Mac Pro vs. High end iMac

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DetroitRockCity, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. DetroitRockCity macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2009
    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    #1
    Hello everyone. I posted this on another website, but I have yet to receive a response. I was wondering if you guys could help me out. I have done research on this topic, but can anyone help guide me to the right decision?

    As I expected, my 2.4GHz iMac is a little slow at editing AVCHD in Final Cut Pro 6. Also, the encoding times for exporting the video is horrbile. (it took about 50 minutes to export a five minute video). I was planning on upgrading anyways this fall. Budget is not an issue, but I really do not want to go over $2,500.

    So, would the high end 24" 3.06GHz iMac with 4 gigs of RAM (with a 4850 in it) compete on the level of the base 2.66GHz quad core Mac Pro (with a 4870 in it)?

    Would the quad core, clocked at a slower speed, be better for editing and encoding AVCHD video content?

    I am torn, because I love the beaut of my iMac and I love the expandability that the Mac Pro can bring me. However, if I do get the mac Pro I am going to sell my iMac to a friend. This will let me have the money to buy a nice 24" LG monitor (I love LG), and a blu ray burner.

    If the Mac Pro is better than the high end iMac, I will probably be buying it. How about the 8core? Is the extra money worth it in performance?

    In the End I will roughly be paying $2,500 for a mac pro with the 4870 included (due to student discount), or $2,144 for a 24" high end iMac with 4850 included in that price.
     
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    dallas, texas
    #2
    If you can afford the Mac Pro - it's speed is undoubtedly better.
     
  3. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #3
    If you don't have a monitor, get an iMac. The Mac Pro is faster, and if you have a nice monitor, your set to go.
     
  4. Tom Sawyer macrumors 6502a

    Tom Sawyer

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    #4
    If you're doing significant video editing/encoding, the fastest iMac will not be able to perform to the level of the Mac Pro. AVCHD is very demanding as far as a source media type for NLVE. The Mac Pro just offers much more horsepower, especially with the new Nehalem cores. This is assuming the app you are using is multi-threaded to take advantage of the multiple cores the MP offers. I went from a 2.4ghz iMac to a 2.8ghz Octomac and have never regretted the decision, even with the less compact setup of the Mac Pro compared to the clean simplicity of the iMac. There are plenty of Panels out there that look as good or better than the iMac's display, I ended up with an HP LP2475w and it is fantastic, high end panel technology (S-IPS) and a great price. I'm even using the Mini Display port on my 4870 to run it!

    Another thing about the Mac Pro that your iMac can't give (without going with an external FW800 enclosure) is the ability to do striped hard drives for data access speed increase. A Raid 0 array with a couple of cheap 7200 RPM drives will do wonders for your system performance. You can do this with an iMac, but you'll be cluttering up the clean setup that the iMac offers.

    Hope that helps... :)
     
  5. NightwalkerUK macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    #5
    In a word.. yes! The Macpro is worth the extra money for the performance you'll gain, the iMac after all is simply a laptop on a stand and while its good for consumer level work it isn't really comparable to the MP when it comes to the heavyweight work.
     
  6. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #6
    The iMac is all laptop parts. Mac pro is server parts. The video card is a bit weak but if you buy another one it's still cheaper than a comparable Dell
     
  7. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #7
    The best iMac can't even compare to an entry-level Mac Pro.
     
  8. rylin macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    #8
    See if you can get your hands on a 2008 MP.
    It'll make sure you stay within budget, and will even stay that way after you've upgraded essentials (disks, RAM).
     
  9. DetroitRockCity thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2009
    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    #9
    Thank you for the quick responses. Yes, I will be doing a lot of AVCHD editing on it. So it looks like the Mac Pro is the way to go. I have an Acer monitor I like, but I probably will buy a higher quality monitor down the road.

    So, comparing the two Mac Pros that are out right now, which one is better for encoding video? I will be using Final Cut Pro 6, and Compressor. Also I will upgrade to Snow Leopard when it comes out. In some of the research I did, the 2.66GHz quad comes out on top of the 2.26 Octo.

    Also, if I get the 2.66 quad I am only limited to 8GB of RAM. Would that be enough compared to like 12GB on the Octo?

    What is the benefit to getting a 2008 Mac Pro?
     
  10. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

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    May 22, 2009
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    California
    #10
    If you need more than 8GB of RAM, get the octo.
     
  11. DetroitRockCity thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 23, 2009
    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    #11
    How much of a benefit would it be to me having more than 12GB? Does it speed up the encoding process or help Final Cut Pro in anyway? Right now 8GB sounds fine to me, but I would love to expand it if it helps me.
     
  12. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

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    #12
    8GB is more than enough for today. Question is, do you need more RAM in the future for your needs?
     
  13. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #13
    There is a new high end nvidia card out for the mac. Buy the cheaper CPU and get the better video card. Not sure if apple resells it
     
  14. zmttoxics macrumors 65816

    zmttoxics

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #14
    You already have a 20" iMac, the new 24" would be faster but not much faster. The biggest difference would be the video card. Use that as your benchmark.
     
  15. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #15
    I can tell you having 4 or 8 cores over the 2 cores in the iMac will be much better, personally I'd get the 8 core but if you don't have the cash, go for the 4.

    If I was you, I'd buy the Mac Pro with the cheapest graphics card, lowest amount of RAM, go OWC (other world computing) by their apple spec RAM (google them), it's much cheaper! and buy the GTX 285 1GB (roughly $450) or the Quadro FX 4800 1.5GB (roughly $1700), and then pay an apple approved guy to put them in for you. (Note you'd have to install the drivers for the GTX or the Quadro before putting those cards in :O)

    Edit: Only you can really way up if you need 4 or 8 cores, do a bit of research on it, you don't want to buy the 4 core, then be stuck with a computer that isn't good enough.

    Kind Regards
     
  16. DetroitRockCity thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2009
    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    #16
    So here is what I might do.
    Mac Pro Quad 2.66
    ATi 4870 (perfect for my needs)
    8GB of RAM upgrade from OWC
    1TB Hard Drive from Newegg

    This machine will replace my iMac. I need it to do everyday things, as well as my AVCHD editing. My friend is going to be buying my iMac, and I will use the money for a blu ray burner, and possibly a good 24" monitor.

    I am hoping this machine lasts around 4+ years

    do you think this sounds reasonable?
     
  17. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

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    May 22, 2009
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    California
    #17
    Very reasonable.
     
  18. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

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    Jun 3, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #18
    A first?

    Is this the first time that somebody has asked the 'iMac v Mac Pro' question that the answer is Mac Pro?
     
  19. shinji macrumors 65816

    shinji

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    #19
    That will last you for 4 years, although I think you'll want more hard drive space a lot sooner than that. Fortunately not a problem on the Mac Pro...I've got 4 drives in mine currently.
     
  20. OZMP macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #20
    iMac is dual core, 1000mhz FSB. house wife model. may aswell buy a macbook pro
    2006 macpro is quadcore, 1333mhz FSB. the newer pro's blow them away!
     
  21. DetroitRockCity thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2009
    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    #21
    Ok, my last question is this:
    I know on the older Mac Pro models you can upgrade the CPU. Can the CPU of the quad core 2.66 Nehalem be upgraded as well? I would eventually down the road want to get a better cpu when the prices fall. If so, is there a guide to this?
     
  22. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #22
    Yes. It can. And if you're going to upgrade and stuff like that then the Mac Pro is the one you want - as others have said.

    But just to be clear the 2008 iMac 3.0 GHz duo is just as fast as the 2009 2.66 Quad at about 80% of the tasks one usually performs. For Photoshop, most stuff in FCP 6 and etc. the two will be about the same speed. However, with the prices being so similar the Mac Pro is the better deal.

    [​IMG]

    Notice the green bar for the iMac and the 2.66 Quad. That is the about performance difference you will see for 90% or more of FCP. Encoding will be closer to the yellow bar. But that's the 2008 iMac. I dunno the difference between the 2008 and the 2009 iMacs. Are the iMacs quad core yet? If they are then the yellow bar will also be close to the same between the two machines.
     
  23. scoobs69 macrumors regular

    scoobs69

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    #23
    No, you're not limited to 8GB of ram in the 2.66GHz quad. You can upgrade the memory to 16GB with 4GB sticks. Check Other World Computing.
     

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