Help: nMP vs. MP vs. iMac

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by maurosnl, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. maurosnl macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2014
    Hi Folks,

    Long time lurker here, but am currently facing a dilemma that (finally) forced me to register. Like many people I am considering buying a nMP... but probably for the wrong reasons. I haven't found this dilemma anywhere else on the forum, hence another thread about this, sorry!

    I currently own a late 2012 27" iMac, my first desktop after having used many MacBooks. I enjoy the screen, the overall speed and design. On the other hand, it bothers me that it is an all-in-one deal... the idea that when 'something' might break (e.g. screen, Fusion drive, GPU) the entire computer would become virtually useless and/or I would lose my computer for a longer period of time for repairs scares the **** out of me. :(

    (I realise this now because my iMac has a small screen problem -a scratch on the inside of the screen- but I simply 'accept' this because when I would return the iMac to have this fixed, I will lose my computer for weeks (I live in the EU, not many apple stores nearby anyway), not acceptable)

    First off, I am not a video editor. I use my iMac as the main media-server for the entire house (movies/audio), email, pages/word, some Xcode, regular photoshop and the occasional game (simcity, diablo, no FPS). I suppose I'm your typical iMac user.

    • need for a computer that I can 'fix', iMac is unacceptably unfixable.
    • need ample storage (internally or externally, doesn't matter much).
    • need good GPU (bye bye - Mac mini).

    The dilemma:
    I am actually willing to spend some serious money. My computer is important to me: I work from home and use the same computer for home-use quite intensively so I am willing to pay good money, for good stuff. A custom built windows PC is not a road I am willing to take.

    So the only thing I can come up with is buying a nMP (far to powerful, no need for many cores - but somewhat repairable/upgradeable), an old MP (lots of storage/upgradeability - but also bulky and power hungry) or just stick with the iMac and pray nothing goes wrong over time.

    Please help? Am I missing an option?
  2. maflynn, Feb 3, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014

    maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Given your light needs, I'd say the iMac is the better option but since you already stated that its unacceptable, you already made the choice in your mind.

    Given the design of the MacPro, I'd be hesitant to say that its repairable by the consumer as well.

    I think the MP is over-kill for your stated needs, but if you're unwilling to consider the MBP or the iMac because they're virally sealed from user intervention, you're only option is the MP, or a windows machine.
  3. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    So in reality the iMac works fine for your user needs? What is it you need to upgrade or is it just the feeling that you will be able to upgrade in the future?

    I'd suggest bringing it in to the nearest Apple authorized repair center and use the money for a good vacation instead.
  4. maurosnl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2014
    @Maflynn: I suppose in a way, you are right. I have already made up my mind partially. Still it annoys me, I was hoping there was an option/solution I have missed.

    Repair-wise I think I am capable of replacing the SSD/CPU/GPU if needed... the nMP does offer this possibility to my knowledge.

    @Pressure: The iMac does suit my needs and I am not necessarily looking for upgrades. It is merely the feeling that with the iMac I am completely unable to replace/repair anything...
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    How often do you expect to change/replace the SSD, CPU or GPU and is it worth spending 3,000 for the base MP, plus the cost of a monitor (if you don't own one) compared to 1,300 - 2,000 (depending on the iMac model).

    To put it another way, you're spending over a 1,000 dollars more just to change those components. Probably more since you may need to get the monitor as I said and potentially internal or external storage.
  6. RodPinto macrumors regular

    May 16, 2012
    I'm on the same boat! I have the same needs and had the same iMac as yours, with GTX 680MX and i7 as BTO, and already have sold it to buy the nMP.

    The only question is: which one am i going to get? I'm leaning towards the 6-core version, adding the d700 for future proof and some occasional games, since my main game platform is a ps4.

    Sometimes i think about the 4-core too, but i also think i should improve in that way, getting a more powerful machine than the i7 4 core i used to have....

    I haven't ordered it yet, i'm thinking about waiting until march to avoid paying for it 1 month before it gets shipped... Who knows, maybe they can estabilize the supplys by then...
  7. Stephent macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2012
    Have you considered a Mac Mini? If your current iMac is powerful enough for you I would tell you to wait a little while longer since the Mini is due for an upgrade and grab that when it comes out. Will be cheeper and you can get the external display (4k Even) that you seem to want. You would probably end up with some external drives which I don't know how you would feel about. Might be the best option of cost over function w/out having to deal with an all-in-one.

  8. maurosnl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2014
    Hmm... I gunned down the Mac Mini for it's lack of a descent GPU. The onboard GPU they have now would not allow me play most games on higher settings. External storage is not a problem. I suppose it's worth waiting till the end of the month for a new Mac mini. Thanks for pointing that out.
  9. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    The truth is - the repairability of iMac and nMP is basically the same. Sure, its easier to replace the boards in the nMP yourself, but where will you get those boards from? Even if you find a place to buy them, the delivery is likely to take almost as much time as bringing it to Apple for repairs. If you want to service the machine yourself and it must be a Mac, the old MP is probably your best choice.

    P.S. Where in Europe do you live that there are no Apple service providers nearby? They are everywhere here. Doesn't need to be an Apple Store.
  10. CH12671 macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2013
    Southern US
    Find a 2011 iMac and buy it...they are fully "repairable." I've had mine apart a couple of times doing upgrades.....well, except for the components soldered in! LOL
  11. Robert Davies macrumors 6502

    Robert Davies

    Jul 28, 2011
    People's Republic of Wrexham
    On the other hand, second hand MP 4,1s are not badly priced at the moment, and are firmware upgradeable to the 5,1 - you can upgrade the processors, RAM, video card, and screen as you decide you want to. Second hand repair parts are reasonably plentiful too, but take care to find the best prices :) Shop around, even within the EU.

    The nMP is not the only show in town.
  12. maurosnl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2014
    I'm considering the MP 4.1 or 5.1 route more and more - had not expected this. So all the 4.1 macs would be strong enough for my needs? Anything in particular I should pay attention to?
  13. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    The drives and/or monitors don't have to be inside the iMac. Over the course of a 3-5 year lifetime probably talking about a couple of days, tops. 6 days out of 1095-1825 is 0.5- 0.3% down time or in other words 99.5+% uptime.

    iMacs don't have to be repaired at an Apple Store. Your country may have a 3rd party authorized providers but in countries where Apple has been established for decades the 3rd party shops probably still outnumber the stores. Go to Apple's website and look at the service options.

    Replacing a screen is a part they just don't have lying around, but if it is a swap replacement it won't particularly take that long. Similarly some shops may have loaners if a criticial customer and situation. If have external bootable clone just plug in loaner and get going and unplug when finished with repairs.

    If not immediately time critical may want to wait a couple of months and see if the Mini doesn't pick up an Iris /Iris Pro graphics on the next upgrade. Moving gaming to a combo of Mini+ iPad . The graphics problem with the Mini right now is more so it is lagging an update more so than it won't work in the SimCity zone.

    If "need" to move fast then a six-core 2009-2012 Mac Pro makes for a decent 'xMac'.

    Don't really need Mini or iMac to do the movies/audio streaming thing at all. There are also lots of good reasons to spin that out to another systems.
    There are some reasons to use one system but highly active gaming with concurrent streaming workload don't particularly go together well.
  14. riggles macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2013
    AppleCare may ease your decision

    It can be reassuring to know you're able to fix something yourself should the need arise, but I always enjoyed the feeling that repairs were converted under warranty just a little bit better. So, my thought is this: pick the Mac that best meets your hardware/performance requirements (which appears to be the iMac) and get add a 3yr AppleCare warranty for $150-200 or whatever the exact cost is, and exhale.

    I've done that with my last 3 iMacs. Then I sell it before, or just after, the warranty expires. That generally is sufficient for technology advances to be significant enough to merit an upgrade, and my next Mac (new or Apple refurbished) will get its own extended warranty. And the sale of my previous Mac helps offset the cost of the new.

    Now, if it's the feeling of repairing your computers yourself you like, I'm not sure any of the current Mac offerings will give you that. But I don't get the impression that's specifically what you're after.
  15. grey17 macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2010
    Central California
    It seems your primary concern is being without a computer for an extended time. There is no way to guarantee that any computer you buy will have zero failures. Maybe the option you are missing is to have a second computer as a backup. If you are happy with your iMac and you have room for it, maybe you should just buy a second iMac as a backup.

    -- D
  16. Derpage Suspended

    Mar 7, 2012
    If down time is your issue, buying a Mac Pro is not going to solve it. You are just throwing away your money buying a Mac Pro, you have no need for the hardware.
  17. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    I bought a 4,1 single CPU quad, upgraded EFI to 5,1 and dropped in a W3680. Add a current GPU of choice and some RAM, and you'd have a very fast machine at a good price. Just sayin'.

Share This Page