Current MacPro vs iMac

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Impulsivity, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. Impulsivity macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2011

    I'm looking for a good argument on whether to purchase an 8 core 2x 2.4GHz Intel Xeon E5620 MacPro now versus the current suped-up model iMac. Am I wrong in thinking that there isn't that much of a speed difference in the two computers?

    I would be using this for HD video editing and color grading.

    One of my main concerns is that the current MacPro model seems like it's not going to be around for very much longer, and that Thunderbolt is going to be the new thing. It worries me that the current MacPro doesn't have Thunderbolt. If the iMac gets too slow for me next year, I feel like I could resell it for a good price, more so than an older model 8 core MacPro.

    Oh, and I think I should mention too that I don't believe Apple will lose the MacPro line of computers; they'll be around for a while anyway.

    I guess this is also one of those questions that could be answered if I knew when the new MacPro line was going to come out, but wouldn't we all like to know this?
  2. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I feel like you have conflicting worries. If there is no new model MP next year, then the resale value of your used MP will go up, not down. There will still be some demand from people who want Mac Pros, but there will no longer be a new supply.

    Secondly, if your iMac gets too slow next year, you HAVE to buy a new computer. If your MP is too slow next year, you can upgrade it.

    Thirdly, even if CPU power is comparable in the iMac vs the MP, GPU power is not. The iMac is saddled with a mobility chip even at the highest end. And at the highest end you are working with a very high resolution monitor; that's a lot of work for a laptop GPU.
  3. Impulsivity thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2011
    Thanks for responding. Makes sense. How do I calculate the GPU of these machines?
  4. Kimmo macrumors member

    Jul 30, 2011
    Hi Imp,

    I was in a similar position recently and purchased a 2010 6-core refurb Mac Pro. I thought a lot about an iMac but went Pro for the following reasons:

    - the glass cover on the iMac screen didn't work for me. Reflections were a problem when editing photos. My calibrated NEC display works much better and the ergonomics (with the ability to raise and lower the screen and move from horizontal to vertical orientation easily) are a big plus.

    - As soon as I received my MP, I installed two additional caviar black drives in a soft Raid 0 for my data and a caviar green for the time machine backup. I kept my original drive for the OS and applications only. Unlike an iMac, this all sits in one handsome package on my desk and I like being able to reduce cables and external devices.

    - While there's debate about the future of optical drives I use them, and the two optical drives I have in my MP wasn't an option with iMac.

    - It's my understanding that the iMac GPU's are mobile based devices due to heat and space issues. I'm very pleased with my 5870 GPU as well as the ability to swap it out in the future should I need too. Also, while adding memory to an iMac isn't difficult, doing it in a Mac Pro is a snap.

    I too was concerned about the lag in Mac Pro updates and its future but it's an excellent product that does what I need it to do, and now that I have it I find I don't worry about updates and the "next big thing." Like you, I looked at the 2.4 8-core but concluded that the 6-core represented a better value for my particular purposes. Good luck in your search.
  5. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I'm not sure what you mean. There are benchmarks aplenty on the Internet.

    I did a quick check and depending on the benchmark, the 5870 will beat the 6970M by 10% to 40%.

    Also, the 6000 series should be coming to Mac Pro soon. The drivers are already showing up in OS updates.
  6. Impulsivity thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2011
    Yeah, I was looking for the benchmark speeds. I was going through the AMD website looking for where to measure that; also very curious as to why they didn't have a separate listing for macs, and why the imac has the 6000 series and the macPRO doesn't. It's standard crossfire, right? If I was expanding on the MacPro, wouldn't need to get a mirrored graphics card? You could have a 5000 and a 6000 series in one computer? Am I asking too many computer 101 questions? :)
  7. gullySn0wCat macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2010
    The 6000 series cards in the iMac are mobility versions. The desktop 6000 series (coming to Mac Pros soon) are literally twice as fast.
  8. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    The MP is often updated later than the rest of the Mac line.

    You could probably have a 5000 and 6000 series in a MP, but there may be power issues. The MP has two power connectors. The 5770 uses one and the 5870 uses both. In any case, Crossfire doesn't work in OS X.
  9. AppleDroid macrumors 6502a

    Apr 10, 2011
    My stance is and will be until there's a matte imac (haha I know I know):

    1. Do you do heavy video editing, 3D modeling and/or cannot live with a glassy screen? Get a Mac Pro.

    2. Do you like all-in-ones with a glassy screen? Get an iMac.

    In your case you mentioned HD video grading so I vote for the Mac Pro.
  10. steveOooo macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2008
    Or if your really really REALLY vain.. get a imac - cos youll be looking at your reflection all day long. .

    I guess the Fonz had a imac.. er, if they were around in the 50s...
  11. BigJohno macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2007
    San Francisco
    I got an iMac 2 years ago when they first introduced the 27" i7. I now regret buying it. My needs have changed and I am looking to buy a mac pro. I wish I had the expandability and the ability to have any monitor I like.

    I technically could build my own PC because everything I use runs on windows but I hate windows. you pay a little more but you feel good about working on a computer that was designed with passion.

    Go mac pro and you won't regret it.
  12. deconstruct60, Nov 2, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Thunderbolt (TB) primarily just adds PCI-e expansion. [ It adds display port expansion also but that is subsumed by just having PCI-e slots. ]

    The Mac Pro already has PCI-e expansion. Has had it all along. TB is just bring the other Mac models more into parity with what the Mac Pro has had all along. It does not necessarily need to be added. It might be "nice" if it was added but it is not necessary.

    Need to add two monitors to you Mac Pro? Plug them into the video card in the PCI-e slot. No TB needed.

    Need to hook to external RAID box? Plug in a eSATA or SAS card with external sockets. No TB needed.

    As for

    Dual package MP versus top of line iMac ..

    Really depends on your software and workload (how much RAM need and whether doing multiple things are once) . An iMac versus the entry or mid level single package version have much more substantive overlap. If really need dual packages you are likely doing something different.
  13. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    There is no "crossfire" / "SLI" / etc on either.

    The iMac has "mobile" GPUs in it. The Mac Pro doesn't. Generally "this years" non-mobile GPU becomes next years mobile version (after a shrink to make it run a bit cooler). You need to make user you are comparing apples-to-apples

    Here is a nice comparison chart.

    The desktop 5770
    ( 1360 GFLOPs and 76GB/s bandwidth )

    and 6770M

    ( 696 GFLOPs and 57GB/s bandwidth )

    are in different leagues.
  14. Impulsivity thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2011
    Thanks for all the responses guys. I'm using Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro, and looking into various programs for color correcting. I guess I don't know what program just yet, possibly DaVinci Resolve, which seems to be Mac friendly as it is owned by Blackmagic Design. I should figure out though what program I'll be using for color correcting first. Also I am very interested with Adobe buying Iridas.

    ANYWAY, I know I need a MacPro for all of this. It worries me that it's been a very long time since they put out a new model MacPro and I don't want to sink my money (which will be a lot of money for me) into a system that is quickly outdated. I feel like I always get screwed when it comes to Apple tech, but I'm sure I'm not alone there.

    But with all these demanding programs, you can understand my concerns, right?
  15. Loa macrumors 68000


    May 5, 2003

    Theory and theoretical bandwidth is all very nice, but my advice to you would be to find someone that has the top of the line iMac and does the kind of work you do. You'll then be able to see if it's powerful enough for you.

  16. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Your work clearly calls for a Mac Pro. If you can't wait for the expected update beginning of next year, either look for a 2nd hand one or get a Dual Processor flavour, as the Single Processor machines currently have a terrible price/performance ratio.
  17. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007

Share This Page