Do i buy an iMac or a Mac Pro for my needs?

InfernoUk

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 21, 2008
299
8
Hi guys

I am a music producer and want to move over to mac, currently I am with windows purely for the power aspect (i have a i7 5820K and 32GB Ram)

Im looking at macs and see 2 options, a 5K imac (i dont need the screen part really) or a mac pro (bottom spec one)

I would upgrade the imac processor to the 4.0ghz quad core as well, but the mac pro id leave at stock.

Both would be upgraded to 32gb ram by me so that part is negligible.

So mainly its a fight between the processors here, which is better? I will use multi core and my work is extensively CPU heavy.

Thanks for any help and I can provide any info needed that I missed!

Cheers
 

macmellow

macrumors newbie
Jun 3, 2015
23
10
the Netherlands
To compare the CPU, you can compare the Geekbench scores.
The 4GHz iMac scores 3961 on single-core and 14795 on multi-core
The baseline Mac Pro (quad-core) scores 3618 on single-core and 14572 on multi-core

So that's 2529 pounds for the iMac with Fusion Drive and 4GHz and 32GB vs 2899 pounds for the baseline Mac Pro with 32GB.

Also, you can upgrade the RAM on the iMac yourself, which saves you a pretty penny.

I thinks thats almost a no-brainer to go for the iMac.
 
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InfernoUk

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 21, 2008
299
8
To compare the CPU, you can compare the Geekbench scores.
The 4GHz iMac scores 3961 on single-core and 14795 on multi-core
The baseline Mac Pro (quad-core) scores 3618 on single-core and 14572 on multi-core

So that's 2529 pounds for the iMac with Fusion Drive and 4GHz and 32GB vs 2899 pounds for the baseline Mac Pro with 32GB.

Also, you can upgrade the RAM on the iMac yourself, that saves you a pretty penny.
ah great i was looking for some scores! i will be upgrading the ram myself so negate those prices!

so essentially the mac pro isnt really any good anymore vs imac unless you need graphics power or upgrade the cpu?
 

macmellow

macrumors newbie
Jun 3, 2015
23
10
the Netherlands
ah great i was looking for some scores! i will be upgrading the ram myself so negate those prices!

so essentially the mac pro isnt really any good anymore vs imac unless you need graphics power or upgrade the cpu?
Yes, Mac Pro is better in the graphics department. But you also have to keep in mind that the iMac has a Fusion Drive, so 128GB of SSD combined with 2TB of HDD if you go for the high-end iMac vs 256GB full SSD in the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro's SSDs are a bit faster though.

If you go for the iMac with the 1TB Fusion Drive I would consider to upgrade, because with the 1TB Fusion Drive you only have 24GB of SSD.
 

InfernoUk

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 21, 2008
299
8
Yes, Mac Pro is better in the graphics department. But you also have to keep in mind that the iMac has a Fusion Drive, so 128GB of SSD combined with 2TB of HDD if you go for the high-end iMac vs 256GB full SSD in the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro's SSDs are a bit faster though.

If you go for the iMac with the 1TB Fusion Drive I would consider to upgrade, because with the 1TB Fusion Drive you only have 24GB of SSD.
I cant just select the 256gb ssd for the imac thats a no cost option?
 

macmellow

macrumors newbie
Jun 3, 2015
23
10
the Netherlands
I cant just select the 256gb ssd for the imac thats a no cost option?
You can select the SSD instead of the Fusion drive, yes. But I don't know if you need the 2TB of storage, if you do, it is nice to have the option. If you don't, just go with the 256GB SSD. Anyway, seems that the iMac is the best solution. Mac Pro is only good if you go for the ones with more cores or if you need the I/O or graphics.
 

InfernoUk

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 21, 2008
299
8
You can select the SSD instead of the Fusion drive, yes. But I don't know if you need the 2TB of storage, if you do, it is nice to have the option. If you don't, just go with the 256GB SSD. Anyway, seems that the iMac is the best solution. Mac Pro is only good if you go for the ones with more cores or if you need the I/O or graphics.
great cheers, i use externals so internal memory is not important to me! thanks : )
 

IowaLynn

macrumors 65816
Feb 22, 2015
1,306
288
nMP is nice if you want 6-core or throw in coy yourself which can't do on iMac. Also has fast PCIe blades, support for 4x32GB RAM.

Has its own forum.
 

jjhoekstra

macrumors regular
Apr 23, 2009
195
15
You have to remember that Geekbench-scores only describe the maximum performance. The MacPro can ran at its maximum for hours or even days at an end and not once break out i a sweat. The iMac has the same power but only in shorter bursts before it gets hot.
It is a bit like comparing a 400 hp lorry and a 400 hp Ferrari. The same power but the lorry gets more work done. If my livelihood would depend on it, I would always go for a pro machine.
 
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alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,047
1,104
NYC
I agree with jjhoekstra. For example, in a compile session going 50 hours, the Mac Pro doesn't make any noise, but my iMac after 10 minutes is already blowing air at maximum and you can definitely hear it.

The iMac has the advantage of being fast and compact. You don't have to worry about getting a monitor or taking up more space. It's easier to clean up especially if you opt for the VESA mount option and a desktop stand (this option is only available at time of order).

The Mac Pro you get a computer that's built tough for going 100% 100% of the time. It's also compact, but it's quiet yet fast. But of course you need that external monitor and really the base spec model is kind of crap. So already you're burning more money. Add that 5K monitor, you could have gone instead for a 5K iMac and a top-end 15" MacBook Pro.

So you gotta figure out where your priorities lie and what you are willing to sacrifice.
 

InfernoUk

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 21, 2008
299
8
I wont be stress testing it 24/7, just when writing music and when rendering that out as a audio file. No video work.

I would only have budget for the base mac pro, which is flat out worse than the 4.0ghz imac performance wise. So i think the imac is the one here
 

R3k

macrumors 6502a
Sep 7, 2011
782
664
Sep 7, 2011
The Mac Pro is about much more than processing power. Its a really robust machine that you buy for the long haul. Sounds like you'll get by fine with an iMac though.
 

InfernoUk

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 21, 2008
299
8
The Mac Pro is about much more than processing power. Its a really robust machine that you buy for the long haul. Sounds like you'll get by fine with an iMac though.
If I wanted a long haul machine I wouldn't buy a PC that you can't upgrade the CPU or GPU on!
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,682
2,103
If I wanted a long haul machine I wouldn't buy a PC that you can't upgrade the CPU or GPU on!
However you are doing audio and the CPU and GPU needs haven't really changed in a decade any fairly decent modern computer will do it fine for years without upgrading the CPU or GPU, barring some new standard or format coming out of course.
 

austintg

macrumors member
Oct 28, 2015
82
28
Austin, TX
The biggest difference will come with the SSD. CPU won't matter as much as the read and write speeds. Compare the prices of the computers with the iMac upgraded to 1tb SSD and you'll see a better comparison.
 

IowaLynn

macrumors 65816
Feb 22, 2015
1,306
288
My Mac Pro 1,1 2006 still strong other than GPU on its PCIe 1.0 bus. Hard to kill it off.

An iMac you will outgrow, heat &fan issues, and maybe audio latency?
 

IowaLynn

macrumors 65816
Feb 22, 2015
1,306
288
I would look at Mac Pro 5,1 with 6-core 3.4GHz and 64GB RAM along with PCIe SSD blade (1500MB/sec) for a lot less and even though "old" can still be a killer.

Mac Pro 6,1 - shop Apple certified refurb'd special ~$2500 and you can upgrade everything except GPU.
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2015
981
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on the land line mr. smith.
If I could afford it, and space was not an issue, I would go MP. As has been pointed out, under heavy continuous load you will hear the iMac fans ramp up early and often.

If you go iMac, I would not go Fusion Drive. I would go SSD only internal, and run external (hopefully Thunderbolt) storage, as Apple still uses slow, over priced HDs, and they are hell to replace now. I would also run Macs Fan Control to add granular control and active monitoring of component heat and fans. There are others, but this is the best I have used....and free.
 
I do just fine with Logic Pro and ~150 plug-ins on a 2013 27" iMac Quad-core i7 32 GB of RAM and a 3TB fusion drive. It really depends on how big your projects are. If you do movie soundtracks and have entire orchestras then you might consider a Mac Pro, especially if you want to connect more than 2 extra monitors assuming you use a USB audio interface. A lot of electronic(dubstep/trance/house/electro) musicians use MacBook Pros to do almost all their work and typically those projects are extremely track and plug-in heavy. Unless you are looking at an orchestra with 100+ tracks you probably don't need anything more than a quad-core i7.
 
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austintg

macrumors member
Oct 28, 2015
82
28
Austin, TX
If I could afford it, and space was not an issue, I would go MP. As has been pointed out, under heavy continuous load you will hear the iMac fans ramp up early and often.

If you go iMac, I would not go Fusion Drive. I would go SSD only internal, and run external (hopefully Thunderbolt) storage, as Apple still uses slow, over priced HDs, and they are hell to replace now. I would also run Macs Fan Control to add granular control and active monitoring of component heat and fans. There are others, but this is the best I have used....and free.
Spot-on advice.
 

briloronmacrumo

macrumors 6502
Jan 25, 2008
464
271
USA
Another option is to wait another month to see if the Mac Pro is updated.
The MacPro hasn't been updated since its introduction in December 2013, so this is a sensible suggestion if you have the time to wait.

The MacPro( nMP ) really delivers with applications that use multiple cores; the 4.0 GHz iMac's single core performance is better than the MacPro, so it makes sense to evaluate the apps you plan to use for their ability to harness multiple cores. A trip to the local Apple Store might shed some light if they have your apps installed on their demo Macs. Generally, most photography pros will be happy with the iMac but there are obviously trade-offs vs. the Mac Pro.