financially, nMP vs iMac

sbb155

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 15, 2005
495
5
a higher end imac meets all my needs for much cheaper than a MP. I replace the imac every 2-3 years. However, the resale is not very good compared to a MP I have owned. FInancially, over 5 years, is it cheaper to own one 6 core MP, vs buying an imac every 2.5 years? I think it is very comparable.

The MPs from 2009 are very useful now, so I think that performance-wise, it works.

Any thoughts on this plan? This is a financial argument for equivalency between the two options. Not sure if I am looking at it right.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,675
33,532
Boston
You're spending a thousand dollars more for a nMP, do you think you'll get that back when you sell it in 2 to 3 years - I don't.

Get the machine that best fits your needs, don't worry about resale, its not like you'll make a profit.

If the iMac is more then enough for you, then get it. If you have tons of cash laying around and you really want the nMP then get that - its your money and you don't have to justify the purchase :)
 

Quash

macrumors regular
Sep 27, 2007
192
20
The iMacs are significantly cheaper, but i still would go for a mac pro.
I have bad experiences with iMac GPU's...

You could also go base model mac pro and use that 3 generations(around 4 year). Resale on a mac pro is much better in my experience than an iMac. And update your screen whenever you want.
 

riggles

macrumors 6502
Dec 2, 2013
256
0
My numerbs are pretty rough, but it might help. If a higher end iMac costs $2,750 and looses 30% of its value over 3 years, that averages ~$640/year for direct cost-of-ownership. A $4,000 6-core nMP which loses 30% over 5 years is $560/year COO. So, initially, it
Looks like the nMP might save money.

There are two things to consider, though. First, if you're purchasing on credit, the nMP higher balance will incur higher finance charges for the entire time it's sitting on your credit card. That might make it a wash or even put the iMac ahead, depending on your interest rates and how long it takes to pay it off.

Also, you will get the latest technology every 3 years, as opposed to 5 years. I don't know if that's important to you, but faster components, better screens, etc would be yours earlier.

Honestly, I don't see a clearly financial advantage either way. I'm not an accountant, so I can't get more accurate.
 

propower

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2010
719
112
Applecare makes a replacement cycle around 2.5 years as the sweet spot. It is much easier to sell a 2.5 year old AC computer than a 3.5 year old one without it.

So for a $3000 imac w/applecare I would estimate something like $1500 resale in ~2.5 years. A $4300 nMP probably closer to $2.6K.

So magically for ~$1500 - $1700 (in either case) every 2.5 years one could replace either one with its newer sibling. I have no problem re-investing that kind of money every two to 2.5 years so this has been my Apple strategy for a while now. Sometimes if a machine is really doing everything I need - I keep them longer (the 2011 MBA as an onffice and travel machine is still amazing!) but never more than 4 years.
 

MH01

Suspended
Feb 11, 2008
12,107
9,298
Don't forget the old mac pros came with dual CPU options, hence why a 2009 Mac Pro still has very good performance .

Ask yourself if you need multitask capability. Cause if you do not a 4 core will beat a 6 core. In which case a iMac is faster.

And the new mac pros have single CPU and 2x gpu, do you do video or rendering? If you do not the 780m is a better option in the iMac .

You have to ask yourself if the Mac Pro is the right machine for you, it's becoming a one trick pony aimed at video production. For the majority of users the new iMac is a much better option, and you get a build in monitor .

The other thing to consider , mac pros updates come very seldom. So the price might hold up better.
 

ZnU

macrumors regular
May 24, 2006
171
0
The other thing to consider , mac pros updates come very seldom. So the price might hold up better.
Probably shouldn't rely on that. It's pretty clear Apple didn't update the Mac Pro for so long because they were waiting for a bunch of things to fall into place for the new design. It seems likely they'll now resume updating approximately in line with Intel's release cycle. (Though arguably with this machine's focus on GPU it might make more sense for them to update on AMD's release cycle.)
 

MH01

Suspended
Feb 11, 2008
12,107
9,298
Probably shouldn't rely on that. It's pretty clear Apple didn't update the Mac Pro for so long because they were waiting for a bunch of things to fall into place for the new design. It seems likely they'll now resume updating approximately in line with Intel's release cycle. (Though arguably with this machine's focus on GPU it might make more sense for them to update on AMD's release cycle.)
Traditionally mac pros have some of the longest wait times between refreshes. Only the Mac mini competes :) . An iMac will have far more refreshes than a Mac Pro , reducing it resale value. Also xeons see far less refreshes than the consumer line.
 

Cubemmal

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2013
824
1
Applecare makes a replacement cycle around 2.5 years as the sweet spot. It is much easier to sell a 2.5 year old AC computer than a 3.5 year old one without it.

So for a $3000 imac w/applecare I would estimate something like $1500 resale in ~2.5 years. A $4300 nMP probably closer to $2.6K.

So magically for ~$1500 - $1700 (in either case) every 2.5 years one could replace either one with its newer sibling. I have no problem re-investing that kind of money every two to 2.5 years so this has been my Apple strategy for a while now. Sometimes if a machine is really doing everything I need - I keep them longer (the 2011 MBA as an onffice and travel machine is still amazing!) but never more than 4 years.
I don't believe in Apple care. I've got some 10 Macs still and have owned maybe 15 or 20 total. Never got Apple care, and have modded most of them. Only had a few problems.

  • $120 - Power supply blew on a TB monitor
  • $220 (about) Daughterboard blew on a 2009 MP
  • $250 - Video output blew on a 2011 MBP

That last one was amazing, it came to $300 after labor and what not, but they replaced the entire motherboard for that little!

Macs cost more, but when they break Apple charges cost to fix in my experience. I've made out much better without Applecare, if I had gotten it the cost would be somewhere more than $3k, versus maybe $700 in spot fixes. Actually more than that, the MP would have been out of warrantee anyhow.
 

wildmac

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2003
1,167
1
Well, what do you need it for? and do you already have monitors?

Base nMP is $3k, and a loaded iMac is $2.8k. Do you use any software that would benefit from the $4k 6-core?

I bought the 6-core over the iMac because:

1) LR will take advantage of 6 cores.

2) the built-in displays of the iMacs worry me.

3) I believe a 6-core xeon with the new D500s will have longer legs longevity wise than the iMac.

4) I already have 2 Dell 24" monitors.
 

Thunderbird

macrumors 6502a
Dec 25, 2005
903
753
My numerbs are pretty rough, but it might help. If a higher end iMac costs $2,750 and looses 30% of its value over 3 years, that averages ~$640/year for direct cost-of-ownership. A $4,000 6-core nMP which loses 30% over 5 years is $560/year COO. So, initially, it
Looks like the nMP might save money.

There are two things to consider, though. First, if you're purchasing on credit, the nMP higher balance will incur higher finance charges for the entire time it's sitting on your credit card. That might make it a wash or even put the iMac ahead, depending on your interest rates and how long it takes to pay it off.

Also, you will get the latest technology every 3 years, as opposed to 5 years. I don't know if that's important to you, but faster components, better screens, etc would be yours earlier.

Honestly, I don't see a clearly financial advantage either way. I'm not an accountant, so I can't get more accurate.
Yes, your numbers are pretty rough. Absolutely no way you can sell an iMac for two thirds its original price after three years. Where do you live? Belarus? You'll be lucky to get half the price after two years.

I imagine its the same for a MP. But the nMP will last a great deal longer than an iMac even given predicted advancements in components. You won't need to upgrade the nMP for at least 5 years. On an iMac, the graphics card will seem dated after 5 years.
 

riggles

macrumors 6502
Dec 2, 2013
256
0
Yes, your numbers are pretty rough. Absolutely no way you can sell an iMac for two thirds its original price after three years. Where do you live? Belarus? You'll be lucky to get half the price after two years.
Err, ok, that was helpful. No, I don't live in Belarus. But, I'll look into that, thank you.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,782
2,067
My numerbs are pretty rough, but it might help. If a higher end iMac costs $2,750 and looses 30% of its value over 3 years, that averages ~$640/year for direct cost-of-ownership. A $4,000 6-core nMP which loses 30% over 5 years is $560/year COO. So, initially, it
Looks like the nMP might save money.
You're likely to lose significantly more than 30% over 3 years on such a model. Really specced out imacs are going to drop much harder than the base models, as much of the time you can just buy a new one with comparable performance at that time for significantly less. It doesn't always work out that way, but typically close enough. I would probably apply a 20-25% markdown each year for something more realistic. It can be a bit more or less depending on market conditions, popularity of whatever upgrades were purchased, and warranty status. By that I don't mean 10% of its original value in 3 years. I mean $2500-->1950-->$1500--->$1150~ . That would be for a way specced out 27" imac from 2010, assuming one could be brought up to $2500 at that time without the use of useless upgrades. The way you put it, it's like you think a a $2750 model will still take more than $2000 3 years later, which is unrealistic.
 

riggles

macrumors 6502
Dec 2, 2013
256
0
The way you put it, it's like you think a a $2750 model will still take more than $2000 3 years later, which is unrealistic.
It really was just a ballpark. The way you can tell is by reading the first sentence of my post which said they were just "rough numbers". I really don't know what his iMac will sell for in 3 years. Neither does he. Neither do you. I sold my last iMac (maxed specs w/ 3rd party RAM upgrade) for $250 less than I spent a year earlier on it new from Apple. That was 2 months ago. I've always had pretty good success reselling my Macs. I know my circumstance are not shared by everyone, so there could be a large price gap. Either way, I wasn't stating fact, obviously, just trying to help the OP with a starting point.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,782
2,067
I sold my last iMac (maxed specs w/ 3rd party RAM upgrade) for $250 less than I spent a year earlier on it new from Apple. That was 2 months ago.
I get that you've had decent luck. It sounds like someone paid too much though if your market has the option of refurb purchases. They would get a bigger discount from Apple with a full warranty. I've heard of sales like this from others on this site. I'm just skeptical on the existence of so many ignorant buyers. My figures were realistic. They're for a private sale and slightly below something like macofalltrades (used mac retailer).
 

sbb155

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 15, 2005
495
5
The question is really, what is the resale value of a 5 year old mac pro, vs doing it twice (every 2.5 years) with a imac
 

cap7ainclu7ch

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2010
380
328
The question is really, what is the resale value of a 5 year old mac pro, vs doing it twice (every 2.5 years) with a imac
Or what about selling the Mac Pro every 2.5 years with the warranty still intact. Seems like the Mac Pro would hold its value substantially better than the iMac over that time period. I was considering the same thing but went with the Mac Pro due to the fact that I know it will hold its value well and perform 24/7 without heat issues. Higher res display options are a plus too.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,627
4,628
The Peninsula
Seems like the Mac Pro would hold its value substantially better than the iMac over that time period
That seems to assume that the nMP (new Mini Pro) will be a raging success....

If it turns out to be the "new Cube" - don't count on resale value.

My advice would be to not depend on resale value - it's an unknown quantity at this point. If you can sell it used for a good price, great. If it loses its value, don't worry.
 
Last edited:

Macsonic

macrumors 68000
Sep 6, 2009
1,601
60
The question is really, what is the resale value of a 5 year old mac pro, vs doing it twice (every 2.5 years) with a imac
Also take into account unforeseen variables if you plan to resell your Mac Pro. Demand, type of model and needs, supply may change and affect the resale value. If there are too many sellers of the same base model and fewer buyers, the price value may go down or the machine may be harder to sell. If you buy the BTO model, you're getting it a higher cost. And you need to resell it at a higher price but the prospective buyers don't have a budget for it sales may be slower. You'll also need to look into the status and availability of the external TB devices 5 years from now because the new Mac Pro is not a standalone machine as is. Though this may be a minor detail.

If you're buying the new Mac Pro, best reason is you need this for your work without the need to think of how much you can resell the machine years from now.
 
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