$3000 Budget: Refurb Mac Pro 8-core 2.4 or new iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by HXGuy, May 3, 2011.

  1. HXGuy macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    My budget is $3000 for a new work computer that I plan to keep for the next 4-5 years. I was set on ordering a refurb 8-core 2.4GHz w/ 6GB RAM (and adding another 6-10GB) and the 1GB HD5770 video card.

    Then today, Apple releases the new iMac and for $2900 you can get a 3.4GHz Core i7 processor with 16GB RAM and 2GB HD6970M video card.

    The main drawback to the iMac before was the lack of additional storage...external drives were too slow and of course you couldn't add internal like on a Mac Pro. Now they come with the Thunderbolt port so that solves that.

    The work we do is in graphic design and web design which don't require that much power but I like to buy something that will last a few years.

    I already have a 30" Apple display so I could sell that (would really offset the cost) or could use dual displays but it's really not needed.

    So..what do you guys think? What's the better buy?
  2. sjordan macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2011
    How important is color accuracy to you? If it is very important to you then I say stick with the 30" display or get a better monitor. The Imac has a big bright and pretty 27 inch display but it is not the most color accurate screen (unless they changed the panel again). I have a 2010 27 Imac + Dell U3011 monitor (switching to a mac pro soon) and the Imac screen is no where close to the dell.
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    You can calibrate the display, you just want to buy a 3rd party system that will do that for you. I'd go for the iMac at this point. I love my 2008 MP and 30" display, but if I were in the market, I'd buy a new imac.
  4. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    Didn't even think of that. Color is VERY important as the majority of the graphic work we do is for print.
  5. Garamond macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2004
    I'd probably also go for the newly released iMac if I was in the marked for something new today. The specs and performance are very impressive!
  6. sjordan, May 3, 2011
    Last edited: May 3, 2011

    sjordan macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2011
    Of course you can calibrate it, that will make it better....but not better than a good display. Both my displays are calibrated and the Imac is still no where close to my other display.

    If your goal is to match aRGB then you will have issues with the Imac display, it barely covers the sRGB color space. For color accuracy I suggest you go with a monitor that can cover 96% or more of the aRGB color space. For sRGB stuff the Imac will be fine

    Quick tip if you decide to go with the Imac:
    Turn the brightness down to 50% or more and calibrate it.
  7. MacSince1985 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2009
    You didn't mention if glossy screens bother you or not. If they do, then your choice is easy.

    Since you already own a 30" display, I'd lean towards the Mac Pro. It's built better for continuous use. I suspect Photoshop is the app you use that requires most power. From what I gather, Photoshop benefits more from fewer, faster processors than more, slower processors. So the 6-core may be a better choice for you. This may change with Lion and/or Adobe upgrades. I haven't checked the benchmarks lately but it's something to think of.

    Finally, the buyer's guide lists the Mac Pro as end-of-life. Since the 2010 update was minimal, I expect the 2011 changes to be more substantial. But I doubt we'll see it until later in the summer.

    Have I confused you enough? :rolleyes:
  8. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
    I'd suggest a decked out 27" with an additional (color accurate) external monitor. This could be done for a bit over $3K. Much better "deal" than a MP.

    Said, as a very happy owner of a 2010 MP.

  9. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    Yes, thank you. :)

    Hmm...now it got me thinking, maybe I should just wait for the new Mac Pros? I like the $500 discount for going with refurb but when the new ones come out, you can probably spec out one for around $3000 that will beat out the current refurb at $3000.

    Since we tend to keep our machines for a while, it may be best to go with the newest instead of buying last years model already.

    The computer we have now is a Dual Core 2.2Ghz G5...bought almost 5 years ago. Would probably continue to use it if all the new software didn't require an Intel processor.
    The other G5 we had was a Dual Core 2.0Ghz and that was bought in 2004 and replaced last year with a 27" iMac 2.93Ghz i7.

    When in the summer are the new Mac Pros expected?

    Edit: Check this out...didn't even know this was available, very useful! http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/
  10. sjordan macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2011
    I agree, if you guys can wait then get the MP
  11. MacSince1985 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2009
    No one knows. But if you browse the forum, no one expects it until at least the very end of summer. Some even think it won't happen until next year. I played the waiting game last year and was a little disappointed. If you need the machine and it'll help you be more efficient, buy it now.

    That's the one I was referring to. But the average 258 days is strongly influenced by the early years, when Apple released a number of speed bump models. I think we're now looking at a 1-year cycle with the Mac Pro, maybe longer.
  12. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    Yea, looking at the chart a little closer, from 2008 to 2009, there was a 14 month wait and from 2009 to 2010 there was a 16 month wait. It's very possible that the next Mac Pro won't be released until August - November 2011...could be another 6 month wait, especially with people saying the new Sandy Bridge Xeon processors not due out until Q4.

    Damn it! I don't know, I keep going back and forth...probably will just get the refurb Mac Pro. :/
  13. Diesel-Benz macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2011
  14. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
    The next gen MP won't be available until early 2012.

  15. sjordan macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2011
    So you have inside information on this?

    Look no one knows when the next Mac Pro is coming out. Our best guess is q4 or q1 2012....but that does not mean it is a sure thing.
  16. MacSince1985 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2009
    Mac Pros keep their value. Even if something better comes out next year, you should be able to get decent $$$ if you sell your old one at that time. Or, more likely, pass it down to someone else in the office.

    Let's say that the new Mac allows you to be 5% more productive and bill 5% more. It would pay for itself in less that a year.

    Note that the refurb store only has 2009 models in right now. Use Mactracker to compare specs.
  17. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Pretty easy. And covered ad nauseam. When Intel releases the proper Xeons we will then see an upgrade. The chipsets are being manufactured now. They need time to ramp up. yada yada.
  18. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    Now with the Geekbench scores coming out for the new iMacs, they seem to be on par with last year's Mac Pro which is actually a plus for the Mac Pro. I thought the new iMac's would be faster, which is why I was considering them, but if performance wise they are the same...then the Mac Pro wins due to future expandability.
  19. dcpmark macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2009
    Not everyone puts stock in Geekbench scores, but I was surprised to see that the fastest 2011 iMac topped just 12800. My stock 2008 3.2 8-core Mac Pro does 12500. Last year's 2.66 12-core hits 22733, and even the 2009 2.67 8-core Mac Pro tops 16000!

  20. dknightd macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2004
    I think in your shoes I'd go with 2010 3.33 hex, or if budget does not allow, the 3.2 quad. Keep your 30" display. I wouldn't go with the slower 8 core unless the plugins you use a lot can actually use those cores. The sooner you retire that G5 the happier (and more productive) you'll be.

    Edit, I'm not up on thunderbolt storage - can it really replace esata yet?
  21. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    The 8 core is slower than the quad 3.2? Looking at the benchmarks, the 8 core outperforms it unless I'm not looking at the right thing.

    As for Thunderbolt, it does 10GBPS in both directions. How fast is eSATA?
  22. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    The 3.2 easily outperforms the 8 core in applications that are not fully multi-threaded (which is the majority of applications). From what you've stated above, you'll be doing graphics with this machine. If that is the case, definitely avoid the 8-core. None of the Adobe apps (except the video apps) benefit from more cores as they can utilise 4 cores, tops.

    eSATA is 6Gb/s. However, that is a single connection. You can get HBAs or RAID cards with multiple connections, though. 4 or 8 are quite common, giving you considerably more performance than Thunderbolt.
  23. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    Well crap, seems like I have a lot to learn about this multi-core stuff.

    So...the apps we primarily use are:

    VMWare Fusion

    Plus your usual Mail, Safari, Acrobat Reader etc...and all are usually open at the same time, sometimes multiple versions of each (like Safari).

    For these, you are saying the Quad Core machine is better than the 8-core?
    Also, remember that we will keep this machine for at least 4 years...isn't it possible these apps, when updated, will take better advantage of more cores?
  24. anim8or macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2006
    Scotland, UK
    I am gonna go out on a limb and purely speculate that even though new chips for the MP are not expected until Q4 '11 or Q1 '12 i think there will be an incremental update to the Mac Pro line to include Thunderbolt and possible speed bumps (if there are any available)...

    Possibly get rid of the Quad config and place the Hex as a baseline model, 8 core next in the line and the Dual Hex core as the top of the line....

    I think a move like this would keep potential upgraders/new MP customers happy until this time next year when they can release a new form MP (rumoured) with all the bells and whistles available to them at that time....

  25. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    No problem for the quad core. You really shouldn't focus on the processor too much. RAM and IO are much more important these days as you will most likely never max out your processor unless you're doing video rendering or alike.

    Don't get me wrong, the octad is not a bad machine (in fact I've got the same machine from last year and I'm more than happy with it), but for your requirements, there are better ones available (quad/hex).

Share This Page