Considering trading from a MacPro to 27" Imac...Questions

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PsyD4Me, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. PsyD4Me macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2009
    under your bed
    So right now I have an early 2008 Mac Pro (QuadCore 2x2.8 Xeon) 6gb DDR2, 1 TB, which is setup with a 23" Apple Cinema.
    Well, my LCD has been crapping out lately and I think i need to get a new monitor. Now, i want to get the 24" LED that Apple has, but for that to work with my MacPro I need to order the:
    ATI Radeon HD 4870 Graphics Upgrade Kit-$314, but I have a gift card that I will use for this.
    So basically i will be spending $900 on the monitor.
    One of the things that i love about the MacPro is its longevity with the QuadCore.

    but i started thinking that maybe selling my macpro and getting a 3.3 27" Imac might be another solution for a similar price (after the sale of the macpro). After all i would also get a slightly bigger screen and pretty much identical performance (right?)

    Sure my mac pro still runs great, but i guess i am just glamorized by the new eye 27" candy.
    Can you guys help me rationalize this better?
  2. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    The ATI 4870 is a better card than the 4850. Also, you will see no real performance difference between the two. I say stick with the Mac Pro because it is far more expandable.
  3. sfroom macrumors regular

    Apr 30, 2008
    You could probably sell your mac pro for close to (or all of) the cost of the iMac. In the time it takes you to sell the Mac Pro, the quad iMacs will probably be shipping, and I'd seriously recommend you consider one of them.

    If your monitor is an ACD, do you have Applecare on it? It might be worthwhile to look into getting it fixed, as selling the monitor would more than pay for the difference between the 3.33 iMac and the i7 quad 2.8.

    Unless you need RAID or other PCIe expansion capabilities, the iMac will give you more for your money. I'd say make the switch if the $$$ can work itself out.
  4. MonoSeed macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2009
    I'm in the same boat. I have the 2.66 quad core MacPro, and i'm thinking of going the 27" i7 route. I'm a graphic designer, so power is important to me. I think I am going to wait for bench marks to come out when the i7's ship in November.
  5. wfj5444 macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2008
    I am in the same boat as the OP.

    Same system, except that I have 20in Cinema display and a 22in 2nd monitor and the GF 8800GT.

    The monitor is the true selling point. I love my Mac Pro, but I honestly haven't been able to hurt or even make it break a sweat. The only way I think I can do it is running multiple virtual machines for some testing I want to do.

    But honestly most of my time is spent gaming (which is why I have the 8800) so I am not sure why I should bother keeping it. The 4850 is a slightly better card then the 8800GT (on par with the 9800).

    I am about 95% sure I am going to sell it (already have a buyer).

    PS The model being the i7 btw :)
  6. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    If you game, you are much better off putting the 4870 or the GTX card in your Mac Pro.

    I understand the new iMac is tempting (I'm getting it), but I am upgrading from the 2.8 Duo Core 2007 iMac. You already have a system that is basically on par with the current iMac minus the screen. I really think you are wasting money by upgrading now. I would wait until the next update which should have the 5000 ATI series and finally include Blu-Ray.
  7. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I've been considering this myself but with an Octo-core. I just want to see the benchmarks before I consider it further.
  8. PsyD4Me thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2009
    under your bed
    thanx guys,

    but right now i am more torn than ever.

    One of the things that are keeping me from completely jumping on the Imac side is a question of longevity and heat issues.
    My MacPro runs 20 hours a day and so obviously it handles heat very well, however, how will the Imac with all that power handle heat-It's so thin! i'm just not sure....
    After owning the MacPro for 1.5 years it hasn't lost a step and that's why i still love it.
  9. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    The iMac can handle it, but I think it is foolish to just get rid of a Mac Pro for an iMac. I would wait until the next refresh personally because I don't see any gains for you minus the great screen.
  10. wfj5444 macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2008
    While I agree the GTX would be better, I do not stress an 8800GT now. Even with modern games. I find them utterly playable. Someone I work with is willing to buy my Mac Pro for a good price so I won't have any out of pocket to get the i7 iMac. Its a win-win for me and him. I get a 27in monitor with plenty of power and he gets a Mac Pro at a good price :)
  11. wfj5444 macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2008
    The reason to trade is the monitor. Very simply, I couldn't find a monitor of that quality and size including the machine for $2200.

    The other consideration for those of us with Early 08 Mac Pros is we have a window before there is an upgrade for the Mac Pro.

    As it stands now, the 08 MP is a super machine and nearly as powerful as the 09. If the 2010 MP uses Gulftown, has 1TB drives, Bluray, etc, etc... The 08 MP will look very long in the tooth. I am selling it for a good price while I can.
  12. jonnysods macrumors 603


    Sep 20, 2006
    There & Back Again
    My thoughts would be that you should stick with the MP.

    I bought the very first C2D 24inch iMac in 2006. It still is a great machine, but as apps and system requirements change the iMac couldn't keep up. Plus I was stuck with the same video card for 3 years. It was expensive, but in the end I had to pick a Mac Pro. It's the only way you have a fighting chance to keep your system for longer and not have to replace it every 3 years.

    The new iMacs are amazing, and I went through all the thinking you went through. But you can't beat expandability, and above all - video card upgrades!!! The 4850 is okay, but I can't see it running a 27" screen all that well when it comes to gaming. That's a lot of work. I would say it's the iMac's achilles heal at the moment.
  13. ndriver182 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2007
    I've got an early '08 octo 2.8, but have been considering going with the 27" iMac i5 model. I don't get ANYWHERE close to stressing this machine and it's just a beast that doesn't get fully utilized. The only upgrades I've made to it are adding a 1TB hard drive and upgrading to an ATI 3850 graphics card a while back. Believe it or not the 3850 actually runs most of the old school games in Bootcamp that I have pretty well.

    So, here I am thinking about selling my MP as well. I really like the 27" screen. I have a 25" Asus right now and I'm not a fan, but I could take it to work to use as my 2nd monitor since my 2nd monitor at work is on the blink. The iMac comes with double the RAM that I have in my Pro (yes, it still only has 2 gigs) and a better video card.

    Since I'm in California I have to deal with 8.25% sales tax so I may stay away from the i7. If I go i7 I'll have to pay a total of around $2380 for the machine vs. if I can buy the i5 online from somewhere like Amazon for just under $2k shipped and no tax. I probably wouldn't notice the difference anyway.

    Lastly, for the record I tend to upgrade electronics relatively frequently so I could see keeping the iMac for a couple years and then upgrading later...
  14. wfj5444 macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2008
    Same here. I bought my 08 Mac Pro in March when the 09's came out because it was a good deal. They were a good deal and plenty powerful.

    If you can sell your MP, get more than 2k for it, don't stress it now (like me) and come out the same or even ahead, why not?

    The argument of expandability (memory is no longer a problem and the video card I have now isn't even fully utilized) just falls flat. I can put any number of firewire 800 or usb drives off of it if I need more space. I will probably upgrade to a new iMac in 2 years at most anyways... I would get much more pleasure out of the monitor and I bet you will too!
  15. PsyD4Me thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2009
    under your bed
    Thanx for all the feedback everyone,
    I listened to all sides and in the end I think that it makes more sense to just replace the monitor.
    Replacing the MP right now is not the best choice in terms of timing, $, as well as logic.
    Also why would i fix something that ain't broke (MP). Actually one of the reasons why i got the MP was because it had rock solid components that were easily replaceable. Before that I had an Imac which had to be brought into the Applestore 4 times and they still couldn't figure out why it was glitchy-Sure eventually i would have gotten a replacement but to me that was a lot of wasted time (which is very valuable to me).
    Update: I'm an idiot when it comes to tech but i just installed the new video card today in my MP in 3 minutes. I love that!

    Also i can easily connect the 24" ACD to my MBA if needed. Sure that can be done with the 27" Imac, however, would i be able to just run the screen without powering the Imac?

    I think i'll wait for the next update of chips and maybe even that would be a killer combo.
  16. ndriver182 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2007
    I'm still debating.

    I'd just assume keep the MP, but to get a cinema display and better graphics card is going to be pretty pricey... whereas if I sold the MP and went to an i5 I'd still have plenty of computing power and a little bit better graphics, but no way to upgrade anything other than RAM and hard drive probably without spending a dime of my own money (maybe even make a little extra). Ugh. Decisions...
  17. wfj5444 macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2008
    If I couldn't sell my Mac Pro I surely wouldn't be considering this. I feel like with an 08 Mac Pro there is a limited time frame to get your money out of it.
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The '08's are fine, and they have some advantages over the '09 MP's. The cores are faster for the base system. Yes the architecture is different, but not the actual cores. The changes are the addition of features (HT and Turbo Boost for example in the controller, QPI, and the Integrated Memory Controller (DDR3 up to triple channel operation). This benefits servers. For workstations, it's not making any difference, as there's no software able to utilize it. Software... always so far behind... :rolleyes: ;)

    You may also want to take into consideration that the '08's don't have the throttling issue with the SATA ports the '09's do (ICH10R is limited to ~660MB/s). This is a problem for those wanting to run SSD's and/or RAID on the logic board. For example, you'd have a problem if you went with a pair of SSD's (in a stripe) and a pair of mechanical drives also in a stripe set. You'd be able to exceed what the ICH10R can do. And if you wanted more than a pair of SSD's as well.

    If you want to go with a hardware RAID controller and use it internally (HDD bays), you need an adapter with the '09's ($165USD). In the '08's, you move a cable from the logic board to the card. No additional funds, and you won't loose the ability to use the SATA ports on the logic board either. Just get a cable.

    The '08's and newer use EFI64, so they can continue to be upgraded in both hardware and OS.

    It's those with the '06 - '07 models that are in this situation you're concerned about, as those models use EFI32. It's already limited graphics cards (HD4870 works because of ATI using EBC which works in 32 or 64 bit firmware systems, not Apple). But the GTX285 isn't an option for those systems.

    Issues to come shortly will be the lack of upgrading the OS, when Apple finally makes OS X fully 64 bit (no more 32bit Kernel). Possibly the next release (10.7.0).
  19. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    I believe the 27.5" Core i7 iMac is the best option, I don't think an Intel Core 2 Duo @ 3.33GHz will compare to an Octo Mac Pro that the OP has, but if you already have a Mac Pro there isn't much point upgrading I'd say, unless you just want it.
  20. sfroom macrumors regular

    Apr 30, 2008
    I think you've hit the nail on the head. If you could sell your MP and buy an 27" iMac quad, with no or little money out of pocket, you'd be protecting yourself from faster depreciation. Unlike cars, which depreciate fastest off the lot, I think Macs depreciate fastest in their 2nd to 3rd years. A 6 month old MP or iMac retains almost all of it's value, a 3 year old computer doesn't look half as appealing.

    I think by switching to the iMac you'll get similar performance, a new (and incredible) screen, and you'll be protecting yourself from depreciation for a little bit longer. My rule of thumb with macs (after selling and buying a few), seems to be that if I can upgrade the ram (for much cheaper than Apple), and perhaps the hard drive, it's generally possible to upgrade within the first 18 months without eating much more than the cost of the taxes and maybe 10%.

    Compare this to the amortization of the cost of your machine over its approximate useful life, and it seems to cost about the same.

    If the idea of getting a new mac gets you excited, and you think you can do it for little to no cost, I think you should go for it. Don't worry about heat dissipation, the iMac seems to be designed specifically with this in mind. For your described usage, I think the iMac will meet if not exceed your needs and expectations.
  21. wfj5444 macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2008
    * I didn't include your whole post in my quote but my response is to the entire quote*

    I think you bring up some very valid performance and future upgrade points. Coming from a computer guy (11 years in the field and a BS in Comp. Sci.) over time I just figured out I don't need all the power.

    Oh I wanted it, and I love having it. But I never use it. Oh sure it would be nice when I want to spin up a couple of Win Server 2008 VMs while playing with AD/Exchange/SQL, but how much do I do that... rarely.

    Oh but I can do it! Yeah while looking at a small, old monitor. The other 99% of my time is spent playing games and surfing the web. I do my real work at work. So for home that is why I am opting for the iMac.

    On a side note, if I buy it now (i7 top 'o the line) and it doesn't ship until Nov, do I pay now or when it ships?
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Users are having to pay much closer attention to their actual needs now, given the narrowing tech differences (rather confusing in the consumer Nehalem lines; i5 vs i7) and current price lists on Apple systems.

    Your description definitely sounds perfect for the iMac i7 version, as it even has the Virtualization feature if you do need that rare VM session or two. ;) Having the option for both i5 & i7 further convolutes an analysis, especially if a MP is also in the mix of consideration. Users intersted in the new 27" iMacs now need to know the feature differences in the CPU's, not just clock speeds,... Not pretty, and likely to cause a rash of questions of "Which one...". ;)

    So if you can get enough back out of the existing '08 from a sale, you could potentially get the iMac for free (not including the monitor I'd think, but should definitely put you over the top if you include it, combined with the system or separately).

    And as per the actual payment date (charge to the card), you aren't billed until the system actually ships. :)
  23. wfj5444 macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2008
    Thanks for the input. I have gone for i7 iMac. The Mac Pro will be sold so I will come out a bit ahead (not considering a couple of upgrades I made to the MP) so the wife will be happy. I think I will be more pleased with 27" screen, than the ability to do lots of work I don't do :)

    Also thanks for the info on charge to the card.
  24. Uncle Pinny macrumors regular

    Uncle Pinny

    Jul 15, 2008
    I did something similar.

    Sold my ageing 2006 Mac Pro (quad 2.66). Did this for a number of reasons - the main being I didn't use it's full power and they do from what I can tell draw a lot of power. Secondly it took up valuable floor space in a small flat. Thirdly I hated my crappy Dell 2407W 24" monitor - cheap plasticy rubbish.

    As the Mac Pro was pushing on 4 years in age it's value had plummeted. It would have been sure to fall even more once these new quad iMacs are out.

    Went and bought a 27" i7 iMac as it fills the gap between the high end macs and the mini/low end iMac. It's more than capable to handle any freelance/home After Effects/Maya work I do and with Snow Leopard should have a good level of futureproofability. Add to that the largest, brightest and cleanest looking display I've ever worked on and it looks like a great deal. Just can't wait for it to arrive. Whacking in an extra 8gb to make 12gb in total ready to give it a 4gb Win 7 bootcamp partition (accessible via VMWare).
  25. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    Reviving an old thread here, but hey, better than starting a possibly redundant one.

    I consider swapping my Mac Pro 2006 2.66GHz Octo (2x 4-core upgrade) with an i7 iMac because I absolutely don't stress it enough and its power consumption thus is not justifiable.

    My only concern is the following:
    I swapped my 24" 2.16GHz iMac C2D with my current Mac Pro because I had USB bandwidth problems with the iMac using 2 to 3 DVB-T receivers and especially with my Elgato turbo.264 encoding stick – and of course for the sheer power and expandability of the Mac Pro. :cool:
    Now my actual concern: How many controllers are there behind the new iMac's 4 USB ports? And will they suffice my described needs?

    Real-world experience would be highly appreciated! ;)

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