What Mac Post Pros Need To Know About Building A Custom PC

Building a PC Optimized for Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve

March 9, 2017

In Part 2, Eric Bowden of ADK Video highlights the importance of optimizing PC hardware to your specific workflows, codecs and software.


The post-production industry is starting to migrate from Apple workstations to PC workstations. Apple, traditionally the platform for many creative professionals, is slowing down development of its ‘workstation’ class hardware. Plus, their ‘workstation’ class hardware has become rigid, with very little ability to upgrade components and limiting the useable lifespan of that gear. This is causing many pros to buy a Windows PC optimized for Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve.

Migrating off the Mac: Part 2 – Building a PC Optimized for Premiere or Davinci Resolve

In Part 1, I interview Eric Bowen about the overall Mac and PC workstation landscape. Eric is a design consultant for ADK Video and works as an IT expert for Northern Kentucky University in their Fine Arts department. He helped us understand the history of Mac and PC workstation development and the how / why PC hardware has taken big strides forward (and why Apple has let the Mac Pro fall behind). We also talked generally about how RAM, CPU, GPU and BIOS all interact to determine system performance with digital media software apps.

We get specific now: Dual Xeon vs. i7, Clock Speed vs Cores, GeForce vs Quadro

In this Insight we discuss:

  • Why the first question you need to ask yourself is: What Codecs am I using?
  • 4K with h.264 (and h.265… Why is it such a dog to work with?
  • Does throwing more CPU Cores help with Long-GOP codecs?
  • Is RED footage CPU intensive?
  • The relationship between clock speed and GPU performance
  • The importance of fast hard drives for still image sequences
  • Why the performance of the same footage is different between software apps
  • Why you need to know which of your effects and filters are GPU-accelerated (or not)
  • The beauty of DaVinci Resolve’s Cache Management codec options
  • How the codec of your media has a huge impact on your ability to add effects and maintain real-time playback
  • The differences between DNxHR and ProRes (and why you might choose one over the other)
  • Robbie’s article that I mention: Moving From Mac to PC: Addressing Common Objections
  • The impact of Apple abandoning Quicktime for Windows
  • Xeon vs i7: What’s the difference?
  • Prioritizing Cores / Threads and Clock Speed
  • The relationship between Clock Speed and Realtime Performance
  • What is the lowest clock speed you want (and why) for realtime playback?
  • When does buying a Dual Xeon system make sense?
  • Can you mix and match different GPUs in the same workstation?
  • The one reason to buy a Quadro GPU
  • GeForce vs. Quadro Cards
  • The complexity of installing a GeForce and Quadro card in the same PC workstation

Coming up: Do you have a question for Eric? He’ll answer it.

After listening to Parts 1 & 2 of this interview, do you have a question for Eric? The comments are open for the next week or so. After that, I’ll close them down and record Part 3 with Eric.


– pi

Part 2: Audio Interview with Custom PC Builder Eric Bowen, ADKVideoEditing.com

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