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Topic: Soliciting Opinions - Considering Going Back to PC from Mac

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  1. #1

    Soliciting Opinions - Considering Going Back to PC from Mac

    It is difficult to write the subject line, but it is true. I bought an iMac about 2 years ago and it was pretty much love at first boot. So far I've not had any problems with system resources, though that is because I do a fair amount of bouncing tracks, etc. to keep CPU consumption down. However, as some of my projects get bigger I can see me running into problems not too far down the road. Additionally, it is time for me to start doing research as I usually refresh my computer every 3 years.

    So, why am I considering moving back to PC when I like OSX so much? The answer is simple: cost of the hardware. I would like to be able to load more instruments that are ready for me to use instead of having to play the instrument shuffle game. This is going to require more RAM and more CPU. I will want at least 16 gig of memory. Hence, a quad core Mac Pro is out of the question. (They only support up to 8 gig of memory.) Eight core Mac Pros start at a whopping $3,299 and that is with 6 gig of memory and a single 640 gig hard disk. Tack on Apple support, memory, 2 hard drives, and a wireless network card and you are near $4,000. (This is based on pricing from 3rd party vendors, not Apple.) I just don't think I can justify that kind of outlay.

    Conversely, I can get a beefy i7 box with some extra bells and whistles (sound dampening extras) for just under $2,000.

    It makes you think.

    The downside? I lose OSX. That is a hard one. I lose Logic and DP and that is tough to swallow also. I regain Cubase. Great software, not so great company. I also gain all the hardware headaches I gladly left behind two years ago.

    Since I'm at the beginning of this analysis I thought I would ask for your opinions on the topic. Please, please, please do not turn this into a flame war! I have zero interest in techno religion.

    There could be some answers in the near future as Apple is rumored to be lowering prices, but I think this is going to be around the lower end models like Mac Book, (not Mac Book Pro) iMacs and Mac Minis. I would also rather wait until USB 3 is standard on motherboards, but that might be out too far in the future.

    Any ideas and opinions would be appreciated!

    -Kevin
    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

  2. #2

    Re: Soliciting Opinions - Considering Going Back to PC from Mac

    Well, if you buy the right interface and do some configuration and optimization when you get the rig, you won't have many of the problems you speak of. Interface-wise, you can get a great unit with solid drivers for around or under $1000 (RME, MOTU, Presonus). PCI, Firewire, and USB2.0 are all viable options with the capability for high track count.

    Vista isn't so bad as they say either. With SP1 many of the little annoyances have been tweaked and its performance is fine. I don't have any experience with a 64-bit option, though many on this board run 64-bit systems with Sonar or Cubase 5 with excellent results. I run a Vista system on a laptop and experience very few troubles making music.

    But yes, the simplicity of Apple systems is nice. I think it really should come down to whether you think saving $2000 is worth a workflow change.

    (You also do get access to a whole bunch more of free VSTs should you make the switch! )

  3. #3

    Re: Soliciting Opinions - Considering Going Back to PC from Mac

    I started out with a TI-994A then an Apple IIe (because it had expansion slots). But when music software started to get serious and I wanted into the game Macs were way too expensive. I went with PC and haven't looked back. With Windows 7 getting great pre-release reviews I see no reason to use a Mac at all. This isn't a flame, just the way I see it. Good luck!
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  4. #4

    Re: Soliciting Opinions - Considering Going Back to PC from Mac

    Kevin, anyone can price out a Mac and make it sound like you're buying a house.

    Why do you think you need 16 gigs of memory to produce a full orchestra? If it's a Garritan orchestra you won't need 16 gigs. I am running a Mac Pro 2 x 2.8 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with six gigs of ram, and just finished mixing my 2009 Garritan Community Christmas CD song which has exactly 60 instruments. All of them being produced inside Digital Performer 6.02 in real time, and I am running five Altiverbs, and 15 various DP plugins. I just loaded up the project just to make sure I am not talking out of the side of my mouth, and the CPU meter is hovering around 25 percent at idle, and when I hit play, the entire project plays flawlessly without any missed notes or any glitches of any kind, and the CPU meter jumped to about thirty percent, no sweat here...

    I don't understand why you need three hard drives and 16 gigs of memory. The internal stock hard drive is over a half TB, but if you are using East West or VSL libraries, then I can see two additional hard drives.

    I challenge you to build a Windows based computer with the same processors, same everything.... for less than a Mac Pro. Even if you could, what is your time worth? Also, you would INDEED be at a HUGE disadvantage because your new dual overhead cam PC with dual exhaust and fuel injection STILL will not be able to run OSX... That my friend is a MAJOR MAJOR disadvantage.

    I personally don't mind the build quality of many PC's, it is the pathetic incompatibility with so many vendors making products for the Windows platform and driver issues.... geez. The awesome trust that one can experience in a virtually hassle free environment can only come when that user is using OSX in my humble opinion.

    To each his own. but my computer did not cost four grand, and I don't need three hard drives and 16 gigs of ram to make music.

    just my two cents.
    Dan

  5. #5

    Re: Soliciting Opinions - Considering Going Back to PC from Mac

    I am very pro Windows, but am in awe of the loyalty and image around Macs. Personally I just don't understand Macs.

    But I think all that is irrelevant to your question.

    If you like the OS as much as you indicate, I think the question will be a very simple one to answer: Is the pain worth the margin in price? I doubt it.

    From what you have said, I would stay with Mac and if money is an issue, question the need to buy something premium (as DPDan has said. Perhaps wait an extra year...

    In summary: look at the marginal costs versus the marginal benefits, not the absolute costs versus the absolute benefits.

    And that, my friend, is my two cents. Being Australian though, they are not worth quite as much as DPDan's two cents.

  6. #6

    Re: Soliciting Opinions - Considering Going Back to PC from Mac

    ha ha ha ha Alan

    I also use a PC for samples of older libraries like GOS, but another thing that is very much worth mentioning is the fact that a Mac computer holds it's value amazingly well. There is something that a Mac lover has to accept, and that is they will usually come across as arrogant, almost as if their poop doesn't stink... I really don't mean to come off that way, I just wanted to post what can be expected with a Mac that does not cost upwards of four grand. I admit that kind of money for a music computer is pretty silly.

    Alan, Apple computers operate pretty much the same as Windows, but
    in the old days, they were nothing like the other platform. Today, they are very simple and extremely easy to adjust to after going from one to the other.

    My most admirable thing about Apple computers is their uncanny reliability, and unbelievably easy drag and drop mentality between programs of all sorts.
    Dan

  7. #7

    Re: Soliciting Opinions - Considering Going Back to PC from Mac

    As one who develops software for pcs and macs, my impression is that -- contrary to the company's ads -- relativly few people switch from one platform to the other and are happy about it. The brains of Mac addicts seems to be wired differently than pc users. And, athough Apple heavily targets the entertainment and publishing industries, in practice people of all types and professions use Macs and pcs.

    If OSX makes more sense to you, then you should stay in that environment. Odds are you won't be happy with a pc -- especially given that VISTA has a lot of problem. It's slower, has compatibility issues with a lot of pre-VISTA hardware, and it seems like everything coming out of Microsoft in the last couple of years has been poorly designed. Case in point MS Offcie, where commands I used to use regularly are now hidden several layers deep in menus scattered all over the place, tasks that formerly could be done in one step now take several, and some things can't be done at all. (But, Mac users, don't get too smug. That's how most PC users feel about OSX when moving from the pc to a Mac.) As a developer I like pcs better because there is a more extensive knowledgebase (because there are more users) and though it is more difficult there is simply more that I can do with it.

    The bottom line is that if you like Macs, for whatever reason, you should stick with them (and vice versa if you are comfortable with the pc). The cost factor is meaningless if switching platforms costs you time and makes it difficult for you to get your work done.

  8. #8

    Re: Soliciting Opinions - Considering Going Back to PC from Mac

    Just my story (a happy one) :

    Some 8-10 years ago (I think), I was a convinced Mac user, and believed every horror story I heard about PCs and Windows.
    So, despite the cost, I would try and keep up with the technological evolution, and since I'm just a homestudist, I satisfied myself with 2nd hand Macs of the previous generation.
    But even doing so, each "new" machine would ruin my budget for several months...

    Someday I happened to no longer be able to resist the call of Gigastudio, at the time it was the only sw sampler offering those fancy features (streaming, keyswitching, large libraries)
    So after nights of nightmares and hesitation, I decided to dive into the dangerous and mercyless PC Sea, and bought myself my 1st PC.

    One month later, Emagic probably decided to take revenge for some obscure reason, and in a single day my (brand new and costly) crossgrade of Logic from Mac to PC ceased to be supported.
    This eventually forced me into xgrading to Cubase, a change I did really fear but in fact never regretted, all the contrary.

    Since this switch, I never encountered any real problem, neither with the various OS (98, XP, Vista) nor the various machines I had.
    I just stuck to well known audio interfaces and -all kind of- softwares. My only occasional gripes were with Gigastudio's buggy behaviour.

    I never looked back, feel good with my PC, and here are some (obvious ?) reasons :

    -there seems to be a much wider choice of -good- software for PC,

    -financially speaking, keeping up-to-date, hardwarewise, is almost a breeze in the PC world :
    * before, I did have to make tough choices -long term choices I mean, over many months- between investing into a new (2nd hand !) Mac on one side and into new sample libraries/plugins...
    * Now I can do both almost at the same time, even more often if it pleases me, and all without too much pain.).
    And by each upgrade, I just buy the vital parts, because one also can re-use at least 50% of the previous components (box, fans, drives, video card, sometimes even RAM...).

    -I even came to like the Win interface.

    The only "health discipline" I have for my machine is to make an image of my system drive every 2 months, combined with running free AVG as an anti-virus, and I do everything with my machine (even Internet).
    My PC is fast, bug free, Vista SP1 works well.
    The only software which does not run too well on it is...... well, Quicktime (some audio dropouts), but I can easily survive this "hassle".

    So, to sum up my personal opinion on this subject :
    I have absolutely nothing against Macs, and if money is not a problem at all, then why not ?
    But if one really wants to have a powerful machine while remaining within the limits of a "good bang for the bucks" area, and with way fewer and smaller problems than some people would like us to believe, then I guess the choice is clear !

  9. #9

    Re: Soliciting Opinions - Considering Going Back to PC from Mac

    It has been said by other Mac users before, that you'd get a better deal if you buy the bare bones computer from Apple and get the extra hard drives and memory from a third party. You'd literally be saving many hundreds of dollars.

    Rob

  10. #10

    Re: Soliciting Opinions - Considering Going Back to PC from Mac

    The Quad Mac Pros DO support 16 GB RAM (despite what Apple says). But right now, the 4GB modules are VERY expensive. OWC has verified this and sell kits. You could always upgrade down the road when it’s cheaper.

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