Mac Pro or iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mjmac87, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. mjmac87 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #1
    Hi all, new to the forums and looking to become a new Mac user too.

    I am looking to swap over from PC for a Mac, I don't exactly have all the money in the world but I just can't decide whether to go for the high end iMac or a low to mid ranged Mac Pro.

    I am concerned with the heat problems with iMac, however I love the fact it is all neat and compact. It also concerns me that despite the higher end parts that are inside, they can still be a drag for certain tasks.

    The Mac Pro on the other hand is rather more expensive and the tower is quite bulky and pretty heavy. Though expandability and all the ports on the back, can never go wrong with really. The downside being that I have to purchase a Display monitor on top to go with it which adds to the price.

    From reading a lot of things on the net, I understand it does more or less come down to what you will be using it for.

    I tend to use it for general browsing the internet and chatting etc. I am also a web developer. I use Photoshop CS5 a lot and I tend to play around in Maya creating low poly work, so nothing too demanding in 3D. I also as of late have been working and developing games within Unity 3D. I also like to play games, some which are PC only thus i'll likely install windows 7. I am quite sure the Mac Pro will handle just fine lol but will running windows 7 and games or other intensive programs create a cause for concern in regards to the heat problem with the iMac?

    So yeah, if anyone can provide me with some info in regards to this thanks in advance, would really like to be able to come to a decision by the end of the month.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #3
    Unless you need the drive bays or the ability to swap out the GPU, I'd stick with the iMac. You get a great computer for less money.
     
  3. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #4
    Completely agree. I used to purchase desktops for the power and flexibility.

    However, the iMac is plenty fast for what I need, plus I can easily add an external monitor and FW800 HDs. I can also upgrade the RAM.

    Do I really need that extra power of the Mac Pro? Sure it would be nice. Is it worth the extra funds for what I need? Can't justify in my mind. Each year I can sell my current iMac and purchase a new one. This will keep me moving along the technology curve with a reasonable investment.
     
  4. ziwi macrumors 65816

    ziwi

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    Right back where I started...
    #5
    if you are swapping from a PC would you not already have a monitor?

    In anycase, with the things you are doing the iMac should suffice and you will save some coins.
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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  6. mjmac87 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 17, 2010
    #7
    first of all, thanks for the quick replies!

    Well, I have 2 x 22inch monitors, 1 dell and 1 samsung DTV.

    Should I not worry about the heat problem then at all?

    -I read that the top left of the iMac get's very hot and some people have said after a year or two they start to find some issues with it?
     
  7. MacAndMic macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2009
    #8
    Go iMac. I run Windows 7 on Bootcamp and use CAD every day as well as develop for CAD and this i7 - 2.93 has no issues whatsoever.

    I do play a couple of games here and there (CODMW2 - Left 4 Dead 2) and the graphics are nice. You won't run at full quality at full resolution but back down to 1920 x ???? whatever that number was and it's all glory at full. I am sure you could run at the highest resolution but you would have to turn down some of the quality options. I am also a stickler for frame rates for online play so my opinion may be a little more strict than yours.

    You also get that sleek look you mentioned. I know for me, I work out of my office downstairs but once in a while I like to move upstairs for a change of scenery, 1 plug, done, I'm moving!

    As for issues, I have had 0 and you should not expect any. One thing you get with this forum is a hand full of people who seem to have multiple issues. Those people tend to post more if you know what I mean. Us happy guys (a huge majority) just sit back, read and snicker.

    troutspinner
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #9
    The aluminum enclosure acts as a giant heat sink so it's normal that it gets hot. The innards, however, should run within the limits. When you visit forums like this, there will always be people telling about their issues as they come to ask for help. In reality, those people are the extremely tiny minority as most people have zero issues. Get AppleCare if you're worried
     
  9. ctucci macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    #10
    If you are a smoker, then the cooling fins inside the Imac get clogged very quickly with the particulate. That certainly will cause overheating, esp for the graphics subsystem, which will fry. Watched it happen. Call me a minority because I smoke, I don't really care.

    Also, Applecare can (and will) choose not cover repairs they can attribute to smoking, and it's quite easy to make that attribution as soon as the iMac is opened.

    IF you are not a smoker, the iMac is a great system for a switcher.

    If you smoke, either don't smoke around the iMac, or think about ebaying a Mac Pro, so you can open and maintain it.

    Just a note...
     
  10. jerry333 macrumors member

    jerry333

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    #11
    It depends on what you're doing. I have a few of each and have found:

    If you are either running a large number of programs or are using programs written to take advantage of the multi-cores then the Mac Pro will eat the iMac for lunch even if they have the same CPU because of the Mac Pro's larger bandwidth in the controller chip.

    If you're just doing "office or home" stuff, then the iMac is a great choice.

    The heat problems are easily solved with smcFanControl. I run this on all my Macs and it really keeps the internals cool. Use iStat Pro to keep track of the temperatures.
     
  11. Ravaroo macrumors 6502

    Ravaroo

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Location:
    feels like Canada South
    #12
    Refurbs

    If you're looking to save money, check out the refurb section @ the Apple Store

    Just checked today and they had both the i5 & i7 models (yes, the new ones) available.

    The i7 model @ $1899.00 is looking mighty attractive
     
  12. mjmac87 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 17, 2010
    #13
    Hey, thanks again for all the replies!

    Well, I do multitask quite a bit. If the latest iMac has indeed had it's heat issue been looked at it seems the more sort after hardware to get.

    Im not just wanting to do office/email work, as I wrote in my original thread, I develop 3D games using Maya and Unity3D, along with using photoshop, I also develop websites, I know pretty much any system will handle the website side of things. It is really whether the iMac will run as smoothly as my current PC does, if not better while developing within Unity3D or doing 3D work in Maya.

    On the other hand I play a lot of games on my PC too. From MMORPGs to FPS/Strategy games etc, so I definately require it to handle them no problem.

    Also, the average lifespan between getting a new computer/upgrading is around 3 - 4 years if this also helps people provide me with a clear insight which to go with.

    P.S: I am from the UK by the way :)
     
  13. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

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    Mar 11, 2005
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    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    #14
    It depends on how important the gaming bit is to you, since this will need the most resources in the future. I wouldn't expect the iMacs mobile gpu to handle games that come out in 2-3 years too well, if at all.

    Personally I have just sold an iMac and bought a Mac Pro and I am very happy with it - after 3 years with an iMac I wasn't even considering buying one again.
     
  14. mjmac87 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 17, 2010
    #15
    hmmmm, I thought that the latest iMacs aren't mobile GPUs?
     
  15. tpg macrumors regular

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    Mar 19, 2010
    #16
    Think you're right there - for example the HD 5670 available in both screen sizes definitely appears to be a desktop card. Having said that, I think apple are known to underclock the graphics cards to reduce heat output. They should still be pretty fast though!

    Obvious problem with Mac Pro is the cost - starting at £2k it's an awful lot to blow on a desktop, when you can get a decent PC gaming rig for about £700.

    If you don't already have a monitor that you'd be wasting by getting an iMac, I'd go for one of those. They seem to hold their value well enough that you can sell it and upgrade to the latest model in a couple of years with minimal expenditure.
     
  16. mjmac87 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 17, 2010
    #17
    Well, even if the card was mobile, it surely is a rather high end card for mobile anyway, there are PC laptops with specs less great than those for the highest end iMac that are fully capable of playing most modern games.

    I know most of the hardware in them is capable to be honest, I am not looking to max it out all out and then some lol. Just with the iMac and having no familiarity with macs at all, it needs to run smoothly and I need the assurance that for Unity3D, Maya and Photoshop and that when I run windows 7 from bootcamp it will be able to run games fine all considering it is a packaged setup.

    Here are 3 setups I have configured:

    CONFIGURATION 1 - £2,917.45
    27" iMac
    2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    2TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive
    8x double-layer SuperDrive
    ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB GDDR5 SDRAM
    Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (British) & User's Guide (English)
    Magic Mouse
    Country Kit

    Apple LED Cinema Display (27" flat panel)

    CONFIGURATION 2 - £4,005.97
    Mac Pro
    Configuration
    One 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Nehalem”
    8 GB (4 x 2 GB)
    1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive
    1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive
    ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB
    One 18x SuperDrive
    Magic Mouse
    Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (British) & User's Guide (English)
    COUNTRY KIT-GBR

    2 X Apple LED Cinema Display (27" flat panel)

    CONFIGURATION 3 - £4,261.29
    Mac Pro
    Configuration
    Two 2.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Westmere” (8 cores)
    8 GB (4 x 2 GB)
    1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive
    1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive
    ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB
    One 18x SuperDrive
    Magic Mouse
    Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (British) & User's Guide (English)
    COUNTRY KIT-GBR

    2 X Apple LED Cinema Display (27" flat panel)

    Well, you kinda get the idea of the systems I am looking at, as tpg stated, it is quite a massive difference in price from the iMac to the Mac Pros, over £1000 mark anyway.

    I am a dual monitor user, I can't go back to 1! Plus they have to be both same size etc so that is why I have put 2 in. I know I can get cheaper 27" monitors but would make life a lot easier to get the whole lot in one package lol.
     
  17. jonjons macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    #18
    I just bought a refurb 24" ALCD for $599 that I am VERY happy with.
    Two of these (available sporadically) would feed your dual monitor habit
    without braking the bank.

    Jon
     
  18. tpg macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    #19
    Given that you're considering systems in this price point, and you mentioned Photoshop amongst other things, I'd still stick with the iMac.

    Couple of alterations that might be good though:

    1. Go for 8GB RAM
    2. Lose the SSD. It's costing you £600, and I am pretty sure you will not get that much benefit from it over the traditional drives.
     
  19. jbyun04 macrumors 6502a

    jbyun04

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #20
    Booting Photoshop, or any app for that matter, off of an SSD is a huge improvement over a traditional drive. While having 8GB RAM is nice, having a nice SSD will give you better overall gains. Of course you could always go SSD + 6GB ram and then upgrade to 8GB later.
     
  20. tpg macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    #21
    Hmm, I think we'll have to agree to disagree here. IMO, the speed of booting isn't as important as the ability to work on lots of things simultaneously. Photoshop loads fast enough on my 3 year old macbook with a 5400RPM drive, but I've got 4GB of RAM and do run out from time to time (which is painful).
     
  21. jbyun04 macrumors 6502a

    jbyun04

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #22
    Each to their own I guess. I agree at times 4GB can choke up when the files get a bit big but for me I would rather have a nice SSD, doesn't even have to be 256.. I'd be plenty happy with 40-64GB to boot OSX and run CS4 off of and combo it with a 6GB ram upgrade.

    4GB sticks are only about $99 now which is comforting.
     
  22. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #23
    skip the 8-core. first, 2.4GHz is relatively slow, and second, hardly any programs can use more than 4 cores. more cores does not automatically mean better.

    go with an i5 or i7 iMac...i5 is the better option if your software doesn't use hyperthreading.

    and skip the SSD. faster boot/load time doesn't necessarily mean more productivity, especially since Mac users don't typically reboot often, and OSX is designed to keep programs in cache after the first launch. if you want higher performance within software, you want more memory, not a faster disk.
     
  23. mjmac87 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #24
    Again thanks for all the replies =)

    I think I will be heading towards the iMac. The reason I put 4GB in was so that I could purchase RAM from Crucial, keeps the cost down with apple so I could put it towards the SSD, I wanted to max out the HDD space because I do make use of it all.

    Could be better to stick it to 2 x 4GB and just purchase another 4GB later I guess.

    Okay I think I have come to a decision near enough. Anyone recommend any software or anything at all to go with this animal?
     
  24. mjmac87 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #25
    Big thumbs up to the guy on the apple phone line! Got some more discount on the setup and the advice was fantastic, didn't feel as though I was being sold cack I didn't need or anything :) went for the 2GB timecapsule instead of the SSD.

    27-inch iMac
    ‎2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    2TB Serial ATA Drive
    8x double-layer SuperDrive
    ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB GDDR5 SDRAM
    Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (British) & User's Guide (English)
    Magic Mouse
    Country Kit

    Apple LED Cinema Display (27" flat panel)

    Time Capsule - 2TB
    AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac/eMac

    Now I believe I have a 2 - 3 week waiting time due to the 27" lol. All I can do now is clear my room up and ponder how I will fit 2 x 27" displays onto my desk lmao
     

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