Moving from Mac to PC - Part 1

Making The Move From Mac To A Windows PC, Part 1: Addressing Common Objections

November 24, 2016

In part 1 of new series on switching from the Mac to Windows, we address some common complaints often cited about moving from a Mac to a PC


Moving To A Windows PC is NOT As Scary As You Think

I remember the moment like it was yesterday – WWDC 2013. 

Phil Schiller with his usual polish, strutted on stage and announced to a captive audience the introduction of the 2013 Mac Pro – what we have come to call the ‘Trash Can’ Mac Pro due to its shape.

As Phil went through his usual antics of ‘best ever’, ‘revolutionary’, ’10x faster’ exploring the specs of this new machine, I knew right then I would never employ that machine in a professional environment.

The pro market had waited years for an update to the Mac Pro.  At the moment of this announcement I wasn’t excited (I really wanted to be).  For me, it was June 2013 when Apple announced plans to never again make the machine I wanted/needed.

While it was very sleek and relatively powerful, for many reasons – expandability, non-swapable video cards, processors that were behind the Intel’s Tick/Tock release (Intel doesn’t use this strategy anymore), reliance on external Thunderbolt devices, etc., I decided to look elsewhere for a solution for my needs.

The 2013 MacPro was supposed to be a savior for the Mac professional market – it has not proved to be. Many users are frustrated with their overall performance.

A couple weeks later, I ordered my first Windows/Linux machine and have not looked back since.

In the past couple weeks since the announcement of Apple’s new Mac Book Pro (and no Mac Pro) on social media sites, forums and in frank discussions with colleagues, I’ve sensed a renewed fervor from long-time Mac users discussing that Apple has ‘finally’ abandoned the pro-market and they were now going to consider a Windows/Linux setup.

I totally understood where these users are at – I was there, but in 2013!

In this Insight, which is Part 1 of a multiple part series, I want to start by addressing common objections that I hear of things that are missing in Windows or how painful adjusting a workflow from Mac > PC might be.

In Part 2, we’ll address both turnkey systems and PC hardware components  – which to the Mac User can seem like a bunch of gibberish.

In Part 3 we’ll explore the wild world of ‘Hackintosh’.

If there is something specific you want me to address in this series please let me know by using the comments below or drop teammixinglight an email.

What I’m Not Going To Discuss or Argue In This Series

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to quickly realize that many threads about switching from Mac to PC on forums and social media sites quickly devolve into something like:

Windows sucks!  Don’t support the dark side!

Only Apple understands creative people!

The Mac is a toy!

I’m not going to argue that Windows is better than the Mac OS or vice-versa.

The fact is both operating systems have some amazing features, some areas for improvement and things that just want to make you scream.

If you’re convinced that Windows was created by the devil, then just stop reading.

Like many of you, the main reason I even started exploring moving to a Windows machine was more powerful hardware.

In 2013 when the Mac Pro was announced, I think one could argue that the Mac Pro was at least on par with mainstream PC solutions – DDR3 RAM, PCIe SSDs, etc.

These days, when it comes to hardware, I don’t think a logical argument can be made that in a Mac desktop configuration there is anything near the equivalent of what you can find in a Windows/Linux PC.

So in terms of hardware, I will not be making any comparisons to Macs – there simply isn’t a Mac that allows for multiple CPUs, 512GB of Ram, internal SSD RAID, and 4 GPUs!

While I’ll also link to manufacturers, hardware components, and resources that I’ve used, I will try my best to remain as impartial as I can.

Finally, throughout this series I’ll be using the Windows/Linux nomenclature a lot.

The many flavors of Linux run quite well on PC hardware – I run a dual boot system, thus the reason I’ll use the Windows/Linux nomenclature.  If you have no reason to move to Linux when you see this, just think Windows.

Alternatives For Mac Workflows & Tools

Over the past three or four years when I’ve talked to people about my switch over to a Windows/Linux PC the conversation quickly turns to ‘how do you deal without… (fill in the blank)?’

I want to cover what I consider to be the most discussed things that are ‘missing’.  If you have other things that you rely on please use the comments below – I probably have a solution.


Apple’s continuing firm hold on the licensing of ProRes is frustrating to many, but it’s Apple’s prerogative.  So what does one do?

The first step is to evaluate the need for ProRes in your workflow. I found that the majority of my clients only requested ProRes because that’s what they had been doing forever!


For Mac users, ProRes is the defacto standard. But it’s not the only high-end postproduction codec.


Turns out for the majority of my clients that codec choice was something they didn’t have strong opinions about and because tools like Premiere Pro support codecs like DNxHD & DNxHR natively rendering to these codecs just works.

Speaking of DNxHD and DNxHR, I think they are excellent cross-platform codecs that produce files with similar quality and file size to ProRes, and as I mentioned, popular software packages like Resolve, Premiere Pro and others natively support DNxHD/HR encoding & decoding – in both MXF and MOV containers.

DNxHD/HR QuickTime codecs are also freely available from Avid


DNxHD/HR in an MXF container has become a very popular choice of codec/container for many post pros.


GoPro’s Cineform also makes a compelling alternative to ProRes and is supported by many applications.


While less popular than DNxHD/HR, ProRes Cineform is a popular cross-platform codec choice.


But sometimes you just need ProRes.

While you’ll probably read about many solutions for providing ProRes on Windows – most, if not all those solutions are based on FFMPEG, and QC departments have been known to flag ‘fake’ ProRes. Personally, I have not had good luck with these solutions so I can’t recommend them.

For the Resolve user, strongly consider having a spare (old) mac around as a ProRes ‘Dongle’ I wrote an article about setting this up.

At least in my shop, this setup has worked flawlessly. When I need to render ProRes from Windows Resolve I just send the Project to one of my equipped Macs.

Another viable solution is to use a recorder like a Blackmagic Hyper Deck or the extremely full-featured CineDeck products. In these setups, you simply ‘layback’ creating ProRes files. CineDeck even has a very cool application for doing inserts on file.

Also for Resolve Users with the Advanced Panel – Resolve on Linux allows for ProRes encoding.

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22 thoughts on “Making The Move From Mac To A Windows PC, Part 1: Addressing Common Objections”

  1. Great insight, Robbie. Very generous of you to share your tips. This’ll save me hours of messing around. Looking forward to the hardware installment – especially, after spending 2 hours on the phone with Eric at ADK designing my system.

  2. Fantastic insight Robbie! Thanks for a reminder about NiNite, about to redo my system and forgot about that amazing app. Do you have a preference between MacDrive and Paragon? I noticed Paragon works but transfred slower for some reason, so Ive been using MacDrive recently. Also, are you using many TB devices on your PC?

  3. I am thinking of a Linux setup because I have a Linux dongle and almost all my clients request ProRes files. Can you show us a short version how to install Resolve and how you install drivers for graphics cards on Linux. It sounds scary/ hard to me I know OS X very well. Thanks for a greater insight.

    1. Martin – this is a great idea – drivers etc are not hard. The big choice is file system. If you’re going to setup stornext which a lot of integrators will recommend it’s a little involved. I should add Paragon the company I mentioned for mounting Mac drives has a NTFS plugin that I use that works great on LInux. I’ll look into a screen recording app that works on Cent OS

    1. same app, some differences. On the plus side you get ProRes, potentially support for more GPUs, Infiniband etc. Downsides OFX, only big panels. But maybe releated to your other question we should do an intro to linux resolve series. Gotta finish the big panel series first!

      1. Sorry just saw this. I switched to PC about a year and a half ago. Was worried about internet security and was unsure of which to go with. I hit up a long time friend that’s in the robotics industry, to see what he had to say. Long story story short, he recommended Kaspersky. Haven’t looked back. If what you have, has been working, I’m a firm believer of “If it aint broke, don’t fix it” . Cheers.

  4. Hey Robbie, Thanks so much for the awesome article. What motherboard do you recommend for a resolve setup? I am bouncing between a x99 1 cpu setup or going with some of the older xeon 2011 v3 or v4’s on ebay and doing a dual setup. What do you recommend for 4.6k/ 6k raw footage? Thanks again!

    1. Hey Jonathan – gonna cover most of that in Part 2. One thing thats pretty amazing to me is the HP z840 prices on ebay. You can get a Dual 8 or even Dual 12s pretty much barebones and add your own stuff for crazy cheap!

      For my home setup I have a ASUS x99 -E WS USB 3.1

      If I was doing that same build today I’d get the updated version with built in 10G ethernet

      1. Thanks Robbie for getting back to me! Do you see a huge difference in the z840 dual CPU over your single at home? I work mostly with RED 6k footage and will be working more now with the 4.6k blackmagic RAW footage. Would like a single 6950x work well for that do you think? Selling my Mac Pro on friday so trying to figure out what direction to head. Thanks again!

        1. especially with highly complex codecs processors play a really important role in Resolve. I can’t make a compression directly to 6950x as in my z840 its Dual 12 Core Xeon and at home its a single 14. I do notice a different – its not huge but its there.

          I think the 6950x is a smart choice – 10 cores, lots of lanes (motherboard might help out with that with a PLX chip or two). And it has a nice clock speed. I went xeon because there are several things that I do that can really leverage all the cores.

  5. Perfect timing – I am just in the process of building a windows machine (transitioning from working with Mac). I’m a student colourist on a budget – it would be great to know the best deals out there so I can get the best bang for my buck. Bring on part 2!

    1. not that I know of on TB 2. TB3 is making this possible but usually in single card configurations – take a look at boxes from ASUS, alienware etc they all of solutions. Cubix is still (IMHO) the most rocksolid solution for multiple card expansion but its PCIe based

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