HP Makes a Strong Case for Mac Pro Users to Switch

HP z240
HP Z240Credit: HP
With the new third generation Z240 and upcoming Mac Graphics integration, HP is helping build a case for PCs in high end graphics workflows.

Considering the limited expandability of the current Mac Pro and the long years of slow updating on the old Mac Pro, it's surprising that Apple still has such a strong hold on the pro market. But, despite the frequent protestations of "man, if apple doesn't do something soon I'm going to PC," we still see a large number of post-houses running Mac, especially those with a client-facing component. HP is working hard to move into that segment. Their new third generation Z240 with Remote Graphics Software for Mac should be considered by anyone setting up a post suite, whether it's a single tower home studio or a fleet upgrade.

HP RGS to Mac
HP RGS to MacCredit: HP

The RGS, which is reportedly shipping within the month,  promises to make the transition easier for Mac-based professionals who want to harness the hardware power of a PC. The system is a custom-built screensharing platform that is specifically designed for the bandwidth needs of video and graphics work, using proprietary software to transmit only the essential video (similar to a long-GOP codec) to partner machines. If you've ever tried to do graphics or video work while "remoting in" with something like GoToMeeting or Apple Remote Desktop, you know it's way too laggy to effectively work for any creative task requiring flow. RGS is designed to allow multiple users on Mac, PC, or Linux systems to remote in to the Z station and take advantage of its power in a realtime fashion.

Pricing for the Z240 starts at $879 (as opposed to the $3K range for a Mac Pro), which is a great base price point for such a potential powerhouse, especially one with PCIe slots to enable you to upgrade the graphics card. The platform is highly configurable, but here's a sense of the range of specs available:

  • M.2 Storage for SSD connection
  • 64gb DDR4 max ram
  • 4.2GHz max processor clock speed
  • Z Turbo PCIe SSD
  • Native RGS integration
  • Tool-free chassis for simple configuration in the field
  • Limited 3 year warranty

What do you think? Do these specs tempt you to make the switch?     

Your Comment

34 Comments

mac 4 life!!

August 3, 2016 at 12:14PM

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Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP
1175

You're totally free to pay for overpriced outdated hardware.

August 5, 2016 at 1:17PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1619

I feel like new purchases should definitely be PC, but I put a 980 TI in an old Mac 5,1 tower and it runs amazingly well, and it will accept the newer Nvidia card models also. So there's merit to retrofitting the older Mac's. Post houses are selling them for cheap all the time (how I got mine).

August 3, 2016 at 12:16PM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
1097

I made the switch from mac to windows and haven't looked back. My workstation is a beast for 1/2 the price of the mac pro. I feel like Apple is really giving the cold shoulder to the professionals. It's sad really because the professionals are what kept Apple a float for so long. I still use my ipad though. They do make the best tablet, hands down.

August 3, 2016 at 12:37PM, Edited August 3, 12:36PM

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Travis Orozco
Director/Cinematographer/Editor
84

But does it run MacOS?

August 3, 2016 at 12:45PM

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Chris Tucker
amateur filmmaker
119

I really hope Apple stops neglecting the Pro users who have long been their strongest advocates.
I understand that there have been delays in Intel, NVidia, and AMD's pipelines. However, that is no excuse for not updating a computer aimed at high-end users for 3 years – nor providing them with any guidance so as to inform their purchasing strategy. (There is a limit to how long even the most ardent of fans can hold their breath.)
I sincerely hope that the long wait leads to a redesign taking the best from both Mac Pros: put the all-flash architecture & thunderbolt connectivity of the Cylinder Mac Pro into the upgradable Tower Mac Pro case with industry-standard PCIe slots. So, that while Apple is taking their time working on their once-every-3-year release, the rest of us can keep pace with the rest of the Pascal-powered world.
I just hope Apple remembers that it is a computer company not a car company...

August 3, 2016 at 12:56PM, Edited August 3, 12:56PM

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William
88

People have been making this argument about Apple since the 1990s. I remember when they switched from OS 9 to OSX and the uproar about how Apple had abandoned the pro market then. Then the IPod, then the IPhone, etc etc. It's safe to say it is a bit of a cliche at this point to say Apple has left the pro market and yet almost 90% of the editing houses here in L.A. are still Mac based, begging the question, "If they're so unprofessional, why do all of these pros use them?".

At the company I work for, we have mac towers and IMacs that are 7 years old now that we still use often on jobs for major clients so they are very well built machines that are quite reliable for the most part. Yes Macs are expensive and they have almost always been a closed system (the older Mac Pros were the exception not the rule). That being said, they are not actually expensive for what you get. A 5k IMac is kind of a great deal as a 5k monitor costs nearly 2 grand and that's what those computers start around. Also, a lot of software is written for the very limited hardware that is inside of macs which makes it a lot easier for software engineers to optimize for macs as opposed to PCs which could have any number of different components.

August 3, 2016 at 4:26PM

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Brad Jones
Director/Producer/Writer/Editor
639

When they remove the ability to format memory cards in their disk utility forcing you to take to google for hours only to find out you have to do it from the disk utility in the latest version of OSX, I'd say it's pretty fair to say they're unprofessional. I found that out the hard way working as a DIT on set. For every new release of OSX my Macbook Pro has gotten consistently worse and most of all more difficult to work with professionally. My current motto is "when Apple has an update, just don't ever"

August 3, 2016 at 6:56PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
1233

This sort of comes down to FCPX vs um, quite a *few* other choices.
"Under the hood" its AMD gpu acceleration vs nVidia. Or OpenCL vs CUDA. (not going to get into which is 'better', another conversation, another day ;-)
If the nMP had nVidia (CUDA) cards as an option it'd be a MUCH easier sell.
Going deeper "under the hood"...
On the "HEDT" price/performance thingy, here's a handy comparison chart:
http://ark.intel.com/compare/63696,64620,70845,77780,75780,75781,77912,8...
See the trend.
Take any of the CPU model numbers, "4930k"etc go to "geekbench" and compare the multicore scores vs the $$.
Ideally you want BOTH fast single core speed, AND good multicore speed -
single core for all your wireframing/print apps, multicore for AE etc (one of the few prosumer apps that scales well).
Put another way, you can buy three workstations with faster e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g for one 12 core nMP.
Don't hate me. I'm on Apple's side, (have been for 25 years) I just want to see them compete better. Or just have broader relevance. Like:
https://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/search?dir=desc&q=6950x&sort=...

August 4, 2016 at 12:18AM, Edited August 4, 12:22AM

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Nicholas Croft
IT consultant
328

At this point, people stick with Mac because of the OS. There are plenty of monitors and computers out there that are just as refined as an Apple computer and are much, much more powerful. The fact that customers will stick to expensive, old Mac machines is a testimony to just how much people haaaaaate the Windows OS (myself included).

My suggestion to Microsoft would be to abandon the Windows platform completely and start over with a new, UNIX based system similar to what Apple did when they switched from OS 9 to X. Brand it as something completely different and start from the ground up. I've owned numerous Windows machines and although the Windows OS definitely got better from 7 on, it still doesn't come close to the user experience on OS X in my opinion. And I think that's why you still see post houses with Macs. It's unfortunate, because Apple really doesn't deserve the pro market at all anymore. They've really left us in the dust on their quest to make a paper thin telephone.

August 3, 2016 at 2:17PM, Edited August 3, 2:18PM

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Derek Doublin
Director, Cinematographer, Large Scale Artist
745

"...a testimony to just how much people haaaaaate the Windows OS (myself included)."

Interesting point. I suspect there's at least *some* truth in it. But of course MS isn't going to change so much as a font in their Windows OS to please the professional market. What might be possible, though, is that HP or Adobe or someone else with skin in this game makes some sort of overlay or operating environment that can run on top of Windows, providing a very different user experience without requiring the user to switch to a different platform altogether. Then, when you've taken your creative professional hat off for the day, you exit out of the overlay/environment and presto, you're right back to Facebook and Pinterest.

August 5, 2016 at 5:58AM

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Clay Smith
Wannabe screenwriter, film editor, director
157

I don't totally understand the full utility of the Remote Graphics Software for Mac. Do they mean that you can remote access your HP desktop from your Mac laptop (or w/e) and edit remotely in a non-laggy way? While using the GPU and CPU power of the HP desktop?

August 3, 2016 at 2:36PM

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Brian Charles Lehrer
DoP + Director
158

Its unfortunate Apple continues to do everything it can to convince me to not buy their products.

Iphone7 - no headphone jack
Mac Pro - no updates in 3 years (still same price, or more in some regions)
Thunderbolt display - no update in 5 years, then discontinued (same price for all those years)

I prefer working on a UNIX platform and appreciate the clean OSX experience,
but what the heck am I suppose to run it on if Apple refuses to update its PCs?!

August 3, 2016 at 3:03PM, Edited August 3, 3:05PM

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Daniel Reed
Hat Collector
1408

I will be moving to a Window rig as my workhorse. Apple has been letting us pros down more and more lately. They used to listen to us, but now, they're consumerizing everything, including their "pro" gear. I have an iPad "Pro", but I'm struggling to see what's so "pro" about it. I think it's interesting that Asus is coming out with a tablet computer (Transformer 3 Pro) that you can hook up to a graphics amplifier. That sounds more "pro" to me! Anyway, I'm on the hunt for my desktop and mobile devices now. Whether it's a new Razer Blade with an amplifier or an HP ZBook/Station, it'll happen soon. The only question now, is wait for the new processors to hit the streets or just go ahead and get the current tech?

August 3, 2016 at 3:10PM

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Courtney Jones
Producer/Director
75

Yes it's interesting Apple has a 'Displays and Mounts' section without any displays. I bet they're coming out soon with a 4k or 5k update. Otherwise why not dispose of the entire category...

I'm no longer a Mac zealot, but plastic just ain't gonna work for me. It's about the OS and I have never seen anything good come out of Microsoft.

August 3, 2016 at 3:37PM

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There is a better model than shown here, the HP z820 which can handle 15Tb storage and up to 512GB of RAM, with room for 2 graphic cards, two processors up to 24 cores.. That for better prices.. its really looking at Mac in the rearview mirror..

August 3, 2016 at 3:58PM

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Mauricio Fernandez
General Manager TVTK
81

24 cores is great - if you can afford it. I built a fantasy computer on the HP website for $80.000

August 4, 2016 at 7:20AM

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Jan Becker
DP, Director, Producer
770

Gonna stick to my hackintosh for now.

August 3, 2016 at 6:29PM

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Ruslan Ranjabar
Director/DP
88

HP is making some awesome hardware these days .....BUT you have to run Windows .... ya....no thanks, I'll stick with my Mac's

August 3, 2016 at 6:33PM, Edited August 3, 6:33PM

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Turn on computer. Load Adobe Premiere. Edit. What does it matter what OS is running Creative Cloud? I have no dog in this fight, but I do use Windows 10 now because I refuse to overpay for a computer I can't even upgrade. W10 has been bulletproof for me. It's easily the equal of OSX when it comes to stability.

August 3, 2016 at 7:56PM

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My best analogy is think of a PC like a manual car and a MAC as an automatic car. Sure, both will get you to where you need to go but;

Manual car (PC) can pull more weight, can be modified more easily and overall is more versatile. The downside is they can break down more easily but are easily repairable, you just have to be knowledgeable enough.

Auto Cars (MAC) are easier to drive, and more welcoming to newcomers but typically it's limited to current setup. When an Automatic car breaks down, they normally have to be taken a specialized mechanic and can cost more in the long run.

But at the end of the day, the right tool for the right job. If you don't need all the fancy stuff and just want a ready-to-go system well a MAC is probably for you. Control freak? Performance junkie? PC is for you.

(Yes I am a PC guy)

August 3, 2016 at 9:37PM

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Just look at this ugly plastic monster. Welcome to the 90s.
But seriously, I appreciate the slow upgrade cycle by Apple. You don't feel left behind only a year after your big investment. My old MacPro is over 8 years old and is still working for everything HD.
The trashcan is so small you can take it on set or onto a plane for travel.
I can't wait for the new one - I'm buying it.
And Windows? NEVER.

August 4, 2016 at 7:16AM

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Jan Becker
DP, Director, Producer
770

Honestly for me it's always been about OSX. I hate the new waste basket mac pros. I think Jon Ivey is killing Apple by favoring form over function. Windows 10 seems better, but I'm still not sold. If Adobe would just support Ubuntu Linux I'd switch systems in a heart beat.

August 4, 2016 at 8:24AM

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Charles Stewart Jr
Video Producer, U.S. Government
81

Yes, no Linux love from the big guys. It's always either Win or Mac.

August 5, 2016 at 1:25PM, Edited August 5, 1:25PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1619

The problem with Mac as always been upgradeability. Why the hell would you want to buy a TrashCan, and then need an addon box to change/upgrade the video card? At least the old Mac Pros (Im still using one) was able to be upgraded!

August 4, 2016 at 10:40AM

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doman nelson
Director, Editor
204

If it ran OSX I'd be there. It's not pretty but neither is an iMac that has a laggy buggy graphics card I can't upgrade or replace

August 4, 2016 at 9:03PM, Edited August 4, 9:03PM

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Matt Drummond
Writer/Director/Producer
307

We were a PC house for years before making a move to Apple. We are essentially an all digital agency with strong web, photo and a growing video component to our business. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to rebuild PC machines over the past 15 years in business. Blown power supplies, motherboards and hard drives. To say nothing of the number of times I've had to reformat and install Windows XP then Windows 2000 then Windows 7. Every six months a reformat to keep the stupid things running optimally. 12 months max. Hours and hours of maintenance to keep the things running. Then, about those browser hijackers! Sure, it's possible for Apple or Linux to get browser hijacked . . . but how come it happened so often with PC. Every bloody month I'd have to spend more hours searching online to find some or other removal tool for the latest stubborn crap software. Oh, and how did they get there? From legitimate downloads of "free" software like Filezilla! From one of those sites that say the download is clean and that there is an option to ignore additional installations of bloatware. Ja, right. And who can tell from a list of PC specs whether the dumb thing will actually do what you want to do with video? In the end I came to the conclusion that an "old" but still available out the box as new 2012 13inch MacBook Pro with Final Cut X would actually do what I wanted it to do. So I did just that. A year later and not a single glitch. No computer rebuilds. As I write this I have two major tasks running in Lightroom that would have ground my PCs to a halt. No browsers hijacked. No wasted time. It's just doing it's job. That allows me to do my job too - not become the company systems admin / IT tech / security specialist. I was so impressed that we replaced our two other staff with little Mac Minis. And guess what . . . same story there. They just do their jobs. Any task you throw at them and they get it done. And the whole process cost less by buying second hand off eBay than it would us buying PC components and building alternative machines ourselves! In other words, we have gone fully Apple for less than what it would cost to replace our office with PCs that could acceptably produce the same work. I have no experience with major horsepower PCs and those cylindrical Macs on the high end to which the article was evidently pitched. But what I have found out over all the years of pain and suffering with PCs that the spec sheet means nothing at all. It's the complete package that matters. And I see PCs now like hotrods. They are big and ugly and make a lot of noise. They boast huge horsepower and spew out heat and flames and go bloody fast in a straight line. But they can't go around corners. When you want to go on an road trip and get from one place to another you can ride a hot rod. But it's going to bumpy as hell and the stupid thing will likely break down on the way. A Mac on the other hand will just drive you there nice and safely and when you are done with the trip you would be happy to turn around and drive back the same way you came. Unless something drastic happens, I'll never look at another PC again. I wouldn't put one in my office if it was given to me.

August 6, 2016 at 4:01AM

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Alistair Cotton
Photographer - Videographer & Web Specialist
81

Thats a hard sell for our post house if it can't run FCP X (8 editors, split 5 using FCP X and 3 using Premiere). Price is definitely right though!

August 7, 2016 at 8:12PM

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Charles C.
Editor/ Director/ Director of Photography/ Wannabe Thinker
1269

We have had Macs (Mac Pro's and iMacs) since the beginning at the studio i work for and all was going well. Until we decided to build a powerful grading & VFX PC workstation among all our macs. The list of problems it brought with it is incredibly long. So I am very cautious of switching my personal workstation to a PC even tho the price is tempting an my own Mac pro is growing old. Also, I hate Windows.

August 8, 2016 at 1:00AM

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Jesse Ekholm
Director of Photography / Cinematographer
154

I bought a HP. And very happy with it, I just wish it could run OS X.

August 9, 2016 at 11:53AM

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Chris
192

You probably can, go to http://www.tonymacx86.com and search around.

August 11, 2016 at 6:28AM

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Travis Collins
Freelance Videographer
154

Hackintosh! This is actually where I learned to build my first one.

August 11, 2016 at 6:27AM

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Travis Collins
Freelance Videographer
154

I have been working with PC's since the beginning, I started with x86 computers, which probably most of you didn`t even know they existed, then to x286, x386, x486 and finally to pentium, the huge revolution, and so on until today, I have spent tons of hours building and fixing these PC`s, and the issue with PC's is the worst VIRUS ever created that contaminated all of them, it is called "Windows", when I finally had the money to move to OSX it was a whole new world, everything running like it should do it, can you believe it?!!!!!!!!, an OS just doing what it is supposed to do without the need to reset the computer every day, just amazing!!!!!!
PC is a nightmare, never going back there, doesn't matter what this article or anyone else said (usually young kids without the money to buy a MAC), OSX is the only way, specially for editing, color grading, etc., and guess what?, no viruses anymore…….never again loosing my value data because of the last troyan virus released.
I have to admit, I do love MAC, thanks for making my life easier!!!!

August 16, 2016 at 6:02PM

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To everyone commenting on the look of this machine;

If you're insulting this for how it looks (I am a Mac user by the way) you're here for the wrong reasons, TOTALLY. THE WRONG. REASONS.

It doesn't matter how it looks, it matters whats inside.

PC's are just as functional and good as macs.

It's literally like comparing dicks.

One will work for one thing whilst the other will work for another.

It's like saying Canon is better than Nikon or vice versa - Again - totally relative.

Get off your damn high horses.
You're not respected more because you use a brand. If you are respected more for using a brand (and you like that) There is something fundamentally wrong with you and the person who respects you.

Make films, stop f***ing arguing over aesthetics or how you get your work done and make films & respect eachother.

August 17, 2016 at 2:41AM

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