iMac vs Mac Pro as a workstation with $3000 budget.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GMunroe, May 15, 2012.

  1. GMunroe macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2012
    As I unfortunately cannot wait any longer due to a slower work productivity on my wife's current machine a 2.2 i7 Macbook Pro. (Mainly caused by software and gray screen system crashes with some spinning wheel freezes, fans revving up a bit etc..) Where would one have the better bang for buck, longevity wise etc. when going to a more powerful machine to handle 2D animation work?

    I can purchase an iMac with the 3.4 i7 for @$2300 + 15% tax, or I have found a used quad core Mac Pro 2010, 3.2 GHz with a 5870 and 6GB Ram for $2400. Where would the smart money go? Apart from waiting for the refresh, which I cannot.

    Mainly to be used for Flash Pro cs5.5 animation for television broadcast in 1080p. I find the current setup a bit "chuggy" when scrubbing timelines, exports, etc. I am hoping a more robust CPU and/or GPU would cure this bottleneck in my work.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    What about this refurbished 8-core 2010 Mac Pro from here?
    It has a bit slower GPU (though not that relevant in Flash I hope) and less RAM (can be bought via Newegg for less than Apple wants), but twice the power.
  3. radug macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2010
    do not go for the 8-core unless you know the software you will use is multi-threaded. IN my experience, in the Adobe Suite, that only really includes video rendering (AE,PR).
    Go for higher clocked quad Mac Pro, get a decent 23+ inch monitor and and an SSD and it'll handle anything you throw at it really.
    The only reason you would go for the iMac is for the warranty (especially if you buy AppleCare).
  4. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    The Mac Pro will trump the iMac as a workstation. The iMac uses notebook class GPUs whereas the Mac Pro uses full desktop sized GPU cards. Not to mention expandability. You can add and remove drives as needed and also add more ports through the PCI slots with any Mac Pro.

    Conclusion: Mac Pro > iMac
  5. GMunroe thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2012
    That was my initial feeling. I was just a bit concerned that things changed a lot since the 3.2 Pro's debut in 2010. I don't necessarily need the fastest out there like the hex core, but something that will be up to the job within my budget.

    Warranty is a concern as is claiming the unit for tax purposes, but these things look to be built like tanks, and I'll get a receipt to claim next year for tax time.

    I assume the $2400 is a reasonable price for this model used.
  6. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Running a 3.4Ghz 27" iMac here on After Effects and Cinema4D with no problems. It just depends on how quickly you want your renders done. I find Thunderbolt to be insanely fast, but I would probably go with your Mac Pro option due to expansion and better GPU options.
  7. ytk macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2010
    If you're having performance and stability issues, just wipe the drive and reinstall (back up your files first, obviously). Make sure your RAM is maxed out as well. You'll be amazed and the performance increase.

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