iMac or MacPro??????

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by colinet, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. colinet macrumors 6502

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    Australia
    #1
    Hi - I currently have a MacPro 2,1 (2 x 3 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon) with 16gig ram connected to an Apple 27"(just pre-thunderbolt model) and a Wacom Cintiq 24HD via a quite new ATI Radeon HD 5770 video card. I do a lot of very detailed Photoshop illustrating - big files.
    PROBLEM - MacPro has started playing up in a weird and alzheimery way - I think it's on the way out and I need to replace it.
    All the MacPro-Is-Dead rumours (which I don't actually believe) are worrying and I do think there will be a replacement fairly soon.
    So if I buy a maxed out 27" iMac now (SSD + 16gig ram etc) will it be powerful enough to run the Wacom and big Photoshop files? Then if/when a new MacPro comes out I would get that.
    OR should I just get the top model of the current MacPro and kick myself when Apple announce an incredible new machine in ten minutes time???
    HELP???
     
  2. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #2
    If all you are doing is Photoshop an iMac would be fine unless you want the expandability of a Mac Pro.

    Now if you end up doing video processing, or 3D work then a Mac Pro would be a better option.
     
  3. Nielsenius macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 16, 2011
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    Virginia
    #3
    Here's a link to processor benchmarks for just about every Mac:

    http://www.primatelabs.ca/geekbench/mac-benchmarks/

    You can compare your various options there. It looks like your Mac has a score of ~11,100. The highest end MacBook Pros are at ~11,600, the highest end iMac is ~12,500, and the highest end 12-core Mac Pro is ~24,100.

    Whatever your Mac Pro is doing now the iMac can probably do. Of course, Mac Pros have better cooling, more options, and more expandability. I'm sure you know how expense they can be, though.

    Nobody knows what Apple is doing with the Mac Pro line. I doubtful that they'll get rid of it at this point. Who knows when an update will be released, though. If your work depends on your Mac, then get what you need now. There's really no sense in waiting unless you're truly fearful of buyers remorse when you see new Pros in X number of months.
     
  4. colinet thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Thanks - still can't decide!!

    My 15" MacBook Pro died before Christmas too ( about 5 years old) and I got a new one with all the bells and whistles including an SSD - wow!! Starts up in 10 seconds and closes down in 2!!! I feels faster than my MacPro. Whichever I get, there will definitely be an SSD in there.

    Re - the connecting things - I have a Drobo for Time Machine which would go in the FW 800 port and various external drive and printers - I suppose the worst case would be I'd have to unplug things a bit with the iMac.

    Still can't decide!!!!
     
  5. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #5
    If you are like most people doing graphics, you'll find the 27" iMac screen a bit hard on the eyes and for color correction. (It can be done but what you see is very different than what gets printed or color seps if thats what you need).

    It doesn't matter if the Mac Pro is later to be phased out as anyone who has one can continue using it. If you are worried it won't be available later, then buy a refurb similar or better than what you have.

    I have used a Mac Pro 1,1 quad 2.66 with 16 gigs RAM with 24" screen and Cintiq 20" (wide version before 21") with no problems. I had originally the ATI x1900 and later replaced it with an ATI 5770. The real difference in speed was striping 3 drives internally and using a small SSD in the fourth bay for scratch disk.

    When you say large photoshop files, you really are not being clear. Also, perhaps what you need to consider is max RAM and a scratch disk that is separate of your installed photoshop. I use from time to time a Mac Mini Server, both internal 7200rpm disks striped and 16 gigs RAM with no issues with Photoshop. This Mini has on board video so its not very "potent." You may have greater demands and in that, the iMac would probably be a better fit or a refurb Mac Pro (new or same model as your own.)

    Before you get an iMac 27" you should check out OWC about their installs of SSD, hard drives and memory. You may find that an iMac 21" is a good deal for you and use the difference to add 3rd party RAM, SSD etc.
     
  6. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    Jul 29, 2011
    #6
    The OP is already using an Apple 27" Cinema Display which is pretty much indistinguishable (probably identical) to the iMac 27" display, so presumably he's not a glossyphobe!

    To OP: unless you're desperate to buy some new shiny stuff, I'd suggest you should at least investigate what's wrong with your existing Pro and how much it would cost to fix. You've got a big investment there and it would be a shame to ditch it because of (say) one faulty stick of RAM.

    What puts me off the iMac is the difficulty of getting at the internals - particularly upgrading the hard drive. It is possible, but sounds hairy to me (google it). Hard to accept c.f. the ease of shuffling multiple drives in a Mac Pro.

    Long-term, it depends a bit on the success of Thunderbolt and cheaper SSDs: take out the spinning disc (most likely point of failure), make external HDs and expansions just as fast/powerful as internal ones and there's no need to open the case. Not quite there yet...
     
  7. The-Pro, Jan 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012

    The-Pro macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Actually the OP's Mac Pro 2,1 has a score of roughly 9400, the 2.5Ghz i7 MBP 10800, the 3.4GHz i7 iMac roughly 11500 and the 2.93GHz 12 core Mac Pro roughly 21800 (I have seen results in the 22500 range).
    I wrote this because the OP's system is not that close the the MBP and iMac as you said.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #8
    The Mac PRo has advantages, like internal drive bays, and the ability to replace the GPU. Running multiple cores other then a quad core could be an advantage, but for some an untapped advantage.

    Those drive bays, and expansion capability comes at a price - a high price.

    If you don't need tons of storage or the GPU, then the iMac makes sense but you seem to need the better GPU

    I do think the Mac Pro's existence is coming to an end, perhaps not until after this latest product refresh. From what I hear, and read, many professionals are not willing to take a chance and are moving off the platform because apple has not communicated what their Mac Pro plans are and people spending lots of $$ don't like to make decisions on speculation
     
  9. colinet thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Ran Geekbench on my 2,1 MacPro and got 11533. Did same on my brand new MacBook Pro and got 11588!
    I am leaning towards a new MacPro - with a single SSD and then take my 2 2TB enterprise raid drives and 10,000 rpm work drive and put them in or maybe add a second SSD as a scratch disc. If Apple drop the MacPro, I'll have the best possible set up and if they don't bring out a new machine for 6 months or so then maybe I could get that too and keep this latest one as a backup machine or sell it. I've got a Snow Leopard Mini server which is a kind of backup too + my new MacBook Pro and a 1st generation 11" Air
    My current machine is inconsistent with its playing up. I've had Photoshop and InDesign both lock up with the beach ball of death and of course it's always when you've got really involved in something and forgotten to save for a long time! And it's not something I can ever reproduce. Don't think it's Adobe as it's only a fairly recent problem. Could be software related, but my instinct says not.
     
  10. Nielsenius macrumors 6502a

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    Virginia
    #10
    I believe you were viewing 32-bit results which are slightly lower than 64-bit results (I'm not sure why 32-bit is at the top of the page). Late-model Macs are 64-bit machines.
     
  11. radug macrumors member

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    Aug 12, 2010
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    UK
    #11
    MacPro

    do this. I had the iMac/MacPro dilemma (mainly because of funds) and do no regret getting the MacPro. Now, almost 3 years down the line it still whoops ass, even faster clocked DELL i7 machines (single socket though). On top of that, it's the only computer that did not die on its owner during university (architecture). Plus, two years after i bought, it only costs me £200 to add 16Gb Ram + SSD to bring it up to speed.
    So get the MacPro.
     
  12. jcbhammond macrumors member

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    May 3, 2010
    #12
    If you are fairly certain that a new pro will come out and just need a machine to use in the meantime I would check to see which would have the best resale price. My gut would say that the iMac would get you more money back since it is newer. Or get the pro now and and upgrade to the new pro in another couple of years.

    All the speculation about whether Apple is releasing new Mac Pro models is probably shortening some people's life span. :)
     
  13. tanhm macrumors regular

    tanhm

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  14. colinet thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    MacPro - dying more each day!! Every time I turn it on the pointer moves OK, but no clicks work at all. The only way I can get it working is by accessing it from my Mac Mini- turning on screen sharing and loading up a photo on the remote screen. And now bluetooth is only working part time when it feels like it. Whole machine still locking up erratically too.

    So I bit the bullet and ordered the top Mac Pro with all the bells and bloody expensive whistles - 12 core 2.93GHz + 64gig ram + SSD boot drive + upgraded graphics etc etc . . Should be here in about a week so in the meantime I'll make sure to save my work once a minute.

    SO NOW I CAN GUARANTEE - that Apple will announce a fantastic new MacPro within the next few days and I will stamp and cry like a baby even through I will have a very powerful and hopefully reliable machine that should give me long devoted service.

    On the totally opposite extreme, I bought a secondhand Leica M7 body yesterday (uses that strange plastic stuff with sprocket holes called 35mm film) It's immaculate and very, very lovely and will go with my digital M9 and use the same lenses - can't use it until the postman brings me new batteries and some film!
     
  15. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #15
    I hate drobo. Anyway photoshop doesn't really scale past four cores, so you're not necessarily getting the most out of that mac pro. Photoshop can be evil no matter what, but certain things really bog it down. It likes insane quantities of ram when it comes to working with files of extremely high resolution. Your problems might not be hardware related. They could be a number of things really.


    Which machine is doing this? The mac pro or the macbook pro?

    The 6 core may have been marginally faster there unless you require more than 32GB of ram. The thing about photoshop specifically is that it doesn't scale that well with core count. I wish I had a 12 core for maya :mad:.
     
  16. colinet thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #16
    I love Drobo - got 2 of them and they have both worked faultlessly.

    And yes I do need lots of ram that's why I've gone for the 12 core to get the 64GB and yes, I do know it's much cheaper at OWC and you can install 128GB and use up to 96GB of it (except OWC are out of stock with no ETA), but I've always stuck with Apple supplied ram and had no problems.

    My new in December 15" Macbook Pro is running like a dream. It's my old out of warranty 8 core MacPro that's buggered and is actually slower on Geekbench than the MacBook Pro.

    I know Photoshop doesn't play well with multi-core, (maybe CS6 will address this at last), but the SSD and tons of ram will certainly speed things up. I don't do 3D stuff, but very, very detailed big illustrations in Photoshop - check out my web site - http://www.colinthompson.com
     
  17. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

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    Nov 20, 2007
    #17
    Did you order all the extras through Apple?! (ouch...)

    What are the full specs in your new MP?

    Checked out some of your pics on your website; holly molly they're good!
     
  18. colinet thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Australia
    #18
    Yes, paid a fortune for all Apple bits. I've already got a blur-ray drive to go in the second cd drive slot and 2 x 2tb enterprise drive in raid for my work files waiting to go in the new machine.

    I got my MacBook Pro in December with a SSD drive and it's fantastic.

    This is summary of my MacPro -

    Two 2.93GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon “Westmere” (12 cores)
    •
    64 GB (8 x 8 GB)
    •
    ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB
    •
    512GB solid-state drive
    •
    One 18x SuperDrive
     
  19. robbie12345 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 5, 2011
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    United States
    #19
    wow

    good luck with ur new computer but at 11k or more honestly you could've saved a couple thousand dollars on ram with owc also i wouldn't have ever recommended buying a 512gb sad especially apples which are very slow in comparison to others
     
  20. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #20
    Ignore the nay-sayers..... you may have paid more, initially, for Apple parts.... but the 1st time you have a problem you will start making it back. With a 100% Apple system it doesn't matter what goes wrong, it's covered by Apple and you don't have to spend anytime figuring out whose warranty coverage to invoke. As a professional, I have to assume that it's expensive for you have any downtime. So - I congratulate you!

    Your new 12 core machine may be overkill at the moment, but over the anticipated lifespan of the machine programs will start to take advantage of more and more cores, imho. Plus you can now run several CPU intensive programs simultaneously without impacting performance. I've sometimes broken up large LR operations into several chunks (instead of "selecting all" I will select a 1/3 or 1/4 of the images at time. LR will happily process in parallel.)

    By the way, "Thanks" for accelerating the MacPro announcement. Did you see a Japanese Blog is predicting a "strange" Apple announcement in February? Are you a betting person?

    And a really big congratulations on your new/old Leica.... enjoy!
     
  21. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #21
    If you're doing huge illustrations with a lot of history, 64GB can make total sense, especially if you're potentially keeping the machine for a few years. I do some drawing, but mostly at a concept level to be replaced by photo or render data. Even if you have the original 8 core, it sounds like something is up with it. Regarding core scaling and CS6, I'm not sure. The thing is, most stuff that is meant to run in real time/on the fly doesn't tend to scale well with high core counts. Take brush strokes for example. Yeah if you go high enough you can choke the system, but it's a lot of extra input overhead for the system to chop the calculations up into pieces to be run on many different cpus. Adobe has stated in the past that there are some functions that shouldn't be multithreaded.

    I'm not sure where the bottleneck is there. It could be an IO thing or it could be that with current technology it turns into bloated code. With applications like this, they're run on a very wide range of hardware. Adobe won't just optimize for those running with 12+ cores. They'll still want their applications to run correctly on lighter hardware as many people run them on laptops. Anyway the real issue is if you can paint and adjust in real time.
     
  22. colinet thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #22
    I had no lag with painting or most adjusting on my 8 core. Other things that used the scratch disc a lot took time and loading and saving could take a really long time.

    The point is that my machine became unstable and is obviously dying. I expect some improvement in performance with a new machine, but the most useful time saving will be using 2 SSD drives - one will hold my Photoshop files and a smaller one will be used exclusively as a scratch disc.
     
  23. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

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    Nov 20, 2007
    #23
    Congratulations on your new machine. Yes, you could have save a lot of money by buying 3rd party RAM, but hey, who cares if you can afford it? And by the look of your drawings I'm guessing business is good!
     
  24. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    Los Angeles, CA
    #24
    Given that the Mac Pro offers more expandability than the iMac will ever be capable of and is a contrastingly more reliable Mac by far, I'd say go with the Mac Pro. That said, if Apple discontinues the Mac Pro without offering a refresh, you will have plenty of opportunity to buy any of the currently shipping models past that point, and for cheaper than you would've paid today. If you are in a rush, though, I'd say get a Mac Pro today and be done with it.
     
  25. colinet thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Had no choice really. As well as Alzheimers my current MacPro has also developed Aspergers (could have caught it from me) Frequently when I turn it on, the pointer moves but I can't click on anything (have to share screen from my Snow Leopard Mini to get it working), Photoshop keeps freezing and this morning so did Mail and all sorts of other odd things which may be software, but I doubt it as I haven't changed anything and run virus software frequently too.
    So I'm waiting for my built to order MacPro which might be here by the end of the week or Monday next.
    If the MacPro is killed off with no replacement (which I seriously doubt) I will end up with a very fast powerful machine and if they do replace it, I will still have a very fast powerful machine. I'm sure Thunderbolt is brilliant, but I've got a ton of stuff that is FW800/Esata etc which I'm not about to replace.
    Of course if the 'new pro machine' is incredible, then I'll wait a respectable time (being defined by the time I can buy a new machine without my wife totally freaking out after what I've just spent on my new MacPro) and then buy that too.:D
     

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