iMac 3.06Ghz w/ 8800GS vs. Mac Pro Quad 2.8 w/ ATI HS 2600 XT

Discussion in 'iMac' started by sfroom, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. sfroom macrumors regular

    Apr 30, 2008
    I really didn't want it to come to posting a thread like this, but alas, here we go!

    I've been contemplating the purchase of a new mac since mid April (when I sold my 2.16 Ghz white iMac w. 7600 GT).

    Here are the two options I'm considering:

    Refurbished Mac Pro with One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor
    2GB (2 x 1GB) of 800MHz DDR2 ECC fully buffered DIMM
    320GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s 7200-rpm hard drive
    16x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB (two dual-link DVI ports)
    $2099.00 Canadian

    New 24" iMac with 3.06 Ghz Core 2 Duo
    2GB (2 x 1GB) of 800 Mhz DDR2 ECC fully buffered DIMM
    500GB Serial ATA 7200 rpm-hard drive
    8x Superdrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Nvidia 8800 GS 256MB Video Card
    $2099.00 Canadian (student discount)

    Obviously the major considerations are what I'll use the computer for, and the lack of screen.

    I will be using the computer at home, in my room, for multiple purposes.

    First, the screen. Obviously one huge drawback of the Mac Pro is the lack of 24" H-IPS display. I use my computer almost every day for watching multimedia content (television via elgato, movies, downloaded television shows). However, I do already own a 22" glossy TN display, which while not ideal, is sufficient for most purposes. I had been using it as a dual display with my iMac, and had planned to do so again, but could settle for using it as my primary display.

    However, watching mutimedia brings up my second qualm with the Mac Apple Remote. I have a wireless keyboard, and have been using it to watch video from accross the room for the last 6 weeks...but it does leave something to be desired, compared to the Apple Remote.

    Third, the noise. The computer will live in my bedroom. I generally put the computer to sleep at night, so this point might be moot, but I like my computers quiet. From what I hear though, the Mac Pro is fairly quiet.

    Finally, intended usage:

    I game moderately (World of Warcraft, Guitar Hero III, planning on playing Starcraft2). In some ways, the video card is more important than other aspects of performance. My understanding is that the iMac would most likely perform better in these games. Has anyone played Guitar Hero III on the 3.06 iMac?

    I also have a Canon TX1 camera, which I use to record 720p video. I'd occasionally like to be able to edit this video. I think both computers will be more than up to the light editing I'll throw at them.

    I'll also be encoding video using VisualHub, for my iPhone (hopefully to be purchased on July 11!) and my girlfriend's iPod touch. I expect the Mac Pro will particularly excel at this.

    I'd like to start scheduling recordings with the eyeTV, and then have the application encode them to H.264 and add them to my iTunes library. I'd prefer if my computer was still usable for gaming, browsing, etc. during this time, although I don't expect it to be a problem because I have the Eyetv 250 Plus, which I understand takes most of the recording/encoding load off the processor.

    Sorry for the novel. What do you guys think?

    EDIT: I guess the other thing to consider is the iPod touch I would get on rebate if I went with the iMac.
  2. tuxtpenguin macrumors regular

    May 19, 2007
    I would recommend the Mac Pro since you would be able to add more RAM and change out the graphics cards in the future if necessary.
  3. iLike macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2008
    For your needs the iMac is a way better choice.
    The Pro is a overkill and you'll simply will never use more than 30% of it's capabilities.

    Save few $$ and buy the 3.06
  4. Vster macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2005
    Celina, TX
    Glad I came across this post! I've been asking myself a similar question. Watching...:)
  5. bob vansteel macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2008
    i wouldn't even buy the 3.06ghz....its the exact same proccesor as the 2.8ghz! so save your self the $200 bucks, buy the 2.8Ghz with the same specs, and then just overclock it to 3.06ghz once you recieve it.
  6. audiophile42 macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2006
    I say go with the iMac. I think the Mac Pro is really overkill for what your needs are, and you would be better served by getting the built in 24" screen. And it seems that media playback is very important to you. The 24" iMac has a great screen, comes with the remote, and is a pleasure to use from across the room.

    I'm not implying that the iMac is slow, quite to the opposite. These things are SCREAMING FAST! I used my edu discount and bought the same iMac config you listed. I've been running as many things as possible at the same time trying to get the system to slow down (my powerbook would completely choke when running half of what I have been), and it hasn't skipped a beat yet.
  7. Jon.Stewart87 macrumors regular

    May 18, 2008
    United States of America
    man, i have to agree with everyone here.

    the iMac is best suited for you, so it seems.

    I've noticed that I probably won't even use my iMac to it's fullest capabilities..

    at least not right now on summer holiday.

    i know mac pro's can upgrade, yadda yadda yadda, but for MOST peoples use? - iMac
  8. kabunaru Guest

    Jan 28, 2008
  9. carlosbutler macrumors 6502a


    Feb 24, 2008
    London City
    how do you overclock a mac?
  10. gatortpk macrumors 6502

    Nov 25, 2003
    Melbourne, FL
    I have the same question...

    I have a iMac 8,1 (2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo early 2008) also, and I know it's the same as the 3.06 GHz iMac (RAM, bus speed, etc.). How do I overclock it? Just change the multiplier with some jumpers or do I need to solder anything?

    I remember I overclocked my PowerBook Ti 550 MHz to 733 MHz G4 via Firmware. It was easy and I was able to change the bus speed to 133 MHz and the G4 to 733 MHz with just lines of code in FirmWare startup mode (I think? It was a long time ago, and I already had PC133 RAM in it to start with).

    I'm pretty sure you can't do that with Intel Macs. Something to do with EFI and totally different architecture? Anyhow, I'd like any input on overclocking my iMac 2.8 GHz C2D besides what I can google on the subject, like as anyone reading this actually done it?


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