PC Magazine on video editing: Buy ‘any Mac and do a better job’ than a 3GHz PC

Bill Howard of PC Magazine provides a checklist and shopping list for video-editing hobbyists in his article, “Defining DV Upward.” Howard states, “First, get a tricked-out PC with a 3-GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB drive, a DVD recorder (plus or minus RW doesn’t matter, since you’ll want to create write-once DVD-Rs), and a 21-inch monitor or bigger. Video editing stresses PCs, so alternatively, you could buy virtually any Macintosh and do a better job. iMovie software is dazzling. That said, Apple’s lead isn’t as comfortable as you’re led to believe by the Macolytes.” Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Although we beg to differ on the last sentence, Howard strikes a blow for truth in the deep dark pages of PC Magazine. As usual, we hate the thought of the average Joe computer user suffering through another task on a Wintel PC when the Mac solution would be so much better and easier. Let’s hope Howard’s readers don’t gloss over his point about Macintosh and digital video editing.


  1. Mac wins hands down for software, and the PC-Compatibles win for hardware (and not only in the CPU sector). I am still considering whether I should switch to a Mac, and so far, I think I may not want to switch because I’m paying too much for too little. As much as I love working on CorelDraw and Photoshop on my PC, my PC is also my multimedia center – Games, movies, etc. THe PowerMac is just too expensive for me, and the iMac is just too limited in some ways (Only a headphone jack for 2.1 speakers, GeForce4MX videocard – this one is adequete, however take note that Macs use OpenGL instead of DirectX so it will be slower compared to the PC versions).

    Then again, MacOS X is so much cooler and easier to operate compared to Windows, which is plagued with so many problems even after so many patches. I personally think that one main reason why Gates doesn’t want to share the source code is because it’s so darn messy and unelegant!!

    Price wise, my budget is about US$999, and that’ll be either the eMac or iBook (No way to classic iMac). And if I switch, I’ll ahve to discard all my software, which is worthed over US$5000. :/ They should made more dual platform enabled softwre like WarCraft III and those encyclopedias (Encarta excluded).

  2. You may not need to discard all your software. My brother’s father-in-law is in the midst of switching from a PC to a Mac. He was daunted as he thought that he would have to purchase a new copy of Adobe Photoshop. I called Adobe. They said that as long as he was not planning on using that Windows version of Photoshop, they would send a CD of the Mac version (total cost $20 for shipping.) He has to surrender the serial number of the PC version which Adobe will retire. He is thrilled. I say, check with your software vendors. They may very well provide a Mac version for simpy the cost of shipping (and your release of the serial number.)

  3. I hate all this talk about switching. I am a confirmed Macaholic but I also own a PC. Howsabout just having both and using each for their strengths? The sad fact though is you’ll find yourself using the Mac far more often and the PC will just be gathering dust, except for the occasional video game, unless you also own a Playstation 2 and Nintendo GameCube as I do. I alwats thought the game thing was overrated on either the Mac or the PC as a “must have.”

    The best video editing experience is on the Mac with iMovie (free), Final Cut Express ($299) and Final Cut Pro ($999). Folks it just doesn’t get any better than this. The Avid is fine too, if you have the major bucks to spend on it. Recently a film called COLD MOUNTAIN, which is costing $100 million to make, opted for 4, read ’em, 4 Final Cut Pro workstations to what one Avid Film Composer would cost. The scales of economics will entice many to Final Cut Pro and the beauty of video editing on the Mac. Ahhhhhh…

  4. I do own both PC and Mac. Nothing comes close to FCP for DV. Avid may be awesome, but I don’t want to get a second mortgage for the differences. My PC is great for what it does. And my work requires PC for Novell Network access. If you want to do DV for anything, home movies to Feature length pro stuff, mac is preferred for a reason. No-nonsense OS, better, heritage software, and a machine built for Video crunching. Not a machine hastily modified by intel to “enhance” it’s abilities to do so. When you are crunching data, and Excel docs, go PC. A 3GHZ PC is practically worthless without great software to put it to use effectively. If Video is your bread and butter, mac is really the only way to go. Especially in portable options, like the new and old G4 powerbooks! Try a long capture on a “high end” laptop PC, and count your dropped frames, and battery life differences. PC’s were just recently made to work somewhat with DV, whereas Mac has been built around it for years, and will be for years.

  5. a dual xeon slaugters the P4 3ghz even with multi-threading enabled.

    A G4? Doesn’t come close.

    Video editing for an ill-informed or unsofisticated user admittedly is easier and more accessable with an eMac superdrive.

    But the G4 is leagues behind a xeon machine.

    my $.02

  6. Xeon? Unsophisticated? The Xeon could be the next step to Artificial intelligence, for all I care. When it’s widely in use for DV, it will be something to consider. Another consideration is the new IBM PowerPC chip supposedly under development for apple. When I see a Xeon chip running a a good FCP workstation, then you’ll have me convinced! Multithreading, shorter processor pipelines… Gee, where have I heard that before? That’s okay, The Xeon may supposedly run circles around the G4, but it’s total lack of marketshare for that processor suggests that one’s faith should be put in the current phantom under development by IBM. We “unsofisticateds” that still prefer the G4 will never know about the Xeon. Because, to date, the Xeon has never been put under the test of a good OS, or real DV software…

  7. I wonder how much faster the Xeon processor can spellcheck “unsofisticated”? Probably much faster than a G4, right? Your two cents are hereby refunded.

  8. xeon could be greatest processor ever… But in a world of true, focused DV pros, that doesn’t matter. The xeon is still an infant in the world of processors, it primarily PEE CEE, and expensive! The typical pro doesn’t need much more than 1ghz performance to get the job done right, anyway! The advantage of faster clockspeeds, and bitrates, is time spent rendering. The xeon could render faster, but what software would the working stiff use on it? Premiere? Like driving a vette to haul groceries! DV=Apple… Anything else is truly “unsophisticated”. These pipedream workstations are fun to kick around the website. But overall usability, reliability, and bottom line results of the software are the difference no processor makes up for. If you live and die around DV, a xeon processor matters little. Your client’s money in hand will be the deciding factor.

  9. Whether you favour Mac or PC, Final Cut or Avid, we have Apple to thank for bringing DV and Firewire together to democratise video. In ’96 I threw about $12,000 at desktop video and it failed (obviously, working with uncompressed video with 120Mhz).

    Today you can edit video as easily as ripping a CD; DV is higher quality than standard broadcast quality TV; and editing systems have fallen from hundreds of thousands of dollars to a few hundred or free (assuming you have a computer). Love editing on your PC? Thank Apple. You can finally afford an Avid product? Thank Apple. In this context, eye-blink differences in speed and individual preferences with editors are pretty minimal concerns. And thank whatever crazed individual came up with the idea of putting DV, the next best thing to DigiBeta, in the hands of consumers!

  10. I think it would be great to have both the PC and the Mac at home. However, I don’t have that much cash to burn. I only have a budget of $999, and no more, and I’d rather get ONE decent machine with that money than 2 or more dummy terminals.

    G4 is behind in the CPU race for sure, however, I think it’s a good, speedy CPU for most of my needs. My point is that it shouldn’t be as expensive as it is right now. Liek the eMac should go for $899 instead of the current $999?

    For software, well… I live in Singapore, and we don’t have those “return/exchange” policies that you guys have. “If you bought it and you don’t like it, then it’s your problem.” I’m really sick of calling up the companies, geting redirected, and in the end, angrier than before because I’m still stuck with the defective program (VERY BAD experience with EA and The Sims) and had to go through days of redirected calls and bad support reps.

    Currently, I’m using an AthlonXP 1700+, with plenty of features much better than the eMac (THE SOUND CARD ESPECIALLY!!!)… so that’s why I think I’ll not make the switch afterall.

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