imac vs mac pro – so confused

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jkleigh, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. jkleigh macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2009
    I've searched high and low for this info, and I think I get around pretty good on the internet, but I've turned up nothing answering my specific question.

    I'm trying to figure out which is a better computer for my needs – the 2009 iMac 3.06 with 4GB RAM, or the 2009 Mac Pro 8-core 2.26 with 12GB RAM.

    I am not a pro user that does a lot of video or graphics, but I do typically have a thousand windows open and a ton of office type apps open like Mail, the entire microsoft suite, Acrobat, InDesign, Safari, Firefox and sometimes Photoshop for my entire work day.

    So I'm not a power graphics user but I do think I'm a power user of some kind and just want the fastest machine for what I do...

    Do my needs depend mostly on RAM or clock speed or number of cores?

    Any help in this area would be SO GREATLY appreciated...thanks for reading.

  2. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    You'll be fine with an iMac.
    The Mac Pro is a serious power house and if you need one then you'll know you need one.
  3. pdjudd macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2007
    Plymouth, MN

    Unless the programs you use are heavily core aware - and it doesn't sound like any of them are, I would go with the iMac. That being said, it really depends on what you are doing in your applications and how much RAM you need to throw at them. I really don't think you need a Mac Pro though
  4. charlesbronsen macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2008
    Toronto, Ont
    I would think the iMac is much more suited for your needs as it will handle all the apps you mention in a single session no problem. Mac Pro is more suited for the power user doing lots of editing and such. But in the end its your money and your computer. Go with whatever makes you happy-Good Luck;)
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Depends on a lot, you could order the Mac Pro with the minimum memory and upgrade it later.

    They tend to start high on price and drop quick when Apple goes into a new memory DIMM type that is underused.

    If you burn a lot of DVDs, getting an external writer or running a Mac Pro might be a consideration.

    If you use a ton of drive space a Mac Pro would help, with consumption of bare drives a bit less.

    If you like to buy complete systems an iMac isn't a bad deal, if you tend to replace parts as needed a tower tends to make just as much sense.
  6. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    If you need the RAM get the Mac Pro with 3rd party RAM

    If you want to run all those apps at the same time get the Mac Pro
  7. jkleigh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2009
    wow thanks for the fast responses!

    it sounds like the iMac will be fine but I guess I still don't understand the difference between a RAM intensive task vs a processor intensive task.

    my guess would be that I need a bunch of RAM for what I do so that the system doesn't have to use memory swapping. what I really want is the least lag when jumping between open programs and to have as many windows open as I need.

    thanks again for all your replies! great forum.
  8. Donar macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2008
    As you have many programms open it sounds like you more depend on Ram than clock speed/cores - 4GB is a lot of Ram. Clockspeed probably helps with Photoshop, but 2x3 GHz does not sound "slow". I think the iMac should do the trick.
  9. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    I agree that iMac is probably the best choice for you. And are you ever going to love Spaces!
  10. jkleigh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2009
    ok iMac it is!

    thanks everyone for your help!!

    iMac will do the trick for now and then when Snow Leopard comes out and the OS is actually multi-core, maybe I'll revisit this debate.

    thanks again!! :D
  11. ditzy macrumors 68000


    Sep 28, 2007
    I think that the iMac would be enough for your needs, but if you were to go for the mac pro I'd recommend the 2.66Ghz quad, over the 2.26 octo. It's cheaper and for most things that you would want to do it would also be faster.

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