Which is better for filmmaking, PC or Mac?
Internet Filmmakers' FAQ
You're a neophyte filmmaker, you drop this innocent and well-meaning little question into a filmmaking newsgroup... you'd better be wearing your Teflon-coated asbestos suit to survive the flame-war that will erupt around you. Nothing seems to get people's blood running quite as much as the age-old platform debate.
So which route should you go down? Once you remove the emotional argument, the answer is actually pretty simple: you choose the platform you are most familiar with and comfortable using. Those who tell you that Mac is better for creative industries or that they're "industry standard" are simply being manipulated by Apple's clever emotional marketing strategy. Conversely, those who insist that PCs are cheaper, more powerful etc are also missing the bigger picture.
When it comes to hardware and "power", there is virtually no difference between PCs and Macs... when you compare like for like. Macophiles often like to point the figure at stability and speed issues in PCs as one of the core reasons for their supposed inferiority. However, lining up a bright, shiny new Mac against an off-the-shelf box from the local PC superstore is not really a fair comparison. It's like the owner of a Ferrari telling the owner of a Ford that they car is inferior – of course it is, and the price-tag reflects that. Now Ferrari verses Lamborghini... there's an interesting contest.
But back to the point at hand: doing any sort of post-production work on a computer is an extremely hardware-intense activity, so you really need to be shopping towards the upper end of the market regardless of which platform you choose. Just as cutting HD on an iMac will prove to be a bit of a challenge, wondering why Premiere Pro is unstable on your $600 cheap and cheerful PC is also a little stupid. You need to buy the right hardware for the job. For Macs, get a the latest Mac-proper (no iMacs); for PCs, either custom-select your components, or if you're not up to speed in this area, consider buying a "workstation" from manufacturers like Dell (Precision range) or IBM (Intellistation). These machines are hardware-optimised for performance in areas which are key for digital media production.
Of course a secondary consideration will always be the availability of suitable software for your chosen platform, but this also falls under the same argument: you choose the one you are most comfortable with using. In prosumer editing circles, the leading packages have slowly drifted towards aligning themselves with a chosen operating system; Final Cut Pro for Mac and Adobe Premiere Pro for PC (although Premiere Pro CS3 now supports Intel Macs too). Avid (the closest thing there is to an "industry standard") has chosen to remain platform-agnostic. So, the logic continues: if you're most comfortable with Final Cut Pro, you choose a Mac; if you prefer the familiar Adobe interface, you choose PC (and if you want Avid, you pick the platform you prefer).
So now that you have the low-down, when this argument pops up again (as it inevitably will), you can sit back, comfortable in the knowledge that your decision was based on the age-old logic of "right tool for the job", while the emotional flame war rages around you.