24" Imac or Mac Pro ???? waiting for quad imac ? Please help

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Inlakech, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. Inlakech macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2006
    Hi guys, I'm new to this forum, watching the Macrumors news since more than a year now.

    I'll be finishing my training at work (2D/3D Artist print) end of january and thinking about which machine fits best for me at home, as I might be able to spend a little more money into it.
    I'm one of those guys working alot at home to raise skills in painting and 3D and with my current Mac Mini G4 1,4 Ghz 1 Gig Ram its just no fun to do.

    Especially in Photoshop when painting Mattes bigger than 2k I need to wait up to two seconds for a brushstroke to calculate. It's hell ... and 3D isn't fun too, as its close to impossible to model and render in acceptable time.

    At Cinebench my Macmini had a score of 98 in CPU Benchmark.
    So a 24" Imac would be 7 times faster. I also did a Photoshop Benchmark and it supports this fact. Macpro would be 13 times faster. coming octa macpro like 20 times faster.

    For me its important to be able to paint fluidly in resolutions up to 5k 300dpi.
    Modeling in Maya/Modo/LW should be fluid as well even till high resolution objects.
    Huge screen is another important thing I need. I'd use my old 17" tft as second screen for palettes.

    The question is ... whats the better option:

    24" Imac 2Gig Ram 500 HD for about 2700 Euro


    2,66 GHz mac Pro 2Gig Ram 2x 250 HD 23" Cinema Display for about 3700 Euro


    I have about 1800 saved now ... and I need to plan to save for my own flat aswell.
    I know Leopard, ilife07 are coming ... mac pro octa maybe on january 9th ...
    A Quad 24" imac would be the best option I guess ...
    But please tell me your opinions guys.

    maybe a mac pro is too much for me at this early stage of my career.
    Thank you very much in advance. :)
  2. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    I wouldn't even consider the iMac. A Mac Pro would be perfect for you. I just bought mine with a 23" Cinema Display and I couldn't be happier--the iMac was definitely not for me.

    The iMac is a good value, but the 2.66 GHz Mac Pro is too. The display is pricey, but worth it. I think you'll appreciate the Mac Pro more as it grows with your abilities and needs. You won't be able to add more memory to the iMac, unless it's an expensive 2GB SO-DIMM, and even then you're stuck at 3GB. A Quad iMac with Santa Rosa may remove this limitation, but you're still using mobile components for heavy lifting.
  3. zoran macrumors 68030

    Jun 30, 2005
    Well i agree with DemonHunter regarding to the fact that your needs will grow and the MacPro will satisfy u in any case. Of course the golden rule here is to know that as long as you will be making software upgrades you will see your machine to slow down, yes even with the macPro u will see this happening. Anyhow, now with Demon i dont agree w at the point where he sais that the 23" is worth its money, it sure aint. Its been quite pericey regarding what it offers especially compaired to the competition etc. bla bl a bla.
    My recommendation? Well do what i do, im waiting for the 9th of Jan, 2 things are rumored to happen then.
    1. The octo is expected to rise then, so theres a possibility that the MPro will drop price
    2. Theres also strong rumor that new displays will appear, and certainly those new ones must be worth purchasing, of course we will have to wait and see...
    but i can wait, heck ive waited since Jobs anounced the Inter transition, why not wait now! :D

    p.s. 2700 compared to 3700 bucks isnt a little difference u know, 1000 is big and note that its not that big as the speed difference! So i depends on what exactly u wanna do and how mutch further u wanna go, explore new lands of graphix etc. i hope i helped!
  4. ffakr macrumors 6502a

    Jul 2, 2002
    It's slightly more complex

    I'd say that It's slighly more complex an issue than presented so far.

    - the Core2 systems have lower latency than the Core2 Xeon systems because the FB-DIMM memory in the Xeon (Mac Pro) systems have higher latency. The memory FBDIMM memory is serial also and it is my understanding that latency increases as you add more memory modules.
    In many benchmarks, the Core2 (single processor) systems out perform the Xeon systems until you use benchmarks that are designed to run many threads at once. Games in particular (low latency, 3d.. like you've mentioned) run faster on the single processor Core2 systems.

    - If you use applications that are tuned for multi-threaded operation the Mac Pro should be noticeably faster. The new iMacs are very fast but I have been unable to really slow down a 2.66GHz Mac Pro. We threw everything we could at it (handbrake DVD to H.264 cross-code, fork bomb, OpenGL rendering, various other apps at the same time). The Mac Pro should have significant advantage on multi-threaded apps like Maya. Photoshop would be less so (more below).. but the Mac Pro would be much better if you wanted to render long animations in a 3d app while working in another program.

    - Photoshop won't take advantage of either machine very well. First, it's still not Universal so it will run in emulation. Also, though quite a few Photoshop plugins are multi-threaded, they aren't currently optimised for 4 way systems so they just aren't threaded enough to really take advantage of a 4 way system. Luckily, CS3 is coming soon enough and it will run better immediately.

    - Don't forget the significant storage advantages you have with the Tower. More ports, FibreChannel support, more drive bays.

    - You mentioned you rendered.. you have the option to get much better video cards in the Tower. This may be important. It doesn't sound like you need CAD support (certified drivers with workstation cards) but you might want some more 3d power. The video cards in the iMacs aren't bad at all.. but the Tower does have better options.

    - For monitors.. If you're worried about cost, I wouldn't get a Macintosh Monitor. They are nice but Apple uses the same panels as other vendors. The only thing Apple monitors get you are a FireWire hub and a sleek bezel. Look at a Dell 24" instead. You'll get a larger (physical) monitor with the same resolution. The panel is from the same vendor. You get more usb ports and a flash card reader but no Firewire hub.. and the Dell's generally cost a couple hundred USD less. There's also an option for a 3, 4, or 5 year warranty on the Dell monitors if that's important to you. I work in EDU so I've got a big Dell LCD. It's simply too extravagant for me to get an Apple LCD though I would like the extra FW ports.

    Over all, from what I've heard, I think you'd be better suited to a Tower. I think you would be very happy with a 24" iMac.. it is a very nice machine. The software you use, however, puts you square into the target market for the Pro tower.
    It's faster, Your software is (or will be) optimised for a big SMP box like this. You can add cheap storage inside the machine later (it's incredibly easy)......

    One last thing, I don't suspect we'll see a Quad Core cpu in an iMac this year. Apple has surprised me in the past but this cpu is just not designed for a consumer machine like this. Aside from cost and availability, there's the issue of speed MHz and power consumption. The Quad core chips cost more, are scarce (some still aren't available) and they run hotter than the dual core chips. The high end (2.66MHz) Quad core is not available yet and it runs up at 120 Watts.. too hot for an iMac.

    I'd say, buy what you can afford though. :)
  5. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    A quad core iMac will not appear for a very long time.

    The iMac uses the laptop version of the Core2Duo chips, probably to reduce heat and therefore fan noise in a relatively small case. At the moment, only the desktop chips are available in four core versions. The desktop chips produce much more heat anyway, and the four core versions produce more heat than dual core, so they are very very unlikely to appear in an iMac. Apple could have put more powerful and cheaper desktop chips into the iMac, but they didn't - probably because of heat problems.

    On the other hand, any release dates for octo core MacPros that you read on MacRumors is just a rumour and you shouldn't make your buying decisions based on that. Since it is Dec. 27th today, you might wait until MacWorld in January, that is just two weeks, but definitely not any longer.

    The MacPro 2.66 GHz will give you most processing power for your money. Check out various sources for RAM, hard disks and monitors and pick the best one; it is not necessarily Apple.
  6. zoran macrumors 68030

    Jun 30, 2005
    Keep in mind also the new Core2Quad chip intel will be announcing at the sametime as MacWord will be on. Theres a rumor about placing this chip to non professional Apple desktop series! Its a rumor but i like it!
  7. ffakr macrumors 6502a

    Jul 2, 2002
    It's a rumor that is crap. Sorry.

    The supply is constrained. It's impossible to get anything faster than 2GHz right now. Dell still isn't selling anything faster than 1.83GHz.
    At 2.3 GHz and slower the processor runs comparable thermals to the fastest Desktop Core2 chips. The 2.66GHz Quad chip runs at 120Watts!

    Right now, the iMac uses a LAPTOP Core2 processor. It doesn't even use a Desktop Core2 processor. You're talking about apple announcing that they are going to slip in a processor that Intel is barely producing.. a processor that will put out as much as 4x as much waste heat. (there is 1 version that is a low power chip but it's clocked at 1.6GHz.. It would actually slow down the iMac since no one runs programs on iMacs that require loads and loads of computational threads).

    Oh yea, they're expensive too.

    This won't happen. If Apple did this, they would make a loud, hot, expensive, hard to ship iMac that would likely run SLOWER for most people.
    Oh yea.. only the server quad chips are shipping right now.. they'd have to put in a high end chipset and FBDIMM memory so the machine would be even MORE expensive and hot.

    Maybe we'll get a quad core iMac at the end of 2007 when Intel has real Quad core chips (not just two dual-core chips on one piece of silicon) and when Intel is on 45nm litho process instead of the current (and still bleeding edge) 65nm.
  8. Inlakech thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2006
    Wow, thanx for the response guys.

    I decided to wait till april or june to see whats up then ...
    Maybe the macpro quad is cheaper by then ... or even the octa will be affordable.

    What do you think how much might the price for the octa rise from the price of the quad ?
  9. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    Apple may not be able to do it perhaps, but my Dell XPS 710 runs cool and fairly quiet with the QX6700, especially given that there's a honkin' huge 8800GTX in there too. The XPS is however a huge beast.

    However it is possible there will be a 667Mhz FSB 2.16-ish Core Quad at the same time as Macworld.

    I doubt the prices for the Pro will change much over the course of the next six months, and until general applications get massively more multithreaded-savvy you're not going to see dramatic improvements in real life either with an 8-core.
  10. ffakr macrumors 6502a

    Jul 2, 2002
    Yes, that's Apples and Oranges (pardon the pun).
    The XPS and the Mac Pro Towers are designed for air flow. Dell's gone All BTX now. The new Dells are nice and quiet but so are the new Mac Pro Towers. I've set up a few Dual DualCore 2.66GHz machines and they are dead silent in a quiet office even with the X1900 and ATI graphic cards run hot. I had to put my face against the front grill to hear the Pro tower.

    The iMac is a totally different beast though. The current models spin up when you put load on them. They're not loud per se but you can hear them get louder under load and that hum is noticeble in the background. Thats with a mobile chip. The form factor is just not designed for a high Watt cpu.

    We won't see 8 core cpus until after Intel moves to 45nm and that isn't scheduled until Q3 2007 at the earliest. If I recall the road map correctly, we'll see new Quad Core intel cpus around that time.. real quad cores.. not the two dual cores side by side like we see now. There's still that pervasive rumor that Intels new Point to Point serial bus may show up this time but I'm not holding my breath. There are 8 core cpus on the map, if I remember correctly, but they'll be after the next gen of 4 core cpus. You shouldn't expect to see them until 2008 in a Mac.

    But as the previous poster stated.. you won't notice anything unless you run really pervasively threaded apps (Maya would probably count however :)

    As it stands now.. as far as pricing (mention 2 posts earlier).. the Quad Cores now, when they are available, do overlap the price points of the Dual Cores but they are shifted. You can, for example, get a 2.66GHz 4 core cpu for just a bit more than a 3GHz dual core. In general, the quad cores are about the price of a dual core that clocks 1 to 1 1/2 speed bin faster. So, for the same money you'll get more performance from a dual core unless you run applications that spawn lots of threads. I'd take a 3GHz dual core over a 2.4GHz Quad Core if I wanted to play games but I'd take the Quad for high volume web server or a render farm node.

  11. GreenWing macrumors newbie


    Dec 31, 2006
    Nice sig.

    You gain iMac Buff
    Ironforge crits you with lag
    You are immune to lag (iMac Buff)
    You gain 1000 happiness

    Long live 2GB RAM...

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