Buy 27" Cinema Display for new Mac Pro, or just keep 27" iMac as a monitor

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MovieCutter, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    What would you do. I just picked up a new Mac Pro because I plan on pushing beyond what my 27" iMac is going to be able to handle, but now I'm stuck in a pickle.

    Option #1) Sell 27" iMac for $1300-1500 and buy $1000 27" Cinema Display for Mac Pro

    Option #2) Keep 27" iMac and use IT as a display for the Mac Pro, giving me a back up computer if need be.

    I guess if I knew if the iMac can be used while still being used as a display that would help, so I could set it to render or encode then use the Mac Pro for work. Does anyone know if that's possible? Or does the iMac go to "sleep" when being used as just a display?
  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
  3. steviec macrumors member

    Apr 25, 2009
    Plus depending on what you are doing you may be able to utilize the CPU for helping with rendering / converting.
  4. dissolve macrumors 6502a

    Aug 23, 2009
    If you choose to keep the iMac as a monitor, you can absolutely do what you suggested. It stays on and active as a computer when in Target Display Mode. See here for Apple's description:

    It's certainly going to draw more power than using just a display as there's no way to put the "computer" part of the iMac asleep while using it as a monitor.
  5. aarond12 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
    That's cool!!! Use the iMac as your Time Machine drive AND your display! :eek:


    Edit: I read that as "target DISK mode". I wonder if that would work too...
  6. dissolve macrumors 6502a

    Aug 23, 2009
    That would probably work. Connect the two over MDP and Firewire and boot the iMac in target disk mode. You'd need to partition the internal iMac drive because you can't overwrite OS X or else it wouldn't boot and allow to use its display. The only hiccup that might occur is that Time Machine won't run on a machine's internal drive...but maybe it will on ANOTHER Mac's internal drive.
  7. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    Do all 27" iMacs work as an external monitor? Apple sells a 27" C2D Refurb iMac for $1269 so essentially is it a Cinema display + $269 for the computer? Im in the market for a new monitor so this suddenly sounds real cool.
  8. dissolve macrumors 6502a

    Aug 23, 2009
    Yes, they all do. You're point is exactly why the iMacs have been very competitively priced since the debut of the 27" model.
  9. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    What about the smaller models? Is the Target Video Mode a 27" exclusive feature or does the 21" have it?
  10. Cabbit macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2006
    I think using the iMac 27inch as a display is a terrific idea. And depending on your workload you may want to save your mac pro only for heavy lifting.

    If your just spending a session checking your email and browsing the web well the iMac plain consumes less power.

    On the other hand if your not using the iMac as a computer at all it will cost less in the long run to replace it with a display.
  11. dissolve macrumors 6502a

    Aug 23, 2009
    Unfortunately, not. It's only supported in 27" models.
  12. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    Option 2 if you want a spare machine, Option 1 if you really want it to look stunning over just very good :p (As a reference, I have a 2010 Mac Pro with the 27" Cinema and I think it would look worse with the iMac as a monitor.. just my opinion).
  13. MovieCutter thread starter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Well the plan is to use both the iMac AND a 27" Cinema Display as monitors at this point actually.
  14. jim4spam macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2009
    You can of course try it with the iMac, and change your mind later. you can sell the iMac in 1 or 2 months into the future in the same way that you can today...
  15. innominato5090 macrumors 6502


    Sep 4, 2009
    if I were you i'll sell the iMac and buy an ACD.
    1)with a cinema display, you'll add iSight, mic and 3 USB to your MP. you can't access to imac's mic, cam & peripherals while using it as monitor. I don't know if you can use imac's speakers as well-I highly doubt that macpro's miniDP could carry audio signals.
    2) managing two computers is always a painful experience. two way synching isn't easy and smooth at all.
    3) in order to use the iMac as monitor you'll have to wait it to boot. ACD is instantly on.
    4) least but very important, power consumption. A full computer use a lot more power than a display. It's an important thing to consider, especially for the fact that you already have a Mac pro, that is an hungry beast.
  16. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    I would use the imac. For a couple hundred bucks you are getting a computer that you can have as a backup computer. However remembering your selling history in the Market Place (see who got the ban hammer again?), you may have a couple other ones as well. Would be nice to have a backup if the Mac Pro goes south and is out for a week or so.

    I would just leave it as it is. Unless it is a pain to use it as a monitor, ie having to switch inputs when booting up vs. just hitting power on a ACD.
  17. seamuskrat macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2003
    New Jersey USA
    I have a 2007 iMac 24. Is there any way to use this as an external monitor with my new 27 inch iMAc? My 24 inch cinema display just died, so I would loive to save some cash and use the old iMac as my second screen.

    Any thoughts on how I can do this?
  18. arnop macrumors regular


    Apr 29, 2007
    Paris, France
    Thanks for the tip, I didn't know that

Share This Page