Is a 2x2.66 4MB L2 Good vs. new iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by AConn, May 27, 2008.

  1. AConn macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2008
    I am interested in switching to Mac, and I have been debating on which Mac to get. I wanted some of your help.

    How does this Mac Pro compare to a new iMac
    Two 2.66GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors
    1GB (2 x 512MB) memory (667MHz DDR2 fully-buffered DIMM ECC)
    250GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s 7200 rpm hard drive
    16x SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics with 256MB memory

    I found that on the refurbished page for about the price of the new iMac.

    What can the RAM be upgraded to? Speed?
    Can I put in the 8800GT in this computer? What can I expect vs new iMac with 2GB RAM assuming it can be upgraded?
    Can I upgrade with additional HDDs?

    This computer will be for music, games, movies, college work (I live at home with folks, and attend online classes), and Internet browsing.
  2. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    The Mac Pro is far more flexible, and potentially much faster in certain situations (ones where all four cores are used) than the iMac.

    So to answer your questions:

    1. You can have up to 32GB of 667 MHz DDR2 RAM
    2. You can install an 8800 GT (I've got one, just make sure to pick the right card from Apple's website, it's pretty easy).
    3. It might feel a little slower intially with less RAM, but you can easily get 4GB of RAM cheap these days for the 2006 Mac Pro. Here is 4GB of RAM for $158.
    4. It can hold four drives in the SATA bays, and up to two more where the optical drive(s) would normally go. I've got three hard drives in my machine.
  3. Shurran macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2008
    Somerset, UK
    I would say without a doubt that this would be a faster machine than a current iMac - although the processors are individually slower than the higher end iMacs, there are four processing cores in the Mac Pro (as apposed to 2 in the iMac).

    The RAM can be upgraded to up to 32GB so I doubt you will have any problems there. There are 8 slots for RAM (2 taken up already) so the Pro allows for quite a nice upgrade path. You should always buy RAM in matched pairs for the Pro, and always get certified FBDIMMs (with the correct heatspreaders) - OWC are a great supplier of Mac RAM.

    Apple now offer the 8800 as an upgrade option for the 1st gen Pro. I have one in my 2nd gen, it was the best BTO decision I made!

    The Pro has four slots for HDDs, and they are incredibly simple to use. Check out Apples Page on the new Pro (the layout is almost identical)

    Having said all this, is the Pro really what you need? iMacs are such beautiful machines, with a tiny footprint, and of course the price includes the monitor. If you are not doing serious processing (image/audio/video - playing DVD's doesn't count anymore!) and don't really need the massive amount of upgradability then I don't think its that worth it. Thats my opinion anyway!

    ^^ You beat me to it!
  4. AConn thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2008
    I may just go with the iMac. I was researching the subject of who needs what amount of cores, and it seems quad core and up is more for development than gaming. Is that true?

    Since gaming is going to be the most intensive instance on the machine (if I ever game on it :rolleyes: ), I guess dual core will be better for me.
  5. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    Games are becoming more and more multi-threaded, meaning they can take advantage of more cpus / cores (especially with the 360 (3cores) and the ps3(8cores)).

    I would get a mac pro over an imac anyday because an iMac is stuck in time. You can barely upgrade it at all. Where as with the Mac Pro, you can get newer cpus (caution: they void the warranty), up to 4 harddrives (all easily installed), massive amounts of ram, video card upgrades for years to come.

    Definitely in the long run the Mac Pro will be better money spent.

    I am a developer (by profession not hobby) and avid gamer and I am saving up for a new single cpu quad core mac pro. Its a little more then the refurb 2x2 quad that your looking at but it comes with better everything so its worth the extra 300 bucks.
  6. AConn thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2008
    I didn't know you could upgrade the CPUs of the Mac Pro...
    If that is the case, are the motherboards different on the multi-chip vs. single chip, new mac pros? I wouldn't mind getting a single cpu now, and upgrading to an additional one later.

    What exactly makes a Mac, a Mac? I am thinking that the motherboard is what makes the system a legitimate Mac...
  7. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    For the same price, I'd still pick up the Mac Pro. Even for gaming. As was said earlier, more and more games are becoming multithreaded, and more cores will help.

    The 2006 Mac Pro's CPUs can be upgraded, but it's not the easiest thing in the world to do. You can't buy the original model with only one CPU.

    What makes a Mac a Mac? Nowadays, since most parts are standardized, it's just OS X and the software Apple provides. It's the user experience and Apple's (generally) high standard of quality. You get what you pay for, after all.
  8. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    It is in fact the same motherboard. The single cpu system comes with a slot cover over the second slot. So if you want to move to duals some day you'll need to buy a heat sink. Again, changing the cpus voids the warranty - but its possible. Where with an iMac - you can't.
  9. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    Oh, and what really makes it a mac (aside from the os as mentioned) is that EFI firmware. That really makes a difference over a standard pc bios.

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