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Mac Pro's future in doubt?

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seeing some talk about NVidia. Is ATI less favorable on PC for gfx work?

 

Yes. The biggest reasons to go Nvidia: CUDA support (which is used by a number of professional applications, including Adobe's new rendering engine), a more stable OpenGL implementation (which helps in AE and some 3D programs), and the ability to do PhysX simulations on the card.

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If anyone is going to make the switch and is unfamiliar with windows, I'll offer my personal advice as a long time windows user. If you order a computer from Dell, HP, or any of the big names, reformat the hard drive as soon as you get it turned on, then do a fresh install of windows.

 

The most unfortunate reality with Dell and HP is that most of their machines come with pre-installed bloatware. This is probably one of the reasons PCs get such a bad rap. This junk is not a part of windows 7, it just takes up resources and gets in the way. The fresh install is an easy way to make sure you get rid of all of it. The Windows 7 OS will usually come on its own disc, with all the manufacturer crap on a separate disc.

 

They also tend to have a lot of "support" software pre-installed. I think this stuff has some value for the "granny" user that can barely get the machine turned on, but I don't think it is of any use for people that have a basic understanding of computers. I always get rid of it.

 

When it comes to anti-virus software, microsoft security essentials is all you need. It's fairly lightweight and free, so it doesn't bug you to subscribe or anything. There are a few others that are free and lightweight, and everyone has their personal favorite, but that's the one I use. In general, you want to avoid Norton or anything that requires a subscription.

 

I would be more than happy to answer any questions about switching to PC. I use mac at most studios when I on site, and pc at home, so I have a lot of experience working in both environments. If you have a question, feel free to ask here or contact me thru the address listed on my site below.

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It will be a cold day in hell before I give up working on a *NIX based system. Hardware? Whatever. In 8 years I've purchased 2 MacPros. I turned them on... and both still run perfectly... never serviced a day in their life. There is no question I've got every dollar back on the Apple hardware I've purchased. But honestly... if someone can show me an equivelant hackintosh setup I'll take it.

 

We won't be alone on this... there are just too many nerds out there to let it go.

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It will be a cold day in hell before I give up working on a *NIX based system. Hardware? Whatever. In 8 years I've purchased 2 MacPros. I turned them on... and both still run perfectly... never serviced a day in their life. There is no question I've got every dollar back on the Apple hardware I've purchased. But honestly... if someone can show me an equivelant hackintosh setup I'll take it.

 

We won't be alone on this... there are just too many nerds out there to let it go.

 

That might only buy you a bit of extra time. Would Maxon keep making MacOS versions of Cinema 4D if Apple officially drops the high end machines?

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Don't forget though that while Apple may be losing money on the towers, they are still very committed to their OS. I could care less what box I run (although I'll miss the shiny cases). But I would hate to give up OSX. We'll have to see what happens. But I sense an Adobe/PC future for me.

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It should be noted that I recently "upgraded" from a 3 year old Nvidia card to a rather expensive new one in hopes of improving my viewport speed in C4D. After some Cinebench tests I went from 33fps on my old card to only 37fps on my new one. The cause of this less-than-stellar improvement is because your CPU can bottleneck your video card.

Yes, I recently installed an nVidia GTX 570 video card in my MacPro even though it's not 'officially' supported in OS X the drivers are built into Lion. It required some editing of .kext and .plist files but overall was fairly straightforward. When I did the cinebench I only got 24fps in OS X and 30fps in Win7 (with updated nVidia drivers). People on a forum that talked about getting PC video cards into Mac said the same thing in that Cinebench was processor depended and recommended using OpenGL Extensions Viewer instead (available on the Mac App Store). My stock video card (GT 120) got an average of about 85fps while the GTX 570 got about 475fps. How this will translate to real world production work is yet to be determined since it's not 'officially' supported and I haven't really tested it, but I can now play Battlefield 3 in Win7 in 'Ultra' settings and it's smooth, which was the primarily motivation in the first place.

 

I find it interesting that Apple would have drivers for new PC video cards built into the OS and just not have them activated. However if the discontinuing of Shake, XServe and the FCPX release debacle are any indication my confidence is not all that high. My biggest concern is if they stopped selling Mac Pros there's no way studios would buy hackintoshes rather than just use Windows and hence software support from Adobe/Maxon/Autodesk/Davinci in OSX would for sure decline and/or be discontinued altogether.

Edited by superegophobia

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What worries me really, far more than the cost and relative speed, is that I'm never left high and dry with a machine that decides it doesn't want to work today. You can say a lot about the Mac Pro in terms of value, performance, bang for buck etc but the upside is that in the last three/four years as a freelancer running on a multiple MacPro's, both my own and at other studios, I've lost maybe a day max in machine maintenance, and that includes OS upgrades, installing graphics cards, RAM etc. And I always know that in a real pinch I could drive to a Mac supplier a few miles from my house, grab a new box and get it to work that afternoon.

 

The fear I have about switching is that I'll suddenly come up against a driver error or OS update or any incompatibility and be totally stuffed. This is obviously down to unfamiliarity, and maybe ignorance on my part, but the nightmare of the weeks I lost trying to coax a Windows NT machine into seeing a DV playback box have left a deep scar. I'd happily pay way over the odds for a setup as reliable and effortless as these Macs have been.

 

Of course if the rumours are true then I'd have no choice - and if I'm buying PC hardware then I'd probably stop buying Apple laptops too - I've got four in the house at the moment, are you listening Apple? And it's true that Lion is intrusive and often painful. Windows8 would have to be pretty bad to rival that.

 

The other shocker of course is that if I'm running a PC then all of a sudden getting into XSI becomes a realistic choice. Eeek! :blink:

 

I'm right there with you. I don't doubt the PC guys when they say there isn't all that much difference, but what is a big difference is the fact that I've been using Macs since the late 80's (shut up) and on the rare occasion that there is some problem, I can always figure it out and fix it myself. I'm sure I could get there on the PC side, but again, this is a hassle I'd like to avoid, and I'm happy paying a certain premium to do so. Honestly, a couple grand extra for a workstation is peanuts when you consider it's how I make my living. It would be very easy to be penny wise and pound foolish saving money up front, and hoping I can get up to speed on PC maintenance on the job. Soon I may not have a choice.

 

More naiveté: Dammit, we creative professionals kept that company from going tits up for years while they had their heads up their asses. They owe us this one, regardless of the business prospects. There, I said it.

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I work in a Windows environment at home, and Mac at work. I've spent significantly more time with Windows and am reasonably comfortable with trouble shooting and what not (there's always Google), but i've never come across any major issues that wasn't something out of my control. There are pluses and minuses to each platform. I for one hope Apple don't kill their desktops. Competition is a good thing. Besides, i'll no longer be able to make Mac bitch scarfey jokes anymore... wait, yeah I can.

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The Hackintosh route would be acceptable for personal work but for client work I'd say you're crazy.

 

 

Client: What do you mean you're going to miss the deadline?

 

Freelancer: Well, I'm having some technical issues with illegally running Mac OSX on PC hardware... gimme a sec.

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Had some friends mention the hacky worked fine. 2 hdd's so boot in either windows or mac. But having worked on win for 5ish years and mac for 1, the transition wouldn't be difficult but i don't want to go back just yet ;)

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What do you say when you get a virus on the PC? Hey client I was surfing web to find PFtrack on demonoid and I hosed my system. That argument goes to PC hardware in general. Build you own from PC club parts or buy a Dell / Boxx with all matching parts.

 

I guess Windows is fine. 10 years ago I would have been a bite more fanatical about it but now. Whatever. I think OS X is really nice and have only used Windows for corporate office stuff. They connect to servers faster? But AE is still slow as shit on them.

Edited by ThulsaDoom

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What do you say when you get a virus on the PC? Hey client I was surfing web to find PFtrack on demonoid and I hosed my system. That argument goes to PC hardware in general. Build you own from PC club parts or buy a Dell / Boxx with all matching parts.

 

I guess Windows is fine. 10 years ago I would have been a bite more fanatical about it but now. Whatever. I think OS X is really nice and have only used Windows for corporate office stuff. They connect to servers faster? But AE is still slow as shit on them.

 

hmmmmm....I suspect you've been misinformed.

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I guess Windows is fine. 10 years ago I would have been a bite more fanatical about it but now. Whatever. I think OS X is really nice and have only used Windows for corporate office stuff. They connect to servers faster? But AE is still slow as shit on them.

 

I'd say it's quick as piss.. When i was briefly studying 3D and using Windows at school i never had issues running AE and it def wasn't slower than on OSX.. it depends what's under the hood for Adobe for the most part, not the operating system..

 

I don't think anything will really change. I honestly believe Apple won't drop their Pro products, they'll alter them possibly to look shiny and make the box smaller but they won't drop having high end products. I hope i don't have to eat my words... mainly cause i put 'piss' and 'shit' in there..

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I don't think anything will really change. I honestly believe Apple won't drop their Pro products, they'll alter them possibly to look shiny and make the box smaller but they won't drop having high end products. I hope i don't have to eat my words... mainly cause i put 'piss' and 'shit' in there..

 

They killed Shake, discontinued the Xserves, and gimped Final Cut Pro. The only "professional" thing they still develop is the Mac Pro hardware. At what point will you consider them to have stopped "having high end products"?

 

If we were smart, we'd start our migration to PCs now. But it's just so damn expensive to move from one OS to the other. The software alone costs a fortune. Does anyone know if Adobe / Maxon / Autodesk offer discounts on crossgrades?

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What do you say when you get a virus on the PC? Hey client I was surfing web to find PFtrack on demonoid and I hosed my system. That argument goes to PC hardware in general. Build you own from PC club parts or buy a Dell / Boxx with all matching parts.

 

Oh boy, this sounds like classic mac-user FUD. If you run a decent AV app and aren't stupid enough to visit warez and pornsites on your workstation you're going to be fine. If you know what you're doing and have no problems troubleshooting hardware, by all means save money and build your own. For us working types though, I'd prefer a tested pre-built box with a nice same-day replacement SLA.

 

I guess Windows is fine. 10 years ago I would have been a bite more fanatical about it but now. Whatever. I think OS X is really nice and have only used Windows for corporate office stuff. They connect to servers faster? But AE is still slow as shit on them.

 

Meh, ofcourse this is nonsense. If you used AE on old office PCs sure it would be slow. Try running it on a 5 year old mac mini. Your general Adobe experience would be faster on a proper PC workstation seeing as Nvidia cards give you CUDA excelleration and upgrading RAM is cheap.The HP workstation I use at work has dual 6-core 3.33ghz Xeons (that's 24 renderbuckets in c4d), 48GB of ram, two SSDs and a Quadro 4000, it runs rings around the fastest Mac Pro at vastly less cost. Stability is not an issue. At home I'm happy with my iMac, but I fully realize I paid a premium for vastly less performance there, I can't justify a Mac Pro for the few moonlight gigs I do. Hence it likely the next box will probably be a PC, unless external Thunderbolt Nvidia cards get super affordable in the next two years or so.

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Can't say I'd be surprised to see that happen. I made the switch earlier this year and as far as the software cost of switching over, it's really not a big deal. Adobe swapped my license to PC for no charge, or you can upgrade from your mac version to the latest PC version for the same price you'd pay to upgrade your mac license. C4D ships with both versions. The only real hang up is your plug-ins, several of them are cross-platform licenses or will swap it for you reasonably though. System stability hasn't been an issue at all.

 

The only thing I miss from OSX is Finder, it's just cleaner than windows explorer. Otherwise, I'm enjoying my new machine and the wad of cash I saved by building it. Like was mentioned earlier so much of our time is spent in adobe/3d programs, which are virtually identical on both systems, so it's really not nearly as big of a deal as people make it out to be. At least for a small business/freelancer, if your moving a large office over that would probably be more of a hassle.

 

oh - and there's a PC program called MacDrive that lets you read/write to all your mac-formatted drives without having to reformat/reorganize data... the 'pro' version even supports mac raids

Edited by scofield

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