Deciding between an iMac and a MacPro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by tone654, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. tone654 macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2011
    I'm deciding between a new iMac (assuming they come out in June/July) and a new MacPro. The most intensive tasks I do are photo and video editing (large files from a Nikon D800), for which I think a top spec iMac with SSD is probably sufficient. However, I want to be sure that I'm not going to be watching spinning beach balls in 2 years time and being forced to buy a whole new monitor yet again. The appeal of the Mac Pro is that it seems more future proof. Additionally, I wouldn't be buying an integrated monitor. This is offset by my reluctance to pay for graphics power that I really don't need. Here's my reasoning, am I off base?

    CPU: top spec iMac is sufficient

    GPU: top spec iMac is sufficient. Mac Pro is serious overkill for my needs - paying a lot for power I won't use

    Memory: much faster memory in the MacPro - again, would I notice this now? Even if its not apparent now, presumably a Mac Pro would still be fast long after an iMac would start grinding to a halt

    Storage: MacPro is supposed to be 2.5x faster than the SSD option in an iMac, but would I even notice this? What about in 3 years time, presumably the iMac will need to be upgraded much sooner than the Mac Pro

    External storage: the Mac Pro has TB2. Is this likely to be included in the new iMac? If not, external storage will be slower and the connectivity will be obsolete sooner

    your thoughts?
  2. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    I don't think it's likely we'll see either new iMacs or Mac Pros in June or July. Early fall would be my earliest guess.

    While your points about the monitor are well taken, an iMac maxes out at $3349 and a Mac Pro + monitor will cost considerably more - enough more that you might be well ahead even if you have to replace the iMac sooner.

    With TB2 vs TB, remember that either one is much faster than the external storage you'd be attaching, unless that storage is also SSD.
  3. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    For what you are doing, the speed of the memory won't be as big of an issue as making sure you have enough memory. The current iMac supports 32GB this should be enough for the iMac to last a number of years.

    As for storage, a lot of us expect that the iMac will get the same PCI-E SSD storage the the MacBook Air has now. This is 45% faster than the previous SSDs that the Air had.

    As for external storage, unless you're putting multiple SSDs on the same Thunderbolt port and then they would need to all be acive at the same time, you're not likely to need Thunderbolt 2 for what you are doing. Thunderbolt 2 devices should be compatible with the current Thunderbolt ports if you want to future proof yourself by getting them when they are available. And remember the 27" has 2 Thunderbolt ports.

    In short, I don't think an iMac will have any issue lasting you 3+ years based on what you would be using it for.
  4. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    I went through this analysis. The problem with the consumer machines for me is that once you try to turn them into anything high end, or what I consider minimum, like 16GB RAM, SSD, etc, then you're in the $2500 range. Better to get a Pro and do it yourself (not pay the horrific Apple tax for RAM, disk, etc).

    Consumer machines economically only make sense if you keep them near the low end, so it depends on your use case.
  5. Dwinguel macrumors member


    Feb 2, 2010
    Geneva, Switzerland
    If you take the top of the range iMac and upgrade to a fusion drive or relatively small SSD, you should be able to get it for about $2500, which will be quite a bit less than getting a Mac Pro + monitor (computer starting at $2500).

    This iMac will be plenty enough performance for your usage over the long run. I don't think you will see any real difference between the Mac Pro and the iMac in your case.

    Concerning the RAM, you can swap it yourself easily on the 27" model (but not on the 21.5" model) so you can stay with the standard RAM on purchase and buy more in a shop online yourself. You will save money that way, especially if you plan to upgrade to 32 GB. Also you can upgrade later if needed and save even more since the price of the RAM will have gone down.
  6. themomopan macrumors member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Get the iMac. I'm editing R3D 4k footage from my Red Scarlet and it's working just fine.
  7. tone654 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2011
    thanks for the advice everyone - if you can edit 4k video on an iMac I really have no excuse for getting a Mac Pro!

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