Home user--Which should i choose? 3.2 Quad Mac Pro or i7 2.93 iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by maf2k8, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. maf2k8 macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2009
    Ok so i am currently in the market for another mac. I am a home user BUT i love power...I may or may not ever use it but would like to have the option if it is there..

    I pretty much do the following....

    Internet usage
    import 720p-1080p content from my digital camera into iMovie and make small home movies
    Stream 720p and 1080p movies via PS3 Media Server to my LCD TV ( i believe PS3 Media Server relies on CPU usage for encoding the movies )
    Use garage band for recording guitar playing and doodling
    Some mild gaming ( nothing hardcore )

    As i said, i am pretty much just a home user, but i am still unsure as to which machine would offer more power.

    I understand that the Mac Pro offers me the options for upgrades and add-ons in the future ( ram, HD, Video cards, etc )

    I understand that with the iMac i am sort of limited BUT i do get a nice 27" monitor built in.

    I really dont plan on upgrading anything, Once i order either rig, i plan on sticking to whats stock in it. Unless i go with a Mac Pro i might in the future toss in another HD.

    THe Mac Pro seems more future proof then the iMac.

    I am just really curious about the power and CPUs in the 2.

    Which one offers more benefits/power/etc....

    One 3.2GHz Quad-Core Xeon Nehalem vs 2.93GHz Quad-Core i7

    I will be going with 8gb of ram regardless of the system i choose.

    Lets say for instance i am doing the following......

    Burning a DVD, Listening to iTunes, surfing the net and streaming a 1080p movie to my LCD...Will both CPUs be equal in power?

    What about if i imported a 30min long 1080p video from my digital camcorder, edited it in iMovie and then saved it as a movie? Which system would do it quicker?
  2. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
    The 3.2 GHz MP and 2.93 GHz imac will have nearly the same "computing power" for the apps you mentioned. If you don't need the expandability of the MP or aren't concerned about the all-in-one aspect of the imac than the answer is fairly obvious.

  3. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    I OWN a 2009 27inch iMac it is a great machine, but it does not let you connect to external drives other then 1 fw800 and a few usb connections. I am on this forum because iMacs don't fit my hdd needs 8tb to 11tb of info on a lot of hdd's.

    If you get an iMac you may find out that you want better external connections. then the only way to fix the problem is buy a mac pro or an xserve. I am looking at a refrub 2009 with a 3.33ghz quad or a 2010 with a 3.2ghz quad. My gut feeling is anyone that asks your question winds up regretting the imac buy and looking at mac pro's at least that is what happened to me.
  4. andyriot macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2010
    I think you are in a special group of people who can't make the iMac do what they need. I don't think the average, hell even power user, has 8-11 TB of data. Have you thought about a NAS? Then you could use your iMac and have all the TB's you want over the network :)

    To OP: Go iMac! I think the MacPro will be overkill for what you do.

    I have the older iMac8,1 with Core2Duo 2.4Ghz (6MB Cache) -- It easily and quickly does everything I need which includes much of what you do. I imagine the new i7 can run laps around it.
  5. aarond12 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA

    My vote is for the iMac as well. If you think you might need extra power in the future, get the Core i7 model. I have a hackintosh with that CPU and it is smokin' fast, especially with applications (e.g., video encoding) that can use multiple CPU cores.

  6. tomscott1988 macrumors 6502


    Apr 14, 2009
    Tbh for what you do an iMac will be more than plentiful, a core 2 imac will be more than plentiful! lol the quad mac pro will not be much faster than the i7 iMacs. Also you do get the 27" screen which apple is selling for a $1000 premium! so with the spec your looking at and with no thought of upgrading in the future your looking at, for the same spec (with 27" screen) $2399 for the iMac $4200 for the mac pro. I dont know where the need for the extra speed is but spending 2k extra more is abit silly really.

    Having a mac pro is awesome, but unless you are going to make money from it it is hard to see where your extra money is going, it wont be any more future proof. You would be better off being a power iMac user and get a new imac every iteration or 2-3 years it would be cheaper in the long run.

    The iMac is more than powerful enough (now it has desktop chips) to run all pro applications until it comes to intence 3d rendering or video editing or making use of programs that use multiple cores. Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign etc run great.

    Il put this into perspective for you, im a graphic designer and photographer. At home for when im doing freelance work i use a 2008 8 core mac pro. At work where i am a graphic designer for a newspaper i use a 2008 iMac with a 2.4 core 2 4gbs ram and a 320gb hdd. This is getting to the stage where i need a new one, and we are currently in progress of upgrading but generally for 3d in illustrator or 3d in maya which i use alot it works ok, and in photoshop, illustrator, indesign works a treat. I use graphic files that have hundreds or objects to a few thousand and it struggles on the intense 200mb + graphics but generally its ok. Not ideal but ok. Now the new i7 benches about 4x faster (imac 2.4 - 2000 imac i7 - 8900) so hopefully this makes more sense for your upgrade.

    Ive just bought myself a new BMW from the money i make with the pro, keep your 2k and put i down as a deposit on one :)
  7. sparkie7 macrumors 68010


    Oct 17, 2008
    OP: Get the iMac i7 293Ghz Quad + 16GB RAM + Add 256GB SSD

    I love spending other peoples money ;):D
  8. Jaxdialation macrumors regular

    Mar 24, 2010
    You have 8-11tb of data that you actually -use- routinely? What kind of stuff is it? When I say routinely, let's just say weekly.

  9. tcbad35 macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2010
    Home user--Which should i choose? 3.2 Quad Mac Pro or i7 2.93 iMac?

    OP - sounds like iMac is the way to go for you. I'm having the same dilemma, but I need a lot of storage space, and was hoping to make the iMac work. FW800 is not really fast enough, I heard NAS not a whole lot faster and I've seen OWC adding eSata to the iMac, but the hassle of sending it in and probable warranty issues has me weighing the MP. MP just seems so costly on a not so great upgrade and you need to get a monitor, too. With NAS, are you just hooking up hard drives via ethernet and routers or you need a server?
  10. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006

    Is there a reason you can't daisy chain your FW800 drives?
  11. tcbad35 macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2010
    You can daisy FW800, but I'm under the impression that speed of internal vs FW800 is significant difference. So speed and space...
  12. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    I have this fw800 hub far better then daisychaining.


    much more reliable and even allows for disk activity to go beyond the normal 100MB/sec ceiling for fw800...

    here is an example
    on port one you have a raid0
    on port two you have a raid0
    on port three you have a raid0
    the other ports have other drives, a camera, audio.

    if you use superduper to;
    clone port 1 to port 2
    and disk utility to do a 0 secure erase on port 3
    you will get fw800 activity of 120 to 130mb. far higher then is possible then using just simple daisy chain.
  13. seb-opp macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2008
    Get the top of the range iMac. You basically get the same power as the cheapest Mac Pro, plus a screen, keyboard and mouse. I think when all that's factored in the iMac is nearly half the price (if you spec the Mac Pro with the new Apple 27" screen).
  14. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Speed isn't really at issue b/t the i7 iMac and entry QC MP. They are pretty similar, just in different form factors, and of course the MP is effectively $500-1000 more expensive since you have to supply your own monitor.

    Things to consider:

    1) Will you use more than one external drive (backup, scratch, separate drive for media, etc)?

    1a) If yes, will you care having a bunch of ext. drives stacked up?

    2) If your internal HD or monitor went south would being w/o your computer for a few days to a week be a huge inconvenience? Obviously if your HD or monitor goes south w/ a MP you just plug another in, no big. An iMac w/ require taking the computer in for repair.

    3) Are the supplied internal ports in the iMac adequate for your needs, and if not, are you OK with hubs, repeaters etc, as needed, and the extra cables and power adapters they bring?

    4) Is the ability to upgrade w/ new ports like USB3 important, or do you trade your computers in often to the point you always have the latest ports needed for your peripherals?
  15. MacSince1985 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2009
    An NAS is a server (a basic server, but still). Speed is limited to what your network can handle (I recommend wired Gigabit Ethernet), but I don't think it'll be as fast as FW800. From what I hear, real-life throughput of NAS over Gigabit is closer to FW400. HD read/write speed is also a factor.
  16. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    You could get a last gen Mac Mini to handle these sorts of tasks. In other words, the iMac and MP will do these tasks equally fast.
    MP will import faster, but is that worth the difference in price? I wouldn't think so. Overall, the stuff you do on your computer doesn't seem that dramatically taxing for any modern Mac. I say iMac is what you want.
  17. Martyimac macrumors 65816


    Aug 19, 2009
    S. AZ.
    Well said. Better than I could have asked the same questions.
  18. eponym macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2010
    As a "power user" who's done real work on most Intel mac models (except the Air) I can say you really don't need the Mac Pro. Certainly not for the price. There's not a ton of computing power difference between them. The difference is having server-grade components with a high level of flexible expandability—which you really probably don't need.

    Save your money for something else. Order the i7, get an external FW800 drive (possibly a RAID one), upgrade the RAM yourself and enjoy! :D

    Your hard drive will be the bottleneck here ;)
  19. eponym macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2010
    And now that I think about it—take the price difference and buy a Mini as well for running a dedicated HTPC (running Plex!) on your TV.
  20. PaulD-UK macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009
    2010 iMac (and MBP) ethernet performance

    That's pretty much telling it as it is.
    I know this is a 'home user' thread, but for anybody with an in-depth interest in an analysis of the 2010 i3-i7 iMacs (and MacBook Pro) ethernet performance here's some nitty-gritty tech stuff:
  21. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I've got the 2.8GHz i7 iMac and find it very difficult to max out the CPU (Handbrake will do it, and Aperture will intermittently). I've got the 1TB internal HD and a Mac mini server connected via Gigabit Ethernet that has a total of 5 TB of disk capacity. I've found that the performance of a FW800 drive on the server accessed over the LAN is virtually identical to having it connected directly to the iMac, however the iMac internal drive is faster! In practice, rather than in benchmarking, I don't see any performance loss with data on the server.
  22. thetoness macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Could a Drobo FS solve the problem?

    Great thread with terrific advice both ways! Could a Drobo FS help solve the lack of hard drive space? It would be attached to my wireless router, which is out of sight, thereby avoiding all the cable and external drive clutter.
  23. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Well, yea.
  24. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    if you don't mind speed of 35 to 45 MB/sec for wireless also wireless drops out 10 fold compared to wired. you are better off using a gigabit nas. you may get 45 MB/sec to 55 MB/sec with much less dropouts. synology makes good ones I have a 2tb 1 bay model that connects to my two mac minis and iMac . I get about 45 MB/sec with the synology but it is close to perfect for reliability .

    this is it with a samsung 2tb in it.

  25. The Beatles macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2010
    can you explain what part of the Mac Pro would allow it to be faster at this task than the iMac?

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