Mac Pro or iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BenEndeem, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. BenEndeem macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    England
    #1
    I'm undecided between a fairly basic Mac Pro (4GB RAM/3.0GHz/1TB etc.) or a top line iMac (4GB RAM/3.06Ghz/1TB etc.) and also whether to buy this year or next.

    I'll be needing a desktop to (run):

    -High end image editing.
    -Occasional video editing.
    -Fairly heavy multi-tasking.
    -Running various productivity suites and databases.
    -Other, more typical tasks.
    -To last between three and five years.

    I'd be happy to have the top spec iMac, which is very similar but less expensive, but I'd just like to know if there's something I'm missing, for example maybe there's a vast difference that I've overlooked or maybe a Mac Pro would be better for reason 'x'.

    Secondly I'd like a second opinion on the timeframe. There's no real urgency in having either now as most of the software required won't really even need to be considered until early 2009. With this information in hand, would it be better to wait until Snow Leopard and possible revisions, or again are there aspects I've overlooked?

    Thank you for any help. Ben.
     
  2. arjen92 macrumors 65816

    arjen92

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Location:
    Below sea level
    #2
    processing

    Hey,

    I don't know much, but this is what I know. Video rendering speed depends a lot on how much ram you have. As they both have 4 Gb this isn't a point. But with fcs and qmaster you can divide the render over your cores. As the pro has 8, it goes a lot faster then the iMac (I don't have evidence that it is faster, but it is most likely). Next to that, with more hard drives on your mac pro, you can place them in raid, which will result in a faster computer. But then again, if you go for price, the iMac has a screen and the mac pro hasn't. I edit in my spare time, and use an imac. It rendered a 20 minutes videos in 6 minutes. (same settings as sequence). But if you want to go with the flow and new technology, a mac pro could be very usefull as you can more easily upgrade the thing. Hope this will help you.
     
  3. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #3
    Wait until January and get one of the new Mac Pros. Don't bother with a processor upgrade (they will likely be 2.8GHz again) as the return on investment is terrible at Apple's prices and it doesn't seem like you will benefit. You'd probably be fine with a single quad core option if they continue to offer that.
     
  4. Trip.Tucker Guest

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    #4
    Nice write up. I think this sums it up nicely. I run a Mac Pro but I would seriously consider an iMac if I were to buy again, simply based on price. However, having said that, I do love being able to add/swap out hard drives easily, upgrade my video card when new models are available (considering the 3870 for next upgrade) as well as being able to bump my ram up to it's current 8GB.

    If the iMac hardware will meet your maximum demands for daily work, then you will certainly save by purchasing that model. If not, get the Mac Pro, I love mine. As for buying now or later... if you keep waiting for something better around the corner you will never buy a machine. Buy what you need now and don't worry about something better coming out - there will always be a shinier better, bigger apple.
     
  5. Trip.Tucker Guest

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    #5
    "return on investment is terrible at Apple's prices" - dude, you need a wake up call. ROI is superb considering Apple's prices are in a lot of cases cheaper when comparing component for component against other vendors.

    Get a clue.
     
  6. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #6
    $800 (28.5% of total price) for a 7% speed increase? If you are doing alot of processing and having to wait on it then it can be worth it, but in that case the 3.2GHz is likely a better investment although more expensive initially.

    Apple, Dell and HP all charge similar amounts for these levels of upgrade ($800 to go from 3.0GHz to 3.2Ghz at least as HP and Dell do not offer 2.8GHz processors).
     
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #7
    I was thinking 2.4 or 2.67 (as most likely), as the 2.8GHz would likely be too expensive to keep the Mac Pro in/near enough to its current price.

    Any particular reason/info you believe they would start with the 2.8GHz?

    I just wish they would hurry up and publish the price list. :mad: Eliminates some of the confusion. :p
     
  8. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #8
    Well I can't see Apple having slower speeds even if they perform better. Why do you think the 2.8GHz will be more expensive? The rumoured prices of Bloomfield give faster speeds than Yorkfield at similar prices.
     
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #9
    New technology, and Intel wants their R&D back sooner than later. Combined with the fact Intel is currently building two 45nm facilities to meet production. They want to pay for this somehow. :eek:

    So lets assume the 2.8GHz units will go for $999USD (per 1k pcs.). (Using the 3.2GHz i7 as a starting point).
    I just don't see Apple taking a loss, let alone just break even at these prices and keep a Mac Pro at $2799USD.

    They still have to make a case, logic board, HDD, ODD, PSU, graphics card (I'd think they'd use the HD3870 in the base model), packaging, shipping, ... add indirect costs, and some profit margin and stay within the $801USD difference.

    I hope I'm wrong here, but I just don't see it. Not without a price increase. :confused:
     
  10. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #10
    I guess I don't see them charging more for slower speeds. They haven't so far with Core based products as far as I know. The prices will surely be out within the next few weeks though and then we can judge much better what will happen.
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #11
    I'm not sure what you mean by slower speeds, unless you mean the numerical difference between 2.67 and 2.8GHz. Which I agree, would seem to be a step backward. ;) However, I would expect the 2.67 GHz Gainestown-EP to be faster than the current Xeon E5462 CPU's currently used. New architecture, and all. :p

    My reasoning for likely seeing a numerically lower Gainestown-EP is solely based on cost. IIRC, the current E5462 started at something around $8-850USD upon release, and to keep the new model at a similar list price, they would opt for a CPU in the same price range as then.

    Please keep in mind, that I'm basing this on what information is available now. The Gainestown price list isn't even out yet, let alone any leaks on the next Mac Pro. ;)

    I truly hope I'm surprised, but Apple does want to make a profit, and this forces compromises. :eek: And of course, they will have options for those willing to pay. :D :p
     
  12. BenEndeem thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    England
    #12
    Thanks for the advice, I'm now seriously considering the Mac Pro.

    A couple more questions though; How do the machines compare for reliability and is there a vast difference? Also, would 4GB RAM be enough for the uses I've mentioned or should I go for a little more?

    Thanks again.
     
  13. emac82 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    NB, Canada
    #13
    I would get an iMac, and put 4GB of ram, and a good side hard drive...It will do what you want it to do no problems...
     
  14. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #14
    I was where you are now just a few months ago. I determined that neither really suited my needs, so I didn't buy either. ;)
     
  15. TSE macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    #15
    If you have to ask if you need the power of a Mac Pro, you most certainly don't need it.
     
  16. tri3limited macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #16
    I agree with the above poster... I do heavy editing and 3D motion graphics work on my 3.06 iMac and it works brilliant.

    The Mac Pro is great to expand but you have to ask yourself the big question on whether or not you'll see a good return on your investment?

    I would doubt it unless you're self-employed or freelancing so the iMac would be fine.
     

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