27" iMac vs. 4-core Mac Pro

NeverhadaPC

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 3, 2008
409
2
So the new 27" quad-core iMac's cost $1999 while entry level quad-core Mac Pro costs $2499 and does NOT include display. The Mac Pro even comes with less RAM too.

Why would anyone buy Mac Pro anymore? :confused:

Did Apple just shoot itself in the foot with the über-awesome iMacs?
 

js81

macrumors 65816
Dec 31, 2008
1,199
16
KY
The Mac Pro still has 3 main advantages, at least IMHO:

1) Greater expandability (moot point to some)
2) Xeon vs. Core i5/i7 (how much difference is this, anyway?)
3) Ability to have dual EXACTLY MATCHED monitors (big deal to me - if they're not exactly the same, I don't want two, but if you have a 27" do you really need two?)

Then again, you save $500 AND get a 27" display, all in one snazzy unit. I think I could live with these "compromises."
 

Eithanius

macrumors 65816
Nov 19, 2005
1,419
285
the iMac has a mobile i7 processor, correct?
It doesn't sound like a mobile variant...

Did a little wiki on Intel processors, 2.66GHz and 2.8GHz quad-core sure hell falls into the desktop category, which means 95W TDP.... hot...!! :eek::eek:

Mobile quad-core now tops at 2.0GHz....
 

twoodcc

macrumors P6
Feb 3, 2005
15,315
25
Right side of wrong
It doesn't sound like a mobile variant...

Did a little wiki on Intel processors, 2.66GHz and 2.8GHz quad-core sure hell falls into the desktop category, which means 95W TDP.... hot...!! :eek::eek:

Mobile quad-core now tops at 2.0GHz....
you might be right. after doing my own research, it looks like 2.8 ghz would be a "Lynnfield" (45 nm) i7 processor
 

js81

macrumors 65816
Dec 31, 2008
1,199
16
KY
Hmmmm... so Apple finally might have an iMac that's not just an overgrown, not-portable laptop? That'll be the day...

I'm dying to replace my iMac now. I want the Core i5 27" iMac, but $1899 (ed. price) is a bit rich for me. I think I'll go with the 27" Core 2 Duo model. But that'll be a while, so something better may be here by then, anyway...
 

nutritious

macrumors 6502
Mar 1, 2008
351
119
Hmmmm... so Apple finally might have an iMac that's not just an overgrown, not-portable laptop? That'll be the day...

I'm dying to replace my iMac now. I want the Core i5 27" iMac, but $1899 (ed. price) is a bit rich for me. I think I'll go with the 27" Core 2 Duo model. But that'll be a while, so something better may be here by then, anyway...
I wouldn't buy the iMac unless you get the quad core variant. Just not worth getting a dual core now considering it's nearly 2010 and we are so close to the release of a 6 core cpu from intel. Dual core is just so 2006.

However, not sure what AMD is doing with their new 5 series and the mobile gpu space. Would've been nice to see a mobile 5850 in the imacs which would be on par with the gtx 285. Oh well.
 

js81

macrumors 65816
Dec 31, 2008
1,199
16
KY
I wouldn't buy the iMac unless you get the quad core variant. Just not worth getting a dual core now considering it's nearly 2010 and we are so close to the release of a 6 core cpu from intel. Dual core is just so 2006.

However, not sure what AMD is doing with their new 5 series and the mobile gpu space. Would've been nice to see a mobile 5850 in the imacs which would be on par with the gtx 285. Oh well.
I've got a 17" Core 2 Duo white iMac now. It suits my needs for the time being, though I REALLY want a bigger screen. Oh well... I'll deal until I can afford what I want. :D
 

CaptainChunk

macrumors 68020
Apr 16, 2008
2,142
6
Phoenix, AZ
Did Apple just shoot itself in the foot with the über-awesome iMacs?
No. This is called staying competitive with mainstream PCs. Users that really need workstation-class machines for the expandability will still buy Mac Pros.
 

rnb2

macrumors regular
Jan 23, 2006
212
0
West Haven, CT, USA
I'll admit, I'm having a lot of difficulty resisting the charms of the top-end 27". I currently have a 2GHz 1st-gen Mac Pro, and it would be a nice bump up in speed and capability, but there are two main things that might keep me from buying the iMac:

1) No SSD option. I'm currently booting both my Mac Pro and my unibody MacBook from SSDs, and am loathe to go back to platter-based storage for the OS/Applications.

2) Nothing better than FW800 for external storage. I currently run a 3TB RAID for my data on the Mac Pro, and could deal with moving that to an external box of some sort, but I'd take a tremendous performance hit with anything less than eSATA.

In the end, I will probably wait until Spring and see what the next revision of the Mac Pro and MacBook Pro offer. If the top-end 17" MBP gets a quad-core processor, more RAM expandability, and keeps the ExpressCard slot, it might make more sense than the iMac, since I can put two hard drives in it (including and SSD system drive) and get an eSATA adapter for more external storage.

If the new iMac had either an SSD option (just a small panel to allow installation of a 2.5" drive would suffice) or eSATA, I might bite the bullet for the extra performance over my Mac Pro, but without either, I'm still on the fence.
 

braxton

macrumors newbie
Mar 25, 2008
9
0
First off I love my 24" iMac for he things I use it but I don't think I could ever use an iMac as my main work machine. I just still have some doubts about he color of he iMac monitors for print work that has to match. I have compared my iMac and my Lacie 526 and they are close but not close enough for me.

Looks like some good upgrades for the people they fit though. I wish I could find a reason for a new 27" though :D
 

trubeats

macrumors newbie
Oct 20, 2009
2
0
Birmingham, AL
New here....

I'm pretty anxious to see how the top of the line 27" might perform compared to a quad-core base line mac pro.

I run a recording studio and small record label, where I do all my audio editing in logic pro and minimal final cut editing on my first gen 2.16 Intel iMac 20". I use a firewire audio converter running 16 simultaneous analog inputs, and I have had no real problems other than slow downs from time to time on large projects. Video editing can also be extremely slow but my demands are not that large in that category.

I've almost made the jump to a Mac Pro for almost a year, but now that the quad-core nehalem processor is out WITH a 27" screen, i'm thinking this is the way to go for me, as I need the processor speed and multi cores for all the audio recording and editing I do.

What do you guys think?
 
Aug 26, 2008
1,339
1
New here....

I'm pretty anxious to see how the top of the line 27" might perform compared to a quad-core base line mac pro.

I run a recording studio and small record label, where I do all my audio editing in logic pro and minimal final cut editing on my first gen 2.16 Intel iMac 20". I use a firewire audio converter running 16 simultaneous analog inputs, and I have had no real problems other than slow downs from time to time on large projects. Video editing can also be extremely slow but my demands are not that large in that category.

I've almost made the jump to a Mac Pro for almost a year, but now that the quad-core nehalem processor is out WITH a 27" screen, i'm thinking this is the way to go for me, as I need the processor speed and multi cores for all the audio recording and editing I do.

What do you guys think?
I would go with the new imac over the quad mac pro if the imac could serve your needs. I'm not too big on the expandability of the iMac, but that is a personal thing obviously. The 2.8 i7 iMac will outperform the 2.66 Mac Pro chip, especially with the better turbo modes, considering you can't overclock the MP.
 

trubeats

macrumors newbie
Oct 20, 2009
2
0
Birmingham, AL
I would go with the new imac over the quad mac pro if the imac could serve your needs. I'm not too big on the expandability of the iMac, but that is a personal thing obviously. The 2.8 i7 iMac will outperform the 2.66 Mac Pro chip, especially with the better turbo modes, considering you can't overclock the MP.
Ya I was thinking the same thing thanks for your reply... My current iMac has been phenomenal since '06, which is why now I'm considering a new better equipped iMac.

One of my concerns is that it seems to only have 1 Firewire 800 input. While I only use one firewire port at a time, it is nice having two on my current model, so I don't have to plug-in/un-plug all my external drives.

Is there a Y-adaptor or Firewire hub that anyone recommends? And are there any downsides to doing so if you only use one at a time?
 

Tom Sawyer

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2007
682
35
I think the lack of SSD option is an issue for those not willing to open the iMac up. The hardware of the MP itself is naturally a different class, server chipset, robust board, power, cooling. Certainly there are some higher end video card options with a Mac Pro where your stuck with what the iMac comes with in that department, no upgrade path. That's a big one. Throwing a 1 or 2 tb HD in a mac pro is beyond trivial... as is throwing in two SSD's for a rediculously fast System/App drive.

Having been in the previous generation iMac 24" a few times (I posted a how to here on MR), it is not a simple task. Not overly difficult, but it's scary for those not comfortable with really taking things apart.

I would be lying if I said it was not tempting just for the elimination of clutter/wires factor alone. I like the LED backlight option as well, but then LED panels can be connected to the MP, just more $$. But at the end of the day I'd put very little back in my pocket if I sold my MP and display and then I'd be back in the "it is what it is" with no upgrade path other than the fork lift upgrade. With Octomac, I can go all the way up to 3.4ghz quad zeons if I need more CPU and PCIe will be around for quite some time for video card options.

Just my 2 cents...
 

JAT

macrumors 603
Dec 31, 2001
6,451
122
Mpls, MN
One of my concerns is that it seems to only have 1 Firewire 800 input. While I only use one firewire port at a time, it is nice having two on my current model, so I don't have to plug-in/un-plug all my external drives.
Don't the external drives have 2nd connections for daisy-chains? All of mine do, even a portable one for laptop drives. It's all plug-n-play, so you should be able to plug in anywhere, if you have a port available. A hub should be just fine if you need that route.
 

Drago89

macrumors member
Mar 22, 2009
36
0
Hmm

Right now the high-end 27 iMac with i7 is a better machine than the Mac Pro if u don't need a workstation.You get near the same hardware along with that beast - 27 inch LED IPS Display :eek: for 2199$ However i'm curious to see how will the new iMac deal with the heat from that quad cpus in that thin shape:rolleyes:

Oh and the Mac Pro will have six cores in the end of that year or yearly next probably so there will be again difference between the iMac and Mac Pro.
 

Ctrl2k

macrumors member
Oct 18, 2007
93
0
Just to clarify: these new high end iMacs have Lynnfield i5s and i7's in them. Based in Nahalem microarchitecture just like the Nehalem Xeons are in the Mac Pros (I own one.)

However, the Lynnfield chips should be faster. They run faster RAM for one, and while it's only dual core vs triple core, triple core is really only needed in dual processor (8-core) and up scenarios. The new i5 and i7s also have a newer Turbo Mode, which can go significantly faster than the turbo mode in the Mac Pro's chips.

And the new chips have PCI express on the die, making for less latency for graphics.

Overall, I'd expect the new i7 iMac quad to be faster than any quad Mac Pro available, generally. The machine would also beat (perhaps significantly, given the clock speed and turbo speed differences) in most instances the 8-core 2.2 Mac Pro except in very specific tests that fully utilize all 8-cores. Nehalem

One more thing - the Core i5 Nehalems have no HyperThreading. This isn't a huge loss however. Maybe 5-10% under an i7 which does have it.

These iMacs are very impressive and can give the Mac Pro a run for its money in lots of areas. The Radeon 4850 is even close to the 4870 you can get in the Mac Pro (albeit a generation older than what PCs are getting.)

That 27" screen is amazing, and when you add in that it can act like a monitor with an input capability, it's a power user's choice for most work.

I would not go with a Core 2 Duo based iMac though.... way underpowered compared to the new quad core Nehalem models.
 

MTI

macrumors 65816
Feb 17, 2009
1,106
6
Scottsdale, AZ
My sole concern of using an iMac over a Mac Pro, given the advancement in processors, would be in a "mission critical" work environment. Perhaps that's a bit overstatement, but I like the fact that I can swap out a dead or suspect drive or video card in a Pro in considerably less time than in a current iMac, and likely be able to DIY, instead of having to set up a service call or having to drop it off at a tech site.

For most home users and folks that don't depend on their machines for a paycheck, the new quad iMac will be more machine then they'll likely ever need, but for those that do earn their living on their computers, it's something to consider.