3.2Ghz Mac Pro or quad core iMac??

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Will10, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Will10 macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2010
    Like many I’ve been struggling with which 2010 Mac Pro to buy. From the different threads I’ve read the 6 Core Westmere is the one I’d really want but I cannot justify the extra £1000 for the Westmere cpu. I need the best machine (in relation to price) for using Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, After Effects CS5 etc, Logic, and Aperture. This will be my first Mac.

    So I’ve plumed for the upgrade to the base line model. 3.2 Nehalem, 8gb Ram. I intend to keep the machine for 3 years and sell it just before apple care runs out or upgrade the cpu when the Westmere chip is cheaper.

    On top of this I’ll need to get the best colour neutral monitor in the £200 bracket for my Photoshop and editing work (that damn tight budget!!) :(

    My question is this. Do I need the Mac Pro? And If I do have I made the right choice?

    • A new quad core iMac 27inch with 8gb Ram comes in at £1970.
    • My Mac Pro Configuration (3.2 Nehalem 8gb RAM) comes in at £2600 (+200 on top for my monitor).

    I see a lot of the 27 imacs in creative suites? The Mac pro (including a new monitor) is coming in at nearly £1000 more than the iMac?? I want the mac pro as ive never been keen on the all in on imac but am i really going to see that extra performance?

    Also (forgive my ignorance here) in terms of clock speed the 21inch iMac has a 3.2GHz Intel Core i3 processor? I realise it’s not 4 core but when a lot of software isn't using more than 2 cores yet??

    What you guys advise I shall do!! I’ve gone round the houses with this question and I need to decide this week!!! :confused:. I'll be able to get 15 per cent off the rrp when I get a student friend to buy it for me.

    Many many thanks and sorry about this ill informed long thread.
  2. SpookyLars macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2008
    First, save some money and don't buy RAM from Apple. Second, iMac is closed system, MP gives great expandability. I had the same dilemma like you and finally I bought a Mac Pro :)
  3. fensterbme macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Columbus, OH
    Depends on What You Want to Do / How Much Storage You Need

    The big question is how heavy will your workload be? Is it going to be mostly video editing or mostly photoshop/graphic design with some audio, etc. If it's going to be mostly video editing HD video I think the iMac might have some issues (mostly related to storage, not CPU). But if your doing mostly Photoshop and graphic design and audio work the iMac would handle it fine.

    The iMac isn't that much slower when compared to the quad core Mac Pro in terms of processing power (pretty much just the clock speed of the CPU i.e. 2.93 vs. 3.2, etc.). Where the iMac has issues for some folks is that it's not as expandable and adding more storage can be frustrating (as external storage moves at firewire and USB2 speeds vs. SATA and eSATA which run much faster), although OWC has an upgrade process that adds an eSATA port onto the iMac. So you might find that the question about how much storage you need and how quickly do you need to be able to access that data as the question that dictates which route you decide to take.

    What monitor are you looking at that is color neutral and accurate for that price? That seems quite inexpensive... unless you want to go quite small it's pretty darn expensive to get a high quality color accurate display (my 30" set me back $2,300 USD)

    I think dollar for dollar you are probably better off with an iMac as you get a decently good 27" display and a pretty fast processor for a pretty darn good price. To get a Mac Pro and get a quality 27" display your going to be spending quite a bit more than you would on the iMac.

    Again, what you want to do and how much/how quickly you need to access your storage is going to determine which is probably the best choice for you.

    I'll take this a step further, don't buy anything more than you absolutely need from Apple. Apple indeed charges wildly high prices for more/larger hard disks, memory, etc. When I ordered my Mac Pro I ordered a hex core 3.33Ghz. with the bare min on everything else. Buying my memory, hard drives, SSD's, eSATA cards and monitor for 3rd party companies. IMO folks who buy everything from Apple are just wildly foolish with their dollars.

    ... just my $.02
  4. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
    Since this is your first mac I'd recommend either the imac or surprisingly perhaps a MBP + monitor. :p

    The simple answer is that the SW you listed doesn't really use multi-cores VERY well yet. In the next year or two hopefully that will change.

    Tell us a little more about how you use your current computer(s).

  5. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Agreed. You can get RAM for half of apples price elsewhere online. The MP is probably the best system for you, but maybe you should get the 2.8 quad, and spend the extra on a nicer monitor.

    As far as the 3.2 i3, even though things aren't so multithreaded yet, the quad still will smoke the i3 (more cache, turbo boost, 4 physical and 4 virtual cores with hyperthreading).
  6. Will10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2010
    Thanks JohnG.

    I don’t have a set workload; I’m currently involved with quite a lot of editing which will involve FinalCut; I’ll also need to produce intro sequences etc in AfterEffects and CS5. Photoshop stuff is always there as well as music based projects in Logic. So I need the machine to multitask well. I’m also buying a Mac to be able to educate myself on new software. It shall be used a lot for all of the listd programmes above.

    Thanks Fensterbme:

    I saw a thread on here a few weeks ago about best monitors in and around the £200/300 mark. I’m not too worried about having the best calibrated monitor as most of my work is personal projects etc I really just want the best for the money.

    Thanks alust2013

    The extra apple RAM from costs £300. I realise its more expensive but as its my first Mac I like the idea of it all being put together by them so if I have any problems I can say, ‘you did it’. ?

    In regards to RAM I found this recommendation posted in another thread by posted by 2Contagious.

    “buy 2x4GB RAM sticks from Crucial (http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/mpar...ED9527A5CA7304): £279.64
    Reason: The reason in this case is not saving the 20 pounds, but getting two 4GB RAM sticks from Crucial instead of four 2GB RAM sticks from Apple. This means that you will have two RAM slots free and can add another one or two 4GB sticks in the future to upgrade to 12GB or a total of 16GB RAM.”

    Sounds good? What do you chaps think about changing the cpu to the Westmere 6 core in the future? The Nehalem and Westmere MP share the same architecture?

    • Both the iMac and Mac Pro have quad core chips but the imac is branded ‘i5’ and the Mac Pros ‘Nehalem’. Is there a difference?

    • Do you feel the extra £300 is worth it for the 3.2ghz upgrade from the base model considering the programes I’ll be running

    And just too really confuse and contradict everything I had a third option.
    Choose the iMac option and with the money saved by this laptop 'Apple Macbook Pro 2.8 GHz 15" MB986LL/A 4GB' for £370 (a friend in china).:confused:

    I’m currently leaning towards the MP option but can certainly be pursaded to change my mind.
    Thanks for the help again guys. :D
  7. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    It too went through the MP vs iMac discussion with my self. In the End I bought a 3.2GHz cuad MP with 12GB of OWC RAM (currently ~$400. Several issues were important to me;

    The MP can perform a lot of work and remain relatively cool. The iMacs at the local Apple store are always really hot after spending all day doing not much of anything.

    I want flexibility with internal components, especially HHDs, optical drives and RAM.

    I don't want my computer and my personal data or my work data at a repair shop because the monitor or some other part blows up.

    Having all five HDDs communicating on the same internal SATA system works far better for me than having external USB FW800 drives, been there, done that.

    Bottom line is that while (whilst?) more expensive the MP gives me a more powerful, more reliable, more flexible, and more future proof Mac than an iMac.
  8. gameface macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2010
    Boston, MA
    Get the 2.8 MP, spend money on more RAM from some place other than Apple and all monitors around $200 suck. Get something that is crap and save your money for a good monitor down the road. Seriously, there is no monitor in your range that will give you accurate color.
  9. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    to get back to the ram .
    putting ram in a mac pro is easy.
    putting in a hdd is easy.
    just buy your hdd's and ram from a good seller.
  10. Will10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2010
    That machine sounds nice and seems a good balance between everything?:)

    That’s very interesting.

    Would I be better spending the £300 upgrade for the 3.2Ghz processor or more RAM? I just checked out OWC: 12gb for £399.

    They've shown me in store, it's just plug and play? Instant communication? I'm worried I get it out of the box and it just turning in to one big hassle?

    I know :( What monitor would you recommed (or best of a bad bunch) around the £300 mark

    Sorry for changing my questions all the time. I may as well get it all off my chest now!! Forgive me father for I HAVE SINNED!!! :eek:

    I’m currently leaning towards scottsjack’s setup. That sounds like it fits the bill, but the 2.8 with more RAM? And o.k.monitor?

    This is excellent help chaps, this is what I was looking for, many thanks.
  11. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
    Greetings again

    OK, given your workload it looks like you really will be better served by the MP. :cool:

    If you look at my sig you'll see what I'd recommend. :)

    You can go light on RAM for a start. 6GB will work fine unless you are dealing with humongous image sizes.

    best to you
  12. gameface macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2010
    Boston, MA

    Forgot you were talking pounds. I like Dell Ultrasharps for a decent cheaper monitor. I use the 27" for my main display and an HDTV for my viewing monitor.http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?sku=320-7825&cs=04&c=us&l=en&dgc=SS&cid=27722&lid=628335

    Really, you aren't going to get a real color accurate monitor for under 2K and even that is stretching it.

    No problem on the questions. It's how you learn:)

    I am a professional editor and am running the 2.8 Quad with 16GB RAM. You don't need that much but since I had the cash I spent it. It works fine. For FCP you could practically use a mini but the CS5 and other stuff will need the horsepower of the MP and the extra RAM.

    One thing I didn't see you mention and it is important for your budget. More drives... You never want to edit off your system drive so plan on buying at least one more drive to edit from. Plus if you are going all digital procurement and delivery you will want to back that up as well since you won't have the tapes to fall back on if the drive goes down. If you go with the MacPro these can be internal. If you go with the iMac you can use FW800 drives. I like internal because they are cheap. Also, don't get "green" drives or power saver drives. They turn themselves off to conserve power and wreak havoc on FCP and other applications!
  13. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    It is a good balance. Since a lot of processing still runs on one or two threads clock speed still rules. Granted, the $400 on the upgrade from 2.8GHz to 3.2GHz is probably an Apple-Upgrade-Gouge but it future proofs the machine a bit. The only Mac desktop slower that 3GHz is the C2D mini. Since I don't use eight-thread capable apps I'd rather have a 3.2 cuad than a 2.8 octo.
  14. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
    Setting up a new mac is insanely easy. Plug in, turn ON, one-two minutes to setup the new account and log into your wireless network. Click :apple: tab and update SW............... OK, that takes 10+ minutes. Then you're DONE and ready to load your App SW. Seriously, OSX is super easy on the frustration factor.

    Not sure about an inexpensive monitor.............. check the Peripherals forurm on Mac Rumors so some good suggestions: http://forums.macrumors.com/forumdisplay.php?f=77

    I'd go light on the RAM and drives for a start. Ultimately, you'll probably get an SSD for the boot drive and blah-blah drive for your data but you will be fine with the base drive as a start.

    good luck
  15. Will10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2010
    Excellent advice.

    I have a question regarding RAM guys (a potentially daft question so forgive my ignorance again). The MP comes with 3g standard RAM (apple describes this as 3 X 1 GB).

    The MP has four slots for RAM. Does this mean that the standard MP model comes with 1 GB in three of the slots with a remaining spare slot? If so I could I buy a 4 GB stick from OWC to fill the empty slot giving me a 7 GB machine?:confused:

    If I can do that I think I’m gonna go with

    3.2 quad Nehalem with 3GB. = £1972 (-my 15% student discount)
    + £136 4GB stick (from OWC).
    + £200 apple care
    + £200 monitor (roughly)
    = a grand total of £2310. :)

    3.2 ghz, 7GB machine for the tasks I outlined above? As a good starting point that could be upgraded later (more RAM SSD) What do you think? :eek:

    I found this thread regarding monitors. http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=913255
    23 inch NEC MultiSync EA231WMi - £224
    22 incc Dell UltraSharp 2209WA 22-inch - £190
    24 inch Dell U241 £350 (a bit much)

    Any opinons? Thankyou very much for your help with this guys. I really needed to nail something down and I feel I've gotten really close to making a decision. :D
  16. MCHR macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    Same question I had just two months ago.

    I had/have a 2005 G5 MP, and was looking to move on, so I bit the bullet on a 3.2 MP with 8GB ram and the 5870. Happier now, especially since I'm wading through the multiple ways to configure it, also knowing I'll likely have it for another five years (knock on wood).

    That last point was my 'selling' point for the MP. It's upgradable very easily, even with the option of upping the CPU if/when I desire. I'm now running a third party SSD as boot, a RAID array internally as well as a large general storage. So, the MP for me was merely the point of departure and is set up as I use it. Not as an iMac, where it would have been prepackaged and given to me.

    Yes, it was more. But I think the additional costs were worth it for my preferences and workflow.
  17. gabicava83 macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2010
    Sounds about right regarding the costs, except that the apple care is incredibly reduced for students, should be around £60ish pounds or so.

    Good purchase.

    For the RAM, you are correct, 7GB in total for the config you are stating.

    For the monitor, I would prob go for the dell, considering the saving you are doing on the apple care.


  18. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
    FYI: You can purchase applecare up to one year following the original purchase date.

  19. Will10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2010
    I think I’m virtually there with this. I’ve pretty much decided to go with the 3.2, 7GB.

    Thank you very much for all of your considered help, it’s a minefield making decisions like this when you A – have a really tight budget and B – have little understanding of the issues to consider when buying. Your help has been invaluable.

    One final question that still nags: Both the iMac and Mac Pro have quad core chips but the iMac chip is branded ‘i5’ and the Mac Pros ‘Nehalem’. Is there a difference between these chips?

    Thanks again
  20. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Mac Pros use Intel Xeon processors, which are server/workstation processors. iMacs use the consumer version, the i3/5/7. both are based on the Nehalem architecture, Apple just decided to be confusing and use "Nehalem" improperly.
  21. Will10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2010
    I see:); so they are slightly different then?
  22. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
  23. Will10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2010
    Thanks for clearing that up for me chaps :D

    I was ready to bite the bullet tomorrow but took another look at the figures.

    • • iMac 27inch quad core (2.93 Ghz) with 8gb Ram= £1,968,99
    • • Mac Pro ‘Nehalem’ (3.2 Ghz) With 3gb= £2,319,00
    • (I Intend to buy a 4gb stick for the 4th RAM slot to give me 7gb).

    This is the dilemma I have. I’m spending £400 extra for the the Mac Pro as apposed to a maxed out iMac. I’m o.k with this (for the reasons we’re discussed above)

    But; On top of the extra £400 for the MP I’ll also have to pay around £350 for a decent new monitor (something like a Dell 2408wfp). So my Mac Pro will have cost me an extra £750.

    I just wonder whether for the money I may be getting a slightly quicker machine but not quite as good monitor; especially when I do have to do Photoshop and editing work. I have seen creative suites editing and photoshoping on iMacs?:confused:

    So I wonder whether the Dell 2408wfp 24” is as good a screen as the iMac 27”
    And whether financially it’s a sound decision.

    Sorry to dither with this chaps, these decisions hey? nightmare!!!:(
  24. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    This discussion shouldn't be primarily about speed/performance but rather about usability. What kind of computer does a user want? A prebuilt package that is barely upgradable or an open chassis that can be easily upgraded. Additionally does a user want the computer to be subject to downtime/repair due to almost all vulnerabilities or to be repairable through component replacement?

    Cost is also an issue, flexibility costs.

    As an illustration my daughter's iMac 21.5 is the most spectacular, easily operated family computer I've ever used. For me, no way, it's got to be a Mac Pro.
  25. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
    Note: You'll only get MP encouragement on this forum. :p

    Here area couple of options for you:
    Get a discount: biz, school, or whatever.
    Wait for the 2010's to show up in the refurb store in ~2-3 months
    Get the 2.8 GHz base model
    Buy used ............ check out the for sale MR forum.

    In any case, friends don't let friends buy imacs when MP's are available. ;). That is a joke for the imac owning lurkers.


Share This Page