Mac Pro vs. iMac 24"

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DrStrangelove, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. DrStrangelove macrumors 6502

    DrStrangelove

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    Mar 26, 2006
    #1
    I'm sure this has probably been covered... and I'll do a search, but I'm kinda pressed for time so I'm throwing this out to the group.

    Short and sweet: My average daily computing consists simultaneously of RIPPING/BURNING CDs, Playing iTunes, having email, chat and web-browser open, half the time I've got WoW on an extended display and a few times a week of manipulating photos with PS Elements. I tend to watch a lot of video (streaming) as well.

    On Anandtech I read that with the mac pro in single threaded applications, I can probably expect the system to perform similarly to a single dual core chip. In well multi-threaded applications, I'd find significant higher performance (dual dual core vs. single dual core).

    My fear is that even with all I do above that I may not be crossing the barrier of necessity for a dual dual core system. Spending much more than necessary. Know what I mean?

    What type of multi-threaded applications do I have to be running to reach a point where it makes sense to run multiple processors? I'm not knowledgeable about which applications are well multi-threaded or not. I'm on a 20" iMac now and while I love it, I also know that it's not a machine with enough power for me.

    Also, I recognize that upgrading to the iMac 24" may serve me well today but is no where near as upgradable as the Pro system. But, you know, if I'm simply not going to cross-over into a real where dual dual cores are necessary it may be a waste. The problem is how does one determine this, you know? Maybe in a year from now there will be more "everyday" applications that require or prefer multiple processors.

    Help.
     
  2. Jiddick ExRex macrumors 65816

    Jiddick ExRex

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    #2
    Don't buy depending on what you think may or may not be out in a year, buy for what you need right now. You need an iMac 17" or 20", as simple as that. In a year the Mac Pro and iMac will be upgraded anyway, and you be in the excact same situation.
     
  3. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

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    Mar 30, 2004
    #3
    Are you looking at the 2.0 GHz Quad? It's only $200 more than the 24" iMac (assuming you have a monitor).

    I'm debating this as well...
     
  4. DrStrangelove thread starter macrumors 6502

    DrStrangelove

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    Mar 26, 2006
    #4
    I'm not certain that your response makes sense or if I'm reading it correctly.

    You say "You need an iMac 17" or 20"-- I already mentioned above that I already have an iMac 20" (first gen 1.5GB RAM). Also, mentioned that while it's a great machine it's lacking some of the power/speed that I'm used to-- something that I don't feel will be corrected by simply moving from 1.5 to 2GB of RAM.

    "In a year Mac Pro and iMac will be upgraded anyway, and you be in the exact same situation." I'm not sure I follow. Exact situation as what? It seems that you suggest I need the iMac and then say the situation I experience today will be the same in a year? I don't follow.

    My gut is telling me Mac Pro because of the ability to upgrade the thing OVER years. That's one thing that I do miss about my PC vs the iMac. This iMac is what it is... beyond another half gig of RAM I could shove in here-- there are no upgrades to make. While it's an AWESOME computer-- I'm not looking to buy a new one each year.

    I figure with a Mac Pro and available upgrades (for years to come)-- you're talking at least 5 years before wanting to buy something else.

    However, I've read that the 24" iMac is really in a different class than the new 17s and 20s. More of a machine that captures the middle ground between iMac and Mac Pro-- so there's still some enticement. Money isn't necessarily an issue, but I don't like to throw it away. My biggest concern is that I'd be buying a machine (Mac Pro) with dual dual core Xeons and never really be using it properly.

    This thread was meant to talk about multi-threaded applications: what they are, what are some examples, do dual dual cores also help for a heavey multitasker?... where will multithreaded apps be in a year, etc, etc.

    I want the Mac Pro I think. I'm just looking for the rationale to actually buy it. But it's going to be with me a lot longer than this first gen 20" iMac that's for sure.
     
  5. DrStrangelove thread starter macrumors 6502

    DrStrangelove

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    Mar 26, 2006
    #5
    No. If I went Mac Pro here's what I'd get initially:

    • Mac Pro, 2 x 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    • 2 GB of RAM (actually want 4 but will buy after the holiday-- thinking about going with the base of 1GB and buying a 4GB Kit from Crucial, like $1000)
    • 250GB HD
    • Nvidia 7300 GT 256MB (standard card)
    • 2 16x Superdrives
    • BlueTooth and Airport Extreme
    That's $2976. I can get the educational discount-- didn't work it out yet but that should probably pull it down 10%.

    I already have a 23" ACD as an extended display on my iMac 20". So I'd use that display. Then the wife/kids would have the iMac.
     
  6. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #6
    If that's all you're doing, you're not really a power user - you're a regular user. A 2.33 iMac is more than enough so a Pro isn't mandatory. But if you want it, get it.

    I got my Pro to take over as my main OS X machine. The vast majority of what I'll be doing, once I've migrated and installed the apps, will be very basic stuff which probably won't even begin to stress the machine (certainly doesn't stress the Core Duo MBP all the stuff is running on now). My 'power computing' requirements are met by more powerful Windows machines in terms of gaming and also in terms of 3D stuff. I thought about it for a bit and decided I didn't really want an iMac so I went for the Pro.
     
  7. DrStrangelove thread starter macrumors 6502

    DrStrangelove

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    Mar 26, 2006
    #7
    But can you (or anyone) supply a generalized list of the types of things one WOULD be doing that would be enhanced by the dual dual-core system?

    For example: I'm REALLY into my pictures and Elements. I'm sure if I upgraded my video camera I'd end up doing a bunch of video editing and stuff... does this start to get close to the types of application that utilize the dual dual-core? I World of Warcraft alot while doing other things-- would performance improve here?

    I'm not just looking for the advice of which one to buy (which I do appreciate) but also a better understanding of what one would need to be tackling where the Mac Pro makes better sense.

    Much thanks!
     
  8. dont24 macrumors regular

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    Northeast
    #8
    I'm kinda of in the same situation. Currently have a G4 mini. Kids want an Mac so they'll get the mini and I'll get a new system. Don't really want another mini. Was never a big fan of an all-in-one system. (iMac) Already have a laptop for work. That leaves the Mac Pro, which has more power than I'll ever need. But that's what I want and can afford. I also like the idea of adding additional internal HDs, since I need one for an OS disk backup and the 3rd for a video/scratch drive.
     
  9. DrStrangelove thread starter macrumors 6502

    DrStrangelove

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    Mar 26, 2006
    #9
    Famous last words. And that' why I hesitate on the iMac 24". So today, the dual dual-core shows only minor speed enhancements over the Core 2 with my type of applications.

    But who in the world knows what they're coding for out there that I might jump all over in a year from now when I'm still not ready to upgrade a 24" iMac that I purchase this Christmas.

    Man, I'll tell you this much-- I never had this type of love affair with my PC. Apple is freaking addictive, isn't it?
     
  10. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

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    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #10
    "My average daily computing consists simultaneously of RIPPING/BURNING CDs"

    If that's as important to you as it sounds then dual internal CD writers would be perfect for you, and so would a Mac Pro. Ok, you're not going to push it to its limits, but it's one awesome machine and it's going to last you a long time.

    One thing I would say - if you're going to play WoW on it and want it to look completely stunning then get the X1900XT card. It's droolsome.
     
  11. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2003
    #11
    Yeah I would suggest at a mac pro. I went with one even though I am not a pro user. But I do alot of multi tasking. I also do some CPU intensive things. Many people here said I should just get the imac. But I decided to go against popular opinion, and bought the mac pro. I love it. The imac is just too slow for what I do. The mac pro would be great for you. Just make sure you get atleast 2 gb of RAM. I went with 1 gb, as i thought thats all i would need as i had 768mb for awhile and it seemed fine. But now that I have the CPU to burn I am running out of RAM.
     
  12. akadmon macrumors 68010

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    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    New England
    #12
    I hate to sound like the other fella, but yeah, I too was in a similar quandary, only my thing was not the 24" iMac but the 17" C2D MBP. Finally decided to go with a Mac Pro for the peace of mind and because of the fact it's going to last me a lot longer than one of the flaky laptops Apple is selling these days.

    Considering the fact that you already own a nice big display, I'd say it's a no-brainer: go with the Mac Pro! And don't let anyone tell you you have to be a pro to own one :)
     
  13. Mike31c macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    #13
    that may be true today. But when the rest of the software industry gets on the bandwagon, all future code will be multi-threaded and able to utilize multiple cores.

    I find it kind of sad since Apple has been leading the industry with multi-core computers for years yet are always waiting for the publishers (adobe comes to mind) to get their software to make use of the cores. Not sure but I thought Photoshop could only make use of 2 cores even on the quad G5?

    Funny now that even cheap/junk pc's come with multi-cores are only now software companies are taking note of it and even making use of it, or promised use of it. The upcoming release of UT:2007 comes to mind.

    Not saying we need two or more cores with Word or similar apps but come on now, there are other uses that can be using more then a single core cpu... We just don't know what the limits are because of the limited imagination of the windoze users.

    Besides, if you are really worried about cpu time, run seti@home or something similar from BOINC? ;)
     
  14. dont24 macrumors regular

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    #14
    What about running multiple apps at the same time. Say I want to rip a cd and render and burn a movie in iDVD. Will both apps use the same core? Or will they each make use of their own core?
     
  15. DrStrangelove thread starter macrumors 6502

    DrStrangelove

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    Mar 26, 2006
    #15
    I'm told all Xcoded apps are multi-threaded and multi-core aware pretty much by default. So my guess would be that iDVD would take advantage of the multiple cores.

    I'm REALLY leaning toward this Mac Pro. And my gut tells me, whether I'm able to take FULL advantage or not, that I'm not going to be happy unless I have it. ;)
     
  16. jaguarx macrumors regular

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    Jan 5, 2003
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    London
    #16
    The kind of work that requires a Mac Pro:
    3D Animation/Modelling/Rendering
    Video Compression
    Video Editing, Compositing etc
    Scientific Calculation work
    Heavy end sound work

    Outside that you're probably spending more than you need to. And if you're playing games you would want a X1900. Multiple apps will always be able to use multiple processors, that's controlled by the task scheduler in the OS however in your example you're not going to see any real benefit, the bottleneck is more likely to be I/O than CPU.
     
  17. dont24 macrumors regular

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    #17
    I'm with you. If I decided to go with a 24" iMac, I'll most likely 2nd guess myself. " I should have gone with the Mac Pro" I say if you can afford it, go for it. That's what I'm doing. Only question for me is when. Do I get it during the holiday rush? Or wait until after the holidays?
     
  18. DrStrangelove thread starter macrumors 6502

    DrStrangelove

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    #18
    Man, you really know how to deflate a guy, doncha? j/k This is the type of feedback I'm looking for.

    I already do video compression stuff and if I'm being honest with myself I can envision myself moving over into video editing and all that comes with it.

    But the other stuff you list... you know, not so much. Not at all actually.

    This really is a much tougher decision than I thought. I keep vacillating here and I don't think it'll end until I actually buy the next Mac. I know if I buy the Mac Pro I won't regret it (regardless of use). If I upgrade to the iMac 24" I may continue to have those thoughts of "what if"-- you know, like that girl you shoulda gone after but didn't.

    But believe me-- I see the upside to the iMac 24" pricewise. I can beef the hell out of the thing as well as it coming with all the peripherals that I'd have to purchase separately with the Mac Pro (bluetooth, airport, isight, etc). So there is a great incentive there-- not to mention my setup would be sweet with a 24" display and an extended 23" ACD.

    You know, if I were wealthy this just wouldn't be an issue. Damnit!!!
     
  19. dont24 macrumors regular

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    #19
    Since you already have a 23" Display, is the Mac Pro that much more money? Maybe $500.00 or so.
     
  20. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

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    #20

    These kind of statements crack me up. Yeah, the base price... but by the time you start adding peripheral stuff (FB-Dimms cost premium) the costs are much higher. For day to day non-professional tasks, dollar to dollar, the iMac is better and probably faster for single tasks. The MacPro is more of an investment than an out-of-box experience that the iMac provides. If you are just looking at the baseline price of the MacPro you are not being totally realistic. Sure, you can run the MacPro with the base config, but that's like buying an expensive car to only drive around the block. Another thing, what about software? Cracks me up with someone posts that they want to buy a MacPro but can barely afford the base config. Then they try to justify the purchase by saying they would like to get into video editing someday. Have they even looked at the cost of Final Cut Studio? Oh, don't tell me... they are planning on using iMovie on their MacPro! :eek: :eek: If they can get by with iMovie, then they can certainly get by with an iMac.
     
  21. akadmon macrumors 68010

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    New England
    #21
    Yeah, I wll be doing just that. So what's your point? If it takes me 10 seconds to do something on my Mac Pro that would take 14 seconds on an iMac, I'm happy as happy can be! And I also don't buy the argument that an iMac is as fast as the Mac Pro for apps that don't utilize multiple cores. Compared to a 24" iMac, the Mac Pro has a faster processor, faster bus, faster memory (but don't quote me on that), and a faster hdd (surely you can access more data on a 3.5" platter than on a 2.5" platter if they're both spinning at the same rate). And finally it's a true 64-bit machine all around, unlike the iMac and MBP, which means come next year the 25-50% speed bump I'm getting on single core apps will become 50+%.
     
  22. dont24 macrumors regular

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    #22
    Let's see. The price of the Mac Pro that's being looked at is $29XX.00. If you want the 2.33 cpu, 256MB graphics card, and 2GB of memory in the 24" iMac it's $25XX.00 That's a $400 difference. Since he already has an Apple display, makes more sense to me to spring for the Mac Pro. I didn't see anything in this thread about barely able to afford the base config. Did you?
    I say there's no need to justify a Mac Pro purchase. If you can afford it, make the purchase. Last time I checked buying Final Cut Studio or any high-end software for that matter, is not a requirement.
     
  23. Karpfish macrumors 6502a

    Karpfish

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    #23
    the guy who made the list forgot photo editing. you certainly need the ability to have more than 2 or 3gb ram,multiple internal drives, and the x1900 for photoshop and aperture
     
  24. #24
    i don't know about you...but i wanted a computer i could constantly upgrade, shell out the extra bucks and then be happy with for at least 5 years. thats why i went mac pro. I still haven't used up all the processing power at once most ive pushed was 60% used with video editting and some other apps, i can now load it up with ram when i got the cash, add 3 more hdds, and upgrade the graphics card, and the burner is faster than that on the imac that i was contemplating getting around 3 months ago. If i were you...get the macpro and then you won't need to buy a new system in a year...just add some more ram if you find you're using it all up (i know i need more than the 1gb) .,...yeah...you got a display already...so there you go. any if you want more display space...get something like a 19" or 20"ws for around 250
     
  25. Jiddick ExRex macrumors 65816

    Jiddick ExRex

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    #25
    I am very sorry, I must have skipped the part with your iMac due to me reading MR in the morning. In that case I can see how my post didn't make sense at all.

    If you have an iMac 20" (Intel I gather)now and don't feel it's enough for the task, I doubt an iMac will fill its shoes. Seeing as the only real difference is the graphics card and a bigger screen, it might not be snappier at all. Unfortunately a Mac Pro is probably more than enough for you right now (unfortunate because it's a lot of $$) but at least it will be able to handle what you throw at it.

    Where 64-bit/multicore apps are going from here, only time can tell but if the development is just as slow as it has been for the past two years, it will iMO probably take two more years before it's the norm and you can do anything really useful with it... For now the OSs will be the ones taking care of the multicores and 64-bit.

    Hope I was a little more clear this time... :eek:
     

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