Better to buy iMacs more frequently or a Mac Pro long term?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Luba, May 28, 2009.

  1. Luba macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    Hmm, I wonder if it's better to spend the money and keep a Mac Pro long term or buy iMac's more frequently?? Right now, the iMac 4850 is right for me, but I hear because it uses mobile parts it's more prone to break down and it's difficult to fix and upgrade. I could spend the money and get a Mac Pro and keep for the long term, but technology changes so fast maybe I am better off buying iMac more frequently (every 2-3 years) versus getting a new Mac Pro every 4-5 years.

    I think price-wise I would save more money buying the Mac Pro every 4-5 years versus getting a new iMac every 2-3 years. What's your opinion?

  2. uberamd macrumors 68030


    May 26, 2009
    Do you like having something new? If so, go the iMac route as you will upgrade it more often. If you don't mind not having the latest visually appealing system from Apple, go with the Mac Pro. Like you said, you will probably upgrade it less often, however the downside could be less new systems if you enjoy getting a new computer.

    Also, don't forget to factor the display into the Mac Pro cost. The iMac has a great display, and Apple displays are not cheap, but definitely better looking on the desk than a generic HannSpree plastic LCD.
  3. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    So many variables to this one, but I think the mac pro may be the cheaper route. Based off of depreciation of intel imacs has over powerpc and first gen mac pro's are still commanding a premium. Also with the new multi core technology, I am hopeful we can stretch out the length of multicore machines useable life.

    That was my thinking when I got a MP. Plus I didnt want all in one machine and I had the HD's and monitors so an imac was out of the question. To save more money I got the previous 2.8x8 and plan on keeping it for a long time.
  4. Unprocessed1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2008
    Its funny how the Apple cinema display is $899, yet the beautiful imac is only a few hundred dollars more, and is an excellent computer.
  5. ditzy macrumors 68000


    Sep 28, 2007
    I personally prefer the half the money twice as often route, to the twice the money half as often route. If you don't need the power the mac pro gives you I really wouldn't go for it. Especially as we don't know where things will be with computers in 5 years. I think the, it's more powerful so will last longer argument, isn't strictly accurate.
  6. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    You are far, far better off spending less money more often. If you put the money saved not buying a Pro in the bank, even if you don't sell your used iMacs as you upgrade, your money lasts longer. If you sell off the old iMacs, it lasts far longer. And if you factor in things like upgraded software (OS and iLife) that come free with a new Mac but you would have to buy for your Pro, the difference is even more staggering.

    A thread here not long ago asked if buying a Mac Pro and using it for 10 years would make more sense than buying a base iMac and replacing it every three years. The math says that - even without selling the iMacs off and without the ~$1000 in software upgrades that come free with the iMacs, the same initial investment will last 12 years buying iMacs. And get more total computing power - an iMac bought nine years from today will be miles ahead of a Mac Pro bought today. The iMac route also gives you newer/better hardware every upgrade, as well as keeps you in warranty.

    The iMac is not LED backlit. ;)
  7. seb-opp macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2008
    I agree. Look at the G5s for example. Suppose you bought a G5 quad instead of a G5 iMac in late 2005, you would be worse off now. Although nothing as drastic as the intel switch will likely happen in the next 5 years, getting a mac pro could leave you with a machine incompatible with something in the future, and it would be a big investment to just replace prematurely if this happens.
  8. 512ke macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2003
    I would buy only what you need. If an iMac can handle the job, just get an iMac. Personally, I'd keep the iMac for 5, 6 or 7 years. The longer the better.

    There's always something newer and better, no matter what you do!

    However, you can't go wrong with either an iMac or a MP. They're both great computers. Good luck!
  9. Unprocessed1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2008
    Very true. You would also have a great monitor with the iMac, or better performance with the MP. No one can tell you what features are more important other than yourself.
  10. thegaffer macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2007
    This is the most true statement you are going to hear.

    When it comes down to it just do the performance to dollar analysis. If you aren't going to utilize the extra power of a Mac Pro (which is very substantial) and money is a big factor in your decision making, you should go with the iMac.

    But only your computing habits and normal use will tell you that.

    Good luck!
  11. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    I don't see why an iMac will necessarily need replacing in 2 1/2 years... There are plenty of g5 iMacs still rockin it.
  12. foodog macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    Get the Mac Pro

    I bought the first Intel Mac Pro (2006) and it is still going strong. I've added RAM, a video card, and hard drives as time has gone by and it still does everything I need it for, (video editing, and photo management)

    The biggest diffrence is a Mac Pro has server class hardware, iMac's have consumer level and mostly mobile hardware for the most part. I can replace my processors in the Mac Pro for about the price of an iMac and have a much faster machine if I choose to.

  13. student_trap macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    both routes have their merits,and indeedif you aren't going to utilise the powerof tha mac pro, it could be the worse option.

    For me, it was a no brainer as i needed the power, but another reason to get a mac pro is simply hard drive space. In a year I have already used over a terabyte of space, which would be problematic if using an imac.

    Another reason (as menioned earlier), is that there are some problems with having your display and computer in one package, however if you plan on buying a new one every 3 years and buy applecare then this becomes a non starter.

    Finally, remember that if the future indeed lies in softare slowly utilising more and more cores, as opposed to needing faster clock speeds, then an 8 core mac pro is going to last a VERY long time, and is also very easily upgradable with ram,extra hard drives etc.

    Also,i could never go with the imac because of the glossy screen, they give me headaches!
  14. Corrosive vinyl macrumors 6502

    Corrosive vinyl

    Sep 22, 2006
    the less money more often is better because:
    1. new software and warrantees every few years
    2. keeping up to date with technology ( I have a 5 year old iBook, think of the changes in processors and memory (RAM and video) in that time. My CPU is bogged down if I do anything video intensive.
    3. Imagine 5 years from now and it time to buy a new mac pro. Are you going to have the money to buy it again, with the specs you want? and what about the display and the keyboard/mouse? How long will those last?
  15. brendu macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2009
    clearly the main question to ask yourself is do you need the power of the pro? If you do, then get it, but keep in mind that if you plan on keeping that for 5+ years it WILL need upgrades and they will be costly. RAM, HDD, CPU, Graphics, are all expensive for the MP. The iMac can only take RAM upgrades or external hard drives. I would highly recommend the 24" iMac unles you really need that MP power.

    I have the first gen Aluminum iMac and it still runs without a hiccup for basic daily use, itunes, ichat, front row, web browsing and downloading. I LOVE it and the only reason I would replace it is to get a bigger HDD and the 24" version.
  16. Jigsawjammer macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2009
    Wait, I never knew you could replace the processor (I don't really need a MP). That is a cool feature then. Can you elaborate on the process???
  17. gan6660 macrumors 65816


    Aug 18, 2008
    I would go for the imac. You could always sell it once you buy a new one.
  18. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Mar 2, 2009
    Unless you did a custom configuration from the online store, you didn't upgrade the graphics card;).
  19. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Mar 2, 2009
    Only on some models, I believe. Check this out.
  20. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    If you don't need the power that the Mac Pro has to offer then you are much better off with an iMac. The iMac is not any more likely to break because it uses mobile parts. The main mobile parts, the CPU and GPU, actually typically have higher thermal limits than their desktop counterparts, which says to me that they are built to a very high standard. The hard drive is a typical desktop unit which is probably the most common failure point in any modern PC, but the model Apple uses is no different from that of any other PC. Just looking at how fact technology is evolving, a high-end Mac Pro is far more likely to be considered legacy hardware in 5 years than an iMac in 2 and a half, in my opinion. Buy the iMac.

    The processor in the iMac is also replaceable, if I remember correctly. I wouldn't call it a feature, either. Not being replaceable, such as is the case with Apple portables, is a handicap.
  21. MacAndy74 macrumors 65816

    Mar 19, 2009
    I'd go 'Pro'. :eek:

    I was ready to buy an iMac but there is just 2 reasons why - after much consideration, I decided not to. Until the iMac's LCD has LED backlit plus I wanted to have more than 1 HDD for Boot-camping Windows and I wanted it to be internal.

    But otherwise, iMac is great!
  22. student_trap macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    Whats the big dea with LED anyway? I already use my 23" ACD on its lowest because it is too bright anyway!

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