iMac or Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jpbear63, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. jpbear63 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    #1
    Hey all...
    Here we go... I need to buy a new Mac and am deliberating between the larger iMacs and the mac pro. The iMac is a complete package with a big bright screen and camera, but not upgradable. With the Mac Pro, I'd need to buy a new big bright screen and camera, but IS upgradable. Money is kinda tight, this is a necessary purchase in the next several months. I don't currently do A/V editing, but would like to learn. So... advice?
    -Jim
     
  2. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

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    May 31, 2006
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    London Town
    #2
    Everyone seems to suggest the Mac Pro because of it's upgradability. I was almost convinced by this argument for my own needs. But you need to ask yourself; how often are you really going to upgrade? The only thing I find really tempting about the Mac Pro is the huge amount of internal storage - but that's only coz I find external storage solutions create clutter :eek: . Furthermore, by the time we, as consumer-lever users (which I assume you are), need more than 3GBs of RAM (the iMacs mac config) to run our applications sufficiently, the architecture of the Mac Pro may have become obsolete anyway so you'd be looking to replace that as well.

    If you're a hardcore gamer, go for the Mac Pro. You'll want to constantly change your graphics card frequently so you can play x game at y-level of detail. If you're a professional photographer, or an amateur with serious money to burn just so you can shave off a few Photoshop seconds, go with the Mac Pro. If you're a consumer who's livlihood doesn't depend on getting things done quickly, I think you'd be best off saving the few hundred pounds and putting it towards some goodies :)

    Disclaimer: I'm probably completely wrong. This is just the opinion of someone who originally thought he would definitely get the Mac Pro, but is now looking towards iMac.
     
  3. Danksi macrumors 68000

    Danksi

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    Oct 3, 2005
    Location:
    Nelson, BC. Canada
    #3
    iMac 20 or even 24-inch would be worth considering. The 24-inch has FW800 connection, which should be useful for a single or stack of external scratch hard drives.

    If I didn't already have a 20-inch monitor and a couple of SATA scratch drives, which fit nicely into my Mac Pro, I think I would have chosen the 24-inch iMac and a single large external drive setup.
     
  4. iancapable macrumors 6502

    iancapable

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    Oct 4, 2006
    Location:
    London, United Kingdom
    #4
    I posted a similar thread... I am now convinced that I will buy an iMac, it's nice simple and with a wireless keyboard and mouse it will hardly have any cables coming out of it!

    Upgradability: The Mac Pro is not as upgradable as everyone thinks. You can change the CPU's, you can change the graphics card (I know some higher spec nvidia cards have been known to work and the macvidia project will eventually get all the acceleration working on all cards).

    But one thing you cannot do is change the motherboard as you will need one that has EFI on it. This is a problem for people wanting to upgrade because quite frankly when Intel release new CPU's it would be a waste to buy them and stick them in the mac pro. This is because your FSB (Front Side Bus) and Memory speed is much lower (667Mhz? Why didn't apple just use a board with 900Mhz or more Ram?).

    Based on what people said in my thread and on further reading if you buy a Mac Pro there is a limited amount you can do with it, unless you're happy only doing things like changing the video card.
     
  5. Jiddick ExRex macrumors 65816

    Jiddick ExRex

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    May 14, 2006
    Location:
    Roskilde, DK
    #5
    Here's how I see it, since this thread is very relevant for me as well:

    Mac Pro Upgrade abilities:
    CPU.
    RAM. (quite expensive and cumbersom since you need those big FB-DIMMS)
    Graphics Card.
    Up to 4 internal HD-slots.
    External screen.

    Pros : it is very easy to buy a low end Mac Pro and upgrade it more later on. You will most likely get a computer to hold you for the next 5-10 years!

    Cons: very expensive and all the upgrades will be just as expensive. No Front Row.

    iMac Upgrade abilities:
    CPU (if newer cpu's are released with another socket and is not backwards compatible, then you can strike this one off)
    Possible to upgrade graphics card?
    Possible but difficult to upgrade HD?
    RAM of course.

    Pros: Very big, not as expensive, very very gorgeus, comes with bluetooth and Wifi. Comes with a built in display. Has Front Row.

    Cons: upgrades are difficult but possible for the average consumer. Eventually You need more external space. Eventually you need a new screen.

    Then I have another personal request. I was playing around with my friend's macbook yesterday, and I realized, although very good looking, it was terribly slow. It was slower booting up and than my ibook g4, slower responsiveness etc etc, and it SHOULDN'T! I know you will say it needs more RAM, but no it doesn't, it has 512 just as my iBook and that should be enough!
    My iBook literally smoked it, and it made me realise that the jump to Intel came at a certain cost. If I ever need another mac (and I soon will) I need it to be as fast as possible, so I don't get beachballed to death, and that is pretty much what is stopping me from buying a 24" iMac right now.
     
  6. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Chicago, Illinois
    #6
    667? Wow. I thought it was at least 1 Ghz, but I guess I'm wrong.
     
  7. ascender macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    #7
    I've just been through the same thing and bought an iMac. The two main factors in my decision were:

    1. Cost. I wasn't on a strict budget, but I couldn't overlook the fact that you can get a 24" iMac specced up with 2Gb RAM and 7600 graphics card for about the same as your basic Mac Pro without screen.

    2. Macs last long. I'm typing this on a 3 year old iBook which is running Tiger and everything else I need just fine. I figured that a new iMac will easily run all I need (graphics stuff, games, every day apps) for 3 years+ without needing upgrading.

    The other thing was that the performance of the new Intel chips is pretty amazing. I had a loan of a friends 1.67GHz G4 Powerbook last week and it was a clear step up from the iBook, so I can't imagine how fast the new machines are. I guess if you're a pro user or want to upgrade the video card to play the latest pc games, then the Mac Pro is the way to go.
     
  8. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

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    Location:
    London Town
    #8
    In that case, there must have been something wrong with your friends Macbook. It has been proven time and time again in all sorts of benchmarks that the Macbooks blows earlier models out of the water. My boot time is always between 15 and 18 seconds, and I only get the beachball in Rosetta applications :confused:
     
  9. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

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    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #9
    :p
    Yeah, I'll bet there was a load of Rosetta stuff clogging things up, perhaps they'd xferred their stuff from a previous PPC Mac.

    The iMac's are definitely worth considering and if on a budget they're pretty ideal. The Mac Pro, on the other hand, is on a completely different planet - they're awesome, insanely fast machines and they're worth spending the extra cash on if you can stump it up.
     
  10. iancapable macrumors 6502

    iancapable

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    Location:
    London, United Kingdom
    #10
    Yeah just double checked to make sure I was right. It uses FB-DIMM which is nice, but in this case apple are using a slower memory (I'm not sure how much difference memory frequency is though, I guess it depends how memory intensive your app is).

    Here is a suggested config from apple:
    In regards to the iMac and upgrades. From what I have gathered you can upgrade the iMac 24" quite easily as it actually has a slot for changing the drives. Secondly if you go for a smaller one you have the ability to use a USB SATA drive anyway which IMHO can be just as quick as a standard SATA thanks to USB 2.

    Graphics card, if the rumours are true, then that means that you can change the video card on the 24" iMac (with a lot of work probably), but you would have to probably stick with nVidia and you would have to find a mobile nVidia card to use.

    On the whole the deal for the iMac 24" is pretty solid, based on the fact that one won't really need to upgrade much, usb drives are cheap and it is a screen pretty much compared to the Mac Pro, which is a tower with no screen (which when getting apple screens will cost LOADS).

    You could buy a Mac Pro. Depending on how long you want to keep it for, you could do some nasty upgrades. I have found increasing the memory on the apple store is actually bloody cheaper than buying memory elsewhere (which is crazy, as I would have though other suppliers able to undercut Apple)!

    At the end of the day it depends on what you are going to use your system for. I do a lot of virtualisation and development work, but have now decided that 4 cores is too much for the moment and I can't justify the cost. When I buy my new machine it has to be bought at the right configuration because research shows it's not cheaper to upgrade later.
     
  11. Jiddick ExRex macrumors 65816

    Jiddick ExRex

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    Location:
    Roskilde, DK
    #11
    No. I had just made a clean install and updated everything to 10.4.8.
    Boot time was still horrible, and once the fans came on, it was getting more than annoying.

    That's pretty much the same thing I concluded :)
     
  12. yoak macrumors 65816

    yoak

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    Oslo, Norway
    #12
    From what I understand (it was a link her on MR to the article), the graphics card is NOT consumer upgradable. They don´t sell cards that fits the slot. It´s easier for manufacturers to BTO with this kind of socket.

    I was in your situation, and went for the iMac. I do some editing and photo work, an this machine is fast. Ihave 2 gig of RAM and the 7600, I always run lots of apps at the same time without problems.

    I just thought I would´t really upgrade much if I had a Pro, but some people lke that aspect, just not me. I rather buy something new down the line.
     
  13. iancapable macrumors 6502

    iancapable

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    #13
    Same here. I just want to use my computer, not tweak it all the time... When I have kids I'll take up that hobby again ;)
     
  14. combatcolin macrumors 68020

    combatcolin

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    Oct 24, 2004
    Location:
    Northants, UK
    #14
    If your worried about upgrading DO NOT TOUCH AN iMAC WITH A 10 FOOT BARGE POLE!!

    Give it a year and you will really kick yourself for buying such a closed system.

    If your not bothered about upgrading then go ahead and buy the big 24" iMac, excellent value for money.
     
  15. Cybergypsy macrumors 68040

    Cybergypsy

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    Central Florida!
    #15

    the same here, i find this soooo much faster then all earlier models,
     
  16. skubish macrumors 68030

    skubish

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    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    #16
    I will say it again as many people have told me.
    If you aren't running the Pro Apps you don't need the Mac Pro.
     
  17. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

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    London Town
    #17
    But if you are running the Pro Apps, you don't necessarily need a Mac Pro. Aperture is a pro app, but it runs perfectly well even on a Macbook (apparently), never mind an iMac.
     
  18. generik macrumors 601

    generik

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    Minitrue
    #18
    Mac Pro, definitely.

    Think of it this way:

    Mac Pro is actually the best value computer in Apple's line. No other product made by Apple is cheaper than a Dell, except the Mac Pro!

    If you are buying an iMac, sure you can go "Oh, let's compare it to an equivalent dual core PC, and factor in an extra 10-20% for MacOS plus the nice thin form factor!" but the way I see it, the "nice thin form factor" is a curse, not a perk.

    I wouldn't pay extra for that, hell, I wouldn't even take that if they pay me and make the iMac 1/2 what it is priced at today! But that's just me.

    So with the iMac, Apple is basically make pretending to be a LCD manufacturer, they buy these same old cheap panels from whichever cheap manufacturer they got around (search around for "iMac" and "stuck pixels", plenty of cases), slap it into the iMac, and charge you above retail price for that. How is that good value? Plus there'd be hell to pay (for you) if you happen to get one with a stuck pixel!

    With the Mac Pro I get to own one of the absolute finest machine in the world, the fastest most future proof Mac there is, twice the processing power of the iMac - available today... and when the iMacs start getting quad core by some bizzare stroke of marketing, simply pick up the Quad core Xeons from Newegg and upgrade your MP to an Octo.

    Monitor wise you get to have a choice too, single monitor.. dual monitor.. it is all up to you. Why put up with the iMac sitting beside another 2nd monitor with a mismatching bezel and size? It looks just plain ugly. With a Mac Pro you can get to buy the monitor you want.

    Likewise the other beauty about getting the monitor you choose is even if you are stretching your budget currently, it is possible for you to get a cheaper monitor to get by first, and upgrade later. Like a Chimei 22" LCD is available for merely $400 off Newegg, and if you google around you will find plenty of happy customers who'd give this funkily named company more of their money again.

    Take the Mac Pro, you won't regret it.

    Poor people can't afford to buy poor.

    Considering the Mac Pro costs virtually the same as the iMac bigfoot it is a moot point.

    The cost of the monitor might seem like a lot *today* but in time the Mac Pro will come out ahead as a much better investment/buy, LCD monitors get cheaper and cheaper all the time, Apple is still putting a 17" LCD in a AU$1500 computer with integrated graphics. Please join me and laugh.
     
  19. Jaze macrumors member

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    Sep 5, 2001
    #19
    Does the Mini even get a look in here?

    I've been hovering between the 24" iMac, the Mac Pro and a new 24" screen, and the Mini with a new 24" screen.

    My needs are fairly basic - I would be fine on the iMac, but I like the idea of just upgrading the whole computer, rather than fiddling with innards. If I were to do that, though, the Mini seems the most logical choice.

    And physically, I prefer the look of a 24" Cinema screen and a Mini to the 24" iMac. Now, this may not mean anything to many people here, but if I'm spending a lot for something, I'd like to like the way it looks.

    My needs are pretty basic - the core word processing/Internet stuff with occasional messing around in Photoshop. I think next year I'd like to pick up a video camera, at which point I'd probably want to do a little post-production processing on my computer.

    Am I naive for thinking I could get by on a Mini, or should I be more serious about the iMac or the Pro?
     
  20. iancapable macrumors 6502

    iancapable

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    #20

    Actually I beg to differ on price comparison against dell. I think apple are cheaper than equiv configurations!

    Look at what you get with the iMac (including all the software you get) and compare it to dell.

    The iMac has a high quality screen, something dell doesn't have. To upgrade to the better screens with dell you have to fork out quite a bit more money.

    Dell has no style either, apple does. It's like comparing a supercar against a run of the mill ford.
     
  21. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    England
    #21
    Because that is the only memory they could use. There is no other logical option other than 667Mhz FB-DIMMs for the Woodcrest processors.
     
  22. ripfrankwhite macrumors regular

    ripfrankwhite

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    Dec 13, 2005
    #22
    The Mac Pro is a pro machine. If you do not do any editing, then you don't need it. You said that you would like to learn, then the iMac is the machine for you. It is a machine made just for you. Take advantage of that. When you become skilled at the A/V editing, then you can upgrage.
     
  23. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    May 26, 2004
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    Randy's House
    #23
    I thnik the best way to answer this question is for the OP to give us his budget.

    Otherwise we'll keep firing this pro versus consumer argument around for all eternity.

    :)
     
  24. combatcolin macrumors 68020

    combatcolin

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    Oct 24, 2004
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    Northants, UK
    #24
    Too early to check for ReFurb Mac Pro's?

    With the expcetion of having BT built in they would be an acceptable price.
     
  25. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

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    Jun 14, 2006
    #25
    MacPro hands down. The iMac is beautiful, but if the MacPro is an option, then get it. One amazing piece of technology!
     

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