Mac Pro 3.2GHz versus iMac 2.93GHz

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Pixelmage, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. Pixelmage macrumors member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I am leaning towards getting an iMac 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7. But now I am also considering the Mac Pro 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel. I hope someone can give me some feedback on this decision.

    1. Are they more or less the same speed? If I read this thread I found correctly, the iMac i7 is designed to allow the cores to "over-clock" if necessary which is something I don't think the Mac Pro are allowed to do. Has anyone heard anything about this?

    2. I know the iMac display is glossy. Is the 27in Apple Cinema Display also glossy or can it be purchased as matte?

    3. How would they compare in terms of noise and heat?

    4. Which processor is the better overall performer?

    5. I know the updated iMac i7 came out mid-year of 2010. When did Mac Pro 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel started being offered?
  2. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    Browse throught the MacRumors Forums. You'll find several threads talking about the questions you're asking plus links to Mac Performance Guide and BareFeats, among others, that provide additional info.
  3. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    I was actually a previous owner of a 3.33 hex-core at launch, and although it was a really sweet systems, I quickly found out that it wasn't for me and went back for an 27" iMac i5 instead.

    At the very least, I can tell you in terms of noise and heat, the iMac is much quieter and much much cooler. I am very consious about these things because 1) my home studio can get blazingly hot and 2) i deal with audio work, so I tend to hear the faintest of audible noise. The Mac Pro may be one of the most silent in it's class but there's no denying the iMac beats it in this department. Configure the iMac with just an SSD and you'll have an even more silent and cooler machine. And there is also a noticeable difference in heat too. You can find power consumption tables for the last generation of Mac Pros and iMacs on Apple's site which can give you a good idea of the the differences between today's models, but numbers aside, my room is simply much cooler than when I had the Mac Pro, and I'm really happy about that.

    I'm not sure about overclocking of the processors, but the 27" ACD comes only in glossy and the Mac Pro came out about in August, just a couple of weeks after the 2010 iMac.

    Hope that helps some.
  4. Desmo1098 macrumors regular


    Aug 28, 2009
    1. You can find out more about Intel's Turbo Boosting Technology for each processor here:
    • Mac Pro 2010 Nehalem 3.2 GHz -
    1. No, you cannot order the Apple 27" Cinema Display in matte
    2. I have both, they both sit within an arms reach and I cannot hear either. Only when I really run processes that utilize the processor will I start to hear the hard drives and fans, so in my view they are equal. This will be subjective to every individual.
    3. Both processors are great in todays world. There are very few applications which will take full advantage of the capabilities of each processor. If you are using those applications, you know what I am talking about. If not, then they both will suit your needs fine.
    4. The last update of the Mac Pro was introduced on August 9, 2010.

  5. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2010

    If the iMac runs cooler why are there so many threads about iMacs running really hot? My Mac Pro reached 65 degreed while rendering and idles at 22 degrees. I've never known an iMac run cooler than that.
  6. mrt209 macrumors 6502

    Nov 21, 2010
    I went from an iMac i7 to a Mac Pro 3.33ghz hexacore, and the mac pro is much quieter and cooler than the iMac. The iMac hard drive noise was sooooo annoying but with the MP I can barely hear it.


    If you can afford to get the Mac Pro then get it, it definitely wont disappoint you and you'll be able to do upgrades like adding more RAM, adding a SSD, new graphics card and you can upgrade the CPU in the future as well.
  7. Icaras, Feb 3, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011

    Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    Sorry guys, but I just disagree and I'm just not lying about my experience. My iMac simply runs cooler and much quieter. I have not any issues with my iMac overheating either.

    But I also did forget to mention that I also had the ATI 5780 which would definitely make it louder and generate more heat, so that might be it. I also had a 27" ACD paired to it so that generates some good amount of heat as well.

    Still though, I question the fact that physically, the fans in the Mac Pro should be larger than in the iMac's, not to mention it also uses desktop class GPUs as compared to the iMac's mobile variants, which also in turn should produce less heat, so I'm not sure how a Mac Pro can be quieter than an iMac. If the startup fan noise of the Mac Pro is any indication of what maximum usage can do to the fans, then it definitely has the potential to be much louder than an iMac.

    Edit: Also, how can a Mac Pro run cooler than an iMac when Apple's Power consumption tables say otherwise?

    Taken from the 2010 iMac specs page:
    Maximum continuous power: 241W (21.5-inch models); 365W (27-inch models)

    Here is the 2009 Mac Pro power consumption information:

    A 2009 Mac Pro 8 core generates 309 W at CPU MAX, NOT including the monitor...then add in the extra RAM, hard drives, more graphics cards and PCIe expansion cards and I'm sure you'll easily go over 500 W.

    Edit 2: I run an iMac i5 with the 5750 and on average, my UPS reading is usually under 150 W. Pretty low wattage usage I'd say.
  8. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Never had (extreme) heat or noise issues, and I have a 5870...
  9. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    Oh I never said it was ran very quietly in fact. I'm just saying the iMac runs even quieter.

    My room is sensitive to heat though so I felt the difference.

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