HELP! iMac or MacPro, for video hobbyist, Draftsman & Graphic Designer?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Tom Jenson, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. Tom Jenson macrumors newbie

    Tom Jenson

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    #1
    Hello,

    I'm desperately wanting to replace my desktop PC with a desktop Mac ASAP, but I'm stuck deciding between a fully loaded iMac or a basic 8-core mac pro.

    Either way I end up going, I will purchase additional RAM & HDD through third-party suppliers like OWC, to help reduce the cost, which is a big issue for me. I will also wait until MacWorld 2009 to purchase, that way I don't kick myself in a month or two!

    The real debate for me comes down to the cost-to-lifespan ratio of either setup, and whether the savings in rendering times is worth the extra money for a hobbyist such as myself.

    Does the upgradability of the MacPro give it enough of a prolonged lifespan to justify the added cost, and therefore saving me money in the long run? or is the MacPro simply overkill for my uses and I'd be better off upgrading an iMac every couple of years?

    I'd appreciate any suggestions. Thanks. :D


    About me and my uses
    My day job as a residential draftsman and my hobbies of no-budget filmmaking & graphic design all play a part in weighing my options.
    The programs I use regularly are AutoCAD, Revit & 3DS Max via Bootcamp, Adobe CS4 (Photoshop Ext., Premiere, After Effects, Encore, InDesign), PowerCADD and Office 2008. I would like to work with Final Cut Studio as well in the future. [for examples of the exact type of video editing I do, please see my website at www.DubusaryPictures.com]
     
  2. mgridgaway macrumors 6502

    mgridgaway

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    #2
    If you're willing to spend $2200 for an iMac, then I would spend just a bit more and get the Mac Pro. It has much more in terms of power and in expandability.

    With the iMac, the only thing you can really upgrade is the ram... The video card can't be replaced, and the hard drive is a major hassle to even get to.. plus I believe it voids your warranty.

    With the Mac Pro, you can get a max of 32GB Ram, meaning you can buy more and more as the system can take advantage of it (though I want to see who actually needs 32GB of ram), you can upgrade the video card, you have PCI bays for other ports, and you can put in 3 other hard drives with relative ease. Get a nice Dell monitor and you'll have something that'll probably last you twice as long as that iMac would.
     
  3. Tom Jenson thread starter macrumors newbie

    Tom Jenson

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    #3
    Thanks BuddyGuyMan,
    I agree that the MacPro is probably the way to go. However, even though the base system price is only a couple hundred apart, once you add a quality monitor (such as the GORGEOUS new LED Cinema Display, when they arrive for MacPro users) then the price difference is significant.

    Does anyone have any real-world info on the Cost-to-lifespan of these Macs in a video editing setting? How does buying a new iMac every two years compare with continually upgrading the MacPro. Will the MacPro's lifespan (with upgrades) last enough to justify the initial & ongoing cost? I realize that everyone's definition of "lifespan" is different, but I'd still appreciate any opinion in that matter.
     
  4. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    #4
    Depends how much money you're making off video editing/hr. You'll get more done with the Mac Pro since it's much faster. Also Nehalem sometime hopefully early half of 09.. Will the Pro last longer, definitely. Just depends..Will two iMacs be faster than 1 Mac Pro? Doubt it..
     
  5. Tom Jenson thread starter macrumors newbie

    Tom Jenson

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    #5
    Because my video editing is simply a hobby (albiet an expensive & time consuming one) I don't make money doing it, other than the occational wedding video. Therefore rendering time isn't a necessity, but rather a convenience.

    Do you think the MacPro is worth it over its lifespan even if the gains in speed aren't necessary?
     
  6. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    #6
    Yes, if you have the money, especially with the gains to be seen with Snow Leopard. With the upgradeability of the Mac Pro, you could probably run OS 11... whenever it comes out, since PCIe is pretty standard now and DDR3 will only get cheaper. 2 Quad Core Nehalems will be very fast for quite a while since video editing is just a hobby. Remember that HD speeds play a big role too.
     
  7. macworkerbee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    #7
    From your comments I'm understanding that lifespan of the machine is important to you. For what you do, the MacPro is going to be a great machine for a very long time. As your interests or work expand it has the capacity to grow with you through additional RAM, hard drives and even improved video cards.

    I don't actually own a MacPro but I do own a G5Quad (the last one they made) and feel that this machine still has potential for speed growth over the next two years (if everyone and their mother wouldn't stop writing software for PPC machines! :mad:). Apple's pro towers are designed to last and grow with your usage over time. Depending on those needs I would say that 3-6 years is a reasonable time frame for replacement while the imac may be more like 2-4 years before you start feeling a bit sluggish in your work.

    I hope that helps.
     
  8. sfh macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Location:
    Sacramento CA
    #8
    the Pro is the way to go... I wish that i could have picked up a pro instead of the iMac. one of the main reasons is lifespan... I know that since they use mobile parts to make the iMac that inherently it will not last as long. I cant upgrade my monitor or easily upgrade anything but ram which i already have maxed out.

    If you have the ability to get the pro you will not be dissatisfied with it at all. especially if something breaks and you need to replace it down the road.
     
  9. mgridgaway macrumors 6502

    mgridgaway

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    #9
    I agree with this quote wholeheartedly. I love my iMac but it's just so boooring. I want to take it apart and look around but all you can do is change the ram which I maxed when I first got it. I'm strongly considering a Mac Pro at the next go-around, unless they come out with that mythical headless mac.
     
  10. Tom Jenson thread starter macrumors newbie

    Tom Jenson

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    #10
     
  11. macworkerbee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    #11
    Well, for what it is, the LED monitor that Apple just released doesn't seem to be too high a price in comparison with the competition (other 24" LED monitors). I myself would avoid it because of the gloss screen (yeah, I'm in that camp for PRO users:p).

    So yeah, if it was me, I would go with another monitor for much cheaper. I don't know what specific model to point you to but I'm sure others will have some good ideas. I myself have a 20" ACD and it serves my purposes well (and looks damn nice with my other equipment) but if I were buying a new monitor and money was a major consideration I would research going with another model.

    I think I'm waiting for January to see if we get Nehalem updates for the MacPro before I retire my G5Quad. Good luck with your wait!
     
  12. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2008
    #12
    Most cheaper monitors aren't IPS, if that's what you need.
     
  13. 229dan229 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    #13
    Hands down the Mac Pro just for the sheer amount of user expandability it is worth it, especially if you were going to spend the money on a iMac otherwise. Don't get me wrong, the iMacs are great, but the power in the Mac Pro is far superior.
     
  14. Pixellated macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #14
    Buy the Mac Pro now, there's no point waiting, and buy a nice 30" Dell monitor (Apple displays are very overpriced). Although that LED Cinema is BEAUTIFUL. :p
     
  15. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #15
    I wish I could afford a Mac Pro. If I could, I would definitely buy it over the iMac. I get to use an iMac at a client's office all of the time and a Mac Pro sometimes. I cannot wait to login to the Mac Pro the next time. It is always so fun to watch it work. Amazingly fast and blows away my v 2,2 MacBook Pro, my new MacBook, and even the 3.x GHz iMac. Makes the iMac seem like a toy in fact. That really is a good way to describe it. The iMac is a toy that you will outgrow. You can upgrade the Mac Pro whenever you think something isn't quite what you think it should be. If I had a Mac Pro, I would probably never leave it. You could do ANYTHING you want on a Mac Pro. Gosh, I get excited just dreaming about it. Lucky you, now go buy the darn thing already. You probably will not leave it for 24 hours after opening the box.
     
  16. Tom Jenson thread starter macrumors newbie

    Tom Jenson

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    #16
    That's how I've been feeling about getting ANY Mac for years now. The MacPro will stretch my budget, but it seams clear to me now that it will be well worth the investment!

    Thanks everyone!
     
  17. macworkerbee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    #17
    That's true, but I figured for a self-proclaimed hobbyist that a cheaper display could satisfy the OP's needs.
     
  18. matt1219 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #18
    Go for a refurb Mac Pro. You can't really upgrade on the iMac and with the Mac Pro you just expand up to 32GB RAM and 4 TB HD internally, and you have at least 2 2.8 GHz Quad Xeons. Perfect. I'm getting one soon. =D
     
  19. Wardotron macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    #19
    I agree. The Mac Pro is a great machine with plenty of expandability options; a refurb one will meet your needs for at least three years, whilst shaving a wedge off the cost.
     

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