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November 2017

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Page 39 of 43 38 POST NOVEMBER 2017 REVIEW he past 12 to 24 months of com- puter development have inserted more uncertainty about which operating system and editing platform to choose than I can recall since around 2008 to 2010. At that time, Final Cut Pro was dominating the market, pulling more editors back to the Macintosh fold. Avid was just beginning to feel the pinch. Shortly after that, Avid had another head- ache to deal with from Adobe when the Creative Suite video products left them the laughing stock. Through all of this, many editors came to be at home with Apple's Mac OS since all of their preferred editing applications could run on a single platform. Fast forward to 2013 and then 2016, and we find Apple giving us a Mac Pro that wasn't all that professional and a MacBook Pro that was cut from the same cloth. While the computers themselves were still quite capable, they couldn't match the I/O and performance-demand- ing post production audience. Say what you want about Microsoft Windows; the PC was still able to dominate the Mac in raw performance. ULTIMATE PERFORMER Enter Boxx. The company builds cus- tom Windows desktops in its home state of Texas that are specifically designed for creatives, engineers, designers and any other user that requires ultimate performance for their work. Boxx offered one of its higher end Apexx 4 systems to Post for a few months this fall. Given my current disil- lusionment with Apple's continual neu- tering of its pro machines, I was more than ready to give a speedy Windows editing machine my time and attention to see if I have been missing something as a Mac user for the last 15 years. The Apexx 4 arrived in a tidy, sturdy, large and heavy cardboard box one evening and required nothing more than a Display Port cable to get it running. The model I received has two Nvidia Quadro P5000 cards that each have a single DVI single-link port and four DP ports should you choose to run a mammoth display setup. Removing the thumb screws at the back allows you to remove the side panel, revealing the handsome guts of this comput- er. Additional housings are available at the top of the case for additional internal hard drives in case the built-in dual Samsung 512GB solid state drives aren't enough for you. Cooling fans and heat sinks are appropriately oversized for a machine capable of such intense 3D processing, graphic rendering and video encoding and playback. An Intel Core i9 at 3.3GHz is supported by 64GB of RAM, with up to 3TB possible. TEST DRIVE Even though I'm used to the speed of an SSD on my Mac, I was impressed with how fast the Apexx 4 booted into Windows. I dare say that I was able to go from powered off to running applications faster on the Apexx than I can on my 2013 MacBook Pro. While my Mac isn't brand new, it still has the specs that can go up against current models. I decided to run some com- parative performance tests on both the Mac and the Apexx despite the differ- ence between the machines. There's no such thing as a true apples-to-apples comparison in the world of computers, but I tried to get as close as possible to bring as much objectivity as possible. Here are the tests I ran on each machine: - H.264 and H.265 encodes with Adobe Media Encoder (1080p, 4096 and 3840 UHD content) - Realtime 3D and particle effects rendering for 24fps playback in Adobe BOXX APEXX 4 WORKSTATION T AMERICAN- MADE MACHINES THAT ARE WELL WORTH YOUR MONEY BY PAUL SCHMUTZLER KNOXVILLE, TN EMAIL: PAUL@ THESCHMUTZLER.COM TWITTER: @ THESCHMUTZLER xxxxxxxxxx Front and back views of Boxx's Apexx 4.

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