I think i've decided...between two Desktop systems.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by The Beatles, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. The Beatles macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2010
    Alright, i'll try to be succinct.

    Pro User (freelance graphic artist)

    Mostly Print
    PhotoShop (could be gigabytes in file size so consider this when thinking about "Option 2")

    Some AfterEffects and 3D
    I need to start learning a 3D app and working in AfterEffects. I won't have the time or patients to wait while every single move i make in AfterEffects makes me wait over and over. This was my first experience with AfterEffects. I couldnt put together a composition without having to wait 15 to 20 minutes just to see a 10 second render of what i did. Working with such a slow system allowed no room for experimentation.

    Please note: Prices do not include Ram. Also, the systems are about the same in cost. I am not worried about a few hundred dollars. My thinking is, buy the top of the line iMac and sell it in a year. Top of the line system should have better resale value. Where as if I buy the low end Mac Pro system, resale value could be less. If it wasnt for the AfterEffects and 3D factor, and the work i do with 1Gig Photoshop files, I'd say the iMac. But i need performance and if the iMac is going to make me wait excessively, then it will cost me more money in the long run.

    Option 1
    Mac Pro Base Model
    One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Inte
    ATI 5870 GPU ATI 5870 HD 1Gig
    8Gigs of Ram

    Option 2
    Top iMac Model
    2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    16 Gigs of ram
    ATI 5870 HD 1Gig (Isnt this the mobile version? wont that limit the iMacs performance compared to the Mac Pros Desktop version of the GPU)?

    And actually, theres an Option 3
    Purchase the previous Mac Pro model

    Im sure the iMac could handle the PhotoShop work. But i really dont want to get a system that cant handle rendering in AfterEffects. Waiting 15 minutes for 10 seconds of footage wont do.

    Thanks for the help, any AfterEffects pros, please chime in.
  2. circularforward macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2010
  3. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    The external monitor is a big question too, but the Pro also has the advantage of having 4 bays for internal storage compared to the 2 (inaccessible) bays in the iMac.
  4. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    I wouldn't buy a computer solely based on internal storage. There are so many other options that are actually better than what Apple provides. In my Mac Pro, I actually stopped using the internal drive bays because I didn't like that the drives were in there spinning 24/7 even when I didn't need them. If I could have spun down individual drives, then I would have done that. A better solution is to have an external RAID that you can turn on or off whenever you don't need it. Much faster and more control.

    As for the OP, he needs to favor higher MHZ for timeline render, and as many cores as he can afford for 3D rendering. He also needs to make sure his apps are optimized for multiple cores. Oh, and lots of ram too! Therein lies the problem. With the cheaper machines, you only get 4 ram slots. To max out ram, you have to buy the expensive modules... or just be happy with 8GB (4x2).

    If he goes with the iMac, he can ship it off to OWC and have them install a custom eSata port for fast external storage.
  5. PhelpsiPhan macrumors 6502


    Dec 31, 2009
    New Jersey
    I think the iMac will suit your needs fine, no need to spend more money than you need to
  6. The Beatles thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2010
    thanks guys.

    yes i have an external monitor.

    not concerned about storage, I am concerned about a fast hard drive for rendering, but not storage. the imac will have to do unless i ship it to OWC (Thanks for the Tip)

    i went for the high end iMac. i would have got the low end mac pro but im not happy with it at all. and if i want more ram in the future to help with After Effects, i would need to sell the low end mac pro to upgrade to the systems with more ram slots. by that time, the low end mac pro wont be worth squat. people already dont like them and consider them over priced.

    So i decided to get a max'd out iMac and sell it after i can afford a beefier system. The iMac should return higher resale value than that over priced low end mac pro. I just hope the graphics card can help with rendering in after effects and can provide a good experience with 16 gigs of ram in that resource intensive application.
  7. brucem91 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2009

    Nice Choice. One heck of a machine. I can tell you that After Effects should be running fine with that. The most intensive part of AE I find is the RAM PREVIEWS, which reside in RAM. Just make sure you use AE CS5, as the 64-bit version will be able to use most of that 16 GB's. I've also heard that using an external drive as a scratch disc is a good idea, but I've yet to try that myself.

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