Debating between MacPro1,1 or 27" imac i5

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mrjoshzombie, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. mrjoshzombie macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2010
    Alright, so I've been racking my brain for days now debating on what my next computer will be.

    Right now, I have a Refurbished iMac 24-inch 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4GB ram and a 1TB HD that I bought back in February of '08, and it meets almost all of my current computing needs. Lately, however, I've gotten quite heavily into PC gaming and the ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO just isn't cutting it anymore for me, I want something with a bit more graphical prowess.

    I originally was going to buy the new i7 iMacs when I first heard about them, but as the months go by I just hear worse and worse things about the screen quality. Knowing that, however, I decided to buy a i5 last night (i realized the i7 is more power than I need) and am currently waiting for it to show up on my door step. Normally, my debate would end there, HOWEVER, if there's any screen problems, it's obviously getting sent back for a replacement, and I'm only willing to do that twice before I get a refund.

    Now, knowing that, a friend of mine who is a eBay powerseller happens to have a Macpro1,1 that'd he be willing to let go for $1,300. Here are the specs:

    Two 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors
    250GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s; 7200 rpm; 8MB cache
    NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB
    6GB Ram
    16x SuperDrive with double-layer support

    I'm unsure if it has the airport/bluetooth or not. Now, I know it has more than enough computing power for me, because here at work (i'm a production artist) I have a macpro1,1 with 2 2GHz dual-core processors, 8GB ram, and I run VMware (WinXP), Quark 7.5, Photoshop CS3, and several other applications at once without -too- much slowdown. It's bearable, to say.

    Now, I know if I buy the Mac Pro I need to upgrade a few things, including:
    Airport Extreme Card (802.11n) $89.95
    Bluetooth card $34.95
    ATI Radeon HD 4870 videocard $349 (I'm aware I can flash a PC model of the 4870 or 4890, but am unsure if I want to go that route. I like things "just working" but am more than capable to do the flash)
    1-1.5 TB 7200rpm 32mb cache harddrive $89.99-$109.99
    24" Apple Cinema Display: $599.99 (refurb, if it comes back in stock) - $894
    Apple Wireless Keyboard: $69.99
    Apple Magic Mouse: $69.99

    Taking the cost to about $2.8k. The iMac I ordered cost $1,969.95 with overnight shipping. How would the two machines compare with 4 years and a thousand dollars difference? The 2x 3Ghz Cloverdale Xeon to the intel i5? I know the Mac Pro would win in gaming, but is the overall cost worth it? I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I like things to be native res at Medium-High settings.

    (I'm also aware I can go to eBay for the wireless/bluetooth card and could get a Dell monitor to save money, however, what I have listed is simply my ideal setup without TOO much shopping around done.)

    Thanks for any help given, and here's hoping the imac I get tonight doesn't have display problems.
  2. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    If it were me, I'd be thinking about the ease of swapping drives in and out of the Mac Pro (and adding new ones) as opposed to the impossibility of adding/changing drives in the iMac, more than about differences in computing power.

    The same would be true for the graphics, too -- choices are limited, yes, but they are there for you. Just as an example, you could try living with the GT7300 for a while and only swap it out if it really doesn't do the job for you.

    With the iMac, what you get is what you get, which of course is the nature of an all-in-one.

    I ordered a 27" I7 and it was bad. I'm still waiting for #2. I'm using it at my secondary work site, so I don't mind that it's all-in-one, because I bring my work in a FW800 enclosure and back at home base, I pop the drive back into my Mac Pro 1,1 and have at it there.

    I wouldn't ever buy an all-in-one as my main machine, but that's just me.
  3. mrjoshzombie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2010
    Swapping drives in and out isn't necessarily an issue, because I keep work and home very separate so I don't constantly transfer data. I do a tiny bit of freelance at home, but not enough to worry. I've had an all-in-one since '08 and it's treated me well, including when I upgraded the internal HD myself.

    If i didn't get more into PC gaming, than the current 24" i have would continue to suite my needs, however, thanks to Steam, that's quite the opposite. Really, the only reason I'm replacing the machine is because of the out-dated graphics card. I understand the MacPro has more options, but I'm hoping the 4850 in the iMac will last me another 2 years or so. Pending the new iMac I get tonight is a dud, I'm just trying to weigh my options for the best investment over the next 2-4 years, and if I'm convinced the MacPro is better over-all anyways, I may just send the iMac back regardless of quality.
  4. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    I would go for the Mac Pro if I were you. It would last longer, its more upgradable, and faster. The only downside is that you would need a monitor.

    I know this doesn't really help here, but I just ordered a new gaming PC today.
    Core i5 Processor
    GTX 260
    4GB RAM
    1080p monitor
  5. mrjoshzombie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2010
    Well, the real downside is it costs an extra grand over-all, not just that I need a monitor with it haha.

    I've built gaming PC's for people in the past, but I <3 OSX too much to get rid of it, and I wont build a hackintosh for my main computer. I don't like the idea of things breaking one day, and having to do research everytime a new software update comes out.
  6. toknowyou macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2010
    I was talking to a guy in Mac sales a few weeks back about the same thing, except I work with Adobe Aftereffects and wanted to know if the iMac 27" i7 would be relevant in 4 years from now. He told me that they are built for life and that it would still work with those types of graphic intense programs in 4 years. He told me that in some instances, the i7 beats the pro because of the effectiveness of the i7 processor and its threading with Snow Leopard.
  7. PeterQVenkman macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2005
    It might work with programs 4 years from now. 4 years is getting old. Don't buy a computer for graphics work thinking that it will last you 4 years- think about if it will help you now. You have no idea what computer advances will happen!

    A sales guy telling you they are built for life is definitely feeding you a line.

    As for the i7 beating the Pro, in some cases that is true, but only where the iMac corei7 is clocked faster than the Mac Pro Quad. They are both Nehalem processors and will perform similarly when they are at the same clock speed.

    The Mac Pro dual quads are blazing fast. But of course, you really pay for that speed. :eek:
  8. mrjoshzombie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2010
    My home computer is not my workstation, so I'm not buying it for graphics related problems. Yes, I do a little free lance from time to time, but not enough to warrant a machine dedicated to the work.

    My computer is essentially my toy, and I'm just trying to figure out the best bang-for-the-buck setup that will last me another 2-4 years without having to worry about upgrading.

    How does the dual 3GHz Cloverdale Xeon compare to the i5 in terms of performance? The most intensive work I do is the occasional large batch of RAW photos, nothing in terms of rendering or video editing.
  9. XxEjGxX macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2009
    the mac pro will be much more upgradeable and therefore future proof [​IMG] but this all comes at a cost, so its really down to you... long lasting expensive or long lasting but not as long but cheaper
  10. Habitus macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2009
    Where ever my life takes me...
    Give the iMac a shot. You never know; you may not experience the display problem. Also, Apple will take care of this issue, given your 1 year warranty. Can't say that about the MacPro!

    Good luck and enjoy your new iMac!

    Habitus :apple:
  11. mrjoshzombie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2010
    I figured I should come back here. I got my i5 in that day, and there was only a FAINT yellow tinge on the bottom. I wouldn't even have noticed it unless I was looking for it exactly.

    it does everything i needed a computer to do and then some. it's quite the step up in performance from my 2.4GHz C2D and it ran every game i tried last night at native res and the highest, or damn well close too highest graphics.

    I'll be staying the iMac route and probably looking into a mac pro a few years from now.
  12. peskaa macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2008
    London, UK
    Good choice.

    The Mac Pro 1,1 is the exact model of Mac Pro you don't want to buy, as Apple have abandoned them on the scrap heap. They only have EFI 32, which limits you on graphics cards, compatibility with Windows 7 and a host of other bits and bobs. Just not worth it. You need a 2008 or newer model Mac Pro to get the best out of them.
  13. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    As the previous poster said, avoid. $1300 for a used Mac Pro is cheap. There's a reason the price is so low.

    Mac Pro 1,1 is outdated, the firmware is really going to limit you on graphics cards, 64-bit compatability, Windows, etc.

    You want a Mac Pro 3,1 or later. Definitely going to cost more - but they are blazing fast and among the best and easiest computers to upgrade, no question about it.

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