PCAudioLabs Pro Audio Laptop vs. Macbook Pro

While in LA recently, I (Brian) was asked by someone what made a PCAL laptop better than an Apple laptop. I was at a Drum N’ Bass show, speaking to artists about what they needed/wanted in a laptop.

Now real quick; that should tell you something about what we do. I like to go to clubs, speak to artists, and see what they’re doing with technology. These are the people who define what it is that it means to use technology for making and playing music. Apple doesn’t have a CTO that goes to Drum N’ Bass shows — keep that in mind šŸ˜‰

The question that was put forth to me, besides cost-based questions, was, how is it that our laptops actually operate better than a Macbook?

Well, it’s simple; we built an ecosystem that supports creatives and the tools they use. Apple doesn’t have that anymore. We build our systems specifically for Audio Engineers, DJs, Creatives, and those that work in the audio industry. Apple doesn’t do that, as much as the marketing hype has told us that they do.

Now, make no mistake, an Apple laptop is an impressive piece of hardware, and we love brushed aluminum as much as the next guy, but let’s get real about specs and what they cost when it comes to what you need in a computer to be creative with.

Size mattersĀ 

First off, size; there is no such thing as a new Macbook Pro that is 17 inches anymore — so if you like a bigger laptop, that’s not happening. Comparatively, we at PCAL have multiple 17″ laptop options for you.

CPU Power

Second, CPU power. A top-end Macbook pro features a 2.7GHz Intel CPU. Not bad, but compare that with our top-end MC m10 pro audio laptop, and you’ve got a Quad-core Intel 7700k CPU running at 4.2GHz. That’s a huge difference, and one you’ll feel when you load bigger sessions in Pro Tools and other host applications.


Third; storage. Again, a fully-maxed out Macbook is going to cost $2,799 with only 512GB of solid state storage in it. Again, not bad, but if you’ve ever tried to add more storage to a Macbook, you know it can’t really be done. Compare that to our MC m10 pro audio laptop, where you get an SSD and a second hard drive in our standard configuration, with the option to add two more hard drives, and you’re looking at three times the storage in your laptop over a Macbook. This is exceptionally important for DJs and those that are producing on the go. Being able to carry your entire mp3 collection, your recorded audio, or video projects, all in your laptop, without external hard drives, will greatly simplify your workflow and how much gear you need to carry. It also speeds up workflow, and makes it easier to backup your system, because you’re not saving all of your data onto your primary OS drive (which is a big no-no).


RAM is very important to anyone who wants to use their PC for sample-based instruments, such as those from East West, Native Instruments, and more. And, the bottom line is, the Macbook can’t cut it. Macbook Pros support up to 16GB RAM — this is rather Ā paltry when you consider that our MC m10 Pro Audio Laptop supports up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM. Additionally, adding RAM isn’t a chore on our systems, so if you need to upgrade later, you can.

Video Cards and Video RAM

And what about video cards? Again, for the most expensive Macbook, you’re looking at a Radeon Pro video card with 2GB of RAM. Compare that with a PCAL pro audio laptop, where you get 6GB of Video RAM on a dedicated graphics card by Nvidia, and you have more power in the box. This is important for video editing and rendering.

Connectivity (And yes, USB)

Oh, and, let’s talk about connectivity. Apple, as many of us have seen, has been keen to remove the USB port from their systems, and relegate you to using either Thunderbolt ports (and converter dongles), or simply ignoring the fact that creatives need to be able to plug things into their computers. That’s why we still offer you lots of USB ports on our pro audio laptops, as well as Thunderbolt, and lots of video outputs, all for expandability of your workflow. You can plug in multiple devices, audio interfaces, and peripherals, without having to carry dongles/docks or expanders.

Fine, but what’s it all cost?Ā 

And, of course, price — the most important factor (for most).

Again, a fully-loaded Macbook, in only a 15″ configuration, will run you $2,799. It is not expandable and you are locked into many of the features I’ve spoken about previously.

Compare that with a PCAL pro audio laptop, where our standard base configuration beats Apple, and you’re only paying $2499 —Ā and, that is expandable, upgradeable, and more powerful than a Macbook Pro. There are no comparisons here. Our laptops offer more to you, for less. Full stop.

Oh, and, Support:Ā 

Additionally, you get the best support in the business, from pro audio engineers and trainers who are here to help you with questions you have about your new system. You don’t get that with Apple, no matter how many Genius Bars are out there; if you’re not using Apple Logic Pro, you’re not going to get training with your new computer.

Apple doesn’t have a support team that specifically supports Pro Audio, and we do — that includes our trainers with OBEDIA, where you can get one-on-one training and tech support for digital audio and the applications you run on your PC.

But don’t pros “Only use Macs”?Ā 

And, of course, that old question of, “Isn’t Windows buggy?”, “Won’t I have crashes?”, and “Isn’t Mac OS the greatest OS ever for creatives?”

The answer to all of those questions, simply, is no. We wrote the white paper on Windows 10 for pro audio. We tweak Windows specifically for pro audio production, and we test it so we know it is stable. We work with all major pro audio developers in the industry to test our systems and make sure they work with the software that you use. And, Apple has shown that many of their past iterations of their Operating system, OS X, have not fared well with the pro audio community; there have been multiple issues with applications not working, entire lines of audio interfaces being discontinued from working with OS X, and more, all due to Apple’s consistent updating of their operating system, without having worked directly with the pro audio community prior to those updates.

In Closing

We care about working with creatives, DJs, and people who make music. It’s the reason we make our computers, and the reason we do what we do. That’s not the reason that Apple operates. That’s fine, but again, if you choose the ecosystem you want to be a part of, you should choose the one that offers you the most support for your workflow. That will always be PCAudioLabs.

Call us and set up your dream system: 818-986-2673, or visit our store here: