24" imac Vs. Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by thehamm99, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. thehamm99 macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2007
    Ok, I am going to be new to mac (I've never owned one - I've used them in school). My dillema is this: Choosing between the 24" iMac and the mac pro. Here are the specs I'm looking at:

    iMac, 24-inch, Intel Core 2 Duo Part Number: Z0DD Apple Keyboard & Mighty Mouse + Mac OS X (US English)iWork '06 preinstalledNVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT 256MB SDRAMAccessory kit750GB Serial ATA Drive2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB2.33GHz Intel Core 2 DuoSuperDrive 8X (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac - Auto-enroll
    Price: $2,922


    Refurbished Mac Pro Quad 2.0GHz Intel Xeon
    Part Number: G0359LL/A
    One 16x SuperDrive
    Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse - U.S. English
    1GB (2 x 512MB)
    Two 2.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    250GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    Mac OS X - U.S. English
    NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB (single-link DVI/dual-link DVI)
    AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac Pro/Power Mac (w/ or w/o Display)
    Apple Cinema HD Display (23" flat panel)
    Price: $2,997

    I am going to be using it primarily for Final Cut Pro Studio HD projects, in conjunction with a Canon HD camcorder. I know some of the pros and cons. Imac - is all in one, but very limited expansion. Mac Pro, more expensive - easier expansion.
    Either way I would include the 3 year protection plan so I wouldn't be worried about anything going out on me.
    The reason I would be inclined to go with the imac is because I would have protection for 3 years, and after 3 years would probably want to get whatever is the newest thing at that time - instead of buying a mac pro and just adding memory and HD space for as long as it will reasonably work.

    Does anyone have experience working with Final Cut Pro in high-def on either of these systems? What advice can you give me? All help is appreciated.

    Thanks so much,

  2. polevault139 macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2006
    I don't have experience with any of those programs but from looking at the specs I would say go with the iMac

    The Mac Pro is only a 2.0GHz, granted it has 2 processors but I think that you would be happier with the 2.33
    The iMac also has more RAM and the Mac Pro's RAM is really expensive.
    Unless you really need a ton of power, and I mean a ton, the iMac is awesome. The only reason I could see you getting the Mac Pro is if it had at least the 2.66Ghz processor

    Hope this helps
  3. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    As OS X and the apps become better with regards to threading, the .x GHz won't matter quite as much as the number of cores.

    OS9 vs. OSX generally meant getting faster single CPU for OS9 or slower dual CPU for OSX to get the best performance for the same dollar with two different OSs.

    Right now the apps are improving to take advantage of more cores, so over the life of the machine a quad core Mac Pro should make better sense over a few years compared to a dual core iMac -- even if they are both 2GHz.

    But the RAM capability of the Mac Pro means, it has the upper hand anyhow -- especially if the two systems are the same price.

    Plus the 2GHz Mac Pro does have at least 1 major CPU performance upgrade using a pair of dual core 3GHz CPUs, or swapping in a pair of quad core CPUs.
  4. odedia macrumors 6502a

    Nov 24, 2005
    The Mac Pro can be upgraded in the short-term future to an 8-Core Xeon. That's REALLY alot of power.

    Third party RAM for the Map Pro can be purchased at fairly okay prices at the moment.

    It's a tough call. I have a 24" iMac and the speed is quite good in final cut. But I don't work with HD at the moment.

    By the way, I would totally give up the upgrade to 2.33Ghz of CPU in the iMac. it's pointless. you pay too much for a theoretical upgrade of 7% in speed. It is practically not noticeable.
  5. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    the mac pro for sure. not only can you reuse the monitor if you ever need to set it up with a different computer, but you can also upgrade the mac pro like crazy in the future, as technology advances. if the iMac was significantly cheaper, then I would opt for that.. but if they're the same price, then the Mac Pro is the clear winner.
  6. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    Buy The Refurb 2GHz Mac Pro Quad No Doubt

    The advice is that using FCS on an iMac is a JOKE and you will forever hate yourself for not buying the 2.66GHz Mac Pro. You should find the extra $300 to get the 2.66GHz model if at all possible. It's an additional 2.64GHz (more than a 5th processor @2GHz) of power for only $300 more. You'll be really glad you spent $2199 instead of $1899 for that additional power. Plus each processor is 33% faster than each one in the 2GHz model. If you do the math, you can see it's foolish to buy the 2GHz model.

    The other reason is screen real estate. I have 4 monitors hanging off my Quad G5 and believe me it helps a lot to have more screens when working with FCS. You can start with a Dell 2407WFP for less than $674 on sale days like TODAY and build from there. This monitor will also let you connect your Canon HD Camcorder directly to it liek a TV which Apple monitors will not. It's 1920 x 1200 so capable of displaying native HD resolution. With a $99 EyeTV Hybrid it becomes your 24" HDTV screen.
    This is bad advice from someone who has a derth of understanding what Final Cut Studio's needs are. The 1GB of RAM that comes with the MP will get you started. You can add more ram over time for less and less money. MP Processor speed is not as important as the fact is has 4 cores. But again, get the 2.66GHz model. Buying the 2GHz model is seriously a waste of money.
    That swap out ain't gonna happen. Apple makes it nearly impossible to get at the processors without breaking the computer. I know there have been test examples out there. But they admitted they had to break it and void all warranties to perform their FrankenMacs with no Stoakley-Seaburg onboard to properly manage 8 cores. What do you want to bet Leopard looks at the motherboard of a 8 core FrankenMac and refuses to launch when it detects the kludge? Wouldn't be the first time Apple sabotaged 3rd party upgrades with new system software. Sam may be true for Final Cut Studio 6. Not worth the risk.
    Upgrade not really. See Above. Basic SD Final Cut what? Anything HD needs a Mac Pro or PowerMac G5 to get serious more advanced work done properly. I don't see this as a tough call at all. To me it's a no brainer.

    Refurbished 2.66GHz Mac Pro $2199 is the only way for you to go thehamm99. :)
  7. nsbio macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Another thing to consider is whether you have enough room for the tower on/under your desk. If you are OK with MacPro taking a little extra space, then go with the tower.
  8. #8
    I second Multimedia's opinion on getting the MacPro. I got a MacPro myself. The exact specs that you were speaking of except minus the nice 23" display. I've used some Final Cut, and it works really sweet on this. I think if you get a iMac you will be disapointed cause you need all the power you can get. At least even with the 2 dual core 2ghz Xeons you will have more than enough power. It is way to easy to max out the CPUs on a iMac, where as I have had two rendering processes going at once (converting a movie to a different format and rendering in Final Cut Pro) and while i will say right now, you NEED 2gb of ram at least, the processors were amazing. I still had 10% free which is more than enough to run countless other Apps.

    The iMac also will choke up because it has a 667mhz frontside bus for all 4 cores, while the macpro has 1333mhz for each processor which has 2 cores per processor. So 667mhz per core versus 166mhz per core. let me say, I own an iBook, and that low a front side bus will kill you! You need the MacPro. Besides that, you can burn DVD's twice as fast, you can get two DVD burners later, and you can shove in up to 3TB of hdd space!!!! All at a Sata-2 speed. Way better than having stacks of externals. Get the MacPro. powerhorse, upgradeable, and just way better. You won't miss the 1inch of screen realestate on the Imac, once you get firing with those dual Xeons! :D
  9. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    Mac Pro Takes Up LESS Space Than iMacs Because It Sits On The Floor Out Of The Way

    My opinion is that the Mac Pro and PowerMac G5 towers take LESS space than iMacs. I think it belongs on the floor out of sight so your desk has room for 2 or more screens up there.
  10. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    Buy Two 2GB Sticks When You Can Afford It

    Thanks. I would recommend he get two 2GB sticks for about $560 or two 1GB sticks for $280 when he can afford it. Buying any more 512MB modules would be a waste of ram slots and even the thought of buying a pair of 1GB sticks which now cost the same per GB as two 2GB sticks makes me cring. ;)

    I see the plan was to buy a 23" Apple monitor. For GOD's SAKE Don't do that. Buy the Dell 2407WFP. It's is a far better deal with all kinds of analog video inputs PLUS BOTH VGA and DVI. You want all the inputs you can get and Apple ain't it. You can drive the Dell from the external video port of your MacBook or MacBook Pro or your old PC if you must.
  11. #11
    heh, yes I missed that. Yeah you are better off buying the Dell monitor. I honestly don't consider the 23" Apple Cinema Display to be anything special. Sure the brushed aluminum matches nicely. Who really cares. I think for about 200 or more cheaper than the Apple Display. (I assume a lot of the cost around the Apple displays is just cause of the nice casing :p) Just get a Dell Display.

    btw, you can drive the Apple display from you Macbook too, but you would have to switch the cable back and forth which is a pain!
  12. Cult Follower macrumors 6502a

    Cult Follower

    Feb 20, 2007
    North Dakota
    I would buy the imac because of its all-in-one form factor, and it had a bigger display than the MacPro you are looking at, every inch counts.
  13. thehamm99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2007

    Thanks everyone for their advice. I think it would be wisest for me to go with a macpro in the $2000-2200 range and get the Dell monitor for under $700, and then just add memory as I need it. Good suggestion "Multimedia."

    My concern was that if I bought a mac pro it could be obsolete in 3 years anyways - but I guess what I'm learning from most of you is that I should get much more life out of the mac pro than out of the imac, right?? Not to mention, it should perform somewhat better with High-def video.

    As you can tell I don't know much technical about Macs. Is there any special compatibility issues with using a Dell monitor, or does it connect just how it would to a pc??

    Also, more of a general question. Do most of you - when the need arises to take up lots of space - prefer to store on computer's hard drive or on an external hard drive? If external, do most use Firewire?


    PS - just trying to learn as much as I can about macs - since I think I'll be using them for years to come.
  14. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    Dell Has TWO Computer Inputs - BOTH VGA & DVI

    No you don't have to move anything. The Mac Pro connects via DVI and the MacBook/MacBook Pro/PB connects via the included DVI to VGA adapter. The Dell comes with BOTH DVI and VGA cables too.

    I hang more than 12 HDs off my Quad G5 on FW 400, 800 ports Plus USB 2. The Dell hooks up to the Mac Pro just as simply as the Apple. They are the same thing.

    The iMac will be way more obsolete in 3 years than the Mac Pro which will probably never be obsolete. I don't think my G5 Quad will ever be obsolete either. :)
  15. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000


    Nov 16, 2006
    Bay Area
    An iMac will be obsolete far before a Mac Pro. You'll get more life out of a tower then an all in one solution that basically runs laptop hardware.

    There are no monitor compatibility issues. In my opinion, the Dell monitors are much better then the Apple ones and they work flawlessly.

    With a Mac Pro, you're better off with internal storage because its faster. With an iMac, you can't add hard drives so you'll be limited to slow external (firewire or USB) hard drives.

    Mac Pro is a much better decision and a much faster machine. A Quad Xeon 2.0ghz blows the hell out of a 2.33ghz core 2 duo, no question about it.
  16. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    the obsolete factor is one to ponder, but then shelve it quickly :) I have a mdd dually 1.25 which still works wonderfully and it's almost 4 years old. of course, i don't work with HD, but that doesn't matter. what matters is that it rocks, it's a stable working environment for which i run smaller jobs while i use my PMg5 dually 2.0 for larger jobs.

    in 3 years, sure, it won't be the fastest machine out there, but it will still a great working machine for you and if you're making money with it, you still will be :)

    btw, i'm jealous...wish i was buying one :) lol soon, i hope....soon.
  17. QCassidy352 macrumors G3


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I agree with the refurb 2.66 Ghz mac pro. But between the two options you listed originally, the imac for sure. It may not be quad, but it's a higher clockspeed and has a better video card than the mac pro as configured.
  18. pknz macrumors 68020


    Mar 22, 2005
    I believe the clockspeed is fairly irrevelant in regard to speed/power of the machines.

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