A serious battle of NT vs. Macintosh
A true story
By Jeff (Handyman) Handy
January 22, 1999
The discussion first took place about three months ago, though it seems like a year. The company I work for (Bisk Publishing) develops web sites for colleges offering online BA and MBA degrees. The colleges that contract our work decided they wanted streaming video as well as the audio that we'd been using. So, we thought we might just use the equipment (though antiquated) we had already invested in.
"I can,t get the audio and video in sync," I said to the Technology Director. "What's the problem, Handyman?" he asked. And so began the first chapter of a long and difficult decision. Problem one: the CPU is not fast enough. Problem two: the hard drives are not fast enough.
So, my boss got me a faster CPU and hard drives. Since we already had the equipment, this step did not really hurt us. Of course, neither of these solutions made much of a difference. After capturing about five minutes of video, audio sync was lost. "Looks like you aren,t so Handy after all, eh Handy?" my boss scolded. Just then, I realized I was in over my head and began my investigative report.
As I began my investigation, I found that ours was a typical problem that many Digital Content Creators face. I found many opinionated, single-sided arguments for NT systems and peripherals. After researching this for a couple of weeks, it came to me. Why not look at the Mac systems? We are obviously going to have to start from scratch anyway. And, I know the Mac systems to be more reliable than Wintel options.
I was lucky to get the support of my supervisor. He agreed that we should keep this discussion to ourselves at the moment, though. We knew the Director would not approve. After all, the company is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Provider. All of our web sites host NT and SQL Server and scripting is all done with Microsoft technologies. But, I had the task of providing content.
The scarcity of Macintosh video capture equipment nearly scared me off. Actually, I had all but given up. I went to my supervisor to deliver the bad news. "Have you looked at the videoguys.com web site?" he asked. So, I checked it out.
They had the cards I could not find. I had previously found the Pinnacle Systems miroMotion DC30+ for $799 on the Mac Zone site. But, as it turns out, Mac Zone had the specs from the previous model (DC30) for the DC30+. This card now seemed much more impressive. The specs we were looking at were better than a $2000 NT card we had considered.
Videoguys.com also had the Medea line of disk arrays. I had never heard of Medea before. So, I posted some messages in the appropriate newsgroups. The reviews I received from others were astounding. The only complaint was the price. I thought the pricing seemed very reasonable. So, I put together a quote for my supervisor. By the way, the Director we were leaving out of the loop resigned by this time. Darn!
We had quotes for:
a properly equipped Dell 410 for about $7200 with dual 450MHz Pentium II,s
a very well tailored Intergraph system for about $9000 with a single PII 450
a decked out, and totally hip G3 400
When the meeting came up to sell the executives on the system, my supervisor seemed to be leaning in favor of the Mac. He gave the Mac his highest recommendation. They were convinced, and I am waiting on the purchase order now.
My follow-up story next month will include complete specs on the system, a review of the setup and a sample of the first video I capture with it.
Jeff tells us that he will give us a follow-up story with complete specs on the system, a review of the setup and a sample of the first video he captures with it. Thanks Jeff!