After more than a decade I am now the owner of a PC. Here are my reasons and then some specs for you nerds.
Our industry is at the mid to tail end of a big shift from Mac to PC. There are multiple reasons but the main one is three letters. GPU. I’m not a future teller. I just look at trends and keep my ear close to the ground while watching industry leaders. The word is that GPU rendering is not a fad but will be a big part of our collective future. If that’s the case, PC wins by a mile. The fact that you can’t really modify and add to the new Macs will lead to their demise. Get a PC and you can add 4+ graphics cards if you want. There are so many options to continue adding on to your machine which is great for future proofing. Add more cards, upgrade your cards, add more ram, buy more SSDs or internal drives. My new PC has 8 slots for hard drives!! On my Mac, you can’t add any internally. All of this is super easy with a PC, but with the new Mac Pro, it’s almost impossible.
Third party render engines like Octane and Redshift are dominating our space and if you want to keep up, you need GPU power and lots of it. PC wins hands down. There are other reasons to switch. Price vs what you get is totally in PC’s favor. One final reason to consider is if you are a freelancer. If you work with various studios, you need to be able to jump in and work with what their designers and editors are using. Currently the company I’m doing a lot of work with has gone all in with Octane. This has caused some issues when collaborating. In order to stay viable career wise, you have to take a hard look at what the industry is using vs what you have. Make sure you’re keeping up, not just with your skills and knowledge, but also your hardware so you can work with companies seamlessly. Companies don’t hire freelancers who are a hassle. People hire you because you’re good at your job, but also because you are easy to work with and that’s on you.
I’m not a tech guy. I don’t like researching this stuff and I don’t understand most of it. So instead of building a PC myself I decided to go with Puget Systems. (I’m not being paid by them and don’t have any affiliate links, fyi). They were highly recommended to me by a friend who used them. I can 100% agree. The experience has been amazing with them. You pick out what you want, customize it, and then they go over the details and talk over the specs with you to make sure you’re getting the perfect fit. After you order they build it and ship it to you in about 2 weeks. Here’s what I ended up with:
CPU: Intel Core i7 6900K 3.2GHz Eight Core 20MB 140W
Ram: 64 gig total. 4 x Samsung DDR4-2400 16GB ECC Reg.
Video Cards: 2 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB
The rest of the specs are not a big deal, just the regular stuff like SSD hard drive etc. Even though GPU is important for rendering, your CPU will help navigate big files which is a requirement in C4D. 8 core seemed like the “sweet spot” between performance and cost. 64 gig of ram is not really excessive, but again shooting for that “sweet spot.” Same with the video cards. I could get Titans, which are faster, but I don’t want to blow out my bank account. I can easily add more cards or upgrade them later if I want to, and two 1080s will be plenty fast for now.
My goal is to always be just behind the curve. That might sounds strange, but it’s my philosophy on just about everything. I want to make sure the trend is solid, so I never early adopt. I also try to find the spot where you hit diminishing return on any purchase. So, 8 core instead of 10 seemed to be the point where the price hockey sticks in relation to what you get. I can get a better machine, but I think this one is about perfect for the cost.
In addition to the computer I also purchased a Dell Ultra HD 4K Monitor, 27-inch screen, for $585 to top of my new work station.
The total price of the computer ended up being $5,250 which includes shipping. This price kind of blows me away. I bought my Mac Pro 3 years ago and it has similar CPU and Ram specs, but the graphics cards were WAY worse. And that cost me 8k. So, for a savings of $3,000 I can get a computer that is far superior, and not only that but has a ton of empty slots for RAM, hard drives, graphics cards etc. And get this, is has something ridiculous like 15 or 16 USB ports. My Mac has 4.
I will keep you up to date when I get my machine and start using it.
Good-bye Mac. I didn’t leave you. You left me. It’s the start of a new era.