Macpro or 24" iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ^squirrel^, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. ^squirrel^ macrumors 6502a

    ^squirrel^

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #1
    Dear all,

    I'm looking for a bit of help with buying the correct machine for my needs.

    I use the machine for a bit of gaming such as Flight Simulator, Counter Strike and battlefield 2. Most of the other time it will be iLife, email and general internet usage. I however will be using Mac the ripper and handbrake which will use a lot of processing power.

    Will the iMac have enough juice to run these tasks at good rates?

    The iMac im think off is

    24" iMac
    2.33 Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB DDR2 Memory
    7600GT 256mb Nvidia Grapics Card
    500GB Hard Drive

    Or the Macpro

    Standard config apart from...
    X1900 GPU
    2gb Memory
    160gb drive ( have spare 160gb SATA drive at home )

    I already have a 19" screen but i would upgrade to a 24" with the Macpro. So the total price would be around £2200 for the Macpro and £1500 for the iMac. I would like to use Front Row as well but from what i see it wont work on the Macpro as of yet. Do you think Front row will be available on the Macpro? I know FR is due to be released with 10.5 but how will the remote work with the Macpro with no IR?

    Overall i would like to keep this machine for 3 years but will it meet the demands on gaming for the next 3 years? At least with the Macpro i could upgrade the GPU.

    What machine do you think is best for me?

    Thanks very much for your time.

    Darren
     
  2. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #2
    Although the iMac is a fantastic machine for right now, its gaming ability in 3 years time could be limited. It looks as if it has a laptop PCIe graphics card slot so could be slightly upgradeable although laptop graphics cards are hard to come by, cost more and tend to be slightly limited in their power abilities.
    The MacPro can more readily take faster and better graphics cards so two years down the line you should be able to relatively easily upgrade the graphics to brand new. The 1900xt will be able to drive games at a 24" screen's resolution for a bit longer than a 7600gt too.
    If you're getting a 24" screen then I'm guessing it'd be a Dell, in which case you'll have more video inputs for tv etc. FrontRow *can* be used on non FrontRow enabled machines (although I believe Leopard will come with FrontRow as standard). If you get a bluetooth enabled Mac Pro then you can buy a 3rd party FrontRow bluetooth remote. Getting hold of FrontRow online is relatively straight forward too.
    It sounds like you'd be happier with a MacPro since it'll be more readily upgradeable. If you can afford it, go for it, if you want to save the money go for the iMac.

    Edit: Also remember to buy the RAM elsewhere, for around the same cost as upgrading a Mac Pro to 2GB you can get it up to 3GB by buying elsewhere.
     
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #3
    In my opinion, the Mac Pro is overkill for what you want to do. The iMac will run the games you mentioned very well. With the money you save buying the iMac, you are halfway to a new computer 3 years down the line or whenever you decide to buy a new one. I don't buy computers with the intent on upgrading them, I buy them with the intent of replacing them in 3 years.
     
  4. babsuvulawho macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    #4
    Hello Darren,

    I'm in the same situation you are. I'm more than ready to kick Windows to the curb for my day to day needs but I do play the odd game (I am NOT a serious gamer) but I am a fairly serious Flight Simulator hobbiest.

    After yesterday's iMac announcment I was very curious about the 24" model but the video card, to me, is a show stopper. It is too far behind the X1900XT and even the 7900GT in any benchmarking I have seen. I don't want to buy a machine and be almost immediately dissappointed by it's performance in FS, especially with FS X coming out soon.

    I'm down to 3 choices now. Orginally I had been planning Mac Pro all the way but after reading many people here saying it is over kill and you could do better buying a "gaming" PC plus a cheaper Mac I came up with the following options:

    1) Mac Pro with the X1900XT card. Upgrade RAM to 2GB after market.
    2) A decent "gaming" PC and a stock 1.83GHz Mac Mini which I will upgrade to 2GB of RAM afterwards.
    3) A decent "gaming" PC and a stock 2.0GHz MacBook which I will upgrade to 2GB of RAM afterwards.

    Key specs of the gaming PC would be:
    Core 2 Duo E6600
    Asus P5WD2 MB
    2 GB of RAM
    7900GTX Video card

    In terms of cost, option 2 is the cheapest option by $500 Canadian dollars under the Mac Pro which is about $100 less than option 3. Therefore in my mind buying two machines is not really all that much more cost effective than just buying a Mac Pro. I'm currently torn between option 1 and 3 as having the freedom of a laptop for my basic computing needs is attractive. In addition I plan on buying a 24" Dell monitor to replace my old ViewSonic PF790. Dell will have it on sale starting September 8th. This would complete my first PC upgrade in 3 years.

    I'm waiting now to see if Apple is going to upgrade the CPUs in the MacBooks next week.
     
  5. ^squirrel^ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ^squirrel^

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #5
    Interetsing points made....

    I have thought about buying a standard 24" iMac with 2gb ram and building or upgrading my current pc. But then i dont like the fact i've got 2 machines when the Macpro could do both.

    I too will be playing Flight Sim X and i think the 7600GT would handle it ok, but the Macpro would make a much better job of it!

    Maybe i'll go with the Macpro and treat myself at Xmas to a 24" Dell screen.

    I will be buying an Xbox or PS3 and i sure most of my gaming will be done on that. If that is the case then i suppose the iMac would be the better option?

    Really confused....... :confused:
     
  6. babsuvulawho macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    #6
    Yes, tough choices indeed. There does not seem to be one option that really jumps out at you. Perhaps Apple needs a desktop PC between the iMac and MacPro, or more video card options on the iMac.

    If you plan on doing most of your gaming on a console then I wouldn't buy the Mac Pro and would go for the iMac or perhaps consider a MacBook depending on your needs. If you are a big FS person then your options remain the same IMO.
     
  7. ^squirrel^ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ^squirrel^

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
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    England
    #7
    Didn't know they sold Bluetooth Front Row remotes????? Have you got a link?
     
  8. Dunepilot macrumors 6502a

    Dunepilot

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2002
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    I have another suggestion. Some people around MR have been discussing the resale value of the Xeon chips in the Mac Pros as being around $700.

    Why don't you purchase the Mac Pro, take out one of the chips on its riser, then with the money you'd make selling it on eBay or whatever, you'd get a long way towards the cost of a new monitor.

    You won't benefit massively from a quad-core machine, but the Mac Pro seems to be what you want otherwise. Everyone's a winner, baby.
     
  9. ^squirrel^ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ^squirrel^

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #9
    No i would just keepp both CPU's running. I couldnt de-face it like that :D

    As i said, i probably wont do much gaming on the machine so i'm thinking maybe iMac would do the trick. I'll more likely be able to sell the imac on as a whole in 2 -3 years time than i would being able to sell parts from the Macpro (GPU or CPU's)
     
  10. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #10
    The 24" iMac that you are considering should have plenty of horsepower for your stated needs. That said, it sounds like you would be happier with a Mac Pro. :)
     
  11. ^squirrel^ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ^squirrel^

    Joined:
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    #11
    Another option is to buy the Macpro and wait until there is a new revision of the Apple Cinema Display and then go for a 23 or 24 inch screen?

    I think this would be the more logical deal.....but then that is going to cost me around £2200 rather than the £1500 for the imac.
     
  12. Schroedinger macrumors regular

    Schroedinger

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #12
    The money will be well worth it for the Mac Pro. I splurged for the mac pro even though my usage is very much like yours. The advantage of the two extra cores comes from multitasking. First, i used Handbrake the other day and it blew my mind how fast it was on this machine. But more than that, while it was ripping away, I was using the machine normally. On my old machine, a G4, handbrake took forever and good luck if I wanted to do anything else.

    So, in simple terms 2 cores is enough, but you can't go wrong with 4.
     
  13. ^squirrel^ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ^squirrel^

    Joined:
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    #13
    Made mind up..................

    Going to wait until end of Oct and i'll buy a Macpro and a 23" display. Do you think now is a good time to buy a 23" display as i've heard there might be a new one soon?
     
  14. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    #14
    I don't think you really NEED a MacPro, but it is the best machine money can buy right now.

    Just remember that Mac Pro qualified FB ECC RAM is running
    $250.00 per GB at the moment.
     
  15. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
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    Location:
    London, UK
    #15
    I wouldn't normally do this but maybe you should consider getting the Dell 24" screen (especialyl if they're coming on sale again soon) simply because you said you would be buying an Xbox or a PS3. The Dell would have the inputs you need while an ACD or an iMac wouldn't (unless you wanted to use a video card and limit the resolution you could play games at).
    Also I really think Flight Sim X will run significantly better on a Mac Pro than the iMac. Not as much because of the graphics card but because Microsoft Flight Simulator eats processor time for breakfast. When the last version came out I found my frame rate to be severely processor dependant. I could run it at any resolution I wanted and get the same kind of frame rate (this was on a Pentium M laptop, I could run it at 1900x1200 with nearly the same framerate as at 1024x768).
    Flight Sim X will probably be the same, it'll probably have more dynamic objects, other planes etc going on, its meant to have a highly complex weather system etc etc. If its optimised for multiple cores (which it will be) then it will *love* the Mac Pro.
     
  16. ^squirrel^ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ^squirrel^

    Joined:
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    England
    #16

    Valid point regarding FS! I remember when i first got it i had to upgrade my whole machine! (PC days........ahhhhhhhh)

    I do have a HDTV screen that the PS3 or 360 will be connected to and also the Mac will be in a different room.

    I just found out that the imac has an upgradable GPU.
     
  17. Voltes V macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    #17
    get a Mac Pro, and get a display of your choice and go buy it. it'll do whatever you throw at it with ease. plain and simple.
     
  18. ^squirrel^ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ^squirrel^

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #18
    Thanks very much alll for your input, you have been a great help. I must say you guys have been great with regards to the speedy responses and the amount of people that went out of their way to reply and help me.

    I think i would be much hapier with the Macpro.

    Thanks again all

    Darren :D
     
  19. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #19

    Glad that you have made up your mind squirrel, enjoy your Mac Pro when you get it. :)
     
  20. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
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    #20
    And come back should you have problems with it! \Knock on wood.
     
  21. ^squirrel^ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ^squirrel^

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    England
    #21
    Cheers chaps, lets hope it's problem free. But i'm sure i'll be back to find out out i get Front Row to work on it.
     
  22. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #22
    a mac pro is massive overkill for what you want to do. but if you're going to keep it for 3 years and can afford it then why not?
     
  23. babsuvulawho macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    #23
    Congratulations Darren on your choice! I'm also leaning that way after reading some of the feedback on the Mac Pro forum from those who have just received the first machines with the X1900XT in them.

    Dell's sale on the WFP2407 has started today and should end on the 13th. $729 CDN or $719.10 US for the 24". Of course they will have another sale before Christmas.
     
  24. Uma888 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Birmingham, United Kingdom
    #24
    Get the clicker software for your mobile phone, alot more cooler

    BTW: the frontroe remote isnt IR, ITs RF (last time i checkd)
     

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