Does Apple’s Mac OS X Perform Better Than Windows In Terms Of Video Editing?

Even today the debate whether Apple’s Mac OS X is better than Windows for video editing still creates controversy among seasoned professionals and enthusiasts alike. Many tend to believe that overall Apple computers are better for system intensive tasks than PC’s, especially when it comes to video editing. Yet, from hardware perspective, this doesn’t make a lot of sense simply because both Mac and PC configurations are built of identical hardware components. In the end of the day, they just use different operating systems.

The US-based cinematographer and educator Max Yuryev has already got the chance to figure out how does Adobe Premiere Pro perform in a real-life situation tested on both Windows 8.1 and OS X El Capitan as he shares his experience and insights on the topic in the short video below.

Max has conducted a series of tests on virtually identical computers running Windows 8.1 and OS X El Capitan at the same time where he rendered multiple video files ranging in time-duration, resolution and filters applied on top and finally measured the render time on both systems. In the first test he took 20 seconds long 4K clip and after applying the Warp Stabiliser, he measured the render time on both platforms. Here are the results.

Premiere_Pro_Warp_Stabilizer

In the second test, a 5 minute 4K clip was used with two LUTs and film grain applied on top. This time, the render times were slightly different.

Premiere_Pro_2_LUTs_Film_Grain

In the final test, four 4K clips scaled into a 4K timeline where each clip has 2 LUTs and film grain applied were used as two of the clips were running in reverse. The render time in OS X resulted in 3.32 sec whereas in Windows 8.1 the same process was completed in 3.45 sec.

Premiere_Pro_4K_Clips_2_Luts_Film_Grain

All in all, these results show that there isn’t any significant difference between render times in OSX and Windows when using the same piece of software on virtually identical hardware configurations. Of course, rendering is only one of the aspects of the overall post-production workflow and it’s quite difficult and premature to make conclusions based on only a single criterion.

More or less, the final decision whether to get a PC over Mac (or vice versa) should be based on many other factors such as budget restraints, personal preferences, the ease of use of each operating system etc rather than the actual performance during rendering simply because the results one may get when using multiple applications may vary.

[source: Max Yuryev]

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  • Jimmy Goodwood

    I switched to Mac years ago. The problem back then was that the Windows machines would crash about 10 times more than the Macs. Can’t speak for today, as I haven’t touched a PC for 6 or 7 years already.

  • Alex K

    As the owner of both platforms, I can say that even if Windows render times are slightly faster, it doesn’t make up for the amount of time I have to spend troubleshooting the damn machine!

  • Eno

    Actually if man take price into consideration, a Windows PC is much faster for editing at the same price because a better hardware configuration is cheaper compared to Apple (much cheaper in fact). 🙂

    • planetMitch

      If you look at overall cost of ownership, macs win almost every time. Google it 🙂 There’s more to the cost than just hardware.

      • Eno

        I strongly disagree! The cost of software needed to professionally edit video is the same on both platforms but hardware wise Apple products and upgrades are much more expensive.

        • planetMitch

          You can disagree all you want. Every article I’ve ever seen says macs are cheaper cost of ownership long term.

          • Eno

            You probably only read Apple payed propaganda. In our office we installed a Mac where customers are received but the film editing is done one several Windows PC’s, which costed probably a little less than the Mac but are 3 times more powerful.

  • raph

    Once you get a mac never back to windows at least for post.
    One word stability.