24" Imac or Mac Pro? :S Hard choice! Help?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by f412hussain, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. f412hussain macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2009
    I am looking to replace my desktop pc asap so I am planning to move to mac permanently! :D

    I want something punchy and that can run alot of programs simultaneously with out lagging like my current desktop. A decent processor and atleast 4gb. I would like a big hard drive aswell which has a good speed so the system isnt held up by the disk speed. SSD would be good but too expensive.
    I need it to be running windows all the time as I use some programs that are only on windows as much as I hate to admit it!

    The macs:
    Im currently looking at the 24" Imac as I want the screen space and think the 2.66ghz package with 600gb/4gb is fitting the bill to what I want, but have no idea how it would cope running windows all the time.
    Some gaming may be done through windows aswell so can it keep up?
    Also are they likely to change or update soon seeing as the new mbp's have just been?
    I can get educational discount for the imac as i would buy it from apples site and a practically free ipod touch. So the imac would be about £1050. I would like to buy refurb as you get good perks and great prices but no discount on top :( so i chosen to pass on that.

    The mac pro I saw at a retailer for only £1350(no discounts), however I think it is the older version as it was 2x 2.8ghz both quad cores, 2gb ram and 320gb hdrive. It seems weak in memory department but I know it can be very good if upgraded. I can imagine it will be fine running windows all the time.
    Is it upto date enough and will it be able to support future changes by apple? Can it do 64bit?
    Also will upgrading ram and hdds be expensive?
    Ive heard they are difficult to find for the mac pro, not sure who said that. The reason I like this is because its like a dream computer for me and I know it would last atleast 6 years or so, compared to only 3-4 years for imac.
    Another thing- I get a keyboard and mouse with the mpro but need my own display so another cost and loss of mic and isight with mp which also sucks.

    Im sorry about the huge amount of info ive given, im just so picky like most apple users, but I know only the mac enthusiasts on here would be able to evaluate all the details and have some advice for me! Any suggestions? Whats the better buy for me and what have I missed and not considered? :rolleyes: Anything from experience anyones learnt about the above macs?

    Thank you in advance
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Simple rule of thumb: If you have to ask, it's never the Mac Pro.

    It looks like an iMac would suit you well. Don't buy RAM or hard drive upgrades from Apple; do them yourself.
  3. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    the iMac will definitely suit your needs. Gaming via Bootcamp should be fine for most games...
  4. scienide09 macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    Other than Windows (and Windows-based programs), what kind of apps will you be running, particularly on the Mac side? The iMac will be fine with Windows, though you should use Bootcamp for better performance.

    My advice is that if you don't know whether you need the Mac Pro, then you don't need it. It's overkill for all but professional users and those who need to run specialized programs.
  5. calebmedia macrumors member

    Nov 1, 2008
    I am a media producer working with HD Footage and I also game on the side (when I have time...) and the 24" is the perfect machine. 1TB of hard drive space and 4GB of ram = A happy fast Mac user.

    Since the iMacs have become so fast (handles Windows fine) and have better graphics and bigger HDs the only reason a Mac Pro would still be necessary is for Enterprise rendering, 3D graphics, Shake etc.

    I vote 24"
  6. f412hussain thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2009
    On the mac side- I will be using imovie alot, itunes, safari and skype alot simaltaneously, obv with windows running in the background so i can use both.
    On my Mb i find with skype and safari running it starts to lag abit- hope helps abit

    So far it seems the imac is the way to go which I suppose isnt all bad, maybe ill just spend the saved cash on a better imac :D
  7. slpdLoad macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2009
    I agree with the above posters. If you don't already know why you need a Mac Pro, then you don't need one.

    The iMacs are very capable machines.
  8. Waragainstsleep macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2003
    I'm going to go the other way here.

    You are right when you say the Mac Pro will last longer. The vast majority of off the shelf hard disks will work in the Mac Pro, there was only one or two specific drives with a firmware issue that didn't work properly.
    While getting your own memory and HDD upgrades rather than buying from Apple is good advice, you don't want to upgrade the drive in the iMac yourself. It is not a user serviceable part. Believe me.

    The Mac Pros are all 64 bit. Only the first generations of Intel Macs were 32 bit (Core Duo). Core 2 Duo and Xeon chips are all 64 bit.
    The generation of Xeon in the older Mac Pro are no older than the Core chip in the iMac. The Mac Pro will out perform it across the board. Then there is the expandability.
    The iMac will run 4GB RAM easily. It will run 8GB if the price of the 4GB modules comes down a lot. Otherwise 8GB is not worth the cost for most people. The Mac Pro will take 32GB.

    I am guessing the iMac will have the 256MB GeForce GT120 card in it. This is perfectly adequate now, but the Mac Pro will have the 256MB Radeon HD 2600XT or if you are lucky the GeForce 8800. If you don't mind a bit of hacking, you can already run a number of different PC cards in it under OS X. (I think they already worked under Windows, not sure though).
    You can use most of the nVidia GeForce GT2XX series cards and the Radeon HD 4XXX series cards too.

    Any of those should spank the GT120, and of course its likely even more cards will come out to fit the Mac Pro later on. It is possible to upgrade the GPU in the iMac at a later date, but again you do not want to do it yourself and you will be hard pressed to find a dealer who will supply the part, let alone do the work. And if you do you may not want to pay the price. And the best you'll ever get in it is a GeForce GT130 or Radeon HD 4850 with 512MB.
    Who knows, you might be able to pick up a cheap Quadro FX 5 years from now for the Mac Pro.

    Also the Mac Pro can have its CPUs upgraded. You may be limited to the 3.2GHz chips found in the highest spec model of the same range, but thats not a bad upgrade, and of course it will get cheaper over the years.

    The Mac Pro also has the expandability of the PCI-E slots. It is a much more versatile machine.

    If you keep it 5 or 6 years before getting a new one, you can stuff a bunch of hard drives in it (they might be 4TB each by then). It has 4 bays in it, there are also two spare SATA ports on the logic board. This would make it a good server when you retire it.

    Bottom line, if you have the cash (guessing you'll need a display or two) and the desk space, the Mac Pro is a superior machine almost across the board.

    The iMac will have a very nice screen by the way. If you want one as good for the Pro, you will have to spend a few bucks.

    The iMac will do for now, the Pro will do it for longer.

    If it adds any weight to my opinion, I am an Apple certified technician.
  9. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    The benchmark differences are negligible.

    24", so no, it'll be GT 130 or 4850.

    Nope. Some technician you are.

    At which time even the cheapest of video cards will be more powerful than it, making it useless.

    In most respects, yes.
  10. f412hussain thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2009
    Thank you waragainstsleep and tallest, these are the answers I was looking for, someone who knows abit more about the machines than me and can get down to the details to advice me on the better choice with everything in mind.

    Its starting to clear a few things up for me :)
  11. Waragainstsleep macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2003
    And despite your insults and ignorance, you end up agreeing with me anyway. Some technician I am.
  12. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
    Bro, of course if you have the money, then go for the MP, if not then just get the iMac.
  13. CarlsonCustoms macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2007
    The imac harddrive isnt' hard at all to replace.. it takes some nerves but other then that its fine
  14. Waragainstsleep macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2003
    Its a major pain cleaning all the dust out from between the panel and the glass though. And you need to get the suction cups to remove the glass too. Levering it out risks cracking it. I suppose it can be done though.

    Its not technically hard to do, but it is a pain.
  15. eyefoniac macrumors 6502


    Nov 21, 2008
    Everywhere and nowhere
    I myself prefer the iMac, but if you need a lot of customization options and have the money, spring for the pro.
  16. CarlsonCustoms macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2007
    I bought suction cups for a dollar or so at walmart so I dont think that's a big deal. I only actually needed one.. as soon as a corner lifted I just grabbed the panel. About the dust.. canned air is your friend here
  17. Mugwumper macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2008
    Temecula, CA
    I *really* like my 24" iMac ;^)

    In terms of running things simultaneously, I regularly run Photoshop,
    Word/Excel or NeoOffice, Mail, iTunes, and Firefox - along with VMware
    Fusion with XP Pro and Windows 7 VMs. There is no lag in the performance
    of any of them (including the PCs), and no sound degradation in iTunes
    (I'm listening to a "Radio" stream while all the otehr stuff is going on).

    This is on last year's 3.06GHz C2D with the GeForce 8800 GS, and 4GB RAM.

    I've had Macs for years, and they just keep getting better and better -
    and "it just works". I'm amazed at how seamless the Mac/PC interface is
    through VMware.

    So I guess it comes down to what someone else said: if you've got the $$,
    get the Pro. ;^)
  18. Waragainstsleep macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2003
    I guess thats just not a luxury I have. When you do them in regularly, canned air would get pretty expensive. Its not very cheap in the UK.

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