Mac Pro or iMac? Need some recommendations

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iseebird, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. iseebird macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2010

    I'm planning on buying a new Mac but I'm having trouble trying to decide on what to get. Its between the i7 Core iMac and the Quad-Core Mac Pro.

    What I'm using it for is to run AutoCAD, Photoshop, and other light 3D modeling software; and possibly some light gaming. I do need to run Windows 7 on the Mac since most of my software isn't available for Apple. My plan for the "Mac Pro" is to have 3 HDD, one dedicated to OSX, one dedicated to Windows 7, and the other for backing up the other two HDD and my MBA. I like the "Mac Pro" since it is easily upgradable and I can get new 1TB WD HDD for under $60 but the down side is the cost.

    The reason why I like the iMac is because of the low cost and its an all in one which will save me space but I don't know which will suit me better. For the "Mac Pro" I don't mind spending money on something that will last me for a while especially on how its easy to upgrade parts for it, so that's something to consider. Thanks.
  2. myessail macrumors newbie


    Nov 2, 2010
    For what you're using it for, I'd go with the Mac Pro. It's way more powerful than the iMac, even if it requires more space.
  3. sammyman macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2005
    I am in the same predicament. I was trying to decide a year ago and the easy winner was the iMac.

    However, now with SSD, it seems like the easy winner is the Mac Pro because you can't open the iMac up and plug in a SSD card like you can on the Mac Pro. That is what most of the threads here are saying. So I may splurge and go with the Mac Pro myself. That or I am waiting for the next iMac update which may have an easier solution to upgrading the hard drives.

    I kind of wish they updated the housing with the last update on the MP. I just think they could have made it slightly smaller. It is such a massive beast, vs the iMac which is so nice and small.
  4. czeluff macrumors 6502

    Oct 23, 2006
    Sounds like based on your NEEDS, the Mac Pro is the way to go.

    I say that with heavy heart, however, because after owning 3 Macbook Pros, a Black Macbook, a Macbook Air, and every iteration of the iPhone, the iMac is, without a doubt, the best machine I've ever owned. I am an iMac convert for life, and would be happy to spend far less money to get a machine that CAN do most of the things you want to do, just not with the speed.

    The amount of HD space it sounds like you need is probably the biggest reason to go with a Mac Pro.
  5. iseebird thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2010

    Thanks for all of the replies, its really making my decision much easier. I did decide to go with the "Mac Pro" mainly for the ease of upgrade ability and power. I did have a hard time since the "iMac" is so damn good looking and the price point is in my favor but I wish it were more easy to upgrade the HDD and possibly the GPU.

    I'm just hoping with the money I'm spending the "Mac Pro" will last me over time compared to the "iMac", what do you think?

    Thanks Again!
  6. dannofuzz macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2007
    I have the iMac i7 with 8GB ram and the 2TB HD. It flies! I use it for all the things you want to use it for and have no problems. I even run Windows 7 on an external 2.5" HD hooked up through USB and it performs fine! In fact I even play Crysis in Windows from the external and it's still pretty good! Granted it's not at the highest settings but they are in the middle and it runs fine. AutoCAD and Photoshop run great as well! In fact everything from Final Cut Pro to Adobe CS5 runs great! I have the 27" with another 28" monitor hooked up next to it. I have a Cavalry dual dock with two 1.5TB 3.5" HD and then another 1TB external I use for Time Machine. No problems anywhere and the display is gorgeous!
  7. iseebird thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2010
    I'm sure that its going to run fine but I'm not to sure about running Windows 7 on a external HDD, for me I would like to keep everything all in one like how the iMac is intended. I'm just think more about the long run where I can just slide in a new HDD when I need to over the years, or when SDD become more affordable I can switch out my entire system.

    Are you running the Mac version of AutoCAD or the PC version?
  8. BertyBoy macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2009
    Mac Pro if you can afford it, and a suitable monitor to connect to it. You'll need extra money for more RAM, and it's a shame you don't get the 12-core.

    don't get too fazed by SSD, make sure it's benefits are what you need, make sure its drawbacks are not a show-stopper for you.

    WD 1TB disk for $60 ? Betting it's of the 'green' variety. Good for your backup drive, but do you want to boot an OS of this ? Got a good discount on WD 2TB Enterprise disks last month, still around $300 equivalent (including our 17.5% VAT/sales tax), but fast.
  9. iseebird thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2010

    Yeah its a "Green" WD HDD, is that not reliable? Should I spend more money going with a "Black" or "Blue" variety WD HDD? I'm not at all trying to make a show stopper but the solid state drives work much faster and are more reliable from what I read, what drawbacks are you talking about for the SDD drives?

  10. 3runjosh macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2008
    Green means it saves as much power as it can resulting in sometimes it goes idle and takes 1-2 seconds to wake up when u call at it. I use my 1tb wd green as a storage drive (movies, music, pics) and maybe 1 second out of 3 hours movie playback i get a quick pause then back into it. I don't regret the green purchase since i don't call on the drive too often, it saves me power and it was really cheap :)
  11. dannofuzz macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2007
    I'm running the Mac version.
  12. thuff59 macrumors member


    Jul 6, 2009
    Response to above question.
    Here are two possible drawbacks to using a SDD drive.

    Frequent write activity
    Frequent write activity on a solid state drive (SSD) can severely degrade its write speed, and the effect is cumulative with ongoing use.

    Erasing the drive
    Erasing the drive is more of a problem when it’s the boot drive.

    Additional details:
  13. iseebird thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2010
    I need to use the PC version of AutoCAD its not really the same and the industry is not using Mac for this, there are a lot of other software offered by autodesk that is not available for Mac yet. When that time comes it may solve my problem but for now I need to have Windows 7.

    I've actually had two MBA and having a SSD is a much better advantage, from what I read its much more reliable and much faster. I'm not too concerned about the SSD right now I was just mainly talking about the future of it. It would be much easier to upgrade a Mac Pro than a iMac when the time comes, that's all.

  14. glimp7 macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Austin, Texas, US
    Don't get either.

    I built a hackintosh for a grande that is equivalent to a $3500 Mac Pro.

    Snow Leopard 64-bit (64-bit kernel and kexts) working perfectly

    Intel Core i7 950 3.2GHz
    Gigabyte X58A-UD3R Rev.2
    8GB DDR3 1600Mhz
    AMD Radeon HD 5870 1GB

    There are dual-Xeon motherboards that are hackintosh compatible, if you need two quad-cores or hexa-cores. You could also put one six-core i970 in this board if you wanted, or 980x.

    I'm sure Lion will install and run just as easily with this config, as the most of the kexts (drivers) will stay the same.

    Don't waste your money on a Mac Pro. You'll be paying the biggest "Apple tax" for the most out-of-demand product.
  15. DarthMoops macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2010
    Baltimore MD
    @ glimp7

    That depends on how inclined he is to deal with building his own Hack and then worrying about if the kexts will stay the same.

    If he buys a Pro and it craps out he can call Apple and say "My Pro crapped out!" and they'll fix it or send him a new one. There's a lot to be said for that.

    Just curious that you built the Hack, with great parts I'm sure, but it only has 64GB HD? Seems small for a desktop PC. Not trying to flame here just wondering why so small?
  16. yadmonkey macrumors 65816


    Aug 13, 2002
    Western Spiral
    I agree that you probably want a Mac Pro. Sounds like you could use the processing power and I'm a huge fan of having 4 internal drive slots for storage and backup.

    I went from an 8-core "Harpertown" to a 27" i5 iMac and don't really miss much in terms of processing, but I don't think I push the hardware as much as you will. I do miss the silent operation and internal drive bays though. The i5 isn't noisy, but my OWC Elite aluminum enclosures are noisier than I'd like.
  17. BertyBoy macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2009
    Looks like it's already been well answered. The 'Green' drives are perfect for backups and large media storage - I use them too, for iTunes, music and movies. But they're not designed to run 24/7. Reliability is first rate.
    Just saying, for a boot drive, I changed to Enterprise disk, avoiding those 2s spin-ups was worth every penny.

    SSD is fine if it suits your model of working. For random access they're insanely fast, but for large sequential reads, and even more for writes, they're slower than a good hard disk - I suppose at least there's no spin up time !!

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