How different does using a Mac Pro "feel" compared to an iMac when using regular apps

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by macproguy77, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. macproguy77 macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2009
    I've got an unusual, opinion based question.

    For people that have used both a recent Imac and a recent Mac Pro.
    What are the differences in "feel" between the iMac and the Mac Pro when using regular every day apps. (not photoshop, final cut, etc...)

    I'm talking about any subtle differences in the user experience like,
    perceived quickness, speed of launching the app, speed of the system when running a bunch of small apps, switching between apps, whatever else you care to add.

    To put it another way, when doing normal everyday computing with a loaded up mac pro, are you getting the "Ferrari" experience, even though you are only going to the grocery store? Or does it perform exactly like the Imac (Honda)?
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Both are bottlenecked by the hard drives more than anything else.
  3. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    I own both. I would agree with the above poster that in day to day routine, a faster hard drive, more RAM or even and SSD would make a big improvement in "feel". I added an SSD recently to my mac pro and it speeds the perceived speed up and that is with 16gb of ram installed already.

    However when getting down to work, I.e. Aperture, photoshop, video editing, there is a big difference in the pro, obviously.

    For mail/internet, misc stuff, I don't think there is much of perceived difference.

    Get as much ram as you can, maybe in a year invest in an SSD, and that will make any machine run a lot faster. Snow leopard will hopefully see speed increases as well.
  4. Horst Guest

    Jan 10, 2006
    Yes, basically it does.

    Actually, there is hardly a difference in performance between a G5 iMac and a tricked out Mac Pro, if you just check your mails and surf the net and such.
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Stop tempting me to get a SSD or 7200 RPM drive for my MacBook. :rolleyes:
  6. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Man my computer zips through sending emails and processing documents!

    Get one! You know you want to.
  7. html macrumors member


    Jan 3, 2009
    Essentially it feels the same. However, if you have the fancy new hard drives with the faster RPM or a lot more RAM, you can tell.
  8. bozz2006 macrumors 68030


    Aug 24, 2007
    If you're just using safari, mail, itunes, ms word, etc... you won't notice the mac pro performing any faster.
  9. osin macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2008
    New Jersey
    Using your analogy: I don't see a point of buying Ferrari if you don't have a need for it and it will also drive the same way in the city like Honda. Highway and speciality tracks is where Ferrari shows its power!
  10. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    Not to put too fine-a-point on it, but...nonsense.

    I have an iMac G5. Using it even for internet or iTunes is unbelievably painful compared to my Mac Pro.

    That said I wouldn't expect the difference between modern iMacs and Mac Pros to be all that different for these sorts of tasks.
  11. MacFan27 macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2009
    well there is a difference in my Macbook Pro and XPS desktop from 2004....just generally how things open, delays in program commands, etc
  12. Trev311 macrumors member

    Aug 30, 2008
    Pumpkin Land

    A big difference in the "feel" of the Pro versus the iMac will come from having several applications open all at once. Using one or two "regular" apps will probably not be much different but if you are going to have a good deal of them open all at once then the Pro will "feel" significantly faster.
  13. kevink2 macrumors 65816

    Nov 2, 2008
    I suppose it also depends on how disk intensive it is. If you have just the basic single drive on the Mac Pro, I don't know that it will be THAT much of an improvement over an iMac in that department. Some, probably.

    The Pro has the advantage that, if you want, you can add several drives, RAID them, and get a boost in speed that way.
  14. Abidubi macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2009
    And I fine using the internet and even Mail unbelievably painful on my PowerMac G5 since I lost my second processor (1.8). It's is amazing what a second processor will do to help a system feel responsive. I get the spinning beach-ball way way way more often than I used to while the CPU works at 100%.
  15. Derek87 macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2009
    a slightly different data point with a relative scale of 100 for my latest machine which is a stripped down MacPro

    1. Mac Pro Single Quad Core Xeon, 6GB RAM : 100
    2. Dual G5/ 1.8ghz, 3 GB RAM: 90
    3. 2006 Macbook, 2GB RAM, Core 2 Duo 2 ghz: 70

    i'm guessing the new Imac's would be better than #3 because they will have faster HD and memory and more importantly video.

    to me, for simple stuff, there is not noticeable gain in going from #2 to #1 (a little, but negligible), but #3 there was perceivable difference in responsivenes of the machine. #2 is slowest of all of them from a processor standpoint, but for day to day use, it performed much better than #3 which i used to "hold me over" (work machine) until i recently purchased #1.
  16. Horst Guest

    Jan 10, 2006
    I beg to differ; I have an iMac G5, a 2008 MBP and a '08 MacPro with a fast system drive, raided file drives etc. .

    The iMac is no slouch at all, mind you.
    Needless to say, you want at least 2GB RAM in any computer running OSX, and keep enough free space on your system drive.
    With a slower setup, avoid multitasking, and quit your programs when you are done with them - should be done anyways on any comp.

    Besides, there is no way internet performance depends on computer power; granted, Mail is a hog, and Safari isn't very sophisticated either, but once the programs are launched, they don't challenge the CPU much.
  17. globalhemp macrumors regular

    Jan 2, 2006
    United States
    iMac vs Pro

    I've had 2 iMac's with the newest one being a G5 iMac ... purchase a few months prior to Intel iMac.

    I will NEVER purchase an iMac again due to the following 3 reasons:

    1. Inserting CD's
    80% of the time I insert a CD, it spits back out. I have to have another CD to push in the CD. This has been the case since Day 1.

    2. Spin, Spin, Spin
    The iMac is the LOUDEST computer I have every owned! The hard drive spins like crazy and if you insert a CD, its spins, spins, spins ... even when not accessing info or running an app from CD.

    3. All-In-One
    When I eventually hand my G5 iMac down to someone else, I will be forced to purchase both a new computer AND monitor.

    So, of all the Mac's I've owned in the past, include a G3 iMac and 1 Windows computer, I will NEVER purchase an iMac again. I loved the first iMac (G3), but HATE the G5 -- which is the same design as what is used in new Intel iMac's.

    Steve Jobs said it himself, that a side-mounted CD is no good, ... and always likes to talk-up about how quite Mac's are, he should take a good look at mine! Once more, its been like this since Day 1.

    So, if you want to choose between an iMac or Pro, I would go with the Pro, the tower of power!
  18. Horst Guest

    Jan 10, 2006
    It depends on what you do.
    Start working with large audio, video or photo files , and the MP will be quite a bit faster than an iMac even in its stock configuration.

    Add memory, drives and optimize your MP setup, you're in a different league .

    It won't surf the web faster, won't load/send your emails faster, won't be any faster in basic word processing and such.
    It will convert and load music faster, and help with iMovie/Photo and shyte like that.
    If one has the money to get an MP just for iApps, good for him, but those run well enough on lesser hardware for your wedding movies.

    One more thing about internet performance - recently I happened to go online in Windows XP, installed on that 320GB stock drive, and I was shocked by the speed of Internet Explorer in XP !
    Loading websites was faster than anything I've ever seen !
  19. rylin macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2006
    Hell, even supposedly light weight use makes a world of different.
    The difference for me when going from my 2.16 iMac to quad 2.66 MP was huge..
    And I normally only had 10-50 Terminal sessions going, three to four FF windows, with 20-30k messages in it, Skype, 10-40 files open in TextMate, etc.

    The difference was night and day, and none of that is particularly CPU, IO or memory hungry on its own.
    It's the combined usage that matters.
    Nobody I know has just Safari or open.

    For lesser usage with the same profile though (say 5 Terminal sessions, a web browser window, with a normal mailbox size, a bunch of files in TM etc., the iMac will do just fine.

    In other words, the difference between a MP and an iMac depends on how much you're doing at the same time when it comes to "normal apps".
  20. sapota macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2008
    The Mac pro is so fast that it opens applications and windows just as you think about them....dont even have to press any key. The iMac however....hmm...I would rather have a dell netbook.

    Edit - P.S - Maybe the new nvidia based iMacs will be better. !!!
  21. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    It would be nice to see a YouTube video of a Mac Pro side by side with an iMac both running an AppleScript to show the differences. (Clean install on both to be more fair.)
  22. Horst Guest

    Jan 10, 2006

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