Academy Dashboard Forum Studio Studio Building / Acoustics Thinking about switching from Apple to Windows Reply To: Thinking about switching from Apple to Windows

Kevin Coulter

    I know this is an old topic, but I thought I'd add my experience here for others to have when they are looking at Windows v Mac.

    The biggest thing I've found important here, is know your Audio Interface. The challenge in Windows, I've found, is that there can be conflicts in Deferred Procedure Calls (DPCs) that handle processing interrupts.

    For example, I bought a brand new laptop about 6 months ago, Brodweel processors, 12G of memory, Nvidia Geforce graphics, and I have an A&H QU-24 that runs 32 channel I/O through USB port. The QU-24 is somewhat sensitive long wait times in processing - I've seen in excess of 13milliseconds (which can happen quite often in Windows) and the QU-24 created this "digitized" sound it sometimes could not recover from. A&H support was great, gave me a couple of DPC utilities to see where the issue was, and it was clearly a conflict with the Windows OS and the USB interface causing latency. The conflict was between the WAN networking services and the anti-virus systems and USB port. When they kicked in to either negotiations connections or scan incoming data, the wait times in the OS would significantly increase causing a brief delay in response to the USB port requests.

    Good new for this interface, if I disable the WAN (either turn it off or direct connect the laptop with an Ethernet cable) and disable Anti-Virus the problem goes away. I've also seen issues with delays using Focusrite interfaces, and others. May be different interrupts that are causing the issue or just system overload, but my guess is that there's some longer wait times happening and potentially some conflict.

    Doing absolutely nothing different other than plugging in the QU-24 to my 2012 Macbook Pro - WAN going full tilt, AV running - I didn't have a single issue. I won't go into the technical details here, but Mac has always had great hardware integration in their OS (going more Open Source/Linux based was a huge deal for them). The Macs aren't nearly as driver driven as Windows. There's lots of technical stuff around this - but I won't bore you with the details.

    Anyway, you may find that in certain circumstance with specific audio/hardware interfaces the Mac may be a better choice. I love my Windows systems and use them with Reaper for doing my "in the box" stuff where I don't need my QU-24 (which is really cool about Reaper, I can use it on both operating systems, and transferring tracks between the two systems is pretty easy).

    The Qu-24 was very frustrating for me at first - ultimately I learned a ton about the Windows OS and a better understanding of the efficiciencies of OSX.

    Ok - I've geeked out enough....