Mac Pro or iMac?

dwd3885

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 10, 2004
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So I currently have a nice Dell 20" IPS panel that I love. I've been Mac back and forth for a few years and right now I have a Dell quad. But editing video in iMovie and managing photos with iPhoto is a lot better than Premiere Elements and Live Gallery. I do use Lightroom to organize my RAWs, but I like to have another app that I export my good RAWs to jpegs and Live Gallery is kinda plain.

Anyway, that's not really my question. I know I could do everything I want to do with the computer with an iMac, but I don't really want to get rid of my current monitor (although, selling my monitor would make the iMac cheaper). So I guess my question is whether or not I can go for the Mac Pro over the iMac. Price is a factor, but I'm wondering if I can look for some used Mac Pros that would fit my price range, under $2000.

Thanks.
 

Eidorian

macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
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I'd really wait to see an iMac update. Hopefully it's going to quad. Otherwise take a look at a refurbished Mac Pro.
 

thermodynamic

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May 3, 2009
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I'd really wait to see an iMac update. Hopefully it's going to quad. Otherwise take a look at a refurbished Mac Pro.
Given the Pro line is more powerful in general, I doubt that will happen...

Then again, it's purported that notebook-class processors aren't as fast as desktop CPUs due to heat and power concerns...
 

dwd3885

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Original poster
Dec 10, 2004
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You spend more for better bins. The performance is the same clock per clock on the same architecture.
I guess I could always get a macbook pro or something and just connect it to my monitor as an external display.
 

b01189

macrumors member
Oct 2, 2009
61
0
South Florida
Sit and wait it out...

with the unseen iMacs to come depending on how much you further you actually want to sink in to photography and video, the iMac may not be up to your needs. MacPro line has always been good to I use for pro-video FCP and Avid media composer.
 

dwd3885

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Original poster
Dec 10, 2004
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Dual core in 2009 is a joke.
i guess i'm so used to having a quad in the dell that is great in lightroom and photoshop. It's funny because I paid $349+tax for this refurbished Dell LAST September and it is 2.66 Core 2 Quad, 6GB RAM, 640 GB hd (not including the monitor, which was $350). So I'm used to that. When I've had a MBP, it's been fine, but no where near as fast as when my cousin's iMac or this Dell (when doing Photoshop and Lightroom).

I'm not a professional, but I do consider myself an amateur photographer and might possibly want to go deeper into photography at least. Ideally, I'd love to have something like a Macbook Pro 13" AND a powerful desktop. The laptop so I can check out photos while away and the desktop to do the heavy lifting.
 

Eidorian

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Mar 23, 2005
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I realized my situation years ago. Apple was never going to make a desktop that I really wanted to I went with my Macbook.

My Windows 7 machine handles anything else. Luckily for you Adobe lives on the Windows side as well and hopefully you have a workflow for what you want to do that you can use over there.

I'm extremely pleased with my Core i5 750 tower. Did you have a 7200 RPM drive in your MBP?
 

dwd3885

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Original poster
Dec 10, 2004
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I realized my situation years ago. Apple was never going to make a desktop that I really wanted to I went with my Macbook.

My Windows 7 machine handles anything else. Luckily for you Adobe lives on the Windows side as well and hopefully you have a workflow for what you want to do that you can use over there.

I'm extremely pleased with my Core i5 750 tower.
right and for photoshop and lightroom that is great. But for my video editing, that is where I think iMovie outshines everything else on the Windows side. I'm not a pro at movies, but it's just simple as heck for me with iMovie.
 

Eidorian

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Mar 23, 2005
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Indianapolis
right and for photoshop and lightroom that is great. But for my video editing, that is where I think iMovie outshines everything else on the Windows side. I'm not a pro at movies, but it's just simple as heck for me with iMovie.
Do you have any Mac right now?
 

dwd3885

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Dec 10, 2004
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Do you have any Mac right now?
Not at the moment. I've had nearly all of them in the past, starting with a PowerMac G5, then iMac Core Duo, MacBook Pro, black Macbook, Al iMac, MacBook Pro Unibody...But I recently sold my unibody and have no mac currently, just the Dell quad running W7. It's great, but I just wish I had a powerful Mac system. Even editing video and running photoshop on that mbp unibody was a pain sometimes with its 5400rpm hdd and slower 2.4 C2D processor. I think that's why I was probably happiest with my original PowerMac G5. Maybe I should just save up enough to buy another power system in the Mac Pro. But it's also very nice to be able to take a mac on the go and do some light photo work.
 

Eidorian

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Mar 23, 2005
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You're going to see a few seconds shaved off on yet another Core 2 Duo. The biggest factor in responsiveness is the hard drive on a notebook.

I'd wait it out for new models. Core 2 is dead for all but low budget or low voltage machines but Apple still loves it.
 

dwd3885

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 10, 2004
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You're going to see a few seconds shaved off on yet another Core 2 Duo. The biggest factor in responsiveness is the hard drive on a notebook.

I'd wait it out for new models. Core 2 is dead for all but low budget or low voltage machines but Apple still loves it.
maybe if apple gets out a quad core iMac I could sell my Dell and display for some money (although it might not even be worth it). I have limited space so I can't go with two desktops. But a desktop and a laptop is likely (that's what I had before: MBP and Dell). I guess I'd like MBP and MP.
 

KeriJane

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Sep 26, 2009
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Hi DWD3885

Depending on how much photo and video you do or at least accumulate, I'd go with a Mac Pro.

I have the '06-'07 model MP 1.1 and it's a killer for video rendering.
Yes, it's "only" a quad core (spread across two cpus) but there are some distinct advantages to the dual-XEON Mac Pro:

Quad-channel memory with a max of 32GB, (on 2008 and newer 8-core) mine has 8GB / 16GB max.

An upgradeable video card. iMacs while very decent are a little limited.

Everything is overbuilt and runs quietly and very fast.

It has four internal drive bays and very useful FireWire 800 ports.
Also, there's space for two DVD burners and they're nice, standard ones.

Plus, you get to keep your monitor as the main one!

I used lesser machines (higher-end PC) for video and the MP just absolutely outclasses them in every way.
Using Premiere Pro 2.0 in a Windows PC built for speed: render speed of about 35-38fps on 29fps video
Using Premiere Pro CS3 on the MP1.1: render speed of about 120fps, roughly four times faster! I was stunned the first time I rendered a 2-hour movie in a half-hour.
That has got to be partially the .avi vs. .mov file difference but a lot of it is the machine.

If you do any significant amount of Video, get the Mac Pro, give it a decent amount of memory in quad-channel configuration and let it fly.. They cannot be beat for this purpose at the price.


I'm still kicking myself for not getting the MP when it came out...

Have Fun,
Keri
 

Eidorian

macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
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Indianapolis
maybe if apple gets out a quad core iMac I could sell my Dell and display for some money (although it might not even be worth it). I have limited space so I can't go with two desktops. But a desktop and a laptop is likely (that's what I had before: MBP and Dell). I guess I'd like MBP and MP.
I'd go for just an Apple notebook right now. Even then I'd wait for an update.
 

dwd3885

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Original poster
Dec 10, 2004
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Well I just tried editing some video in Premiere Elements and let me just tell you, it was hell. Never had that hard a time doing anything in iMovie.

So it's like, should I splurge for the $2149 Mac Pro? I could get a $999 MBP AND a $999 20" iMac for less than 2k. Idk.
 

Eidorian

macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
29,081
287
Indianapolis
I've used Windows Movie Maker for the most part since it will cut my DVR recordings. The new Live version is in the final stages.
 

ssri1983

macrumors newbie
Oct 2, 2009
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Well I just tried editing some video in Premiere Elements and let me just tell you, it was hell. Never had that hard a time doing anything in iMovie.

So it's like, should I splurge for the $2149 Mac Pro? I could get a $999 MBP AND a $999 20" iMac for less than 2k. Idk.
Well, if you are going to sell your IPS panel and get the iMac and MBP I wouldn't call that a very good deal with regards to photography, especially if you are spoiled by IPS :) . The lower end iMacs and MBP probably use a TN panel. Also they use 9400M graphics that shouldn't be a problem with RAW (because it is mostly CPU intensive) The lower end models also come with less RAM and you might want to factor in the cost of upgrades that you would make.

In my case I wanted a 30 inch to work with. I went with the NEC (I am an amateur photographer too :) ) and the only option to connect it with any mac other than the MP was to use Apple's dual link DVI to miniDP connector (which is quite expensive and not very reliable from what I have read). I also do some video processing using Quicktime at 60p, so figured the extra cpu power wouldn't hurt.

Anyway, I would still wait for the iMac update/Macbook update...

HTH
 

drrich2

macrumors member
Jan 11, 2005
90
1
Consider the total cost of ownership with the accessories you will want.

For example, if you will want 2 extra hard drives for storage (& backup of that storage) on a large media collection, with an iMac you're looking at pricing external hard drives; with a MacPro you could opt for internal.

If you plan to Windows XP or 7 under emulation via VmWare Fusion or Parallels, and you want to supply plenty of RAM to both OSX & Windows (say, 4 gigs apiece) to allow for app.s running in each, concurrently, you'll find additional memory for a MacPro is drastically cheaper than for an iMac, simply because you get more RAM slots and don't have to go to 4 gig RAM modules.

I use an early '08 MacPro; my wife uses an '09 iMac. I can't say I really NEED 10 gig RAM, 2 1-terabyte HD's & a 1.5-terabyte HD, and I may never've made much use of the full octocore, but, well, they're THERE.

If you price an iMac with 8 gigs RAM (even going with 3'rd party RAM to save substantial money over what Apple reams you for a RAM upgrade), it closes some of the distance vs. a MacPro.

Richard.
 

Macsonic

macrumors 65816
Sep 6, 2009
1,473
17
Earth
I've done some video editing and encoding with iMovie on my Ist gen MacPro 2.66ghz and I would say it can handle video editing well. You have more room to expand on a MacPro.

The crucial part is how well you maintain your machine specially the software side. I've seen top model MacPros will poor maintenance that run too slow. You need to use utilities like Disk Warrior and also regularly defrag your MacPro for optimum performance.
 

Tesselator

macrumors 601
Jan 9, 2008
4,601
4
Japan
So I currently have a nice Dell 20" IPS panel that I love. I've been Mac back and forth for a few years and right now I have a Dell quad. But editing video in iMovie and managing photos with iPhoto is a lot better than Premiere Elements and Live Gallery. I do use Lightroom to organize my RAWs, but I like to have another app that I export my good RAWs to jpegs and Live Gallery is kinda plain.

Anyway, that's not really my question. I know I could do everything I want to do with the computer with an iMac, but I don't really want to get rid of my current monitor (although, selling my monitor would make the iMac cheaper). So I guess my question is whether or not I can go for the Mac Pro over the iMac. Price is a factor, but I'm wondering if I can look for some used Mac Pros that would fit my price range, under $2000.

Thanks.
Well the mac pro is primarily for people who wanna keep their machine 2 or 3 years post-obsolencence via upgrades. So that should be your criteria in choosing which way to go. Do you wanna just sell your old iMac and buy a new one every 2 years or do you wanna upgrade a MacPro and in the process be able to select your own video card, monitor, ODD, or play with internal RAIDs etc.? MBP is basically the same decision. Processing speed is going to be about the same no matter which of the three you select.
 

kevink2

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2008
1,339
116
If I could have bought an iMac with 4 cores and support up to 8GB of RAM, I probably would have done it back in early 2008. Still not available with 4 cores :(

It would have been on a shorter upgrade cycle than the more expensive Mac Pro, but systems with a decent amount of RAM can be repurposed after upgrading pretty easily, even to non mac users if you put Windows on it. I could have gone directly to 2 screens, since I had a monitor already.
 

arjen92

macrumors 65816
Sep 9, 2008
1,065
0
Below sea level
You're going to see a few seconds shaved off on yet another Core 2 Duo. The biggest factor in responsiveness is the hard drive on a notebook.

I'd wait it out for new models. Core 2 is dead for all but low budget or low voltage machines but Apple still loves it.
Why are you so loving quad core. These days they're almost useless as there are almost no programs which use all the cores (only when you render video). You can better buy a fast Dual Core than a slow quadcore.
 

Winni

macrumors 68040
Oct 15, 2008
3,115
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Germany.
Why are you so loving quad core. These days they're almost useless as there are almost no programs which use all the cores (only when you render video). You can better buy a fast Dual Core than a slow quadcore.
Then I must be dreaming when I see that Aperture and PhotoShop use all four of the CPU cores of my Mac Pro to the maximum. Even some of my audio apps take advantage of the four cores. And let's not forget about VMWare Fusion which can dedicate up to four cores to the guest system. Heck, even Doom 3 for OS X uses multiple cores. Oh, and then there is the multi-threaded server code that I write myself.

All in all, I must say that four CPU cores have become a minimum specification for my systems, because I really can put them to use.