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Old 11-24-2000, 03:30 PM
pcvsmac pcvsmac is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 52
Default PC - vs - Mac -- A Breakdown For Everyone

I'm researching as much as I can before deciding which system to buy, PC or Mac. Here's what I've gathered so far from reading these boards, and perusing Pricewatch. Please feel free to add any experience or details I have not found. I'm going to cross post this to the Mac board, as well, so everyone from both sides can share their knowledge.

The BX133-RAID appears to be the best choice among motherboards, as it has the Intel 440BX chipset, supports up to 1GIG of PC133 RAM, and has the ability to hook up two or more ATA/DMA-100 hard drives to its RAID controller, virtually eliminating the need for SCSI and the high price tag associated with it (wow, what a sentence). It is currently $112 on Pricewatch.

How much performance is really gained by having 200 more MHz? The price difference between the 1GHz and the 800Mhz is currently $270. Is it worth the extra cost?
Pentium III 1GHz - $449
Pentium III 933MHz - $320
Pentium III 866MHz - $227
Pentium III 800MHz - $179

This is a somewhat tricky area, in that the quality of the RAM can make a real difference in system stability. The BX133-RAID supports up to 256MB PC133 RAM in each slot. Here are the lowest prices for good quality PC133 RAM that I could find.
128MB - $97
256MB - $198

Hard Drives
ATA/DMA-100 7200RPM Hard Drive costs.
-Western Digital
WD200BB 20GB - $114
WD400BB 40GB - $158
52049H3 20GB - $110
54098H6 40GB - $179

Dual Monitor Video Card
The Matrox Millenium Dual Head Cards
G400 ... 16MB - $74 ... 32MB - $102
G450 ... 16MB - $83 ... 32MB - $146
The G450 has faster DDR RAM, but I doubt it is necessary.

Other Stuff
Decent case prices vary from $35-$75
CD-RW drives 8W/4RW/32R around $111
Floppy $8

-Total System Costs-
BX133-RAID ........ $112
PIII 800MHz ....... $179
256MB PC133 RAM ... $198
WD200BB-Win98SE ... $114
2x WD200BB-Audio .. $228
G400 32MB Card .... $102
CD-RW ............. $111
Case & Floppy ..... $80
Total Cost ........ $1124
Upgrade to 1GHz ... $ 270
to 512MB RAM ..... $ 198
to 2x40GB Audio .. $ 88
to G450 32MB ..... $ 34
Upgraded Cost ..... $1714

So, for a good PC system, you're looking at
anywhere from $1100-$1700. Add your keyboard and mouse for around $15-$50.

Your base stripped down G4 system from Apple is configured as follows for $1549:
400 MHz G4 Processor
20 GB ATA 5400 RPM
RAGE 128 PRO 16MB Video Card
Keyboard and mouse

Dual 450MHz - $600
Dual 500MHz - $900

RAM prices from Apple are expensive, for a 256MB base, instead of 64MB, it's $450 more.
From Pricewatch I got these much lower prices:
128MB - $99
256MB - $199
512MB - $599

SCSI Controller
Looking at the Digi001 compatability pages, I see that the Apple bought SCSI controller isn't supported. There are two supported controllers, one by Atto, one by Adaptec.
ATTO Express PCI Dual Ultra Wide - $309
Adaptec HBA 2906 - $40
Something seems strange about the large difference in the prices, so if anyone knows why, please post why.

Hard Drives
For the OS, you can upgrade to the ATA 30GB 7400 drive from Apple for $150.
For the audio drives, the cheapest prices I could find on Pricewatch are as follows (all drives are 10000 RPM U160).
WD 18GB - $270
Seagate 18GB - $308
Seagate 36GB - $599

Dual Monitor Video Cards
Reading on the Digi001 compatability pages again, I see that the only dual monitor card supported is the Appian Jeronimo 2000 Macintosh, which costs a whopping $715.

Other Stuff
Imation SuperDisk - $98
Regular Floppy - $8

-Total System Costs-
Base 400 G4 system ....... $1549
Add 128MB RAM for 196MB .. $ 99
SCSI Controller .......... $ 40
18GB 10000RPM U160 SCSI .. $ 270
Total Cost ............... $1958
Upgrade to Dual 450MHz ... $ 600
to 30GB ATA 7400RPM ..... $ 150
to 320MB RAM ............ $ 100
Level 1 Upgrade Cost ..... $2808
Upgrade to Dual 500MHz ... $ 300
to 576MB RAM ............ $ 400
to 36GB U160 SCSI ....... $ 329
to Dual Monitor Card .... $ 715
Level 2 Upgrade Cost ..... $4552

Upgraded PC Cost ...... $1714
Comparable Mac* Cost .. $3732
Difference in price ... $2018

*Comparable Mac is Dual 500MHz with 320MB RAM, 36GB SCSI, Dual Monitor, and keeps the 20GB ATA 5400RPM drive.

Zoinks! Note these costs do not include monitors, nor the Digi001 package.

So, it's obvious that the PC wins the price game by over $2000. That's quite a bit.

What about features and performance? I've read here that the Macintosh has more plug-ins and supports more effects at once, and also that it is more stable than PC (though many PC users say their systems are stable). Also, with the upcoming OS X dual processor support, the Macintosh performance could go up quite a bit.

But are the extra plug-ins and possibly more stable performance worth $2000?

I'm interested in all comments regarding this subject.

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Old 11-24-2000, 03:56 PM
dendee dendee is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: ontario, Canada
Posts: 90
Default Re: PC - vs - Mac -- A Breakdown For Everyone

As time goes by, plug-ins for pc will increase because it is a large lucrative market. Performance reviews for Pentium 4 should start appearing soon, as they are available now!!!
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Old 11-25-2000, 08:46 AM
marcelloz marcelloz is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: CA US
Posts: 94
Default Re: PC - vs - Mac -- A Breakdown For Everyone

Also, if you are not looking for the top configurations or if you have less money to spare, my $500 emachine i466 with 160MB of ram works truely great with the 001.Looks like the deal with the 001 is more a matter of compatibility rather than quality of the host PC.

Good luck

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Old 11-25-2000, 03:35 PM
dawpro dawpro is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: digital heaven
Posts: 13
Default Re: PC - vs - Mac -- A Breakdown For Everyone

You said it all in a nutshell!!!!

you forgot tax ,shipping, warranties, return policy and there ability to ship you the right product. When I first got into system building I took this route for my first sweet setup heres what happened.

1.The company I got the drives from sent me some other guy's order by mistake and it took me three weeks for them to get it right.

2.The burner I ordered was a different model listed as a 2564/2564i and of course I got the version that was a box in spanish and manuals in spanish.

3.The drives I ordered were ata-66 instead of ata-100 like I wanted

4.The CPU I ordered once was DOA dead on arrival and it took me six weeks for them to get me a new one.

Total system cost the same as above
plus shipping wich at avereage is about %10 to the price listed. They charge you for two day air and then ship it ground but do not tell you until you check the tracking number out.

Total time to get your system parts????

who knows any thing could happen 2 weeks? 2 months? will you even get the right parts?

Did all the parts work when I got them?

Nope some did not work at all and I had to delay further to get them.

If you are a expert system builder and have seen the parts you want in action and know they perform perfect for the Digi-001 then by all means roll the dice.

But I am warning you , one of these things will happen to you with one of these parts.

When you do finaly get it going you face getting it to work with the digi-001, and when it doesn't you will be stuck.

It is so much better to spend a couple extra bones and go with a company that specializes in the design of custom computers for music.

You will be bypassing all of the above nightmares wich have happened to hundreds of thousands of "Pricewatchers"

There is a reason a company charges a little bit more for a product and here it is.

1.Full warranty
2.Full tech Support
3.New not (refurbished parts)
4.System configuration
5.Ability to trouble shoot with you for audio issues

The Digi-001 is fussy very fussy, and with out the right parts and knowledge of a system from a ground up level, you will be introuble unless you want to do hours and hours of research trouble shooting.

Saving money means nothing when your stuck with a DEA error message after blowing 1700 dollars and taking hours of your time to build it yourself.

Make it easy go with the system I got from a good company that builds systems for the Digi-001 and other Cards.

After adding up the price above it is about the same for there setups.

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Old 11-25-2000, 05:12 PM
garuda_x garuda_x is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: los angeles, CA USA
Posts: 52
Default Re: PC - vs - Mac -- A Breakdown For Everyone

this is not a real price comparison. you can add another video card for a 100-200 bucks...yo dont need the jeronimo card. scsi isnt really neccessary either. you can plug a couple of ibm gxp 75's and be fast enough to rock and roll. there you go. thats all. oh, and ram. i think that 512 MB of ram is about $450 for it.... and lets not forget that apple is giving rebates for the dual 450's and 500's i tihk that you get $300 and $500 respectively.

a dual 450g4 with 64mb of ram the 30gb drive, dvd, and the radeon graphics card is $1,949. add tax and i think shipping is free from the apple store. now add a single 256mb stick for $180 or a single 512MB stick of ram and you are golden. oh yeah, lets add a big drive for our audio. a 30 gig drive would do fine, an ibm 7200rpm ide drive is $150, or a bigger one, they go up to 75gb, for $4xx give or take. or maybe the maxtor drives...those are fine as well, but i usually go with the ibm drives.... there you go, lemme get the palm pilot and add it all up.... i'll guestimate and place it @ $2699 for a dual 450 with a 20 gig sys drive, 576MB ram, dvd, a radeon graphics card, another ati orion card, and a 40 gig drive for audio.... and it comes with a key and mouse. a really cool keyboard, but you might wanna buy a kensington pro mouse, or a ms trackball or something...or a wacom tablet.... but those are usb and universal...right?

well, they you go. that is pretty much what i would built. since you are building a machine just for pro tools.....you dont need to wait for the plugs to become available....they are here now. the machine is buf enough to do video, 3d, 2d, pro tools...(although if you are doing serious 3d, you want maya on mt or irix) and blah blah blah..... people say tings like "plan for the future" and crap like that. if you are in production you buy as good as what is available for your budget now and use it. i currently have my 001 running on a windows machine, but will move it to a mac as soon as i am financially able to. there are little things you come to like when you use both. i like the mac layout a bit more. no need to drag the app window across both monitors and reset all of you window positions.... when i go to a shop with pt on mac it always feels good. whatever, people like thier sonic foundry things and like thier games or whatever.... i use the 001 on my windows box and just live with my f*ed up screen redraws and my misplaced window options..... you deal with it.... but the ovewhelming majority of users of pro tools are on the mac. thats it.
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Old 11-26-2000, 09:11 PM
foreigndog foreigndog is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 36
Default Re: PC - vs - Mac -- A Breakdown For Everyone

There are a few custom audio PC builders out there that come real close to the prices that
are being shown here. I can only tell all of you that I have had not one problem with my custom built system. I am so glad I did so, because it is a breeze when you're not worrying about system configs. Some of these builders will even beat the self built systems I'm sure. If you have the money and don't want the headache, I highly recommend having one built custom. I personally know that Justin and Drastiksolutions build them, as well as the people who built mine, Chris and the folks over at Wave Digital. I can't say enough about them, I have a great system, trouble free.
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Old 11-27-2000, 01:31 AM
Canteenboy Canteenboy is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Yucca Valley, CA 92284
Posts: 94
Default Re: PC - vs - Mac -- A Breakdown For Everyone

I appreciate all the time you took puting this comparison together. I just had one question: I am familiar with the Raid board and have also considered it as a good alternative to a SCSI drive, but doesn't the Raid board split ALL of your files between the two hard drives to gain speed? I'm wondering if this will cause any problems since Digi specifies that you should use a dedicated hard drive for you audio. It seems to me with the Raid board you would end up with parts of your OS and audio on BOTH of the hard drives, leaving room for error or crash. Please let me know if I am missing something here.
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Old 11-27-2000, 01:50 AM
rdpete rdpete is offline
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: grasston,mn,usa
Posts: 343
Default Re: PC - vs - Mac -- A Breakdown For Everyone

I agree with Canteenboy......

From what I understand, RAID still doesn't solve latency issues, since App & File are still being pulled from the same drive. Sounds like it defeats the sole purpose of having 2 drives to begin with.
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Old 11-28-2000, 12:26 PM
pcvsmac pcvsmac is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 52
Default Re: PC - vs - Mac -- A Breakdown For Everyone

In this RAID setup, App and File would not be on the same Drive. You'd put the App on the C Drive, which is the 20GB Hard Drive, and then you'd get 2 40GB Hard Drives and put those on the RAID array and use them as the audio drive only.

I may be misunderstanding how it works, but AFAIK, RAID drives have to be the same size, so the 20GB system/software drive wouldn't be included in the array.

When you say ProTools doesn't support Dual Monitors, does that mean it doesn't on the PC, either? I mean, can't you drag a window from one screen to another?

Now what about performance? I mean, there are PC users and Mac users out there, and they are happy with their systems, so the question may be moot, as it might just be personal preference.

All the talk is leading me to think a Mac would be the better choice overall, though. I'll just miss that right mouse button.
I know there are Mac 2 button mice, but I've used them and they aren't exactly perfect.
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Old 11-28-2000, 02:27 PM
gtrman gtrman is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Posts: 3
Default Re: PC - vs - Mac -- A Breakdown For Everyone

Speaking of plug-ins, What plug ins if any are currently available for the PC version?
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