Highest End Mac That You Can Get (Not Mac Pro)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Rapmastac1, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. Rapmastac1 macrumors 65816

    Rapmastac1

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    Location:
    In the Depths of the SLC!
    #1
    Ok, so I have been using my Macbook for two years now and I love it! But I am doing a lot of projects related to music and it is just having a hard time keeping up. I will be using it for DJ-ing only so I need to get another Mac.

    What is the fastest Mac I can get for the buck? I am capable of upgrading ram and hard drives on my own, and I know where to get them dirt cheap, so that isn't a problem.

    I was leaning towards the 24inch iMac with highest processor options. I'm assuming this is the fastest you can get. Although the programs I'm using are huge proc hogs, but I want to be able to run a few at a time and still have some overhead. This will be used as my personal computer and my Modular Audio Machine as well.

    What do you suggest? Is there much of a difference in speed from the highest end 24 inch white iMac and the highest end 24 inch Aluminum one? Besides the 500.00 difference of course.


    EDIT - I was looking around the store a bit more and saw the prices for the Mac Pros aren't that bad. I always thought that even Refurbished these guys are no less than three grand. Here is the one I'm interested in -

    Refurbished mac pro Quad 2.66GHz Intel Xeon 1,999.99
    Two 2.66GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors
    1GB (2 x 512MB) memory (667MHz DDR2 fully-buffered DIMM ECC)
    250GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s 7200 rpm hard drive
    16x SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

    I'm assuming that would be a world faster than this -

    Refurbished iMac 24-inch 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme - 1,599.99
    24-inch glossy widescreen display
    2GB memory
    500GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory
    Built-in iSight Camera
    NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics with 256MB memory

    The price difference isn't all that bad when you figure the upgradability and (i dunno by how much) speed difference. How much faster would it be compared to the iMac (with the specs as they are right now - of course I'll be upgrading a little bit). Would the difference in performance be worth the cost of the difference between the two? I already have all the stuff (mouse, keyboard, display, yadda yadda).

    Thanks for the help here.
     
  2. meta macrumors newbie

    meta

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    #2
    If you're looking for the fastest desktop Mac available and (based on your title) you're not considering Mac Pros, then you're pretty much limited to the new iMac at 3.06 GHz with 4 GB RAM. Which is, from my understanding, an amazing machine (mine arrives in 3 days).

    However, why aren't you interested in Mac Pros? Is it the price? You can find decent deals on used models, if interested. Apple has a few refurbs and eBay has several used for sale. Mac Pros have the upgrade options it sounds like you're interested in. With a Pro you can have a ridiculous amount of disk space and RAM, but with an iMac you're quite limited.

    A lot of times, this doesn't really matter. In fact, I've bought a few machines in the past with the intention of upgrading them piecemeal after they begin to age, only to discover that I needed to replace entire subsystems to get the desired performance. For example, I had an old Pentium 4 gaming PC that needed an updated graphics card. But the card I wanted really needed new system RAM with a faster speed. That required a new motherboard. Also, if I were doing all of that, I might as well upgrade my hard drive a newer SATA one. Before I knew it, I was shopping for a new Mac.

    With an iMac you don't have the options to upgrade your hard drive, graphics card, processor or anything core like that. The only exception is your RAM, and that only goes up to 4 GB. Which is, depending on what you're doing, usually more than adequate.

    Weigh your options carefully and ask yourself what you really want and then what you really need. If you're going to spend thousands of dollars on a machine you might as well get exactly what you want, but not at the cost of what you need. In my case, the iMac is the perfect answer (especially now that they have the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GS with 512 MB VRAM).

    Edit: I see you updated your post and now you're considering a Pro. Good. As for raw speed and performance between an iMac and a Mac Pro, everything being equal the Mac Pro will have the advantage. Check out this BareFeats analysis of the newer iMacs raw performance versus various Mac Pros. That analysis doesn't include the first generation 2.66 GHz Mac Pros, though, so take that into consideration.

    I still think you need to ask yourself what you really want in a machine. And then ask yourself what you need. And weigh your options with those two things in mind.
     
  3. Rapmastac1 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Rapmastac1

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    Location:
    In the Depths of the SLC!
    #3
    Thank you for your great reply! I am still unsure of which direction to go. The more I think about it, the more I lean towards a Mac Pro. I mean, if I got an iMac and maxed out it (buying a refurb) then it would come out a little above 2200.00. If I got a Mac Pro and left it as is, it would still be faster than a maxed out iMac, for the same money, except now I have an upgrade path for the future.

    The Mac Pro is a lot of machine, especially for someone who is just into audio synthesis and editing. But I won't be needing to upgrade OSes or Video cards anytime soon, and it seems like the Mac Pro is going to be Apple's main machine for a while.

    I have a few moths before I make up my mind. But I do know that I am settled on a Quad Core Mac Pro for now, unless something comes up with the iMac or the price drops on the 8-Core machine. Hopefully I have the choice by Sept.

    Once again, thanks for your awesome reply!
     
  4. gazfocus macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #4
    It's good that you're leaning towards the Mac Pro's :)

    Judging by your initial post, if you're planning on running multiple CPU intensive apps, you're going to need more than 2 cores.

    However, with the prices of the new Mac Pro's, I wouldn't personally go with the refurbs (unless it's a 2008 model). You can get a brand new 4 core Mac Pro for $2299 (the 4 core is a BTO option instead of 8 core).
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #5
    Using it for DJ'ing as in this is a mobile setup, or is it stationary? If it's mobile, is it mounted in some kind of rack cabinet or something so you're not physically lifting it and carrying it around? It would seem like a Mac Pro and display would be... subideal... for carrying it around and setting it up and tearing it down several times a week.

    On the other hand, if what you mean is more of a stationary setup, you can probably install some internal cards that would do useful things on the MP, and certainly you could get tons of hard drive space in it very inexpensively, which is very useful for audio editing....
     
  6. MacHappytjg macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    #6
    are u a dj who does all there work on the desktop and brings it on there laptop?
    i think thats what tha guy obove is trying to say,
    i want to point out that the mac pros have heat sinks on the ram :eek: but im sure lots of people know that by now
     
  7. MattZani macrumors 68030

    MattZani

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    I would go looking for the low end 8 core mac pro, shopping around/buying refurb could save you a couple hundred, bringing the awesome machine into your price range

    There is a 2.8Ghz 8 core refurb on the site for $2,229 ATM, with an X1900XT, and 250Gb Hdd to start with, its a very good deal, one, in your position that I would take
     
  8. acquinn macrumors newbie

    acquinn

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    Portland, OR
  9. Rapmastac1 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Rapmastac1

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    Location:
    In the Depths of the SLC!
    #9
    Thanks for the tips guys! I am definitely going to be getting a refurb! I won't be getting it until about Sept/Oct, so I still have some time to think. I would like to get a 2008 model at that time, and who knows, the prices may be slightly lower around that time frame.

    I am not quite sure which one to go for though. This is a stationary machine. Right now I use my Macbook for everything. It's my main computer, my modular audio machine, and my dj-ing machine. So I use it to browse the web, house my personal files, make music using Garageband and Reason (looking at getting Logic w/the Mac Pro), and I have Traktor 3 running on it with an external Behringer mixer and soundcard.

    I want to spread those tasks around on multiple machines. So I want to get the Mac Pro and hook it up to the gear that my Macbook is hooked up to, my keyboard, midi keyboard, mouse, monitor (and get another monitor of the same size) and use it as my main computer. I will house my files on it, browse the web, and make my music on it using a combo of Logic and Reason.

    I will then use my Macbook strictly for DJ-ing. I don't want any personal files and stuff like that cloggin it up. It is only going to be running Traktor 3 with my external mixer. Right now the Macbook is a permanent part of the room I'm using so I always have to re-route wires and stuff to make moving it around from place to place easier. And on top of that, it just isn't fast enough to do what I do.



    I am still indecisive on how powerful my computer needs to be though. I have never really used much of this software in great detail yet, although I do know how to use it. I understand that I not only need to look at the most cost effective solution for now, but for the future. I understand that I can prolly get a 4 core, 8 gigs of ram machine now, or an 8 core 4 gigs of ram machine. But that is the short term side of things. I want to get the 8 Core 4 Gigs of ram, and then upgrade in a year and so forth, the 8 Cores gives me a lot of overhead for the future. But do I really need 8 Cores? Will I ever need 8 cores?

    Like I said, I am giving myself a lot of time to really think about what I need. I have made the decision to stick with OSX, so I have that out of my way (it was a no-brainer really, all the artists I really like use OSX as their creative OS). I just have to find someone near me who has one of these machines and run a few programs that I use on it and see how it does. I would like the smaller solution of the iMac, but I don't need something that mobile and I need upgradability, and seeing they cost about the same...
     

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