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PC or not PC? That is the question...

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PC or not PC? That is the question...

I tried to do a search on this topic in the forum and couldn't find anything, so if this is a repeat question on here, I apologize.

I have always used a Mac to do design work. Now, I have to get a new computer, and I am kicking around the idea of just getting a PC. The operating systems on Macs and PCs seem to be getting more and more alike these days, PCs are way less expensive and now design software is not just for Mac anymore.

So, what do you guys think? I'll be getting and running the usual suspect design programs (Illustrator, Photoshop) and Flash. I'm new to animation and may also be interested in Maya down the road.


I think it would depend on whether or not you want to replace a lot of your existing software if you have been using a Mac all this time.

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

I've used both platforms professionally throughout my career. I was asking myself that same question a few years back as a Mac owner, looking both ways. My job at that time exclusively used Dell desktops, with a few co-workers who traveled having Dell laptops. My experiences with the Dells led be back to purchasing another Mac for reasons of stability over anything else.

Yes, Macs are more expensive. And yes, Mac software ailments do tend to be easier for the average user to fix than on a Windows based PC.

A lot of your decision will probably come down to if you have any specific software you currently or would like to use, and if it's available on only one platform. I personally have no interest in ever using Vista, but a well configured machine running XP I'll jump into.

I'd recommend a Mac because it runs both Windows and OS X. For animation, I'd use Boot Camp to install XP or Vista and run it natively.

That said, the one caveat to animation on the Mac is Flash, which currently runs in emulation. It was no speed demon before on the Mac but now it is just slooooooooow. Same with Photoshop unless you're using the CS3 beta.

But you can always run those in Windows on the Mac under Boot Camp. A Mac really is the best of both worlds -- if you can afford it.

Mac vs PC

I run Photoshop CS and Flash 8 on my home Mac G5. I work on a PC in a studio using Photoshop CS2. The Flash work I do at home is freelanced from a studio where everyone in-house works on PCs.

My home Mac runs Photoshop vastly better than the work PC - lots of memory and processing on both. The Mac is more stable and faster. The Flash work has been the same. I can open large Flash files quickly, have several reference files open on my desktop (10+), and have no speed problems. The in-house people using studio PCs in Flash are always warning me about large Flash files they have trouble opening, and then are agonizing slow to work with. It has never been an problem for me. I am painting backgrounds in both, so I can't answer any animation issues in Flash.

So, for me, definitely Mac.

Born and raised on a Mac!

On the creative side of the ad agencies, we'd always used Macs.

But any serious 3D stuff, the PC's were used (back then).

Now I use a PC using Flash and all the graphics progs at work. It does okay...but my heart is still with the Mac.

Sure, PC's are a bit cheaper, but quality may be an issue. Take the specs from the Apple page and re-build it on the Dell website. Not a big price difference, really.

At home, all the software I own is for my switching platforms would be pricey.

...i must leave now. Time to snuggle with my Mac.


If you've always used a Mac, my inclination is to say stick with the Mac.

PCs can be a lot cheaper and give you a bit more control over data and the OS, but you'll need a little bit of technical knowledge to really take advantage of either of those things.

Other than that PC's and Mac's are essentially the same.

An apple a day keeps the Geek Squad away. . . I heard they're allergic.

I have a G5 and love it. I wanted a computer that could handle the usual graphic packages + Maya + AfterEffects + Final Cut Pro. It's been a workhorse; an elegant workhorse. However, I've done graphic work on PCs for the past 17 years and have few complaints, so I'm not steering you one way or the other. But I do love my G5 and wouldn't trade it for anything.

For Maya work, it's performed well. There's quite a bit of debate which is better for 3D. Check out HiEnd3D and CGtalk for comparisons. I will say this, there are more scripts, support, and plug-ins written for PC. Bummer.

If you already own Mac versions of the software you will be using, I say stick Mac. If you have to buy both software and hardware PC will be cheaper.

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.