Editing raw video on a $900 Hackintosh (with $5000 Mac Pro levels of performance)


With the raw format becoming affordable for the first time this year (Blackmagic Cinema Camera, Red One, Ikonoskop) many aspiring filmmakers are considering taking advantage. But to edit raw you need to up the ante on the hardware side.

What is the most suitable (and affordable) editing rig for raw – Windows, Mac Pro or Hackintosh?

Why not get a Mac Pro?

First I must say that for professionals who need a reliable solution quickly, to go the Hackintosh route isn’t suitable. It is a risk whether it will work properly, a risk whether you have the expertise to make it work and a risk in terms of the time it could take to get it working reliably. For aspiring filmmakers though, the Mac Pro isn’t suitable because of cost / value. Apple effectively charge you $4000 for the operating system on a top of the range Mac Pro compared to the same hardware on a PC – way more than Apple premium on MacBook hardware running OS X. Mac Pro hardware is almost identical to common Intel and NVidia PC hardware costing many times less. Also there’s not been a major hardware update for the Mac Pro line since mid 2010, and this year’s update was very minor. There’s speculation the next Mac Pro may be the Apple product they plan to build in the USA next year but there’s no confirmed release date or specs yet. Resolve needs a NVidia CUDA graphics card and the latest Mac Pro uses ATI / AMD graphics and an extremely underpowered version at that. The situation is poor so Apple only have themselves to blame if people are embracing Hackintosh hardware.

Why not just use Windows?

This was the route I originally planned to go down. I chose a Dell XPS 8300 from eBay for just €600. However I found switching back and forth between two differently designed operating systems was inelegant (I use my MacBook Pro for everything else other than Resolve). On top of that, I am not a fan of the user interface design methods Microsoft employs, nor their approach to Windows 8. The last straw was reliability. Whereas in my experience Macs ‘just work’ I found myself dealing with Windows drivers, updates and strange bugs more often than I was actually editing. Windows works great for some people but I prefer OS X. read more...

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