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-   -   Avid Xpress DV 3 on PC or Mac? THAT is the question! (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/avid-editing-family/1657-avid-xpress-dv-3-pc-mac-question.html)

Erik Selakoff April 17th, 2002 10:27 AM

Avid Xpress DV 3 on PC or Mac? THAT is the question!
Sorry to start what could ostensibly become another "mine's better than your's" thread but I was curious as to whether or not anyone has any opinions on which platform Avid will be "better"?
I have a PD-150 & am leaning towards Avid on either sys. over FCP 3 on Mac. I'm interested in shooting short films in the beginning & full length features sometime in the next decade or so;-)
Thanks for the help in advance,

Bill Ravens April 17th, 2002 01:04 PM

whatever you decide will be irrelevant in two years. Technology and NLE software is on the edge of major changes. In a year, all currently relevant technology will already be outdated. Go for what you want/need right now, don't consider something as far away as the next 10 years!!

For my own money, PC's got MAC's beat on speed, hands down. If you want reliability go MAC. In either case, go dual CPU.

Joe Redifer April 17th, 2002 01:07 PM

At the risk of starting a war, how are PC's faster than Macs? Just curious. I don't plan on rebutting the argument, just curious how you come to that conclusion.

Bill Ravens April 17th, 2002 01:22 PM

Hi Joe...

In the interest of info only.....

Macs have what's known as RISC chips....somewhat different than an INTEL chip. RISC chips can't be compared to INTEL chips in CPU clock cycles because of the difference in the way the chip functions. RISC chips execute many more instructions per cycle than an Intel type PC chip. So, I can't really argue that PC chips are up to 2+ GHz, while MAC chips are only at 800 MHz. But, the way Mac's achieve the reliability they have is by having a very large OS instruction set. The system overhead in a MAC is substantially more than for a PC. At any rate, I wish I had some conclusive evidence for my claim....;-)
The general industry consensus is that PC's are faster.

I think it would be very interesting to put the best MAC up against the best PC (whatever "best" may mean) both processing the same video clip. As it turns out, different apps have different processing requirements, so a test of rendering, transcoding and graphic editting would be needed. Wouldn't it be great to see some mag like DV run a test like this?


Chris Hurd April 17th, 2002 01:53 PM

You could wait for months for DV Magazine to do such a test -- it's okay for me to say that since I know the editor and most of the writers personally -- how about if we set up *our own* head-to-head tests instead?

My take on Mac vs PC is...

Macs are ready to go right out of the box, have a cleaner, more attractive and friendlier user interface, and are just the right kind of tool for certain people.

PCs are more powerful but require more tinkering under the hood and are best suited for editing when properly set up by a system integrator who knows what they're doing. They are just the right kind of tool for certain people.

A dual-CPU Windows PC with a Canopus DVStorm card can do something that a Mac can't -- send DV out over FireWire in real-time, no rendering, playing straight from the timeline. In that sense alone, it's "faster." There's basically no rendering involved at all, and MPEG encoding through hardware is nearly real-time itself (1.1 times real-time).

However, a Mac with Final Cut Pro 3 provides an extremely powerful, out-of-the-box complete editing facility with excellent media management, an intuitive interface and an array of post-production tools. Put it in a G4 Titanium notebook, and it's also completely portable.

I don't think Avid Xpress DV is going to operate differently between a Mac or PC platform to any significant degree, no more than Photoshop runs any different or Office runs any different.

Basically, Avid Xpress DV on the Mac is intended for Mac people and Avid Xpress DV on the PC is intended for PC people.

If you don't know whether or not you're a Mac person or a PC person, my advice is, just like with the camcorders, to "try each before you buy" and choose the one that's *right for you.* Hope this helps,

Ken Tanaka April 17th, 2002 02:02 PM

Well I'll Chime-In...
Also purely in the interest of observation.

Bill's remarks are correct. The clock speed of Reduced Instruction Set (RISC) processors such as the G4 are not directly comparable to that of Compound (or Complex) Instruction Set (CISC) chips mainly because the operations performed by each chip differs with each stroke of the chip's clock.

All that gobbledygook aside, however, current PC's -do- have both an -apparent- and a real processing speed edge for most practical purposes. By "apparent" I mean how snappy the computer feels during use. My Dell Precision 610 with dual 500MHz P3's feels at least as snappy as my Mac dual 1GHz G4 and, for all practical observations, performs tasks just as quickly.

But when it comes to imaging and video the Mac wins hands-down on two fronts. First, the Mac's system and software architecture is designed for such tasks from the ground up. Running Premiere 6 on my Dell is a relatively sluggish un-fun process. Second, IEEE 1394 is built into the Mac's very backbone making capture and export a relatively stress-free process.

Certainly today you can assemble the components required to make a first-rate video editing system on a PC platform. And many people do. But, even so, the Windows OS architecture can make some of the requisite settings fragile. So installing other types of software (i.e. games, etc) on that PC can be a risky proposition with costly consequences. Not really so on the Mac.

After 20 years as a PC-only user I still have an affinity for Windows-based systems and cannot forsee giving my PC's up. But the Mac is my choice for image processing and video. After 18 months as a Mac user I'm absolutely sold on this platform.

My 3 cents.

Erik Selakoff April 17th, 2002 02:55 PM

Just wanted to thank everyone for their input it's really appreciated.

Bill Ravens April 17th, 2002 02:55 PM

Head to head test
I've got what I consider to be a pretty quick AMD duallie setup. I don't have the latest processors, tho'....my 1.2 GHz seems plenty fast to me. Anyway, if someone wants to provide a "standard" video clip, I'll run it thru my VV3 for a render, record the time and report it back to this forum. VV3 renders are reported to be slower than AVID or STORM. Still I'd be interested in benchmarking my system. Someone else can do the same with their MAC or with DV STORM, etc. We would need to be very specific about what we did for this test so that we get apples and apples. Like DV in and avi out, DV in and MPEG2 at a pre-specified bitrate out, or DV in and QT out.

Actually, I guess a true test of MAC vs PC would require AVID on each computer, or else we risk software differences playing a part.

Joe Redifer April 17th, 2002 04:19 PM

I think that both computers should have the same amount of physical main RAM as well as the same hard drive speed, both defragmented. Both would have to be brand new disks writing on the SAME area of the drive, since it DOES matter if it is writing on the inside or outside of the drive. It really is hard to do a completely fair and impartial test since there is always going to be one thing or another on one of the machines that shouldn't be that way for the super-fair test, like virtual memory. In Windows it is not recommended to turn VM off, but Macs generally run faster with it off AND you can adjust how much VM you want to use (you can't turn it off in OS X but OS X is still half as fast as OS 9 so it wouldn't be fair to use OS X or Windows XP for the test). Then there is the OS. On the Mac you'd use OS 9, but what would you use on Windows? I prefer 2000 any day of the week over anything that Microsoft has ever put out bar none, but would W98 be more akin to OS 9? W98 is definitely faster than W2K on the same machine.

Joe Redifer April 17th, 2002 04:24 PM

Oh I have pointed this out to Chris before but I don't think he read my post... Final Cut Pro 3 does do real time rendering if your computer is fast enough. Canopus does it all in the hardware, I believe. But you can't really say that a Mac can't do dat. :) And ALL DV plays straight from the timeline in ANY program on ANY firewire capable Mac. Only stuff like titles, dissolves, and effects have to be rendered.

Jeff Donald April 17th, 2002 08:49 PM


Speed is only one factor. You can't win any races sitting in the pits. I've edited AVID on early Macs, PC's since 1997 and since last year FCP on Macs again. I get more done on a Mac because I'm not restarting it all the time. FCP on OS X has crashed 2 maybe 3 times in the last 5 months. My clients aren't about to have a stroke because of a too close deadline. i was an advisor on a project and in the course of an hour the editors PC must have crashed 4 or 5 times. The client was about to have stroke. Needless to say his company doesn't edit with that company anymore. Why put my clients through that kind of stress?

I've been a certified AVID editor for 7 almost 8 years and my preferred set of tools is FCP on OS X. I love it and my clients love it. Clients don't care what box you have or how many cycles your processor clocks. They want their projects done on time, on budget and with as little stress as possible. FCP is the right set of tools (for me) today and tomorrow. But, 5 years from now who can say.

Jeff Donald

Joe Redifer April 18th, 2002 12:23 AM

Hey Jeff-

FCP crashed on you in OS X? I've never had FCP crash on me in OS 9. Is it less stable in OS X? Or are you just using it 24/7 and something is bound to happen sometime? I have heard that, for now, FCP is better in OS 9 but I've never used it in X so I really can't say.

Jeff Donald April 18th, 2002 05:16 AM

Hi Joe,

It was more like force quit 2 or 3 times and a Rom kernel panic attack once or twice. The great thing about OS X is that force quit really works. You just quit the program and then restart it. i generally work with 2, 3 or 4 programs open at the same time. I'll have After Effects, Peak DV, Photoshop and FCP all running at the same time. I'll jump into FCP and it won't respond. So, I just force quit and open FCP again. No blue screen of death. I think some people find FCP faster in 9. But i've been using X since September and I've gottin used to it. X is the future of Computing and FCP is the future of NLE.


Bill Ravens April 18th, 2002 07:23 AM


apparently you haven't tried the latest hardware and software meant for the PC. My Tyan duallie running Vegas Video 3 NEVER...and I mean never crashes. I think these tests should be run in whatever configuration is most common for video editting or what's the point? No special "speed" tweaks allowed on either side if they adversely affect rendering or transcoding. Along these lines, Windoze 98 or even Windoze XP is totally worthless for stability. Windoze XP is coming along, but, not there yet. '98' is just a lost cause. Windoze 2000 is the only viable OS for PC's currently.

Chris Hurd April 18th, 2002 07:35 AM

Must agree with Bill, my Canopus DVRex RT never crashes... but then, it was built by a professional integrator (one of the largest in the U.S.) and is used only for post production and nothing else. Also agree that Win2000 is the only real choice of OS right now.

For Joe, I do read everything you write; I should have qualified my "real-time output to DV" statement as referring to the entire timeline, multiple title tracks, layers of filters, complex transitions, etc. I think it's an important capability that the Mac doesn't have, but definitely not a make-or-break feature by any means.

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