Mac vs. PC III: Mac Slaughtered Again
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Finally, as mentioned earlier in this review, it was again impressive to experience the church-mouse quiet of this Dell workstation. Shedding some light on why Dell seems to be able to consistently offer computers that are quieter than any on the market, Dell's Methven said, "We have our own acoustic lab in-house. It's something we definitely focus on. Part of the drive for noise reduction is being driven out of the Nordic countries, in our relationship, our Optiplex corporate line of products. The Nordic countries are very sensitive to noise in the environment. As we've improved the product in those countries, we've decided to roll that technology worldwide. Yes, there is a slight cost premium for it, but we think it's very worthwhile, and it's something that our customers throughout the world can benefit from and appreciate."

We do appreciate that, and all the other remarkable features of this new Dell PC. It's the quickest single-processor PC we've ever seen at this writing, and for the price of $2964, it's hard to beat. This system is highly recommended for anyone who is tired of staring at that render thermometer when dealing with After Effects composites, or anything else that keeps users waiting around for a computer to catch up with the creative mind. It's especially quick if heavy multitasking is part of your daily routine. But whatever your application, this new Dell unit will make it so you can go home earlier if you want to, or just get more work done while you're on the job.

As for comparing the Dell workstation with the fastest Mac on the market, well, the two machines are apparently in different classes. Take a look at the test results, and youíll have to agree that, using these benchmarks, the Mac was slaughtered again, and this time by an even wider expanse than ever. We were surprised at the huge margin of the defeat of the Mac in these tests. Even though the Mac's dual G4 chips have been sped up to 1.25 GHz and offers faster DDR RAM, apparently this wasnít enough to keep up with the newest and fastest from Dell and Intel. The most amazing part of this is that this Dell PC cost $629 less than the Mac we tested.
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Of course, Mac stalwarts will cling to the notion that Mac OS X is so much better and easier to use than Windows XP, but if youíre spending all day inside After Effects, which operating system youíre using makes little difference. What does make a huge difference is if you have to sit and wait for rendering any longer than necessary. And, according to our benchmarks here, if you have an After Effects composite that needs, say, two hours to render on the Mac, itíll take you about an hour and 10 minutes on this PC. So, in addition to the extra $629 you must pay for the Mac, it will cost you plenty of time as well, especially while using After Effects. Time is money. After looking at these startling benchmark results, we have to gaze over at our beautifully-designed Macs and ask, "Is it worth it?"

Charlie White, your humble storytellerCharlie White has been writing about new media and digital video since it was the laughingstock of the television industry. A technology journalist and columnist for the past eight years, White is also an Emmy-winning producer, video editor, broadcast industry consultant and shot-calling television director with 28 years broadcast experience. Talk back -- Send Chazz a note at [email protected].

Editor's Note: For more Mac vs. PC testing and commentary, see the following articles:
After Effects Showdown: Mac vs. PC
Benchmark Duel: Mac vs. PC, Round II

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