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  #1  
Old 03-12-2009, 01:52 PM
Neale Eckstein's Avatar
Neale Eckstein Neale Eckstein is offline
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Default Got HD PCIx cards- switch from mac to PC?

So I've been reading lots of threads about native vs HD, new computers, RTAS vs TDM, etc. But I can't seem to find a good thread on the dilemna for those of us still using Macs with PCI slots. Direct me there if I missed it.

Like everyone else, I'd love to know what's coming and when, but we know that Digi isn't telling. I expect whatever I decide to do will be followed within 3 months by something new and wonderful. I know there are lots of you out there in the same boat.

I've got a dual G5 2.7 (8 gig HD3 with 2 192 i/os system non accel PCX cards) and want to get an intel 8 core something. Money is a factor and at this point, I'm more interested in VIs and RTAS than more TDM plugins. I also use a lot of outboard gear when mixing. I'm sick of bouncing all my VIs before I mix only to want to change them and have to bounce again.

To review:
1) Digi trade in to PCIe Accel and new mac $7-8k
2) PCIx to PCIe chassis and new mac $6-7k
and finally GASP!
3) Get a screaming PC with PCIx cards $2-3k

I don't like PCs. I have 5 macs I use all the time, and one PC I had for Giga that I never use anymore. But in terms of getting an intel multicore without spending a ridiculous amount that might become "old" soon, I'm liking the economics of it.

The question is, will I hate switching to a PC to run PT. I'll keep the G5 to run the other Mac software I use and as a mixdown deck.

Once it's up and running, will it look any different? Can I remap the control and command keys so I don't have to keep 2 sets of shortcuts straight and for the convenience of other engineers who use my studio?

It probably won't be hard to talk me out of this idea, but I have to consider it.

Thanks,

Neale Eckstein

www.foxrun.org
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  #2  
Old 03-12-2009, 04:56 PM
hummerZ hummerZ is offline
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Default Re: Got HD PCIx cards- switch from mac to PC?

I don't have an answer for you, but I will at least chime in and tell you that you're not alone in this dilemma. G5 w/ PCI cards here, wondering where to go next. I have also considered the hackintosh route, which you may want to look into. There has been a little bit of chatter on the forums, too: http://duc.digidesign.com/showthread.php?t=239687

To me, worst case scenario for the hackintosh is reverting over to windows. same some $$$ !
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  #3  
Old 03-12-2009, 08:46 PM
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Eric Seaberg Eric Seaberg is offline
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Default Re: Got HD PCIx cards- switch from mac to PC?

We installed multiple HD systems in our facility 5-years ago on Dual 2GHz G5 with ATTO SCSI cards and they've run without any issues for that long.

Recently we built an HDTV Remote truck housing an SSL C200 console and 128-I/O of ProTools HD running on a PC. The ONLY reason we installed a PC in the truck was so I could put 1-Core and 3-Accel cards and 4-1TB drives without using an external cage. There are no HD192s since the SSL converts 128-channels of MADI that plug straight into the Core/Accel cards. Needless to say, it's a HUGE space saver (as well as $$).

We also have an AVID in the truck running on another HP8600 and it and PTHD connect together pretty well using Satellite, but do have issues.

Well, after a couple of months fighting with the PC and Windows (even XP), I am SO SORRY I went that direction. The one saving grace is Digi and our dealer support.

If I were to do it again, I'd stick with the Mac.
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  #4  
Old 03-13-2009, 03:20 AM
peterle peterle is offline
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Default Re: Got HD PCIx cards- switch from mac to PC?

there are few points which should lead your decision:
are you working with picture?
(there is a mac far better unless you have a mojo, no support
for video through firewire on window ,except with mojo)
you need lot of ram?
xp or vista (if not the the 64 bit versions) are limited to
4 gb (in real live to 3,2gb)
does your plugins and vi exist in pc-versions too?
do you have to spend extra money to get pc-versions?

stability seems not be the factor , a proper configured pc
can be more stable than a mac, but you have to look which MB
etc you use , the digi-approved pc-hardware is mostly outdated
and better ask in the tdm-windows forum what works.
Dual cpu-MB (8 cores) if needed are not cheap in pc-land and they
have to work with PT and have to have 3 pci slots
which also in pc-world fade out.
Better check your overall costs and benefits first.
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  #5  
Old 03-13-2009, 06:11 AM
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brianjanthony brianjanthony is offline
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Default Re: Got HD PCIx cards- switch from mac to PC?

Neale,

My long story. But hey, I'm feeling verbose today.

I've been in your boat. 2 summers ago, I took the plunge into PC land after 15 years on Macs. I had HD3 PCIX and thought it would be cheaper to go PC rather than upgrade/expansion chassis a new Mac. I had Sweetwater build me the mega Creation Station maxed out on everything. I figured I'd take advantage of cheaper PC native firepower. I'm sure my experience isn't the "norm"... but it is indeed my experience... The PC lasted all of a week.

First, hardware wise, the thing was a nightmare. Swapping Firewire drives (and here, that happens daily) - NIGHTMARE. I had to buy software just to read Mac drives (and in the recording world, there's lots of em). And even then, Mac Drive wouldn't read some of the partitions. Other Firewire drives would just restart the computer when plugged in. And a Windoze reboot? Forget a 30 second Leopard reboot. Go grab some coffee. Client brings a USB flash drive? Wait a while. let it scan for drivers. This is getting fun! . Networking? I guess if you're into learning it on the PC side, it can be fun. But for me, I like how Macs JUST WORK. No thought involved. Plug a computer into the ethernet, it shows up network wide for access. No messing around. AND NO VIRUSES. I can count the clients on more than 2 hands that I have inherited because a PC studio lost the clients work because of viruses. And as far as the OS itself and recording... Macs are definitely more plug and play. No BIOS/Dingus/whatchamacallit to configure.

Then, to boot, running heavy multitrack sessions, the thing just shut down. Off. I know. I know. Not every PC does this. But mine did. After a Mac? My clients actually said they weren't coming back until I had the old computer in place. I didn't blame them.

When the darn thing wasn't shutting down, causing me heart failure and etc, it was ok. Inside Pro Tools, there was little difference (except the close window toggles being on the opposite side). THough, Melodyne could not scan in 5 vocal tracks at once like it did on my Mac. Amp sims ran a tad better. The CD authoring was MILES AHEAD of the Mac (Sony CD architect costs 99 and WORKS. You cannot get near it on Mac for 3x that cost). Plugin count was up (that would be obvious).

Did I give the PC enough of a chance? Maybe not. Maybe I could've gotten a new one with less probs. I simply didn't have the time. And I couldn't afford to lose clients because of the clunkier workflow. (I didn't realize how much networking, hot swap drives, and things like that affected my business and after-hours work, even from just a "non client" angle). Impatient me could not understand how PC users I talked to could just accept this extra atmosphere of tech-i-ness just to get work done (drivers, tech support, incompatible chipsets yadda yadda yadda). I felt as if I needed a class in PC problems just to get my footing. Not prepared for that.

I went back to the G5 for another year and a half. I learned how to leverage my plugins and firepower. I made it work. It was less stressful than dealing with the PC. And I got work done. In that year and half, I saved up enough money, bought a chassis, a MacPro, AND an extra card. Now I can get more work done, faster, and see my wife and kid more. With the PC, I feel like I'd still be out there, cursing the thing because I couldn't get my latest firewire backup system to work.

My situation might not be the norm. But I went back to Mac. I wouldn't change my decision for the world.

brian
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  #6  
Old 03-13-2009, 10:22 AM
lifer lifer is offline
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Default Re: Got HD PCIx cards- switch from mac to PC?

I went from Mac to PC a few years ago when i got my Accel system amd I'm really glad i did. I was fairly used to building PC's so followed recommended components suggested by others on the Digi PC forum. I can honestly say i have never encountered any issues at all. In fact i often saw Mac users complaining far more about problems since OSX effectivley "breaks" with each minor upgrade. I would suggest that you stick to the Digi approved Dell systems if you aren't PC savvy..and stick to XP Pro (SP3) for a while. Don't get me wrong, I'm not Mac bashing at all. I happily also run a new Mac 8 core for my Logic system which i also love. I simply went to PC for the same reasons as you, I still have PCI X cards, but it certainly isn't anything to be concerned about, especially with the new multicore cpu's..they absolutely fly and are extremely stable.
Once inside Pro Tools you really don't see much difference (I even use the downloadable "Royale Noir" theme to make my windows look "prettier"!)
There is software available to re map any difference in shortcuts you are used to as far as I know but i have never had to use it.
Feel free to message me in private if i can be of any help if you do decide to make the jump :) Just remember, Digidesign live console systems all run on Win XP and they have to be VERY stable! Tells you a lot.
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  #7  
Old 03-13-2009, 11:35 AM
Mr. Anderson Mr. Anderson is offline
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Default Re: Got HD PCIx cards- switch from mac to PC?

Crosspost:

http://duc.digidesign.com/showthread.php?t=241452
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  #8  
Old 03-19-2009, 09:08 AM
Neale Eckstein's Avatar
Neale Eckstein Neale Eckstein is offline
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Default Re: Got HD PCIx cards- switch from mac to PC?

So I'm getting kind of 50-50 response between here and the crosspost on Windows forum. I do have some concerns about the external drive hotswapping. Every outside person I deal with is on a Mac. I was hoping those issues had disappeared by now, but it sounds like networking and disc compatibility are still not seamless.

I do appreciate the responses and hope this thread is useful for all the others in the same boat.

Neale
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:41 PM
ChrisMitchell ChrisMitchell is offline
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Default Re: Got HD PCIx cards- switch from mac to PC?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neale Eckstein View Post
So I'm getting kind of 50-50 response between here and the crosspost on Windows forum.
This doesn't surprise me. It's the eternal "Mac -vs- PC War" that's been raging for years.

The bottom line is that you have to balance your need to not have to put a 2nd mortgage on your house with your need to actually have a system that works reliably, quickly, and is compatible with as many other studios as possible. This is a simple matter of what you're willing to spend. Either you're looking at a chassis with a new Intel Mac, crossgrading your cards and just getting an Intel Mac, or getting a PC. All have their plusses and minuses.

I work in the IT industry, and every time someone puts in a "Change Control" ticket (aka "we're gonna change something drastic that may not work"), there's a section called "back out plan." Whatever plan you go with, make sure you have a detailed, step-by-step "back out plan," so WHEN something doesn't go right, you can immediately get your old rig working without having a coronary and losing studio time.

Me, I took what might be the coward's way out. I just didn't upgrade at all, which is kind of the ostrich with his head in the sand approach. I still run my G4 Dual 533 on PT 6.2.3.

Now that being said, when I do decide to upgrade, I am most likely going the chassis with Intel Mac route for client compatibility reasons; I've only had one client who ran on a PC rig since I've been running PT that needed a session I did on my Mac rig. At least that's the plan for now.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:14 PM
sunburst79 sunburst79 is offline
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Default Re: Got HD PCIx cards- switch from mac to PC?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neale Eckstein View Post
So I'm getting kind of 50-50 response between here and the crosspost on Windows forum. I do have some concerns about the external drive hotswapping. Every outside person I deal with is on a Mac. I was hoping those issues had disappeared by now, but it sounds like networking and disc compatibility are still not seamless.

I do appreciate the responses and hope this thread is useful for all the others in the same boat.

Neale
Just select the HFS+ option during installation and you should be able to read and write Mac drives on the PC.
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