8 Replies Latest reply on Jun 17, 2011 8:28 AM by Steve Grisetti

    Mac vs. PC for video editing

    Infinity Focus Photos Level 1

      I'm sure this question has been asked a million times or so, but

      I wanted to touch on a few specific aspects of the editing process.


      First of all, which is faster?  I know it depends greatly on the specs of each computer, but my laptop has 4 gigs of RAM, an
      AMD phenom triple core processor, SSE2 support, a graphics card with 128 megabites of memory, 320 GB hard drive and an external hard drive with my files on it--almost everything I could find to make my editing process smooth I have done, but video files don't play without rendering, it takes hours to create a short video file and the timeline is always being slow.  These are my current theories to why it is slow:


      --maybe I have the wrong processor type (AMD Triple core--I have not heard of triple core anywhere else and I don't know if AMD is slowing me down or not...)


      --maybe Final Cut is generally faster?  (I have never seen Premiere on a mac--is it faster on a mac perhaps?)


      --Is Toshiba a bad video editing computer brand?


      Every time I have worked with a mac it has been far faster than my PC.  Editing, rendering, compression...


      Second, which gives more bang for the buck?  Macs seem to cost more for less memory, processor, display size, etc.  But do they just work faster and/or better?


      Third, can you transfer your activiation code for Premiere for PC to Premiere for Mac or would I have to buy the program again?


      Anyway, thanks for your input!

        • 1. Re: Mac vs. PC for video editing
          Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

          There are so many variables that these are impossible questions to answer, Infinity. It's like asking if a Mazda is faster than a Ford. It all depends.


          Since Apple controls both the hardware and operating system and limits the number of configurations, Macs are generally more stable and predictable. And the operating system is more efficient, so you often get more streamlined power from similar hardware. And for this privilege, you'll pay up to 50% more than you would for a comparably equipped PC.


          Does that mean you get more bang for the buck for PC? Not necessarily.


          There is no one-size-fits-all answer for a comparison of Mac to PCs.


          Likewise, it's impossible to say if Final Cut is, say, faster than Premiere or even Premiere Elements. It all depends on what you're editing and which aspect of the editing process you're talking about and what type of video you're editing and what kind of editing you're doing. Are you, for instance, comparing how quickly the program reacts when you trim a clip on the timeline -- or are you measuring how long it takes for a program to take an AVCHD video and convert it to a DVD?


          As for the Mac version vs. the PC version of Premiere Elements, I've been happier with its performance on my Mac than I have on my Windows 7 machine. But you also have to consider the hardware, the format of video I'm editing, etc.


          The program comes with both the Mac and the PC version in the same box. You can install it on up to two different computers, as long as you own both of them. The same serial number works on both the Mac and the PC. But, as for "transferring" the activation from one computer to another -- that's more a question for Adobe.

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          • 2. Re: Mac vs. PC for video editing
            Infinity Focus Photos Level 1

            Thank you for answering.  The main thing I have noticed is when you bring a clip into Final Cut (and again, I can't be sure if this is just because of the hardware or software), if you put that clip into the timeline and play it, there is no delay that I can notice.  Also, when the movie files are being created, it is much faster than on my PC.


            Also, thanks for telling me both versions come in the same box!  That would help moving from PC.


            One more thing:  I have never actually seen anybody else edit video in Premiere or Premiere Elements on their own mac or PC, which gives me no way to compare between how fast Premiere is on my system with theirs.  So I'd like to ask how quickly your computer respnds to your commands, if you'd be willing to tell me.  Is there any delay when moving a clip in the timeline or playing it back after rendering?  And could you estimate how many frames per second your video renders?


            Sorry I'm asking so many questions...thanks for your consideration!

            • 3. Re: Mac vs. PC for video editing
              John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              >no way to compare


              Nothing about Premiere Elements... but there is a comparison for Premiere Pro


              CS5 Benchmark http://ppbm5.com/

              CS4 Benchmark http://ppbm4.com/

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              • 4. Re: Mac vs. PC for video editing
                Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                Well, it depends on the format of video I'm editing.


                Sorry but, as I've said, there's not one-size-fits-all benchmark, Infinity. They're just different.


                Macs are great. They're a premium machine at a premium cost.


                But I keep my PCs (an XP and a Windows 7 machine) clean and tuned up and they virtually never fail me either. So I won't say that there's a clear winner.


                And don't even ask me to compare Premiere Pro to Final Cut Pro. They each are excellent programs that can definitely do the job. Final Cut has the advantage of being designed by the same people who designed the operating system -- but Premiere Pro interfaces much more efficiently with Photoshop and After Effects.


                I hope I don't sound elusive. I just really think each of these things have their strengths, and no one product is the perfect product for every situation.

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                • 5. Re: Mac vs. PC for video editing
                  Infinity Focus Photos Level 1

                  Okay.  Thanks for your input!  I'll have to use trial and error with my own equipment then.  I understand a little bit of how many variables there are in this question and thank you all for trying to answer it.

                  • 6. Re: Mac vs. PC for video editing
                    the_wine_snob Level 9

                    With FCP, it's using an intermediate CODEC file to edit. In most cases (all supported formats/CODEC's), PrE & PrPro are editing the Source Files natively.


                    This can have a major impact on the editing experience.


                    Good luck,



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                    • 7. Re: Mac vs. PC for video editing
                      Ted Smith Level 3

                      PCs are to Macs as VHS was to Beta or Fords are to Fiats?

                      They both have good points but I know which one I would buy!

                      • 8. Re: Mac vs. PC for video editing
                        Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                        Well said, Ted.