iMac VS Mac Pro

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mfarris2, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. mfarris2 macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2012
    Please pardon me if there is any mistaken protocal as this is my first post here.
    I presently own a late 2006 iMac I purchased new through Apple. It is getting a little long in the tooth and I need to upgrade. I am by no means an Mac expert and have to keep a Windows based computer around just to do some things that I have not been able to figure out how to complete on my iMac.
    I have managed to save enough up to buy a very high end 27" iMac or have found brand new Mac Pro's with two quad core processors, 1TB HD + 240GB SSD, Blu ray burner, good video card, Apple Care etc for about $4000.00. Here is a link to said machine.
    The BTO iMac through Apple was going to set me back about $3400.00 + $100.00 at OWC for additional ram. ($3500.00 total.)
    I presently own a Viewsonic monitor I could use until I can save a few more dollars to purchase Apples 27" Cinema Display monitor. And I would have the additional expense of having to purchase a decent set of speakers.
    What I like about the Mac Pro option is the ease to upgrade and with two Xeon 3.2Ghz processors & 12GB of ram, it should blow away the fastest i7 processor the iMac will have. What I do not like about this option is the amount of real-estate , wires that I will now have to put up with. And of course the additional funds I will need to spend for a new monitor, speakers, additional HD;s and perhaps additional ram.
    I love the convenience of my present iMac, but hate the almost non existence of upgradability. (Hard drive and ram exception) The newest model iMac is a beautiful machine, but seem to be even harder to get into than my late 06 model. I also am reading about dust getting behind the screens of the newer model iMac's and Apple Care not taking care of this. This is worrisome to me. Is the dust I keep reading about behind the screen just a fluke on a very limited number of machines? Or is it a design flaw that may disappear on the next version?
    I do almost no gaming. But I want a blazing fast machine that does not blink with whatever I throw at it. I spend most of my time browsing the internet and checking Email on the computer. But I also spend a lot of time with Photoshop rendering pictures.
    I am going to wait until the new iMacs come out hopefully within a couple of months. I am hopeful that a new Mac Pro will also come out first or about the same time.
    My question is are the Mac Pro's worth the extra money if I can afford it? Are the high end on board GPU's for the iMac really high end? Is the dust behind the screen really an issue with the new iMac's?
    I can only afford a new high end machine about once every six years. I prefer less of a foot print, but not at the sacrifice of noticeable speed. So will I see an amazing speed difference if I purchase the Mac Pro?
    Sorry that I have so many questions. I want to choose correctly. And some of you may have advise or some insight I may have missed. I would love to hear your opinions on which machine is the best value as well as the best machine, and why.
    Thank you.
  2. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    2010 Mac Pro from Apple refurbished - $2119
    24GB RAM from OWC - $330
    3.33GHz six-core CPU from Provantage - $587
    Total = $3036

    You already have a monitor, and this comes with a 5770. The CPU swap is easy enough to be done by my mother as I walk her through it over the phone, or you could hire a zoo monkey to do it while making a banana pie.

    You save almost $500 for a much better machine that you can still upgrade further and never worry about cooling.


    The more of these eBay mods I see, the more I think I should start buying/modding/flipping them myself. So easy and so many people are falling for them! That one you linked cost them $2600 to assemble, and they charge you $3200.

    Heck, I'm going for it. Look for my ads! :)
  3. mfarris2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2012
    Thank you for your reply. It sounds as though you are recommending the Mac Pro. I am going to wait till around April-ish as I am hearing of a final upgrade in that time frame before the demise of the Mac Pro. However, I do have the funds available now, should Apple decide to kill the Mac Pro.
    I appreciate you taking the time and giving me your opinion.
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    The lastest iMacs are really fast in comparison to the Mac Pros as sold by Apple, but that's probably because it's been so long since the MPs have been refreshed. But they can still beat the iMacs in every area…Thunderbolt being a rather glaring exception.

    And I think it's still unclear that Apple will keep it going.

    But your concerns about the iMac are spot on. It's not just a matter of interest to system tweakers who want to add extra capabilities or upgrade components. The new iMacs are becoming difficult to perform even basic maintenance on, and I consider swapping hard drives basic maintenance. They fail, and probably before anything else in the computer. And now virtually your only option is to either cross your fingers and consider running from an external if it tanks, or to purchase a lot of AppleCare. Pretty lame for anything but a home recreational computer.

  5. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Only on the low end Rob. The 6-Cores and 12-cores are still faster at professional tasks that use multi threads. They are not faster at iTunes rips, they are faster at Handbrake conversions.
  6. thekev, Jan 16, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012

    thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Bleh I won't use an imac. The current mac pro hasn't seen a major internal update since 2009. I would hate to buy on the tail end of an extended refresh cycle. It's awkward when a product is on such a long refresh cycle at the same price point. If you look at the concept of graphics workstations from the 1980s, they came down in price going into the 90s, but they were still 10s of thousands of dollars. By the time the G3s came out, the advantage in one over the other was diminished to a point where no one wanted to pay that much anymore.

    It's not exactly the same here. The mac pros are constructed for a much higher duty cycle than the other macs, but I'm seeing tons of first generation mac pros flooding ebay and craigslist lately. These guys pick up a computer. They use it for a long time before they start to think about upgrading, but software tends to become more demanding as hardware capability increases. They look at what is available. Mac Pro hasn't been updated in a long time. Why should they switch to an aging product? It's normal that sales would wane over a longer refresh cycle, just like iphone demand doesn't go in a straight line over the refresh cycle of the device (unless of course it's not available in whatever area).

    You know... around the time the 2010 mac pros came out, these were on clearance from a couple third party retailers for $1900 (not sure on the gpu though). There has to be some amount of pent up demand here. I can use all of the power I can get, but a twelve core configured is cost prohibitive, and some stuff scales better off clock speed than core count anyway. Also I was hoping to see some updated gpus.
  7. mfarris2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2012
    Thank you everyone.

    I appreciate all the info and opinions.
    I just took the plunge and purchased a base model Mac Pro with two 2.4Ghz quad core processors. (8 cores) I also purchased the 27" LED Apple Cinema display. I added the Apple Care for the Mac Pro.
    I will upgrade memory, SSD hard drive and also purchase a larger hybrid HD as funds become available. Spent $4500.00 tonight. I purchased from MacMall as I was able to save a chunk on Taxes.
    Again,....I appreciate all the input. I really like my iMac. But have been frustrated by the lack of ability to perform upgrades. I may have a new two year old machine now. But upgrading should now be pretty easy for many years to come. And eight cores of processing power should be able to handle anything I can throw at it.
  8. alksion macrumors 68000


    Sep 10, 2010
    Los Angeles County
    Wow, I thought you were waiting till April? You already had your mind made up before I could even chime in.. Enjoy your new Pro
  9. mfarris2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2012
    I was going to wait until April for the new iMacs to come out. But after a good bit of consideration, I decided that even with Ivery Bridge, The 8 core Mac Pro would be a better computer. I have already ordered 24 Gigs of ram. Next week, I will purchase a 240GB Mercury Extreme Pro SSD. At the same time I purchased the Mac Pro, I ordered the 27" LED Cinema Display. (Cannot use the Thunderbolt display as 2010 version of Mac Pro does not have it.)
    The more I debated between the two, the more I leaned toward the Mac Pro.
    The iMac seems to have dust getting into the screen issues. I am really stuck with what I have with an high end iMac. A high end iMac may be the best today,...but a few years from now, will be outdated with little I can do to upgrade.
    The Mac Pro will allow me to upgrade my memory a bit. Upgrade processors. Lots of room for additional HD space. Several PCI express slots free to add USB 3 or possibly even thunderbolt in an PCI express slot or an easily upgradable graphics card. I can add a blu ray burner. The list of advantages of the Mac Pro are just so overwhelming. The disadvantages are of course cost. About $1500.00 more than the fully loaded iMac. And the loss of convenience of an all in one.
    Everyone seems to want to see the iMac get thinner. IMO, I would have liked to see them get a bit thicker. Thick enough where you could put a couple of hard drives and a full size graphics card into it. Access panels on back for easy access.
    I know that the Mac Pro is going to take a good bit of additional real estate. And I will have to hide cables. But after careful consideration, I decided to take the plunge as I believe that any new Mac Pro will have very little to offer in upgrades.
    That said,....I had to cancel my order through Mac Mall. They just could not get the funds processed through my debit card. Even though I had called my bank and gotten the charges pre approved. I placed the order for the exact same items from today. Charges went through without a hitch and the items cost me $40.00 less. (Apple Care was $100.00 less for Mac Pro, but monitor was $60.00 more. Mac Pro was exact same price.)
    Again, thank you everyone for all your input. Any additional advise is still welcome.

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