Video production: is it still Apple’s turf, or is it time for the PC to get a shot?
Video production has long been a Mac-based experience, with a history of high-end computers dating back to the Powermac G3, all the way up to the Mac Pro and latest iterations of the Apple iMac Retina 5K.
While Apple computers built for high-end tasks like video processing, or 3D rendering, have never been cheap, one perk of being an Apple power user has always been the ability to purchase a machine requiring no further hardware customization, which has made it for the ideal computer to supply to a large production environment.
(Tip: Where to find discounts on-line when buying an Apple Mac Pro)
As of the release of NVIDIA’s monstrously powerful GTX 1080, there seems to be change in the air. The new Pascal-based GPU, equipped with 8GB of GDDR5 video RAM, and fast enough to make the Maxwell-based Titan X look like an antique, is turning heads, and potentially leveraging the stance of Windows PCs in production environments, formerly the domain of prohibitively expensive Quadro GPUs, in the range of tens of thousands of dollars.
NVIDIA GTX has always been associated with gaming applications, and often underrated as a production card, during a time in which render farms were, and in some way, still are the only way to process high-resolution video footage at a rate that satisfies both TV and movie production. The need for high-end computing in the past 10-15 years has been a main driver of sales for the Mac Pro and the iMac, as two classes of product that deliver good performance, at a reasonable price, to production enterprises with a smaller budget.
This state of affairs is now likely to see a shift towards PCs, as the GTX 1080 is not only an incredibly powerful GPU, it is also affordable, considering a $599 starting price.
Consumers: don’t ditch your Mac
With that said, we have to remember that the above information is only valuable to production environments, as a PC-based video editing workstation custom-built with one or two (SLi) GTX 1080, won’t be any cheaper than an Apple Mac Pro, or an iMac Retina 5K, and still provide sufficient performance, even for a power user.
Also, let’s not forget that PCs do not have the exclusive on NVIDIA GPUs, and should Apple decide to reboot the Mac Pro, or introduce a brand new line of production machines, we won’t be surprised if a similar class GPU to the GTX 1080 might make it to the top of Apple’s list.