I recently decided it was high time I had my own workstation at home so that I could complete projects outside of work without bumping into the hardware limitations of my ageing laptop. This caused me to ponder a question that I hadn’t considered for a long time: Mac or PC?
It should've been an easy decision. After all, I'd been using a Mac (of one sort or another) for years, and yet all around me I was reading about people switching to Windows. I was curious, and when it came time to bite the bullet and put down my hard earned for a new machine I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about. It was a deep rabbit hole to go down, but the consensus seemed to be that building a Windows PC was better performance for money; more easily upgraded; and pretty much a necessity if you wanted to use any of the new GPU render engines that were taking over everyone's daily renders on Instagram.
I still had hesitations about leaving my beloved Mac OS X, but these four resources by other designers and animators who had made the switch helped convince me to take the plunge and guide me through the process:
- “Mac vs PC for MoGraph” by Billy Chitkin at School of Motion
This 3-part series was hugely helpful to me - I must have read it a half dozen times, gleaning extra tidbits of knowledge each time. The first part covers the reasons why you should switch and convinced me I was making the right choice, the second part covers computer parts and helped get me started picking out parts for my own build, and the third part gave me a tonne of useful software suggestions once I’d gotten up and running on Windows.
- “Making The Switch” by John Dickinson at Motionworks
Another voice to add to the chorus of professional motion graphics designers who’d made the switch, John’s article is especially useful for anyone considering a pre-built system like the HP Z840 he chose.
- “Mac vs PC as a Motion Designer: The End of an Era” by Joren Kandel at Pixel Lab
Joren touched on GPU rendering in greater detail, making the point that really PC is the only option if you’re looking to add Octane or similar renderers to your arsenal.
- “Is This The End Of The Macintosh For C4D Artists?”
Not an article but a podcast episode, this is definitely an entertaining and informative watch for anyone. It looks at the Microsoft Surface Studio, discusses the merits of PC and Mac, and has some useful workflow tools.
I’m still adjusting to life on Windows and retraining my muscle memory for those different hotkeys, but overall I think I’ve got a powerful system for my current work and a more robust system for the future. If Apple releases a more competitive offering in the future, I’ll happily switch back (budget permitting) but I think competition is great for consumers and being able to switch between the two platforms is empowering, allowing me to pick what works best for me and my work.