Compare, "this MP vs. this iMac"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MSM Hobbes, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. MSM Hobbes macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Mainly for digital photography and video, if was looking at the following for example, what would be comparable iMac, in regards to out of the gate performance?

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/608729-REG/Apple_MB871LL_A_Mac_Pro_Desktop_Computer.html
    * 2.66GHz Quad-Core System
    * 3GB (3x1GB) RAM
    * 640GB SATA Hard Drive
    * Dual-Layer SuperDrive
    * nVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB Graphics
    * Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
    * Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

    Vice versa, what about this iMac to which MP (including the one above)?
    Refurbished iMac 27-inch 2.93GHz Intel Quad-Core i7 processor
    27-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
    4GB memory [yes, would up this to max w/ 3rd-party RAM]
    1TB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    ATI Radeon HD 5750 graphics with 1GB memory
    Built-in iSight camera

    Yes, the MP will offer much longer life-span, upgradeability, and "robustness",,, but really as much as I'd love to have one, don't know if can justify the investment right now, including monitor [esp. as have couple more lenses, hiking tripod, and a flash, along with a server and a kayak on my near term wish list :cool:,,, and a HS senior getting ready for college].
     
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #2
    That iMac should actually outperform the Mac Pro you listed pretty easily.
     
  3. cloakedpegasus macrumors member

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    Apr 13, 2010
    #3
    I'm not sure about that... Mac Pros use server processors while iMacs use laptop(mobile) versions of the same processor line. I'm sure the quad core i7 in the imac will fit your needs just fine though and I think you are very much right about Mac Pros being quite expensive. You would need to spend 1800 bucks then upgrade the ram and hard drive, also you would probably want to upgrade the graphics card. Then after that you would need a monitor. An iMac would be the easiest and cheapest solution although offering a less amount of upgradeability. WWID? I would irresponsibly blow my money on a mac pro even though I wont use it's max potential and probably the biggest reason why I would buy it is because it's big and bad.
     
  4. Mikey7c8 macrumors regular

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    #4
    This. But - you can put several drives in the Mac Pro, upgrade the memory more (and have more memory bandwidth) and replace the graphics card giving it much more headroom for the future, if you did choose to go that way.

    Regardless, out of the gate in those configs the iMac would be faster. To be fair, probably not by a hell of a lot but it'd get there for sure.
     
  5. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #5
    The single-socket Mac Pro uses a high-end desktop processor with ECC support turned on. That is all the "Xeon 3000 Series" is - A Core i7 plus ECC. (In fact, if you swap the RAM with non-ECC, you can put a desktop socket 1366 i7 into the single-socket Mac Pro and it will work fine.)

    The Core ix iMac uses a mid-range desktop processor, complete with socket. You can buy the minimum-spec Core ix iMac, and swap the top of the line socket 1156 i7 chip no problem.

    Architecturally, the difference between the quad-core socket 1366 and socket 1156 Core i7 chips is very small. From a consumer usability standpoint, especially in comparing Mac Pro to iMac, the main difference is that the Mac Pro has three memory channels, while the iMac has two. Thus, for similar RAM counts, the Mac Pro will be slightly faster at memory-intensive tasks (at the same processor speed.)

    For everything else, assuming all other aspects are equal, the two would perform near-identically. The iMac has a much better graphics chip - although you can upgrade the Mac Pro to a better one. The two systems have the same maximum memory capacity, and if you upgrade the Mac Pro to maximum (or fill its fourth RAM slot at all,) its memory access speed drops to even with the iMac. (It doesn't technically drop to dual-channel, it is still triple-channel, but the dissimilar amount per channel causes it to run slower than if you have equal RAM amounts per channel.)

    If you like the idea of an all-in-one, go for the iMac. If you like the idea of easy expandability, and/or already have a good display (or plan to get one) go for the Mac Pro.

    Worst case with the iMac, when it becomes obsolete, you can turn it into a second monitor for whatever you replace it with!
     
  6. rjbruce, Jan 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011

    rjbruce macrumors regular

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    #6
  7. MSM Hobbes thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    cloakedpegasus - lol, yea,,, that be same feeling I've got, but for better or worse that tinge of responsibility I have :mad: deems that I be somewhat sane(r) and choose wisely.

    Anonymous Freak - OOH, I do like the "all-in-one" of the iMac,,, the 24" model has served quite well over the past few years. But with two teenagers and a lady floating about the house too, there is need for another "real" computer, as the MB that I've in my office won't suffice at all for the work necessary for digital photo & videos we play with. So with that desire to have a "real" computer, OTOH, I do not like the iMac - its limited ports, basically no expandability, no improvements in the future... hate to repeat same tune as others before, but would be great if there was a consumer-version "Mac Pro", or an iMac that could dabble more with.

    rjbruce, Mikey7c8, and alust2013 - thanks also much for your replies,,, quite helpful.

    Hmmmmm,,, and there is this 3.0 GHz 4-core for $1,425 @ Mac in the Box
    Mac Pro 3.0 4-Core; 1Gb RAM; HD 250Gb; DVD/DVDRW - guess need to call to find out the video, etc. details.
     
  8. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #8
    iMacs use desktop-class processors, which are basically just as powerful for comparable specs, but don't have features like the ability to use in a dual or multiprocessor system
     
  9. limra macrumors newbie

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    Jan 11, 2011
    #9
    This question is very interesting to me, as I was considering the very same Mac Pro quad core 2.6 gHz. BH has it for 1799. I was thinking about upgrading to a 120GB SSD, with a two or three x 1TB Raid 0. Then I got to thinking. Would the 3.6 gHz iMac *two* core be faster for what I want? I have a bunch of raw photos I want to process, but I could always batch process them, go have dinner, and then come back. I'm thinking about doing just a small amount of HD video editing using iMovie. For the stills I'd use Aperture or CS3 or 4, not sure which. Do these programs even take advantage of 4 cores well?

    An additional question. If I got an e-sata port installed at OWC for the iMac, then connected a raid external drive array, would the external raid be as fast as doing it with internal drives in the Mac Pro? I don't know much about sata, but my thinking is that internally on the Macpro, I'd have a drive connected to each sata controller, but on the external, they'd all be sharing one sata controller. Is the the right way to think about it?

    i'd upgrade either system to 12 or 16 GB of ram.
     
  10. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #10
    Any Quad-Core iMac (whether it be a Late 2009 model or a Mid 2010 model) will kick the crap out of that Mac Pro assuming you don't upgrade it. That said, it might make more sense to just upgrade the Mac Pro.
     
  11. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #11
    I'm pretty sure that first gen Mac Pro which is much slower than the ones you listed earlier.

    Nor does Xeon 3000-series. You need 5000-series CPUs for DP configuration and 7000-series CPUs for MP configuration. Intel charges you an arm and a leg for CPUs with multiple CPU support though.
     
  12. MSM Hobbes thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    lol - sense? What is that??? All I be is :confused: :eek: ;)

    But,,, :p :eek: :D I'd have a tool that I could modify, upgrade, improve as my wallet and heart and desires allowed and wanted, if not immediately, sometime in the (hopefully near) future. And that is the kicker - pay just a bit extra now, to get something most likely less performance out of the gate, yet have a machine that I can later update to kick arse. All the while realizing that really does NOT have to be the fastest / baddest computer, just be very competent with the needs of digital imaging, photos and video... as long time possible, get the most bang for the buck, over the haul. All while realizing that the iMac is a beautiful and powerful machine that for quite a few years will / should satisfy my computing needs. If that all jibberish makes sense? [if not, blame it on lack of sleep].
     
  13. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #13
    The ability to upgrade Mac Pro is still pretty limited. You are stuck with the CPUs that it has as those are the fastest it supports. What you can upgrade are PCIe cards, HDs and RAM. Even bigger issue is that it has 32-bit EFI so IF a future OS X only has 64-bit kernel, it won't work on that Mac Pro. Some NVidia GPUs don't work as they require 64-bit EFI.

    Even though that is still a decent computer, it's old and that means its support will be dropped sooner than later. With iMac or newer Mac Pro, you get a computer that will be supported for years. You can always upgrade stuff later on but you are stuck with the EFI and CPUs for good.
     
  14. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    Feb 13, 2009
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    United Kingdom
    #14
    As far as the 2.93Ghz i7 iMac Quad, for just about everything (and this is a direct comparison from using both machines), my Mac Pro (Quad 2.8 5,1) is faster... but not by a lot. (I got it as I need more than 1-2 internal drives, and I like the ability to add stuff later - USB 3 etc, not because of its speed - oh and having several FW800 ports has become important to me to have external devices hooked up directly). The only thing that threw me was that my MP has 3GB RAM (I know I know, but its going to 24 in a few months) and the iMac has 4GB, and mine is just a little bit faster - not sure why since its CPU is slower, but it still is...
     

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