Mac Pro or iMac for me?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by crb824, Jun 3, 2007.

  1. crb824 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    #1
    So heres the deal,

    I've been a life long mac user since my first Quadra when I was a youngster. I then had a Bondi iMac, then I later upgraded to a Dual MDD 1.25 G4 tower. The time is nearing for my next upgrade, and I'm unsure which computer to go with. I am a 22 year old college grad starting my career, with hopes of continuing my side business of graphic design which I did in college to make a couple of bucks. Since I am fresh out of college I'm pretty damn broke, so with that being said mac pro might be out of my financial budget. That leaves the iMac. I am now torn on these 2 options.

    Option A: Buy a 20 or 24 inch iMac (cheaper, efficient)
    Option B: Pony up the extra cash for a Mac Pro (better performance, will last longer due to upgradeability)


    Here is a list of things I will use my computer for:
    a. General Purpose (surfing the net, listening to music, etc.)
    b. Minor Gaming (Not a huge game fanatic but I play a little here and there.)
    c. Web/Graphic Design (I do a good ammount of work with photoshop, illustrator and Dreamweaver; Probably about 5 jobs graphic per week, and a website every month or so.)

    Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks all who took the time to read.
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #2
    Depends on the longevity you want and how broke you want to be. The iMac can handle those tasks just fine. Once you get into running many parallel processes you might want to pony up for the Mac Pro. That is besides that ability to upgrade the Mac Pro.
     
  3. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #3
    iMac.

    If you have to ASK if you need the Mac Pro, then you don't need the Mac Pro.
     
  4. crb824 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    #4
    I ask because at the time of which I got my Dual G4, my best friend got an iMac (the one that looks like a ball with a monitor coming out of it.) As of right now his computer runs like crap while mine is doing much better. I have upgraded my tower multiple times opposed to his no upgrades. I also ask because I understand that with a tech issue with the iMac, it is a lot harder to self repair and/or upgrade. For example, with my current G4 I do all of my own upgrades, and I have also done 2 home repairs. The iMac is more involved in terms of upgrades and repairs and I'd likely have to take it to a shop. Another issue that concerns me about the iMac is there is never the ability to upgrade or replace the monitor.

    I forgot to mention I also plan on running both Vista and Mac OS on the same machine for compatibility purposes. I am not sure if this changes anything, I just thought I'd mention it.
     
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #5
    You could get a refurbished 2 x 2.0 GHz Mac Pro for $1,899. If you can reuse the hardware from the Power Mac G4, I'd go for that.
     
  6. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    Nov 16, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #6
    The only things he could really recycle are HDD's (and they're probably old, slow drives) and maybe expensive PCI cards (doubtful that he has any).

    Its really what you can afford. Remember, you'll have to buy (or use an existing) screen with the Mac Pro but it comes included with the iMac.
     
  7. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #7
    I was more concerned about the display. A 7200 RPM PATA hard drive from a MDD isn't terrible.
     
  8. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2004
    #8
    You can't use PCI cards on a machine with PCIe like the Mac Pro.

    Personally I'd go with a Mac Pro. Of course, since I have a G5 Power Mac which is great I'm biased in that regard, but it sounds like you're experienced with the advantages of being able to upgrade.

    --Eric
     
  9. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #9
    Well, the Intel iMacs use bone-stock Intel mobile processors, perfectly standard DDR2-667 SO-DIMMs, perfectly stock Serial ATA hard drives. Those are all upgradeable, within the limits of technology. (For example, you will be able to upgrade the processor to at least the now-current high-end 2.33 GHz; and possibly as high as the soon-to-be released 2.8 GHz 'mobile' chip.)

    The Mac Pro uses bone-stock Intel Xeon processors. Ironically, for a given clock speed, these are actually CHEAPER than the mobile processors; and as we know, you can put two quad-core 3.0 GHz chips in there. Memory, on the other hand; while a 'standard', is horrendously expensive. And it's the one thing you'd be most likely to upgrade. Drives, though, are identical to the drive technology in the iMac.

    Then there's the video card. Obviously, if you want to do true hard core gaming, the Mac Pro is a no-brainer, but are you willing to spend at least $1000 more for that?

    The reason I say iMac is personal experience. While, yes, I could take full advantage of an eight-core Mac Pro with Radeon X1900 XT from time to time (I do video encoding, and do play some video games,) the times in which it would be an improvement over a high-end iMac are so few and far between to make the price difference ridiculous.

    If I were a true hard core gamer, maybe. If I were a professional video editor (or other profession that uses software that can take full advantage of even four cores,) it would make sense. But for standard home personal use, the Mac Pro really is overkill. (My brother-in-law has a 2.66 GHz Mac Pro, and I'm not sure he has *EVER* maxed out all four cores.)
     
  10. Xeem macrumors 6502a

    Xeem

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  11. Kermit the frog macrumors regular

    Kermit the frog

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    #11

    Took the words right out of my mouth :)
     
  12. Igantius macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    #12
    As ehurtley very rightly points, upgrading Mac Pro memory is far from cheap. If your budget is on the tight side, I would be inclined to go with the iMac – although I would be hankering after the Mac Pro.

    In your position, if I was just starting out in my chosen career, I would go for a machine that was easily affordable, yet would enable me to work efficiently – an iMac fits that bill nicely! But as I became more established in my work, I would probably look at upgrading to a Mac Pro when it was financially feasible.
     
  13. Cabbit macrumors 68020

    Cabbit

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    Scotland
    #13
    I would go for the macpro just now the imac isn't very good value for money considering the mobile processor 3GB memory limit and very low end graphics card, your also locked into the screen that may or may not have hdmi were if you buy a mac pro you are almost unlimited in comparison as this gives you 32GB ram limit, any screen and number of screens you want, in the future a quick swap out and you have a hdcp ready graphics card and can do the same with the screen. Upgrading to more harddrives and blu-ray and hd-dvd is a simple drive swap out and you can even upgrade it to a 8 core or perhaps even 16 core computer in the future.

    iMac means replacing it in the future
    Macpro means gentle upgrades
     
  14. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    #14
    I totally agree :)

    FJ
     
  15. scotpole macrumors member

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    Apr 4, 2006
    #15
    Same Boat

    I have a dual 867mhz with 2gig of ram and three hard drives, one 60gig that came with the machine, and two 200gig hard drives and I feel that I am at the end of the cycle for this machine. I have desparately wanted to replace this machine and start my transition to Intel.

    I mainly work with photography and the Adobe desk top publishing suite, but I want to do video. The problem with the Imac vs the MacPro seems to be with encoding speeds. The Mac Pro can do it much faster.

    The things that seem to affect speed on a computer are Optical drive, Hard drive, bus speed, memory and processor speed. The slowest processes are Optical drive and Hard drive access. The more physical ram that a computer has the larger the picture or video that can be processed directly into memory without access to the hard or optical drive.

    You can put 4gig of memory into an Imac, but it will only see 3gig. You can put 16gig into a Mac Pro. You could theoretically put a 6gig video segment into memory and be able to process it without accessing the hard drive.

    So then the question becomes what is the difference between the processors in the towers?

    If I load up a 2ghz tower with 16gig of ram how much faster or slower will it be then the 3gz processor with the same amount of ram when it comes to processing video clips?

    Which tower is the real bargain?
     
  16. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    If you're the type to use a computer for 5-6 years or so get a mac pro, if you tend to upgrade every couple of years anyway just get an imac.

    my cube's still trucking on, if I bought an imac at the time I would have replaced it twice by now.
     

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