If you are the owner of the venerable Mac Pro, but are looking over the horizon as to next steps, then we have some advice.
You may have seen our eNewsletter from June 11, (the date of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2012) in which we addressed the question of what’s in store for Mac Pro users. We presented several options. Click here to read that eNewsletter.
Now, if you are convinced that your professional media activities require the robustness of a tower, and like us, you have conducted similar extensive research and comparisons, then you are likely aware that your choices come down to only a few.
And of those, we believe your best choice is Rain Computers.
What? Chesapeake Systems, Baltimore’s “Mac guys,” recommending a Windows-based computer?
Ah yes, while we still love Apple products, and as a company promote them as solutions when appropriate, it’s no secret that over the past few years our Pro Services team has become rather “platform agnostic” as we have expanded our attention beyond the editing software realm to now include media asset management, archive and storage activities.
And it’s not been just us. Apple itself decided about two years ago to change direction away from backend solutions through changes with its product line that affected the professional media market as well.
But, “Why Rain?” you ask. (Digression: the name “Rain” derives originally from a band and recording studio of one of the company’s co-founders)
If you have indeed done the research, then you probably know that alternatives to the Mac Pro boil down to either the ProMAX ONE and the HP Z2000 series of computers. (Plus HP just announced the Z820 that was developed to work with RED workflows.)
Look, we’re IT and media professionals, and we respect the other options that are available, but we would like to share some of the reasons why we chose to become resellers of Rain.
True, from a side-by-side technical review standpoint, many of the specs are nearly equal between the brands, yet there are several notable tech points where Rain stands out:
- We found the Rain team to be fanatics in focusing on every aspect of the hardware that goes into their computers. For instance, hard drives are selected not only for their capacity, but also for their connection type, cache (buffer), throughput, thermal signature, noise level and reliability. We also saw the same level of scrutiny at work in other areas of design as well — from individual chipsets to anti-vibration mounting hardware.
- All Rain models ship with a version of Windows 7 [64-bit] tuned by Rain for audio, video and graphics production. In addition, a custom BIOS is used. The resulting combination promotes better performance, stability and compatibility with industry-standard creative software.
- Low noise is a prime concern of all video and audio professionals. And we know that addressing cooling efficiently results in less noise. The Rain team has diligently pursued that “holy grail” in a number of very effective ways:
- Aluminum construction lets the system “breathe” by dissipating heat naturally and reducing the strain on internal cooling systems.
- Large diameter fans are used whenever possible. This means they can run at lower speeds (approx. 700-900RPM) which provides sufficient airflow while reducing noise.
- Liquid Cooling uses fewer moving parts to reduce the friction that creates noise while more efficiently cooling the system.
- A balanced component architecture reduces data bottlenecks that can lead to additional heat and wear & tear.
- The Intelligent Cooling System controls the global thermal signature of the system to keep it as quiet as possible during normal operation and then increase the intensity of available cooling as it heats up.
We are also impressed how the Rain team maintains close relationships with a wide range of top technology partners, including Intel, Corsair and NVIDIA, all of whom seem to thrive off the Rain team’s enthusiasm and passion for serving the profesional media community. These partners feel invested. They want to share knowledge and experience to help Rain create ideal workstations targeted for the very specific purpose of audio, video and graphics production.
Rain also promotes a similar relationship with the partners who produce popular creative software / hardware such as Avid, Adobe and AutoDesk. The result is that the Rain team gets the inside scoop on how best to create each new model to take advantage of every aspect of new software and hardware.
But what really sets Rain apart in our minds from the other OEMs is their dedication to serving just one niche, that of the media professional. Both Rain and we at Chesapeake Systems know that such customers want more than a box of components. They are looking for a an optimal machine from a winning team that can relate to their line of work. The Rain team are media pros themselves who set out to make a line of “dream computers” for their own use. They are not interested in representing many products or being an integrator (that’s the biz model for us at Chesapeake Systems) . . . nor are they looking to manufacture computers to address non-media-centric environments, such as office productivity applications.
Here’s another example of their committed approach: When you buy a Rain Computer, in addition to the one-year tech support and warranty, you also can take advantage of the “Rain Ensemble Plug & Play Service,” which allows you to get an approx. 30-min free tech support session for help with “those other potential nuisances,” such as integrating your software/hardware, or transferring your data. Or perhaps hunting for bugs in that “grey area” between your computer, software and hardware, even if there’s nothing wrong with the computer itself. And if needed, additional sessions can be purchased for very reasonable fees.
We understand that customers initially fell in love with the Mac Pro because of its reliability. We like Rain Computers for the same reason. People who buy them seem to universally respond, “They just work!”
Who can argue with that logic?
Creative IT for the Creative Professional. That’s Chesapeake Systems.
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BTW, how is your mastery of IPTV terminology?