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"That Doesn't Look Like a Mac." (hint, it isn't!)

COW Blogs : walter biscardi's Blog : "That Doesn't Look Like a Mac." (hint, it isn't!)
Two boxes showed up today and one of my employees says, “That doesn’t look like a Mac.”

Nope, that’s a long way from a Mac. That’s a brand new Dell Precision workstation featuring an nVidia Quadro card. I’ll post the full details on the workstation once I get it out of the box and set up which will happen later this weekend.

If you’ve been following along in my blogs you know we’re transitioning over to an Adobe / Avid workflow from 11 years of running Final Cut Pro and cross platform compatibility is one of the reasons for the change. If we go with Final Cut Pro X we have no choice but to run Apple hardware and all indications from Apple are showing the end of the “big iron” desktop is coming to a close. Whereas with Windows and Linux, there are still plenty of workstations to choose from with lots and lots of horsepower for the work we’re doing. So it makes sense to go with software that allows us to work on both Mac and Windows so we’re never limited by what just one company will provide us for hardware.

Dell? Seriously?

So of course, I’m a Mac guy and when I made the decision to go for cross platform workstations, my first step was to contact colleagues that have been running Windows for some time. I have literally NEVER used a Windows machine for work. Since 1993 I have been editing with NLE’s solely on the Apple platform. I have had PCs in the past for personal use and my wife still has a PC laptop, but I literally have a MacBook Pro, iMac, iPhone and iPad all within arm’s reach as I write this and my company owns about 20 or 30 Mac computers of one sort or another. It was imperative that I reach out to my colleagues for first hand advice on how to spec out a Windows machine.

I also reached out to all my third party vendors to ensure that our hardware would be compatible with the Windows box. All of my colleagues overwhelmingly recommended HP and in particular the Z800 model. Super fast workstation and from all accounts, can put the Mac Pro to shame when running Adobe software in particular. So how did I end up with a Dell workstation? Especially when not a single colleague even mentioned the brand?

Rather simple really. They asked.

Someone at Dell has been following along with my transition from Final Cut Pro to the Adobe / Avid workflow and saw that I was talking with my VAR to get a demo PC workstation to test in our facility. Dell reached out and that led to some conversations back and forth which led to them offering to let me test out one of their Precision workstations along with a copy of Adobe Production Premium CS 5.5 for Windows. Well that was a no-brainer for me and it makes things a little easier for my VAR. He didn’t have to assemble a workstation just for me to test and Dell gets feedback from us in a real-world Post situation during a 12 week test.

Then things changed a little further and requires me to make a full disclosure so everything is out in the open. The Precision workstation is no longer a demo machine, the workstation is now ours to keep, whether we like it or not. This was wholly unexpected and something I never would have asked for because it would be unreasonable to ask a computer company to simply give away one of their top of the line products just to have it tested out. But as the folks at Dell told me, they are serious about the creative industry and want to get their products into the hands of Post professionals in real world situations and get honest feedback. They want it here for much longer than 12 weeks.

The Rules.

Rule Number One: There are NO RULES. Yep, that’s the agreement. I am free to blog and write about this machine exactly as I see it.

I would not have it any other way. If there were strings attached to this offer, the machine would not be here. If there’s one thing I’m most proud of, is the fact that my product reviews are my honest opinion. If I don’t like something, you’re sure as heck going to know about it. I made that very clear with Dell when we spoke.

So what you’re going to read and hear from me in the coming weeks will be my own words, my own opinions. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. So pull down on the lap bar and keep your hands inside the car at all times. This is bound to be an interesting ride…….

Posted by: walter biscardi on Mar 9, 2012 at 8:07:29 pmComments (7) Dell, Windows


Re: "That Doesn't Look Like a Mac." (hint, it isn't!)
by Frank Smith
I started with macs waaaay back with the so called 512k "fat mac" back when there was no windows... and I sure as heck was NOT going to learn MSdos. After windows actually began to work and I got tired of apple making non-upgradable, built in obsolesence.... I began to make my own pcs.... that was a LONG time ago and I never had any remorse about it. The ONLY shortcoming I can think of is that windows has NEVER been as stable an OS, but with 7.... it is MUCH better... closer to what it should be. I look forward to reading about your experiences with your windows machine!

Frank Smith
Franklin Video, Inc.
Re: "That Doesn't Look Like a Mac." (hint, it isn't!)
by Richard Cardonna
Sorry missed the first line of your post so I will wait. Thanks
Re: "That Doesn't Look Like a Mac." (hint, it isn't!)
by Dave Barnard
Good to hear that Dell are keen on providing high end kit for the creative industries, and that they've got you involved Walter - look forward to hearing about it.

The HP z800 is a great machine but HP don't seem to be so keen on making PC hardware for anyone these days

Re: "That Doesn't Look Like a Mac." (hint, it isn't!)
by walter biscardi
Considering it's a brand new machine out of the box, I would be shocked if there was actually a virus. I will be installing Norton Anti-Virus on the box soon, but it's literally just out of the box.

Of course with PCs there's a much greater chance of a virus than a Mac, but that comes with the territory. The machine will be connected to the internet because they have to in our shop with all the off site client reviews and such via internet review sites.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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@walter biscardi
by Richard Cardonna
What are the sys. specs.

I had a presion sometime ago (6yrs) and it was very solid. Since then my sys is custom built.

@walter biscardi
by Rob Grauert
"Considering it's a brand new machine out of the box, I would be shocked if there was actually a virus. I will be installing Norton Anti-Virus on the box soon, but it's literally just out of the box."

Of course. I meant any time in the future. After all, Dell did give the computer to you for keeps.

Rob Grauert, Jr.
Re: "That Doesn't Look Like a Mac." (hint, it isn't!)
by Rob Grauert
It would be nice to know if you ever have issues with viruses. I know you could keep your PC disconnected from the internet, but (i think) it's possible a dormant virus could be lurking on a drive, flash drive, whatever. Just a suggestion :D

Rob Grauert, Jr.

Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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