Dell Precision T7400 Workstation (Mac to Windows switch)


I have recently upgraded one of the machines in the studio. After a long and careful debate, I decided to purchase a full-sized Dell workstation. I have no plans of dumping my Apple hardware any time soon, but am becoming more and more open to the thought of having a mixed OS pipeline. With the current state of available software, this may not be as crazy as it sounds. 

Back in December, I decided to explore some "non-Mac" options, specifically for video editing, color correction and finishing. Actually, I have always had a pc box around. Most recently I have had a small Dell Dimension that drives various printers and the Graphtec plotter in my office.

There are far too many details about the two manufacturers to discuss in a single post, but in general, the differences between the way the two systems work are very minor. Perhaps the Mac is more user friendly, but this only really matters if you are doing generally consumer tasks, and my use goes well beyond that most of the time.

The idea behind Windows is that it is pretty open to any hardware you want to use. This means that there are a lot of junky $600 laptops running Windows, but it also means that there are A LOT of options when it comes to high-end hardware. Even better, there is a huge amount of used parts floating around online. If you take the time, you can put together a pretty sweet machine for about $1000, which is about what I spent here. (before I started making upgrades).

The last thing holding me in my Mac seat was the expense of re-licensing all of the software that I use, and up until recently, that would have been a very expensive. With the introduction the the Adobe Creative Cloud, that issue has been resolved. Licensing is agnostic, and very affordable, Adobe has also expanded its range to include key pieces of workflow software that was missing from it's line, or missing altogether on the Windows side of the isle.

This particular machine is probably overkill for many users. If you rarely go beyond PS and Lightroom you may be better off picking up an iMac or something of similar spec from Dell or HP. But if your work includes rendering out large, high resolution files, or real time performance is important, it is hard to beat the T7400 in the bang for buck category. If you don't believe me, look up the current price on an 8 core Mac Pro.

The video here is just an overview of the machine that I bought/built.

More to come. - J.H.