I don’t typically write about this sort of thing, but a lot of people kept asking me about it, so I figured it would make a good blog post.
I used Apple computers my whole career up until about two
years ago. Then I did the unthinkable and moved to Windows. How come? And how
bad is it–are the rumors true? Is it better?
Since people, especially audio people, like talking about
gear, I’ll write a bit about my own experience. I’m not going to make any
recommendations because your situation is different than mine, and I’m not the
type of fanboy anymore that recommends what I have out of some misplaced
One of my earliest memories was watching my dad send an email
to his friend Caroline in France. My dad told me Caroline would call us when
she got the email, and she called us about five seconds later. At that point, I
had already been to France, and I wondered how she could get an email instantly,
but we had to take a plane and go through a whole ordeal to talk to her.
Ever since that moment, I’ve always had a fascination with
computers. I used to break them constantly and played with the settings in the
Mac just to see what could happen. In middle school, I took a Python class from
my friend’s uncle, and ran a laptop with Linux on it.
Neither the class nor the laptop worked out. I realized I
prefer making music to making software because music is much more abstract and
more interesting to me. Linux is great for people who want to customize their
computer endlessly and don’t need commercial software. While I love changing
settings, I do need Adobe and Cubase to work, otherwise I won’t have a job. So
much for Linux.
I switched back to Apple computers for a bit. And then I ran
a Hackintosh, but that was horrible. Anyone who tells you their Hackintosh
works is a liar. That computer ended up dying during a severe power surge and I
ended up building my own PC and running Windows for the past two years.
Why did I switch?
It was purely a cost-saving measure for my business. In
other words, I didn’t have the cash for a new Mac. I also refuse to go into
debt for equipment, so I had to find something cheap and powerful.
I built my system for $600 and recycled a bunch of old parts
from the Hackintosh. I ended up with a Ryzen 5 2600, 4 TB total of storage, 256
GB PcIE drive, a Radeon RX 560 with 4 GB of VRAM, and 16 GB of RAM. I later
upgraded to a 1TB PcIE drive, 32 GB of RAM, and a new CPU cooler and case for a
total of $200. You just can’t find a modern Mac with those specifications at
How bad is it?
Two things suck about Windows: drivers and aesthetics.
GPU drivers are a pain to update and I have to think about
doing that every so often. I could get them from Windows Update, but then I
wouldn’t have the AMD super resolution features I like so I can get some more mileage
out of my 2013 display.
Drivers also cause problems on lots of other machines. I
personally didn’t have many issues, but lots of people complain about them
You just don’t deal with drivers on Macs. This is a really
huge benefit that gets underplayed, honestly.
Windows is ugly in my opinion. They recycled a bunch of
icons from Windows 95 and recycled them into this mish-mash 70s office
aesthetics meets bargain basement Apple design in this retro future 90s crap they
call Windows 10.
Other people without taste think Windows looks fine, but
I’ll leave that to you. Anyways, taste is too subjective to have any real
discussions about it.
Also, getting used to using the control key for everything
instead of the command key was a bit of a struggle at first.
Are the rumors true?
I was a die-hard Apple fanboy and heard all sorts of rumors
that kept me on the platform out of fear. The truth is that none of them are
- Noticed my computer getting slower over time
- Had disruptive updates that made me miss a
deadline or deleted files
- Had any issues with software stability
- Had my audio equipment perform worse (it performs
- Had malware
- Had demanding programs run slowly or crash
frequently costing money in missed deadlines and time
Is it better?
Windows is the largest desktop operating system in the world
by several orders of magnitude. Consequently, it has a significant objective advantage
over every other platform: software support.
I’m not just talking about the number of programs you can
run. That doesn’t really matter, since most of us use the same sets of software
across Windows and Mac. Software support refers to how much attention the
engineers give their products. It makes sense for businesses to spend the most
time developing and optimizing for the largest platform. Business always do,
and Mac users unfortunately get left in the dust.
Software for Windows is far better optimized and often
performs better than its Mac versions. For instance, Adobe Media Encoder
typically encodes video faster on Windows than the Mac. My computer renders 4k
video from Premiere in real time. I created complicated, old school iTunes
style visualizers in After Effects that took one hour to render for every
minute of 4k video. Macs still can’t do that. Especially not $600 Macs.
Also, Windows software gets updates and new features before
its Mac version. Most of my plugins got 64-bit support in the Windows versions
before the Mac versions.
Updates on Windows are not disruptive compared to Mac.
Updating to Catalina is still problematic for some software. I’m not restricted
to old versions without security updates at this time on Windows like Mac users
Should I switch?
I don’t know, honestly. It…depends. Everyone has different
needs, and you should use what fits you, your budget, and your business.
Obviously, if you’re using one of the few programs that only runs on a Mac, you
should stay on the platform. And, generally, if your computer does what you
want in a reasonable amount of time, there’s just not a good reason to get a
The only position I feel comfortable giving advice is if I
know you as a friend, or we speak for a few hours and I get a good idea of what
your situation is like.
So, I’m not going to make blanket statements on what’s
better or worse for you here. I did speak about benefits of the Windows
platform, but those are objective benefits, and it may not make a difference to
you if you use Apple-only software or you’re happy with your computer. All that
really matters is that your equipment works for you.
It didn’t make sense for me to remain on the Apple platform,
so I moved. That’s just me, though.
I’m not too loyal to any one platform these days. If Apple
makes cost-effective products that offer better performance, I will switch back
when my computer eventually fails or can’t keep up with modern software.
I never got any benefit from being loyal to a brand. Apple
never allowed discounts, and Microsoft won’t give me any money at this point.
Be loyal to your family, friends, and your art instead of