iMac vs Mac Pro, which do I need?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Macsimus11, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. Macsimus11 macrumors member

    Oct 4, 2008
    Hello everyone,
    I have been using apple computers for about 18 years now and am in a little dilemma. I am currently at a stand still waiting for new iMacs and Mac Pros to be refreshed. The reason for this (repeat) thread I'm sure, is to figure out which machine I truly NEED.
    I currently have about 6000 photos which I store in iphoto and edit in photoshop. I would like to perhaps start messing with some pro apps. With a new baby in our lives, I have shot a lot of HD video on a little canon camcorder and would like to start editing the videos via imovie. I am also an avid gamer so I would also like to install bootcamp and play games on the peesee side.
    I was using a dual 2.66 Xeon quad core mac pro but I am no longer using it (long story). I am now using a Mac Mini with the Intel Solo chip in it and I am running out of patience with that thing. So I guess the question is, iMac or Mac Pro for what I am doing? Thanks a lot for the replies and sorry if this is a repeat question.

  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    high end iMac will be enough for you with best video card. Or buy Mac Pro with single CPU to save some money. Depends of your budget.
  3. TheEpicFilmCo macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2008
    Hi. I've got a current 2.8Ghz iMac. I think it will be fine for what your going to use it for. I use mine for editing HD video on Final Cut Express and it works great. Make sure you max out the Ram though, that will help.
  4. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    Based on what you want to do, you sound like a prosumer like myself. The top end iMac will be perfect; however, make sure you wait until they get updated to get the most for your money.
  5. czachorski macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    I have about 1 TB of video in iMovie, and do a lot of HD editing on the Mac. Also have about 20,000 photos in iPhoto and do editing in photoshop occasionally. Run an occasional game of Civ 4 or Spore on it. Very similar uses as you, and find my iMac to work wonderfully. (See specs in sig). I think you will be fine with the iMac. One thing about the 24" iMac is that the glossy screen and large size really make my HD video and photos look amazing - they really pop off the screen. Some people have expressed concern over glare, but I just don't have an issue with it - in fact its just the opposite - I can noticeable tell how much better my media looks on this screen versus my former 20" ACD. Good luck!
  6. numbersyx macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2006
    Mac Pro might be overkill for you. iMac seems to fit your needs pretty well.
  7. umbilical macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2008
    FL, USA
    I buy a MacPro 2008... now I want sell and wait for new imac and buy it, I use for web design and MacPro is a lot!!! machine for that, imac is enough, of course with best video card and full ram and HD.

    so I go to sell my macpro. ;0)
  8. sth macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The old world
    My opinion: 24" iMac. Go for the biggest hard-drive and the better graphics card (for the gaming). Upgrade it to maximum RAM yourself (much cheaper than buying RAM from Apple and really easy to do) and you'll end up with a very, very capable machine that will still cost a lot less than a Mac Pro with equal HDD, RAM and Display.

    The Mac Pro is a great machine but from a price/performance point it's more suitable for business customers than young families. ;)

    Make sure to get an external drive for TimeMachine!
  9. Macsimus11 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 4, 2008
    Thanks so much for the replies. When I had the quad mac pro, I did feel like I wasn't putting it to full usage so I think the iMac would be the best bet for me. I have a nice 22" monitor that I just got lol. Oh well. Thanks again and I hope to get one as soon as they refresh.

  10. NightSailor macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2008
    Get the top of the line iMac

    If I were you, I'd buy the iMac with the largest screen, fastest CPU, and smallest amount of ram and smallest hard drive. Then I'd upgrade the ram to the max, and put a Seagate TB drive in it. If you want to take it to the next level put one of those 250GB SSD's in it.

    The beauty of the iMac is it can be upgraded--either all at once or over time. The Apple prices, as everyone knows, for memory and larger hard drives are rip off prices. It is better to do it yourself. I always eBay the old parts and that represents your savings.
  11. rylin macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2006
    I was going to post pretty much the same thread.

    Currently have a 24" white c2d iMac with 2GB ram, and it feels inadequate for handling my raw photos, and I need to start editing some HD movies in a few weeks.

    Not only do I want a new Mini (to handle Plex better), but I also want to replace my white MB and replace the iMac with either a new iMac or a Mac Pro.

    Looks like I'll just have to wait for the new iMacs and hope they're quad core.
    If they were able to take 8GB ram, that would be sweet ;)

    The scary thing is the one harddrive in the iMac.
    If they remove FW, it's not going to be very useful for either photo editing (since it's good to have a scratch disk, and firewire makes for nicer scratchdisks).

    Video editing wouldn't be as bad, since most of what iMovie 09 does is just instructions for the renderer (hence the real-time effects).

    Oh well, I've got my CC ready for any future releases :D
  12. sth macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The old world
    They will, but 8gb DDR3-sets are quite expensive at the moment.

    I'm pretty sure they won't do that, especially not for the 24" model. The iMacs have been sort of a desktop version of the MacBook Pro in recent years, so they'll probably kill the FW400 port but keep FW800.

    I hope that they'll match the design of the 24" model to the new LED cinema display. Would be nice for building a dual monitor setup.
  13. rylin macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2006
    Price isn't really an issue with the RAM though.
    Start off with 2x2GB, and then after the summer the prices should've gone down enough to make 2x4GB be a decent investment.

    I hope you're right on the FW port though, and it might make sense.
    One of the differentiators when the 24" was released was that it had a FW800 port.
  14. Macsimus11 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 4, 2008
    Thanks again for the replies. I have a dumb question. When they do come out with the new imacs. Let's assume they will have a quad core processor. Is a 2.8 qaud core going to be the same or faster than 2 x 2.8 dual core processors? I'm just trying to figure out the whole 2 dual core vs 1 quad core. Logically it sounds like the single 2.8 quad would be the same as having 2 of the dual cores. I'm just wondering about the processors, not the RAM or the hard drives and other aspects to the speed of the computer. Just CPU speeds.

    I am speaking generally, not i7 or xeon. Thanks a lot for the great advice.

  15. rylin macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2006
    Generally, ... it depends :D
    Depending on such things as memory controllers and what not, it could be either slower or faster.
    If you're hitting L2 cache, it shouldn't really matter, but if the L2 cache is a miss and you have to grab stuff from the RAM, two dual core processors might be faster, depending on how much usage the memory bus is seeing at the time.

    All in all, I wouldn't worry about the difference.
    I've got to wait for the new iMacs to come out and for my local Apple retailer to start demoing them so I can try some stuff out though.

    Gut feeling says a quad iMac should be enough for my purposes, but if it's not (or if it's barely enough), I'll just get a Mac Pro instead.

    One of the advantages for being on sick leave for over half a year is that you don't really spend that much.. I fully intend on fixing that though :p
  16. Arcadie macrumors regular

    Dec 6, 2008
    Honestly i dont think anyone can tell you what you need. technically a core solo is all you NEED to do what you doing but...

    The reason i dont think anyone can really help yu out is because no one really knows what will be out. For all we know their will be a 28" iMac extreme with dual quad core (i7 extreme) processors and a 28" screen with a 500 GB HDD 15k HD for apps and a 60GB SSD slave for gaming with 4 memory slots that will accept up to 16GB ram... (i can dream cant i?)

    Or more realistically nothing mentioned above.. Until every one knows for sure what will come out, its hard to suggest what to do.

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