on which the Mac OS is built.
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