iMac with external (extra) HD's versus Mac Pro with internal HD's

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by JDALouis, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. JDALouis macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2009
    Anybody have experience with the difference in a iMac with external hard drives versus a Mac Pro with multiple internal hard drives? Likes and/or dislikes (other than the major factor - Cost.)

    Dream of a Mac pro, but an iMac would be more than enough (hard not to dream though :) .
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    If an iMac is "more than enough" I'd say you've made your decision. The only differences between the two as far as hard drives is that with the iMac you'll have an extra enclosure on your desk.
  3. EmperorDarius macrumors 6502a

    Jan 2, 2009
    When talking about storage only you can get a 1 TB ext HDD for 150$ or maybe less, while adding one to the MP costs 450$. You'll have to use an USB port, but the performance it's the same + you can use it to take info from other computers instead of using an USB (for large data).
  4. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    The primary difference is the data transfer speed. The maximum transfer with an iMac and an external drive is via FireWire 800 (800 Mbits/sec), while the internal drive bus on an early 2008 Mac Pro is SATA II (3.0Gbits/sec).

    Of course those are only theoretical maximum transfer rates under specified perfect conditions, but the real-world transfer rate is still far faster for SATA II.

    I won't even get into USB2 which in real world rates is about 1/3-1/2 of even FW 800 speeds.

    So the difference is a lot more than just another enclosure on the desk!;)
  5. gjw4u macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
    There are HDs available that use FW 400, FW 800, or Ethernet, which allow for faster transfer rates than with USB.
  6. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Well I'm not sure where the heck the figure of $450 for a 1Tb MacPro drive came from (other than the unthinkable option of adding a 1Tb drive as a second drive in a CTO MP via the Apple online store) but that is really misleading IMO.

    Adding a 1Tb drive to a MP (about a four minute job if you take a break during installation) will cost no more than roughly $100 for the drive currently. Saw some specials for 1Tb drives at $88 this morning too- that's the ticket. Fill all 3 empty slots with 1Tb drives for $264!:eek:
  7. seb-opp macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2008
    As has been said before, transfer speeds will be slower on an iMac even with FW800, but if you will be using this external for backups or data you wont be accessing frequently, for example storing files you don't use daily, then an iMac should be ok
  8. és: macrumors 6502a


    If the iMac is more than enough then I suggest you get an iMac with an internal 1TB and an external 1TB to back it up with. 1TB is a lot of storage.

    If, on the off chance, you need more than 1TB (for something like video) then you can just use a second external drive for storage.

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