22 Replies Latest reply on Feb 6, 2012 2:04 PM by lasvideo

    Mac or Z800?

    Jan MoV



      I'm currently using FCP 7 on a Mac and intending to convert to Premiere 5.5, but as yet I'm uncertain as to whether to stay with Mac, which I've found stable and reliable, or move to an HP Z800. I'd like to ask if anyone out there uses the Z800 and if they've had any problems with it and what their opinion of it in general is.

        • 1. Re: Mac or Z800?
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          The Z800 is pretty expensive, but so are MAC Pro's. Z800 do not deliver a good BFTB (Bang-for-the-Buck), they are too expensive and underperforming in PC land. Your best bets are either contacting http://www.adkvideoediting.com/ and contact Eric about a custom system, or to build yourself, by far the most economic solution. There are tons of posts here about what to build, like Adobe Forums: What PC to build? An update...


          Under the Overview tab at the top of the page you will find the Hardware FAQ list with lots of articles to help you get started.

          • 2. Re: Mac or Z800?
            Glitchdog Level 1

            We;ve also just come from FCP7 on a Mid 2010 MacPro. We opted to stay with Mac for various reasons, but I also have a friend in the same boat and he decided to go PC. Mainly due to the fact that they have a really good IT guy that knows how to build fast custom machines, and support them, of course. Although I love Mac, I say what ever works for you and you can get good support. The folks on the forum here are super, most in PP I think are PC users. For me this has been one of the best forums I've have ever used.


            Just FYI, we have installed a Nvidia 4000 card to get the mercury playback speed, have about 12 gigs of memory, Kona LHe and a 4 drive FirmTek RAID via eSATA. Our machine is very stable, no crashing in PP or the OS since we've made this move. All the best in your search!

            • 3. Re: Mac or Z800?
              Jan MoV Level 1

              Thanks for your replies guys. As I'm not all that knowledgeable when it comes to building or troubleshooting computers, the Z800 and Macs are attractive to me because of the ease with which drives etc can be installed. So even though they're over-priced, for me, it's worth paying the extra for that reason alone. Having considered the Z800 and done some research on it, my main concern was its stability and reliability. However, as I know the Mac to be both these, and as the cost seems to be about the same, at the moment it's looking like the more favourable choice for me. If I had the first clue about building a custom PC and could confidently deal with any problems, then I'd do that, but just reading the very technical issues that have to be considered in the link you sent me Harm, gave me a headache. So I'm going to steer clear of that minefield and probably go for the expensive but tried and trusted. Thanks again for your replies.

              • 4. Re: Mac or Z800?
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                Well, it is your money so you have to decide how to spend it, but I repeat, get in contact with Eric Bowen at ADK, I gave you the link in post #1, and get his opinion. I would not be surprised if he can offer you a better and much more affordable system than a Z800.

                • 5. Re: Mac or Z800?
                  Jan MoV Level 1

                  Thanks harm, I definitely would get in touvch with him but I'm in the UK, so I don't think he could help me. There are a few companies here who I'm going to speak to about the best system before I make up my mind though. Thanks for your advice.

                  • 6. Re: Mac or Z800?
                    Scott Chichelli Level 3

                    HI Jan,

                    actually we ship worldwide and frequently.


                    however if thats not comfortable for you check out Scan UK.

                    and ask for Pete.


                    they are our EU partners




                    • 7. Re: Mac or Z800?
                      Glitchdog Level 1

                      I always like to search user forums of a product I'm thinking of purchasing in the research mode, but you also have to be discerning. I would put great weight in users of a product (especially when you can tell by their postings they are seasoned video professionals) far an above a sales person. I don't say that to put down sales people, but I've learned the hard way to do my research first, before I go to a sales person. Everyones knowledge is limited in some way and we all have an opinion All the best!

                      • 8. Re: Mac or Z800?
                        lasvideo Level 4

                        To be fair, I priced out a very beefy configuration($12,000) for ADK, Boxx and HP Z800. ADK and Boxx were about $2000 less than HP. But HP gave me a discount that brought it into the ballpark of the other 2 systems. Support and help in configuring was were ADK shined compared to the other 2 so far. HP has allowed me to send then a Premiere Pro project to run some speed tests on. Then I will do the same on my Mac so I can get a better idea of exactly what performance increase can be expected. That's a big plus for them.

                        • 9. Re: Mac or Z800?
                          Jan MoV Level 1

                          So, I've yet to hear anything very positive about the Z800 from anyone, which is making me more wary of it now. I looked at ADK's UK site, Scan UK, and their prices are certainly a lot cheaper than HP's. A lot to think about... As you say lasvideo, support and advice is an important part of the service. I'll be interested to hear how the speed tests go and what systems were used for them. I read a forum recently that conducted a speed test with Premiere on a Z800 and the same project in FCP7 on a Mac and the Z800 was loads faster. Mostly though, what concerns me with PCs as opposed to Macs is stability and reliability. Say what you like about Apple and their rubbish FCX, but their systems are very rugged and reliable - which is a really big plus in their favour and provides peace of mind that, to me, is worth paying a bit extra for. 

                          • 10. Re: Mac or Z800?
                            lasvideo Level 4

                            Actually, the HP Z800 and Boxx are widely used in the U.S. video production  industry. Both have a long reputation of sold performance and reliability. Its going to be a tough choice. The test will be done on the soon to be released Sandy Bridge EP dual xeon machine with 48GB of memory and the GTX 570 card. This accounts for the exorbitant price. Still in the lead is ADK with Edic and Scott helping me make informed decisions about how to configure it. Those options are more minimal from the other 2 vendors . April or May should see some results from the test HP is conducting since that's when this new faster technology will be released by Intel.

                            • 11. Re: Mac or Z800?
                              Islanders66 Level 1

                              My Macs have served me well for 12 years. I use them at the local college so I'm on a Mac Pro with FCP 7, Pr 5.5, Avid, etc, however I like my PC even more than Macs for a desktop. I have no issue working on either one but very glad I went with a PC. It's not hard to assemble one yourself and save thousands, but if you don't have time or want more backup than you have some other good choices. Good luck!

                              • 12. Re: Mac or Z800?
                                Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                Jan MoV wrote:


                                So, I've yet to hear anything very positive about the Z800 from anyone, which is making me more wary of it now. I looked at ADK's UK site, Scan UK, and their prices are certainly a lot cheaper than HP's.

                                If you look at our Premiere Pro Bench Mark PPBM5 web site there are 9 configurations that were tested but if you really want performance and the highest quality and true knowledgable video editing support there is nothing to beat ADK

                                • 13. Re: Mac or Z800?
                                  lasvideo Level 4

                                  The PPBM5 is extremely helpful in gauging comparative performance. It will be interesting to see how the new EVGA SR-X boards coupled with the Sandy Bridge EP Xeons faire.


                                  Its clear from reading the current chart that a majority of the best performers over clock. As a firm believer in Murphys Law, I find I am not comfortable with introducing water tubes in the innerds of an electronic device. Call me old school. It would be interesting to see how things changed if the OC machines were not over clocked. This is rhetorical I know. But since Im not comfortable doing that, it might be a different playing field with a shift in ratings positions with lots of the contenders. Anyway, its all moot since my needs to cover all formats (AVCHD to Red) necessitate the kind of system that has speed and lifting power (lots of cores for AE and Red). So, is it April yet ?  

                                  • 14. Re: Mac or Z800?
                                    Glitchdog Level 1

                                    I'm reading all this with great interest, still engaged solidly in Macs currently, but open to change if needed down the road. I do share your thoughts Mov:

                                    "Mostly though, what concerns me with PCs as opposed to Macs is stability and reliability. Say what you like about Apple and their rubbish FCX, but their systems are very rugged and reliable - which is a really big plus in their favour and provides peace of mind that, to me, is worth paying a bit extra for.

                                    Another thought, regardless of platform; if you are in a production environment (post house...) where time is money and clients want everything yesterday, then it sounds like PC is probably the way to go with a top of the line system, as others have mentioned, with excellent support.


                                    For our application in a small non-profit org, with modest budgets, etc. I do not have the tight deadlines and I've trained our admins not to expect anything yesterday from a one person shop unless they can muster up the cash to outsource or hire more staff. So, for me a solid system (Mac or PC) where I don't have to spend lots of time trouble shooting is the biggest need. A slower stable system is fine for our purposes. In the past PCs needed lots of attention and tweaking. Maybe this is not the case today with a well engineered setup running Windows 7. I"m still a little gun shy.

                                    • 15. Re: Mac or Z800?
                                      Averdahl Level 4

                                      I own and use a Z800 with 2 x six core Intel X5670 and 48GB RAM.


                                      This is the best computer i have ever owned with zero problems. It is super stable and i have had no issues with it. All HP Workstations come with three years OnSite warranty, meaning that if let's say the motherboard goes bad HP send out a technician to replace it on site. Thats's really great if something happens and there is no time to take the computer to a technician.


                                      Some valuable reading regarding Mac Pro and the Z800: http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/opening-my-mind-has-opened-doors



                                      • 16. Re: Mac or Z800?
                                        Jan MoV Level 1

                                        In terms of workload and deadlines etc., I'm similar to you in that our deadlines can be a bit flexible, but the thought of work being held-up because of some hardware problem that I don't even understand let alone can try to fix myself fills me with dread.


                                        When I first asked my question here, Mac or Z800 I was seriously thinking of the Z800 and very open to other PC options, and although there do look to be some very good, very economical options out there, I've swayed the other way now, back towards Mac - and the main reason is the stability. PCs seem to be more prone to conflicts resulting from, for example, installing updates that then aren't compatible with the drivers, so then you have to install new drivers and then something else doesn't work properly because of some reason that you don't know about - all things that Macs seem to be fairly free from and that you kind of take for granted once you've been working on them for a while, but I remember how much I really appreciated that about my Mac when I first got it (I also really like Time Machine for easy backing-up). So, yes, I agree with you that the idea of a super-fast, high-end yet much cheaper PC does have its appeal, but I know that the first time some horrible error message pops up telling me that the BIOS doesn't work anymore and everything's gone up the shute for some reason known only to itself and the very expensive PC repair man, I know I'll regret my decision to go PC. (Sorry about the hopeless lack of computer-literate terminology here but that underlines my concerns about the whole issue.)


                                        Having looked at Scan UK's site and their suggested build specs and seeing they're so much cheaper than Macs or Z800 it does, on the face of it, seem wilfully stupid to just go ahead and spend a load more money on anything else, and reading the likes of Islanders66 who prefers PC to Mac (unheard of!), does make me question myself. So I have thought about the pros and cons a lot, but in the end am going to go with what will give me the most solid, reliable performance over what will be the fastest, because the bottom line is that I'll do all I can to never have to worry about what weird, and potentially catastrophic, thing my computer's going to do next. Which is not to say Macs are infallible, but better the devil you know, hey?

                                        • 17. Re: Mac or Z800?
                                          Glitchdog Level 1

                                          Thanks Averdahl, I'm putting these various recommended PC systems down to look into more at a point when we are needing to upgrade. Then I'll have to make the big decision. Currently we're using the latest MacPro for our main edit bay and all is well.


                                          Jan, I understand perfectly where you are at. You are probably aware, but once you start adding third-party cards, as we have, you end up with some scenarios where a third party driver can cause an issue, etc. We recently purchased a Nvidia 4000 for the MacPro. Love it, and it really speeds up playback for lots of filters, etc that you don't have to render. My install went perfectly, but others had issues. No system is perfect, but for me it's also about the Mac experience, which I never understood from the many years I used PCs only until I switched about 10 or so years ago.


                                          So, that said, if you don't have the time or expertise to do trouble shooting, hang out on great forums like this one..., if you do need third party cards especially, then it might be wise to look at getting a turnkey system from a local video professional provider. There are some that support both Mac and PC, though we have none in our general area in Canada. My 2 cents worth anyway. All the best!

                                          • 18. Re: Mac or Z800?
                                            Jan MoV Level 1

                                            Hi Roger, Yes, I read that article, by Richard Harrington? I did think it was interesting and I was quite convinced by it - as I have been by all I've read about the Z800. I'm told Richard Harrington is a reliable source of information, but I did notice that the article is an advertorial - so maybe not totally un-biased, so actually it was someone like you, who uses one and has no particular loyalties to HP, that I wanted to hear from and I'm interested to hear about the support you get. It does look like a great machine and I like the easy-access and easy-to-replace layout of it. Also, I thought Harrington's speed and performance test against FCP on the Mac was interesting, but the in the end a lot of it comes down to which graphics cards are installed in each machine doesn't it? So his test would have been dependent on what was installed on each system. I will look more into the options, but this has been a very interesting discussion for me and it's been great having everyone's input.

                                            • 19. Re: Mac or Z800?
                                              lasvideo Level 4

                                              Jan, I too am a little supect of advertorials. And rightly so.


                                              I spoke to HP about using the GTX 580 insted of the choices they had and they said they couldnt do that. The best they could do is just leave out the card.


                                              The more info I get, the more I lean toward ADK and Eric B.

                                              • 20. Re: Mac or Z800?
                                                Averdahl Level 4



                                                You can actually order a Z800 without any grapic card and install one yourself. That's what i did so i know that it is possible.


                                                You can install a GTX580 in a Z800 without issues, the power cables are ready to use in the chassi.



                                                • 21. Re: Mac or Z800?
                                                  Averdahl Level 4

                                                  >...and I'm interested to hear about the support you get.


                                                  I think the support is great. The rear chassi fans had an annoying sound when i got the computer. I phoned HP and they replaced it on site the day after i called them. I did already know that their support is great so i orderd my Z800 with 5 year on site warranty.



                                                  • 22. Re: Mac or Z800?
                                                    lasvideo Level 4

                                                    Averdahl "You can actually order a Z800 without any grapic card and install one yourself."


                                                    Yes I realize that. But ADK will install any card I want and test it to make sure it works, drivers are up to date, etc. Also you cant over clock on a Z800. If I decided to go the fan as opposed to the water coolant route, ADK can configure that as well. Just more flexibility and communication.