Buy iMac 27" now or wait for Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by badlydrawnboy, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. badlydrawnboy macrumors 65816

    Oct 20, 2003
    I do a lot of photography work and am considering a new iMac 3.5 Ghz i7 or waiting for the new Mac Pro.

    90% of my work is in Lightroom now. I do use Photoshop, but rarely and typically for critical sharpening work or some filters that aren't available in Lightroom.

    I don't play games, I don't do much video editing (other than occasional home movie clips), and other than photography work, just use the usual apps (web browser, iWork, iLife, etc.).

    I've read that Lightroom doesn't utilize the graphics card, so seems like the iMac might be enough for my needs even though the GPU is not that great?

    Any photographers using the new iMac? Is it fast enough with Lightroom and Photoshop?
  2. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    Might as well wait, it is likely to be announced within 3 weeks. Then you'll know which fits you better.
  3. macs4nw macrumors 601


    Agree with akm3; the MacPro is about to be released, so why not wait a couple of weeks, rather than be sorry later.
  4. jdblas69 macrumors regular

    Aug 15, 2012
    May as wait now until the new MP is launched and then you have all the options on the table to pick from
  5. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 20, 2003
    Waiting probably does make sense.

    I'm wondering, though, whether the apps I use will even be able to take advantage of the additional CPU and GPU power of the Mac Pro. As I mentioned, I use Lightroom 90-95% of the time for photo editing, and only open Photoshop occasionally now.

    Otherwise, I'm just doing the normal stuff: web browsing, email, iWork, etc.

    Actually, if Apple made a "headless" iMac (i.e. same specs as iMac, but no display) I'd buy that. The Mac Mini's 16 GB RAM limit and small number of ports bugs me.
  6. Latt macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2013
    Wait for the new Mac Pro to be released and the Mac Mini to be upgraded and compare then.

    I'm not sure about this, but I belive to recall during the presentation of Mavericks during the WWDC keynote, that they mentioned some hardware acceleration (Open CL? As I said - I'm not really that into this stuff). That might mean the Mac Pro could be significantly faster that the others when Lightroom has been rewritten to be able to use the hardware acceleration.

    Maybe someone with more knowledge of this could share their 2 cents? :)
  7. wmukj macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2010
    MI -we got lakes! I am not near any of them.
    I'm by no means an expert on photography, but I do use Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks and even Premiere almost daily on a mid-2010 27" iMac. The iMac began as a dual-core with 4 GB of RAM running CS5 and had no problems. I have bumped specs on my 2010 since then (256 SSD, 16 GB RAM and i7 Quad-Core) and run CS6 daily with no issues. Admittedly I don't use Lightroom often despite having it.

    I know pricing hasn't been announced on the new Mac Pros yet, but based on some parts estimates, I think many Mac enthusiasts are in for a rude awakening when the $$$ are announced on the Pros. I know a loaded up 27" quad is not exactly chump change, but if your main software is Lightroom, then I can pretty much assure you even a refurb can do the trick.

    With all that being said, if time and money are no issue and you've waited this long, you might as well hang in there for a few more weeks. Just my two cents. Either way enjoy your new toy :D
  8. tekmoe macrumors 68000

    Feb 12, 2005
    I've got a 2012 iMac 3.4 i7 with the 680MX graphics card. I use Ligthroom, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro and it has been able to handle everything I can throw at it. No regrets, fantastic machine. :D
  9. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 20, 2003
    I think you're right. I can get the iMac I need (3.5 i7 with 512 GB SSD 8 GB RAM) for $3k plus a 32 GB upgrade kit from OWC for $350.

    My guess is the entry-level Mac Pro will be at least $3k, maybe more like $3.5k, but the memory will be vastly more expensive. Adding 16–24 GB of RAM (depending on how much the entry-level config comes with) would probably cost more like $800+. So I imagine I'd be looking at somewhere between $4.5-$5k for that machine.
  10. RAPTORSKI macrumors regular


    Jan 24, 2013
    British Columbia
    Personally, I'd get a 27" iMac as that is plenty for most photo editing, etc and is also a great computer which you do not need to buy a separate monitor for. Browsing on a 27 iMac is awesome :).

    A Mac Pro would be more powerful (more for movie editing I suppose) and you would need to buy a separate screen or use one you already have. Either way the Mac Pro option is likely to cost you more money and who knows how many of those machines will be available on launch date or shortly afterwards.

    The new Haswell iMac is an awesome machine, I'd probably just go with that. :cool:
  11. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    With the iMac you get the computer, screen and accessories (keyboard/mouse). With the Mac Pro you get just that - the computer. You will need to decide if you want to spring for a monitor and the accessories.

    The iMac is more than capable of meeting your needs based on what you stated your criteria was with respect to applications in use.

    If you decide on a Mac Pro and need to get a monitor, it would be sad if you went cheap on the monitor. There are some very good middle end to upper end monitors worth investigating ranging from the Dell Ultras, top HP (yes HP has a couple of very good monitors) all the way to the NEC PA series and upper line Eizos.

    I have worked with all variations of Apple offerings at one time or another. I opted to use a quad Mac Mini for now with SSD internal and will see what comes of the new Mac Mini and the new "Mac Mini Pro" (Mac Pro). Either way I am sure I'll be using 16 gigs of RAM or better.
  12. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 20, 2003
    I have a Mac Pro 3,1 (2008) right now, and an NEC PA271 which is an excellent monitor. I don't need an additional monitor (with the iMac), but I could certainly use it. Of course I already have a keyboard, and I also have a trackpad and Wacom tablet.

    Regardless of whether I get a new Mac Pro or iMac, I'll need an external enclosure for storage, so that won't really affect my decision.
  13. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    The iMac 27" will be adequate for Photography work. If you're considering the new 2013 cylinder Mac Pro, once this is launched, wait for a few months before taking the plunge. Get feedbacks from other users on its performance since it's a first gen design and new architecture. There's also the price factor.
  14. Chad3eleven macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    iMac would be just fine. I'm with many of you and agree that the price point will be high for the new mac pro, at least in the $3k range.

    Also, the new mac pro would be overkill for your uses. I work in Nuke, Davici resolve while editing in Premiere and Avid, and those apps require every ounce of power.

    Note that I have plenty of friends who are pro photographers, and many of them use a macbook pro, as it allows them to be mobile. Also it allows them to connect their cameras directly to monitor and transmit files instantly during a shoot.

    My home machine is a 2011 iMac 27", i7 with 12 gbs of ram it it performs pretty well for my home needs (premiere, after effects, photoshop, Nuke, etc)

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