> "- And why would it be hard to get a Mac replacement? You know they deliver, don't you?"
Delivery isn't "quickly" when you're filming a documentary - less so when filming, say, in many of the one-horse towns across the globe. If you're in Auckland or Wellington, New Zealand, you're okay, but if you're in anyplace smaller than, say, Palmerston North, you might be out of luck. (Basically, Dick Smiths does carry the Mac line, but not at all stores, but not at all locations.) I can't imagine trying to find an Apple store in someplace more rural.
Additionally, the "mac tax" may be mythical, but Apple doesn't sell low-end computers; so if you need something quick and don't care about the specs, you can go that one computer store in that one town and come out with a PC for much less than the Macs - lowest priced Apple notebook is $1858NZD ($1120USD) at DickSmith.co.nz - a netbook will cost you $758NZD ($450USD).
As for the speed of FCP; I can tell you this much: I had a MacBookPro 2.4ghz Core 2 Duo system with 4 MB of RAM. I used it to edit high definition footage what was filmed in AVCHD.
Even disabling RT, applying some really basic effects like color correction won't play until you render out that clip. Rendering clips in FCP is slow because it only uses one core; and I find myself having to render constantly so I can see what I'm working on. When rendering the final product, of course, I can use Compressor, which has multicore support, but that really doesn't matter.
I'm currently using Sony Vegas on PC for my workflow - and yes, from a UI standpoint, FCP is better. Tools such as LiveType and Motion are top notch. It's friendlier and easier to use.
But Vegas never prohibited me from seeing what I was working on when I was working on it - it dynamically adjusted resolution and framerate to do so, which means that I can edit once, render once, and be done with the project. The multi-core support helps me render faster.
And of course, by setting processor affinity, I can commit the cardinal sin; have an instance of Vegas rendering on one core, while I edit the next video on the other core.
There is no such thing as a "wrong" workflow, and FCP is rightly lauded as a great choice for filmmakers working in Hollywood. If you had to standardize on a workflow, that's a good one to standardize on. Preferring Vegas doesn't mean I'm FUDding Apple.
But I make short documentaries for the Web and I do it quickly. If I was stuck out in the wilderness and had a computer die on me, but I'm able to save the hard drive, I'd want the computer to be a PC, so I can just shove the old hard drive into the new computer, or put it into an enclosure, and be done with it.