iMac 27" i7 or Mac Pro Quad Core

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by avatarbe, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. avatarbe macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2009
    My girlfriend is looking to buy a mac, but we don't know what will suit here best, a top of the line i7 iMac, or the low-end Mac Pro quadcore.

    She is doing a lot of photographic work (lightroom with a lot of raws), indesign, photoshop... And she wants to be able to have those three apps open at the same time, without losing too much speed.

    She doesn't really need the expandability of the Mac Pro.

    So, if we look only at the power, what is the best choice?

  2. cnstoll macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2010
    Expandability is easily the top reason to get a Mac Pro over an iMac.

    They both use basically the same chips. The i7 and Xeon are both Nehalem class processors with the same feature sets. The only difference is the Xeons have ECC memory (not important for photo work).

    Unless she has terabytes and terabytes of photos I think the iMac would be fine.
  3. curvephotograph macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Depends on how much she needs/wants accurate colour or wants a matt screen. I've just sent an i7 iMac back to apple because I couldn't live with the screen, I want to see my work not me! People talk about light sources behind etc. it really doesn't matter there will always be some reflection especially if you have a dark background on an image the bright part of the image will light you and your reflection will be in the shadows. Not sure what planet apple are on with all this glossy screen nonsense? I also was unable to get truly accurate colour when using a calibration device although getting the correct brightness was pretty good.

    Screen aside its a lovely machine to use, quiet and fast - no spinning beach balls here in Lightroom 3 and Photoshop 5.

    I am a photographer BTW
  4. oilfighter macrumors regular

    May 14, 2008
    *This is MY observation, some people feel differently than I do. I calibrate my screens every week, and all my works are color managed.

    I do a ton of photo works too, and while the i7 iMacs are great deals, the screen makes it impossible for me to use.

    the iMac is a great value, and the 27 inch screen is beautiful. The problem with the iMac is just that though, the screen makes your images look too good. Due to the glossy screen, the images come out more contrasty and sharp than it would in print, and the colors are also more vivid. If you do any print work (or album work), imagine your surprise when the prints come back looking duller than it appears on the screen.

    I'm forced to go with a Mac Pro, because I can roll with my own screens. On top of that, I can easily add hard drives. I shoot weddings in RAW, and we have at least 2 cameras for each event. That translates to 50GB+ of RAW images per wedding. After said and done, with all the PSD files, we're talking about 100~150GB of data per wedding. So if you shoot any significant amount of RAW images, Mac Pro might save you some headaches down the road.
  5. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    ditto the others ?

    I am a screen snob ? so for me only NEC top line or Eizo top line not counting lacie since they are rebadge are good ? the others are junk and a few exceptions are passable ?

    the imac is not aimed at photographers ? again not saying it wont work and for most people its fine or great ? but for serious photography ? its not accurate enough the glossy is or could be a killer for most

    if you want need faster storage and serious scratch disc use once you get into PS or LR more you wont get it with the Imac

    the pure power though will make it quick as a quad up to a point !
    basic LR editing and basic PS chances are most would not notice to much a difference ?
    but start working with larger files then you realize why you get a tower

    think of it as towing a huge boat you can do it with a honda or a big truck on the flats but try to tow that up a hill !!! and you will see the honda wont do it and the truck will
  6. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    In my opinion, I would go for the Mac Pro. I've also been using iMacs for years since the old days of the iMac G5 up to the new Aluminum Glossy screen. Problem is on one corner of the screen, dark gray smudges tends to build up on iMacs including Aluminum models. I noticed this whenever the background is white or light colored. And my friend's iMac had gray smudges too but Apple refused to honor his AppleCare. Because his iMac developed rust inside the screen and Apple said this kind of damage voids his warranty so they could not replace his LCD screen. His room is air conditioned but maybe thru changes in temperature, his iMac had rusts. Maybe the design of the iMac, with the exhaust fan, tends to suck in dusts that causes grey smudges.

    At least with the Mac Pro, you can choose your favorite monitor to go with plus the expansion of the HD and videocard.
  7. Cavepainter macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Id say it all depends on her budget. If she doesn't need to sweat 500 bucks or so, I'd definitely recommend the Mac Pro. And this is coming from a happy i7 2.93 owner. But if she has a limited budget and doesn't really need alot of expandability, the i7 is a very fast computer that will actually match or beat the entry Mac Pro on most tasks. (see geekbench and cinebench results)

    I bought the i7 imac with applecare and I'm very happy with the choice. Ill be very happy with this setup for around three years I figure, which will then bridge me over until the next generation (sandy bridge, lightpeak, or whatever) mac pro is introduced. I figure Ive already got 500 bucks saved towards that purchase!

    Another thing to think about if she's on a budget, is she could buy an i7 and put the money she saved towards purchasing a really high quality second monitor for Photoshop work. You would then have a beautiful, accurate monitor of your choice via the mini display port on the back of your imac, a fast i7 processor, with really fast memory, AND you would have a nice secondary 27" monitor to put a whole bunch of your palettes and itunes etc. on. Again, all this would still be plenty cheaper.

    Just throwing some options out there......

    On thing many buyers are not too excited about on the entry Mac Pro is the ram situation. On the entry Mac Pro, you have three 1GB sticks on a 4 slot computer, which in my opinion, really sucks on a "premium" $2500 computer. If you upgrade your ram, you immediately have to toss out the ram that came with the computer and basically purchase all of the ram from scratch. And with ECC memory- thats not gonna be cheap. On an i7, you can purchase 8 gigs of FASTER ram (albeit non ECC) from places like OWC and have a total of 12 gigs of ram without removing any of the memory sticks that came with the computer.

    Again, not an issue if money's not a factor..... of course. So what's her budget?
  8. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    I own an iMac the connectivity became an issue so I just purchased a MacPro 2.8. If you have a pocketful of money buy both to learn which one you like better. The iMac got me so angry about the lack of connectivity in a 2k machine. All they needed to do was give us a pair of external esata jacks. Then this iMac MacPro question would be a mute point.
  9. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    When you are offloading your iMac onto an external hdd at 70mb/s via fw800 and you know you should have esata at 140mb/s to 250mb/s speed it is really annoying. If you have dual esata jacks for the iMac your internal hdd can die and it is not the end of the world. Or you can boot the internal and clone the first external to the second external at 2 to 3 times the speed of fw800. I would not mind this but the better imac is more then 2k! so I caved and purchased the base mac pro !
  10. avatarbe thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2009
    Thanks for al the comments so far!

    Her budget is somewhere near the high-end imac with 8 gigs of ram (around 2500 euro's). To have more or less the same specs in a mac pro, its around 2800 euro's, which is still acceptable.

    As said, connectivity is not really a problem, we have a NAS-drive on a gigabit network, so all the stuff she doesn't need on a daily base will be stored on that.

    I think she is leaning towards a mac pro. Color accuracy is not really needed, but as she is working alot with images, we are concerned about the yellow tinge on the imac, and the glossy screen. I have a 21'' Eizo she could hookup to a mac pro (but she could also do that with an imac)

    tough decision :p

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