Get a loaded iMac or a Mac Pro for college?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by minisuds7, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. minisuds7 macrumors member

    minisuds7

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Location:
    The U.P. of Michigan
    #1
    I'll be attending Michigan Tech this fall to major in mechanical engineering. I had my heart set on getting a new Mac Pro this summer once they updated them (hahaha), but that didn't happen… But then I thought that I could possibly just go without a computer for the first month or so and get a new loaded iMac when those are SUPPOSED to come out in October, theoretically. Plus with an iMac, you get that gorgeous 27" display included… But then there's the factor that I could make a Pro last longer by upgrading the HDs, processor(s), memory, etc. What's a good idea? If you think a Mac Pro, what processor would suffice for a beginning mechanical engineering student? I'm on the fence between a 3.2 quad or the 3.33 hex, maybe a heavily discounted refurb 8 core http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC561LL/A ... Help! I'm set on a desktop btw :rolleyes: (I've got an iPad for portability)
     
  2. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    You're probably not going to be able to go the first month without a computer. Most of your weekly math homework, etc. will probably be online, which will be a nightmare to do on an iPad. A solution to this would just to always use school computers for that first month.

    I think the choice comes down to if you want to wait for the iMac or not. If not, get a 4 core Mac Pro (6 or 8 core is extraneous for anything you'd have to do), if so, get the 2012 iMac. For the average user (i.e. one that doesn't need high CPU performance for rendering, etc), the iMac is the best value because it includes the high quality display. As for upgrading, it'll have a high resale value which, depending on when you sell, the difference in price between new and old might be smaller than the price of new components for the Mac Pro.

    Edit: My first year of college was last year, so I speak from experience.
     
  3. TwoBytes macrumors 68020

    TwoBytes

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    #3
    You won't need the power of a pro and by the time you want to upgrade the HD, you'll be wanting a whole machine upgrade. Save your money, no brainier for the iMac.
     
  4. minisuds7 thread starter macrumors member

    minisuds7

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Location:
    The U.P. of Michigan
    #4
    Thanks for the advice! That's exactly what I needed… I've always loved iMacs anyway :) But I'll just have an ultimatum where if they don't have new iMacs be October, I'll get a quad 3.2 Pro. At least you can update that ancient hardware… With the iMac, I'd be stuck with early 2011 tech.
     
  5. minisuds7 thread starter macrumors member

    minisuds7

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
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    #5
    Thanks for reminding me about resale value! I didn't even think about that… Using that logic, and depending on how much cash I have, I could sell it before the 2013 iMac comes out with Haswell and Retina and buy that! :D
     
  6. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #6
    Yeah, no problem! I'm also waiting for the 2012 top end iMac. I'm considering adopting a new upgrade strategy by selling my current machine and buying the next generation at a loss of like $300-$500 or so (at least that's the difference I could gather by looking at eBay) each new release rather than using the machine for years and not selling like I have my current MBP.
     
  7. Judas1, Jul 27, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012

    Judas1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    #7
    A MBP isn't one of your choice? Takes up less space, powerful, and occasionally, you can take it on campus to do projects, or work away from your dorm room when you want to avoid distraction. I find that he school computer labs are always crowded.

    Edit: A MBA is viable also. The only program you'll need a lot of power for is some CAD program, but you'll be dealing with simpler 3D objects, so no problems there. And even the intro programming class doesn't need a powerful machine. Both the MBA and iMac have integrated graphics, so the MBA can sub for the iMac.
     
  8. minisuds7 thread starter macrumors member

    minisuds7

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    Jul 26, 2012
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    #8
    The reason why I want an iMac now is the sheer performance per dollar value of it. Right now, you can get one with a way faster processor speed, an ssd/hdd combo, DEDICATED AMD Radeon 6970m graphics, and a gorgeous 27 in. display for about 3k. Yeah, the power and portability is nice, but I've got an iPad with a keyboard for taking notes and my friends at Tech said that working on projects in your dorm is VERY convenient. The school also doesn't have a very large population and there are tons of computer labs, so they aren't too crowded. But I do see the logic in your response, so thanks anyway!:)
     
  9. blazeken996 macrumors member

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    Jan 29, 2009
    #9
    For the very same price you could get a desktop much more powerful than the iMac. I'd think you need a lil more oomph.
     
  10. minisuds7 thread starter macrumors member

    minisuds7

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    Jul 26, 2012
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    #10
    What a Mac Pro? I'm not leaving Apple btw ;) Besides, with a Mac Pro, I don't get a terrific monitor included... And idk, I'm pretty sure a new iMac can run CAD programs if my mom's 2009 iMac can :p
     
  11. donga macrumors 6502a

    donga

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    AZ
    #11
    I'd consider a MacBook pro. Laptop >>>>>>desktop in college and if you really need the specs I'm sure your school has the computers you will need
     
  12. noteple macrumors 65816

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    Aug 30, 2011
    #12
    I would get a MBP for easy of upgrade along with resale value and portability when you might need it.
     
  13. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #13
    Why would anyone get a Mac Pro at this point? It's basically EOL.
     
  14. minisuds7 thread starter macrumors member

    minisuds7

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    Jul 26, 2012
    Location:
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    #14
    Yes, MBPs are nice, but I already have an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard to take with me to class for notes. And in classes that use computers, we have a computer lab to go to, so I wouldn't need a laptop really to bring to the CAD type of classes. The other reason for a desktop for me is as I said before that you get more bang for your buck. And I'm not the kind of person to be mainstream, and everyone gets laptops for college, so I'm bucking the trend with my iPad/iMac combo ;):apple:
     
  15. minisuds7 thread starter macrumors member

    minisuds7

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Location:
    The U.P. of Michigan
    #15
    Does anyone out there know how much capability you need in a computer to run the more advanced 3D modeling programs like Autodesk Inventor and Solidworks? As in, do you think a top of the line iMac is powerful enough to run those types of programs? My mom's 2009 iMac can run AutoCAD 2011 for Mac just fine, but I think that's a little more basic… Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm just making sure that they aren't applications that take advantage of more than 4 cores because then that would warrant a Mac Pro to work on projects in the comfort of my own dorm :)
     
  16. awer25 macrumors 65816

    awer25

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    #16
    Since you're an engineering major, why not try a "hackintosh"? They're insanely easy these days. I just put one together using an i7-3770k OC'ed to 4.4GHz, Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H motherboard, GTX 670 GPU, and one of those 27" 2560x1440 LG displays from eBay for $300 (same panel as the 27" iMac). All you have to do is install Mountain Lion, then an update program. After that, it all works. I probably spent close to $1500 and built something much more powerful than any updated iMac could be, and just as stable.

    Anyway, just throwing out more options for ya.
     
  17. minisuds7 thread starter macrumors member

    minisuds7

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Location:
    The U.P. of Michigan
    #17
    Thanks for the advice! That option has crossed my mind but in the end I just don't want to screw up haha. As of right now, it's a little late for me to build one anyway because I'm leaving on the 7th for two weeks to visit relatives in Georgia and Tennessee. I'll be back home on the 21st and then off to college on the 25th, sooo yeaaah, not too much time :p Who knows, I might do that next summer! I've always wanted to build my own, btw. But I was thinking I would do it after college as a sort of hobby project. But as of now, I'm just gonna stick to getting an off the shelf Apple product for at least this year. Once I'm comfortable with college and Haswell comes out next year, I very well could do a Hackintosh :D But thanks again! My question still stands on if a loaded iMac can run those 3D modeling programs though :rolleyes:
     

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