20" iMac, or Mac Pro 2.0

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by devincco, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. devincco macrumors member


    Aug 19, 2006
    Alright, I need some help trying to decide. Each choice has their pros and cons. What are your thoughts? I’ll mainly be using this machine for Internet surfing, school/office type work, photo editing, and some home video editing. This will be my first Mac. I will also need to either dual boot to Windows, or at least use parallels. Also, does anyone have experience with using parallels on either machine? How is the performance in using windows in parallels? My choices are…

    20" iMac, with upgraded video and I'll upgrade the RAM after I get it to at least 1.5 GB, hopefully 2GB. Pros - Built in monitor (nice monitor at that), cheaper RAM, overall cheaper. Cons - Very limited ability to upgrade, will need to use external HD's as additional storage.


    Mac Pro downgraded to 2.0GHz, and 160GB HD. I'll upgrade the RAM later as hopefully it will become cheaper. Thinking the extra processor power may help with the 1GB of RAM until I can upgrade the RAM. And HD's are cheap so I'll just upgrade those as I find good deals. Pros – Easier to upgrade, probably overkill in performance for what I would be using it for, easy to add additional storage. Cons - Expensive RAM, overall more expensive, will still need a monitor.
  2. Danksi macrumors 68000


    Oct 3, 2005
    Nelson, BC. Canada
    I'd suggest the iMac, particularly over a Mac Pro 2.0Ghz, as it's not as good a value as the 'suggested' model 2.66Ghz (in one of those spend money to 'save' money ways of thinking).

    iMac is sealed, however so long as you plan ahead and upgrade the graphics card and HD, if/as required - it'll serve you well.
  3. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    For what you say you will be doing an iMac will be fine (it's a very nice machine). If you are doing iMovie home movie type editing, one drive will be enough to start (if you've never used iMovie, try it. There is nothing like it on Windows.). If you are doing more intensive, Final Cut Pro type, editing you will need an additional drive in any case. That is the recommended way to do professional editing (application on main drive, media on another). Best wishes.
  4. devincco thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 19, 2006
    I refuse to purchase an upgraded HD from apple. An extra $200 for 500GB seems a bit steep. Same thing with the RAM. I know the RAM is fairly easy to upgrade, but how hard is it to upgrade the HD in a iMac?
  5. meepm00pmeep macrumors 6502


    Sep 20, 2006
    it'd be pretty hard to replace the iMac's HDD... (it's behind the screen) if you want a replacement bring it to an Apple store to have it installed, better safe than sorry
  6. BlizzardBomb macrumors 68030


    Jun 15, 2005
    Spot on. I would go for the iMac. It should have more than enough horsepower and the external hard drive you may need is nowhere near the size of a Mac Pro :)
  7. Voltes V macrumors member

    Sep 2, 2006
    do they charge you for labor, if you bring a hdd to be installed inside your iMac?
  8. EGT macrumors 68000


    Sep 4, 2003
    The problem I have with the iMac is when it starts to turn obsolete, it'll be a big fancy looking screen sitting on the desk. The Mac Pro's expandability is so tempting. I'm in a similar situation to you and if I had the cash, I'd jump on a Mac Pro as soon as possible.

    But then again ... 24" iMac ... :eek: *drool*
  9. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Most of the experts will tell you that unless you really are using PRO apps (Final Cut, Logic, Aperture, major Photoshop work) the iMac will be fine for your needs.

    By the time the current iMacs are obsolete it would be time to get a new computer anyway. Sure you can upgrade the video card, add HDDs, etc to the Mac Pro but its still not practical to upgrade the MB and processor.
  10. #10
    lol, well this is the same dilemma i went through about 1 month ago and i went for the macpro downgraded to the two 2ghz. The way i see it, its still way more processing power even with the new core 2 duo cause it has 4x the front side bus speed (so the processors won't choke) and twice the l2 cache and its totally upgradeable. Enough to keep you happy for over 5 years when you upgrade hdd space, ram, etc. Hdds are dirt cheap and as for ram, well it will drop in price as FB dimms become more common. but its really up to you. I do just about the same thing along with tons of multitasking (running like8+ programs at once) works well :D
  11. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    iMac, as nothing you do seems to need the Mac Pros speed, and your don't seem like you will need to upgrade the specs for what you want.(harddrive space maybe but a FW drive works just as well.

    Get the iMac...and treat yourself to some RAM
  12. amin macrumors 6502a


    Aug 17, 2003
    Boston, MA
    If you already have a decent display lying around and don't mind having a huge tower, I'd go for the Mac Pro. Otherwise the iMac is probably the better buy. I wish I'd put a bigger HD in my iMac. I didn't realize the HD was so tough to replace.
  13. devincco thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 19, 2006
    Leaning towards the iMac, but some ?'s...

    Thanks all for the responses. Well, I've been doing some thinking. I think I'm leaning towards the iMac. A few reasons why.

    1) Its cheaper. Can't argue with that...
    2) RAM is cheaper and I can affordably get it up to 2GB.
    3) I don’t have a decent display. Just a crummy 17” CRT. I do have a nice 21” CRT, but the thing is just too damn big, and the wife hates it. Takes up almost the whole desk.
    4) The Mac Pro will be a tight squeeze in my desk. I measured and I’m pretty sure I can get it to fit, but it will be very tight. And the airflow I think may be a problem.

    Now, some questions I have that I'm hoping someone can answer for me.

    1) Does anyone have any experience with running parallels on the iMac, even the original Core Duo? How is the performance running Windows XP or other OS’s? None of the Apple stores around me have parallels installed on any of the Macs so I can’t get an idea of how it runs.
    2) Should I upgrade the video? I guess I’m re-thinking this because while it would be nice to have 256MB of video memory, just wondering if it would go to waste since I don’t do any gaming. Also, can it be upgraded later on?
    3) How is the reliability of it? This will be my only PC. I’m worried that if the display or something else goes out on it that it may take a while for it to get repaired. With my windows PC’s that I’ve built, I could usually get it up and running in a day or so.
    4) Is the AppleCare plan worth it to extend the warranty?
    5) What do you all think about refurbs? I was looking at the refurbished section on Apples website and noticed they’ve got some 20” Core Duo (not the Core 2 Duo) for $1199. Very nice savings. Is there really that much difference in the Core Duo and the Core 2 Duo in performance?
    6) Are the HD’s SATA I or SATA II? (Just out of curiosity)
  14. amin macrumors 6502a


    Aug 17, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Very good reasons, all.

    I installed Parallels on my Core 2 Duo iMac before there was an appropriate version for that system, so it was no shocker that it was very unstable. My experience with Parallels on a Core Duo iMac at work is that it is very solid and has good performance for standard work apps. I have not used it for anything graphics intensive or video related.

    Can't be upgraded later, which makes it appealing to do so up front, even if you have no apparent need for a better graphics card. That said, I chose not to upgrade in this regard.

    Hard to predict, but thus far there are no major frequent complaints about Intel iMac reliability.

    With the display built in, I think it's a good idea - too much to lose otherwise. You can buy Apple Care at any point during the first year of ownership.

    Apple refurbs are generally well regarded. The performance difference depends on the application, but the general consensus is that it is not dramatic. I was of the mind that having a 64-bit processor may prove to be more important at some point during the life of my machine than it is now, so I went for the Core 2 Duo.

    Not sure, but guessing II.
  15. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    You'll be fine with the iMac- they are very reliable machines.
  16. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    I thought I'd be disappointed with the iMac, not being able to upgrade the monitor and video card as I see fit, but I knew the Intels were coming and didn't want to spend as much on a PowerMac. I realize by the time I'm ready to upgrade, I'm going to be upgrading to a new CPU, hdd, video card and everything else anyway. So I might as well just buy a new machine. Would be nice if Apple had a midrange desktop, but if you get the 24" iMac with the upgraded video card, then upgrade the hdd and RAM yourself later (especially if you can get an edu or gov discount), I think that machine would do you for a good long while. The 20 is ok too though. I have the rev. B and with 2GB it's pretty good.

    Get the AppleCare, but you have a year to buy it.
  17. risc macrumors 68030


    Jul 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    The price isn't steep you aren't getting a blank drive, you have to factor in the costs for chucking the OS X image on it and the labour to put it in the machine. Welcome to the world of paying for a service. :rolleyes: If you want to do it yourself there are plenty of guides available from the Apple website with instructions on how to replace user servicable parts. You can also check out sites like ifixit.com for instructions for upgrading your hardware.

    I don't know how things are in other parts of the world but in Australia now Apples RAM pricing is pretty competitive.

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