In my last post, I talked about the WHY of switching from Apple to PC. Now let’s get in to what the experience has been like up to this point.Here’s a series of short videos I shot and uploaded to Instagram Apologies for the vertical video, but, they say it’s the FUTURE…
The laptop arrived in a non-descript, frankly beat up looking box.I mean for real. So many slits and holes.The packaging was minimal but very nicely put together.I powered up the laptop and waited… honestly having NO IDEA WHAT WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.The set-up process was pretty painless. A lot of things that I was supposed to read that, let’s be honest… I didn’t really read… at all.Windows asked me to set-up the fingerprint scanner for log-in purposes and after that, I was up and running.Now, I haven’t used Windows in years. Years and years and years. I vaguely remember Windows 95. That’s about it.I know some of you hardcore Mac enthusiasts are going to be super pissed at my assessment here, but, I have to say… it’s not so bad.No. Really. It’s not so bad.Except, when you try to make Windows be exactly like the Mac OS. Theeeeen it can be bad.More on that in a minute.One of the main reasons I felt confident in making the switch from Mac to PC was that pretty much every program that I use and rely upon now lives in the cloud and is universal.For my video/photo editing, I use the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of programs. In addition, all of my plug-ins, LUT’s, etc. are universal. I use Google Calendar because it transfers seamlessly between apps. I use Evernote for inspiration, note taking, creative ideas, etc. I use Todoist for my To-Do lists and reminders.The only difference is that I primarily use Apple’s Office-esque programs, but it’s an easy change to go over to Google Docs or even Microsoft Office, which now provides free online apps ala Google Docs.The other great thing is that since these apps are universal. they sync seamlessly with the companion apps on my iPhone. Boom.So, with everything that I pretty much everything that I use on a day to day basis, there are no restrictions. I’m not missing out on much. I don’t really like Apple Mail. I don’t really love iCal. There is no proprietary Apple software, outside of the OS itself, that I feel like I’m desperately missing out on.And now, here’s my strange story of how I ended up having to reset the entire system and start from scratch and very seriously almost sent the computer back…I read a few articles on how to ease the transition from Mac to PC. I found quite a bit of it helpful and I’ll pass some of that knowledge on in my next post.One of the toughest pills to swallow in the Windows 10 world is how it renders text. To be frank I kind of hate it. I have gotten so used to the buttery smooth look of Mac fonts, that Windows in comparison looks brittle and frail… like Windows has been enduring a famine for years and years and is now gaunt and sallow. I do not understand this. Someone please explain it to me.Anyway, I found and downloaded a program that was, in theory, supposed to cause the text/fonts in Windows to render and emulate the look of that on the Mac OS. I followed the instructions I found and it didn’t seem to do much. I didn’t bother with it after that for a couple of days while I was continuing to try and wrap my head around the rest of the OS.Another strange thing was that sometimes, applications just wouldn’t open. Documents wouldn’t open. I would click and click and… nothing. I figured out that when I right-clicked there was an option that says Run As Administrator. When I clicked on that a little dialogue box popped up asking if I wanted to run the application as the administrator and when I clicked yes, it would open. Most of the time anyway. I tried my best to research this and figure out what was going on, but I couldn’t sort it out. I tried following these crazy mumbo jumbo directions to change settings and set myself up as the Administrator and all I got for my hours and hours of effort were insane error and permissions errors, with nothing to show for it.My frustrations continued to mount with trying to figure out the Administrator permissions AND the text was still bothering me so I went back into the program to fidget with it. I changed the main option of how it functioned and it told me that it would change a setting in the Registry so that I wouldn’t have to open up and run the application all of the time. Sounded great to me!Yeah. No. Not great. At all. The opposite of great. Freaking terrible.I had to restart the computer for it to make the changes, which I did.And that’s when everything fell apart.It initially booted up fine, and then a few seconds later, just froze. And froze. And froze.I could do NOTHING. Click on nothing. Move nothing. Open no menus. I had to give the computer a hard reboot.I crossed my fingers and hoped it was a glitch on the initial boot-up.Nope. The exact same thing happened. And then it happened again. And again. And again.Whatever Registry settings that application changed, Windows did not take kindly to it AT ALL. In fact, it had no idea how to process it. So it went full on deer in headlights and just froze up.I had to do a ton of research JUST to figure out how to start the computer up in safe mode, just so I could try to change a bunch of code JUST so I could uninstall the application… which did, you guessed it, NOTHING.So, defeated, I chose the option to do a hard reinstall of the system and reset everything. I would lose all of the applications I had downloaded, settings, on and on it went. This took an hour or two and then, frustrated & exhausted, I went to bed.https://youtu.be/qXq9pO8wQrUWhat I learned from this was that you have to let Windows be Windows. It’s not gonna be a Mac. It’s not. You can change SOME things to help shorten the gap, but changing code and the Registry is a desperation move that you are not qualified for and will not go well for you.Listen, I promise you, it won’t.The other thing I learned is that after the reinstall, literally EVERYTHING worked better. Everything. Remember that problem I had with having to right click and run everything as an Administrator? Yeah. Gone. Not a problem anymore. No clue. You tell me. Please.It has more or less been smooth sailing ever since. The only issue I currently have seems to be a problem with Google Chrome, my browser of choice. It comes in waves, but, every now and again Chrome will freeze up. I won’t be able to do anything for up to a minute and then finally it all goes back to normal. I’ve been trying to figure out why this happens and if anyone out there can give me some insight, I’d really appreciate it.The Adobe suite of programs are up and running just fine. The difference that I can see is that Premiere seems to be a bit glitchy compared to the Mac version. Meaning, it just doesn’t look as smooth, if that makes any sense? I mean this from pure aesthetics. PERFORMANCE wise, it’s a wow.I loaded in a 4K project I’m working on and magically would watch back and edit my clips in full res 4K. I almost cried. Render and export times are EXPONENTIALLY faster. I feel like a new man/editor. I can look past aesthetics when this is going to cut down on my edit time by hours and hours. I couldn’t be happier in this regard.Another nifty little feature in this specific computer is that Dell has a feature called PremierColor that lets me change color profiles on the fly. So, if I’m editing photos, I can switch the profile over to Adobe RGB, if I’m editing video, I can switch over to Rec. 709. This is proving to be incredibly helpful. In my next post, I’ll dive into the apps and tips I’ve found helpful in the transition process from Mac to PC. If you have any questions or comments, hit me up below and I’ll answer any questions you might have. And if you’re out there and can address any of the problems I’ve had, PLEASE help a brother out.
I have used Apple products for my entire working life as an adult. Post college I went into debt and bought a 17” MacBook Pro, because I thought I needed it to be taken seriously and to become an editing juggernaut. Also, I probably still have back/shoulder problems from lugging that thing all over the place for years, in addition to realizing that I have no desire to be an “editing juggernaut”…I’m not sure when exactly my disillusionment with Apple began. If I had to pinpoint a moment, I’d say it was when they redesigned and unveiled the new Final Cut Pro (X, they called it, which confused everyone, because we all assumed they meant 10, because Roman Numerals, but that was confusing, because the previous version was 7… alas, no, it was just X…).So much hype for a program that essentially, at least in that iteration, turned out to be what many of us referred to as iMovie Pro. And I think that’s what started the drip feed into my mind. Apple made it sound so revolutionary, that it was exactly what we needed, even though we didn’t quite know or realize it yet… which was obviously NOT the case. I remember downloading the free demo, using it for 10 minutes and then immediately uninstalling it from my system. I was that angry, frustrated and unimpressed.So eventually, after Final Cut 7 started slowing down and feeling like it was on its last leg, I made the switch to Adobe Premiere Pro. Logically it made sense. I was already using Photoshop, Lightroom, After Effects, etc. Why not have everything be seamless? Also, it was around this time that the Creative Cloud became a thing and even financially it made a lot more sense. More on the cloud later…Fast forward to the fall of 2016. I’m doing most of my editing work on a late 2013 15” MacBook Pro. It has served me well but now that I shoot video primarily on my Sony FS7 and have some clients that are asking for 4K, my poor laptop just couldn’t really handle it anymore. I was having to watch footage back and edit in usually ¼ resolution, which, quite honestly, just sucks. Yes, Adobe did introduce the ability to make proxy files (sorry, this is super nerdy, I won’t go into it…) but the time it took to create those files was a massive time killer for me. Render and export times had also slowed to an excruciatingly long amount of time. Time that I couldn’t justify charging for.I thought about building a “Hackintosh”. I thought about building a PC outright. I then realized that with all of the traveling that I have been doing for work, it makes no sense to spend all of my cash on building a desktop. This does nothing to eliminate the problem of having to be able to work on the go. So I decided to wait it out for the new MacBook Pro.And then Apple finallyintroduces it. So much anticipation. So much build up. So much disappointment. Old Intel processors. 16GB of RAM, max. AMD video card (which does not play as nice with Adobe software). But the coup de grâce for me was thoroughly insulting my intelligence by calling the Touch Bar a “touch of genius”. Really? A tiny strip that takes my attention away from the screen that I have to kinda squint at to see what’s happening? Like this is pushing my editing workflow forward in a compelling new way? This is genius?And honestly, I probably would have been more stoked about it had I not recently seen, and I had no idea about this, that PC laptops were now coming with 4K touchscreens. TOUCHSCREENS! Not a tiny little strip that lets you pick emojis faster. No. An entire screen to pick your emojis faster!In addition, I hated the new keyboard and I was baffled at only including USB-C. Grumbles aside, I wasn’t actually tempted to switch sides in the great Apple vs. PC war until I saw the prices of the new MacBook Pro. I would LOVE for someone to explain to me what Apple was thinking with this. The prices are so outrageously over the top that unless China/Japan/Taiwan/wherevertheyregettingpartsfrom jacked up the prices for components or the exchange rate has gone completely off the rails, I cannot begin to understand why they’re so expensive. Not to mention the DONGLES.
So, deflated, I started looking around. The thought of actually switching to a Windows based system made me slightly queasy, mostly because I remembered from years and years and years ago what it was like, and that all you hear about are viruses and malware and things going wrong. At least that’s all that I heard as an Apple fanboy who had not legitimately looked into things for years on years on years.After wandering around a Best Buy (woof) and more successfully the Microsoft Store (shockingly less woof) and after doing quite a bit of research and narrowing things down, I settled on theDell XPS 15. I only made this decision after the new version, recently released, came out. I watched head to head videos comparing the MacBook Pro vs. the XPS 15 when it came to rendering and exporting in Adobe Premiere and was blown away by the results of the XPS 15. And this was the older version of the laptop, far less powerful than the new version I was looking in to.The consensus of most of these YouTube comparisons was, if you’re using Apple’s software; Final Cut Pro, etc., there’s no reason for you to consider switching. If, however, you primarily live in Adobelandia, there’s no real justifiable reason to stick around if you’re talking about PERFORMANCE… aesthetics aside.Outside of performance, there was the cost. This was the final nail in the coffin. Here’s the breakdown of what I was looking at. We’ll start with Apple:The above is for a loaded 15″ MacBook Pro, with an OLD, 6th Generation Intel Processor, maxed out at 16GB of RAM. I have also included Apple Care, which you can only purchase with a 3-year length, and every dongle that I would need to make this function in the same manner as the Dell XPS 15 (with the addition of a Thunderbolt 2 dongle, so I could keep using those drives). I also forgot to include the USB-C to HDMI dongle, which is another $49. Which takes us to a total price over $4,300.And now on to the Dell:A few things here. When I purchased my XPS 15, they were including a year of premium customer service for free. I added a year of repair. Those are both reflected here only I did not have to pay the $99 for the year of customer service. Why only a year? Because I didn’t want to spend the extra money right now AND it was an option given to me.Also, when I purchased mine, Dell was offering $250 off of the total price. Even as I type this, they’re offering 10% off their XPS line, which would roughly give you the same deal. Actually a few dollars better.In addition, I chose to buy the 16GB of RAM version because, with Dell, you can still replace and upgrade your own parts. With Apple, what you get is what you get. Everything is soldered on to the motherboard. I guess in theory you could get parts upgraded, but at what cost? So I could buy the 32GB version for an extra $300, or get the 16GB version, spend around $200 and upgrade myself. I could then turn around and sell the 16GB that came with the computer to recover some of the cost or give it to a friend or WHATEVER. So that’s what I chose to do.So with the discount, the final price I paid for my loaded Dell XPS 15 with the new generation Intel processor, Nvidia graphics card with 4GB of RAM on board, 15″ 4K Touchscreen, 16GB of RAM, Fingerprint Scanner, 2 USB 3 ports, 1 USB-C port, SD Card Slot & HDMI port: $2,214.52.After spending $200 to upgrade the RAM to 32GB: $2,414.52So, again, I spent $2,414.52 on the Dell XPS 15 vs. $4,341.94 on the MacBook Pro.
That’s a savings of $1,927.42
Can you see why I made the switch?
In my next post (or two, depending on how long-winded I am…), I’ll go over my experience thus far, how I royally effed up the computer 4 days in, how it worked better once I restored everything (still baffled by this one), the quirks and frustrations of the switch, and the applications I’m using to help ease the transition from Mac to PC.
As you can see, things are a bit messy around here. A refreshed website is coming soon. Pardon the mess. Hopefully the construction process won’t take too long!
If you need me in the meantime, reach out to me on Twitter or send me an email. Just remember to close up the spaces:
jeremy r stanley @ gmail . com
Cheers to new beginnings!