4/6 Core Mac Pro or Top of the line iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sleephartha, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. Sleephartha macrumors member

    Sleephartha

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    #1
    Hi All,

    I'm new here and this will be my first mac purchase. I have given up gaming and want to focus on large photoshop art pieces (raster, poster size printable). I want smooth, lag-free performance and I tend to lean away from all-in-ones like the iMac so was going to get a 6 core Mac Pro. That said, I likely do not need the expandability of the Mac Pro but I am willing to pay a bit of a premium to ensure the best long term experience. I'm just not sure there is a solid benefit for the extra cost of the Pro. I'm also somewhat clueless about and dubious of the idea of laptop processors in the iMac. I've read some of the posts about iMac vs MacPro before but now with the upgrades to the iMac and the MacPro announcements I was hoping some of you could provide some solid advice on which route I should take... Thanks...
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    iMacs do not use laptop CPUs anymore. The i7 iMac is faster than quad core Mac Pro so you would have to get the 6-core Mac Pro in order to get better than iMac. If you don't take the advantage of Mac Pro's expandability, then you should just get an iMac
     
  3. Sleephartha thread starter macrumors member

    Sleephartha

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    #3
    So I'll see no difference in performance, or better performance, maxxing out photoshop with large file sizes and filters with a top of the line iMac vs a MacPro 6 core and yet its buttloads cheaper...

    This is a huge purchase for me and I've been sans computer for months waiting on the new Macs so any other feedback would be greatly appreciated...

    Thanks again...
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    6-core is faster but quad core Mac Pro ain't really faster than iMac. I would wait for some early benchmarks
     
  5. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #5
    The choice between an iMac and Mac Pro really needs to be based on your needs for expansion. I think if you have to ask, you probably don't need the expansion capabilities, but I suppose it's possibly you just haven't considered them. If you don't plan to add hard drives, change monitors, upgrade memory, etc. over the life of your computer, then the iMac is vastly superior value. However, if expansion is important, then paying a premium for the Mac Pro is your only real option.
     
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #6
    Good advice, that way the OP sees what the systems can actually do.

    That said, whether an iMac or MP is selected, a Quad core is sufficient for Photoshop anyway.
     
  7. eponym macrumors 6502

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    Jul 2, 2010
    #7
    Personally, I think the Pro is the way to go.

    It gives you so much more flexibility and usable life than an iMac. Not just because of expandability, but reliable performance, cooling and life after you decommission it.

    Something a lot of people overlook is how much longer you can stretch out a Mac Pro. You can upgrade. You can turn it into a file server (those 4 bays come in real handy for that). You can sell it for a good chunk of $$. That can add years of value where the iMac doesn't.

    The other thing to keep in mind is when you're making an investment of this scale on a major work machine, you have to consider what happens when something fails. The iMac's computer and display are co-dependent. If one fails, the other is useless. It also means the display (which has a more limited lifespan than a computer) artificially lowers the machines lifespan. As well, making repairs or changing components on an iMac isn't exactly easy, and it often voids the warranty if you do it yourself (and obviously it costs money to get authorized service done).

    I've changed the HDD in the aluminum iMac before (failed due to overheating problems). It wasn't *too* hard (if you're comfortable removing 20 or screws and putting it back together), but I knew I was voiding my warranty. With a Pro, you can pop in and out HDDs, RAM and other PCI items with little effort and safely.
     
  8. NathanCH macrumors 65816

    NathanCH

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    #8
    Last I checked Photoshop only uses 1 core. Unless they changed that with CS5
     
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #9
    As I recall, it uses 2 cores. Not much at any rate, and why a Quad core processor would be sufficient IMO (still another pair of cores for either a second instance, or other applications open at the same time).
     
  10. Sleephartha thread starter macrumors member

    Sleephartha

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    #10
    Most important is that it can handle running filters on large pieces without lag. I am concerned with display life and possible heat issues but if it's going to be an extra $1000 or so for a quad core mac pro with a 27" monitor it feels like it may make more sense to go iMac if it will last a good 3+ years. I've also noted that the quad core pro is always slammed as a poor value so get the impression that the new iMac is a much better value than the quad if I don't care about expansion. If I goto 6 core it sounds like it may be overkill and as much as $1500 more with monitor. My heart craves the safety of the pro (can't lose other than overspending) but my mind seems to say iMac will make more sense. There's a return policy on these things isn't there?
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #11
    Determining your usage is the hard part (besides whatever budget limitations may exist).

    As per a return policy, Yes, it's 14 days. :)
     
  12. goodEYEDsniper macrumors newbie

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    #12
    What would be better? Getting the 6-core MacPro or the base 8-Core that will be available? I thought I had read that the 6-core runs faster but I guess we will have to wait for the benchmarks
     
  13. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

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    #13

    If you're worried about Lag and Speed, the bottom end Mac Pro can easily be upgraded to stomp an i7 iMac.

    I am not comparing $$$, but you sort of sound like you're shopping by price/speed, and not price alone.

    A bottom end 2010 Mac Pro with 12 gigs of ram, an SSD and a Velociraptor will destory an i7. Or buy 4 regular drives and Raid0 them in the drive trays, and get an external for backups. Again, destroys the i7 iMac.


    It's not really a fair comparison, comparing the top end iMac to the bottom end Mac Pro. No one is expected to buy a Mac Pro and not add ram, fast drives, and other options. Hell, they should sell it without ram and drives since we all go to OWC anyways.

    If you aren't saving every last penny, and want "no lag in photoshop" it's Mac Pro.
     
  14. VanneDC macrumors 6502a

    VanneDC

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    #14
    not meaning to thread crap here, but if your /that/ interested in photoshop work, mate, id be more than likely investing in a proper display, rather than go balls out on a box with 4-8 cores.

    That said, even the last gen of mac pro's /WILL/ serve you well, (and you will save as the new gen Mac pros come down the line) then spend the saving on a proper screen.
     
  15. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    #15
    iMacs are a simple solution. You buy it and it comes with everything you could possibly need. Screen (IPS), keyboard, mouse, speakers, webcam, etc. For a consumer. That word is the key point. Normal consumers don't need ECC memory, multiple cores (I mean more than 4), multiple graphics cards, etc.

    Mac Pros are workstations. They are built to be running at 100% CPU load 24/7/365. They are stable and offer raw power and last longer than any other Mac available. Mac Pros are just function. No form. Unlike the notebooks and iMacs which have gotten multiple re-designs, the Mac Pro has had largely the same design for 5+ years. But it costs much more than an iMac.
     
  16. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    remember you can get four 2.5" drives in the second 5.25" space
     
  17. Sleephartha thread starter macrumors member

    Sleephartha

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    #17
    I'm an amateur graphic artist and was working in photoshop constantly for a few years up until about 2007 when my pc couldn't handle the file sizes anymore. Long story short I haven't been in a position to get a new computer until now. I plan on picking up where I left off, starting with making pieces for myself and friends and see where it goes from there. I hadn't really considered how important the display will be in this equation. If I get a mac pro (which I'm leaning toward) I was going to start by running it thru my hdtv until I could save up for a cinema display or, pending further research, something else...

    I want to get the most power sensible to do my work enjoyably (the least processing lag and/or hardware issues) so I figured I'd spend the most on getting the essential hardware, upgrade the ram later if necessary, then get a new monitor. I don't know if I'll be able to squeeze in an SSD. I think I need to do more research on the relative importance of all these different areas...
     
  18. dccorona macrumors 68020

    dccorona

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    #18
    agreed, wait for benchmarks

    I believe the new Xeon processors have multi threading like the Core i7, so the quad core may in fact be faster now (I may be wrong of course)
     
  19. Ravich macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Dont the new quad mac pros still use nehalem xeons instead of westmere though?
     
  20. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #20
    The benchmarks for CPU were close, it was the differences in the GPU which swung things wildly.

    Before the high end quad i7 iMac compare to the entry quad core Mac Pro with the GT120 got crushed. Had to spend some coin on the GPU to narrow the gap.

    The new entry level Mac Pro shouldn't be hampered by GPU quite as much compared to the ol GT120.

    At least on the spec pages.

    http://www.apple.com/macpro/specs.html
     
  21. dccorona macrumors 68020

    dccorona

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    #21
    the base quad core uses nehalem

    however, a quad core, and any arrangement above that (6, 8, or 12) is actually a westmere

    http://www.apple.com/macpro/features/processor.html
     
  22. Ravich macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    "up to" should be banned from use in advertising -.-



    ...at least banned from being used in conjunction with "starting at"
     
  23. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #23
    The new iMac's with the ability to add an SSD option are gold.

    Check this new iMac config out... a quad-core iMac with 1TB+256GB SSD and 27" display. The new Quad-core Mac Pro is going to cost $2500 without the SSD or the display. :eek: It would cost another $1600 at least to bring the Mac Pro up to par with the iMac. If you're not sure you need the expansion, it seems like a no-brainer.
     

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  24. Manapua macrumors newbie

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    Jul 28, 2010
    #24
    I am in a similar dilemma as the original poster, as I guess many are. I don't think I need the expandibility of the Pro, so the imac might seem like a good fit. However, I already have a Dell 3007WPF monitor (it's already 4 years old but still has no problems). Given that I already have a monitor makes me think I would get better "bang for the buck" with the Pro. What are your thoughts?
     
  25. Ravich macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    How is it not fair? The iMac and low end Mac Pro have the same RAM capacity, it's just that the iMac comes with 2x2GB and the Mac Pro comes with 3x1GB. If you need the additional HDDs, then the iMac was never an option in the first place, but if the SSD + 2TB combo in the iMac will get you what you need, then the Mac Pro loses a lot of its appeal.

    Lets be honest here, we're not talking about saving a few hundred bucks. Getting an equivalent display alone is 1000$ if you go with the Mac Pro. Of course, if the iMac display wont cut it for you, then the iMac isnt an option.


    If price isnt an issue, then sure, go with the Mac Pro, but if that were the case I have no idea why you'd get a low end Mac Pro.
     

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