Mac Pro vs. iMac - please help totally lost woman

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mariavittenson, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. mariavittenson macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2010
    Gentleman, please bring me round to buy a Mac Pro instead of iMac. Seriously, I am looking for performance Mac Pro advantages over iMac. The only Mac Pro I can afford is the basic 2.8GHz quad-core one. Maybe I could stretch my wallet and buy the 3.2GHz version(???)

    I realize few general points, for example iMac comes with a huge monitor, while Mac Pro is expandable. However, now I would like to focus jus on PERFORMANCE.

    iMac (27”) i7 seems to have a faster processor 2.93GHz and faster RAM (compared to 2.8GHz Nehalem). So… Are there any other factors that could make a basic Mac Pro better buy than the top iMac? I do photography/photo editing (CS5, LR3) and some HD video editing. Which system is better for these purposes?

    I will appreciate your help,

  2. cjt3007 macrumors member


    Jul 6, 2008
    Portland, OR
    If you look at some of the Mac Pro threads, they make mention about how the i7 is comparable to a xeon. The Mac Pro will be more expandable over time. You can always get a larger screen and more ram for the Mac Pro, and you can also add Hard Drives, and swap them out. You can generally upgrade the graphics card on the Mac Pro when Apple releases new graphics kits.

    With the iMac, you will only be able to upgrade the ram. But you will have much of the speed NOW. If you could afford the 6 Core Mac Pro, then you would be set for a while longer. I myself am debating between 6 and 12 cores.
  3. dknightd macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2004
    The top of the line iMac is faster than the bottom of the line macpro for most things.
  4. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    Before upgrades, of course.
  5. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Exactly. The key consideration is expandability. You can easily add one or more SSD's or RAID to a Mac Pro which will dramatically improve your storage performance and overall responsiveness of your system. However, that comes at additional expense. The same goes for memory, graphics, and even upgrading CPU's if that's your thing.
  6. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    maria forget performance the hdd is buried in the iMac if it dies it is a P.I.T.A. to fix. the macpro can have a boot drive a backup boot drive a photo drive and a backup photo drive. you can replace them in about 1 or 2 minutes. the iMac takes a pro to repair it. you can replace your hdds' on your own.
  7. milo macrumors 604

    Sep 23, 2003
    True, but depending what you are doing, there may not be any upgrades that will make the base MP faster (or can also be done with the iMac like SSD).
  8. lordonuthin macrumors 6502


    Jan 27, 2007
    I have added 3 low cost ssd's with software raid and it has improved drive speeds dramatically, can't do that on an iMac. Though I admit that the ssd's are HANGING from the connectors as there aren't any kind of holders for them yet... any third party solutions?

    Anyway the real difference is expandability, you might find you need a video capure card or better graphics card down the road.
  9. mariavittenson thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2010
    Thanks for all your comments. Well, I didn't know I could upgrade a processor in a Mac Pro. However, will new-future components (video card, processor etc.) be compatable with the current system in few years? iMac has an option to install 2 disks - HD and SSD. The last one is pretty expensive, though.

    Thanks again. I still hesitate... :confused:
  10. lordonuthin macrumors 6502


    Jan 27, 2007
    I the end you will be happy with what you get :apple:
  11. Eastend macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2004
    Nara, Japan
    In simple round terms, the 2.8GHz Mac Pro is probably around 8 or 9 per cent slower than the top i7 iMac. While the 3.2GHz Mac pro is around 8 or 9 per cent faster than the iMac. I trust the Mac Pro over the iMac any day because of the reasons already stated in this thread. By the way you may not even notice 8 or 9 percent difference in these machines, but between the 2.8 and 3.2 GHz machines there is around 18% difference and that would be noticeable, the iMac falls in the middle and would probably not be too noticeable a difference when compared to both of the above Mac Pros. I myself will probably bite the bullet and add one of these 3.2GHz Mac Pros to one of our stations at work, and guess what, it's replacing an iMac (an older iMac).

    2.8 = 8500 Geekbench
    iMac= 9200 or 9300 Geekbench
    3.2 = 10,000 Geekbench

    When you add memory to these machines the scores rise a little, also I would swear a clean install has always raised these. Using Geekbench as markers here because I find for certain jobs I do, I must have a machine that can give me over 8300 or more. For what you do it depends, if it's a hobby get the cheapest of these, the iMac will be fine, if its money meaning your job, get the 3.2GHz Mac Pro. If you've been partial to Apple a lot of it is design, so for that you have to follow your heart.
  12. MacSince1985 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2009
    Also, consider the screen. With the iMac, you're limited to the glossy screen (unless you have a big desk to add a 2nd monitor). With the MP, the choice is unlimited.
  13. reel2reel macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2009
    I had the first iMac intel 20" and before I sold it, it started spontaneously cutting power. It would be on and then the next second it was like someone yanked the power cable. Only way to turn it back on was to unplug it from the wall and wait 20 minutes, then re-plug.

    The thing served me well for three years, but it would still be useful for so many things (in addition to my new Mac Pro). But I don't have the time or patience to troubleshoot it, so I just sold it (with full disclosure).
  14. reel2reel macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2009
    Add me to the list of people that loathe the shiny screen. I've been using my MB Pro until I'm able to setup my new MP and during the day I constantly straining to read the screen. It's uber annoying. Sure people will say it's fine (as long as you don't work near a window, blah, blah) but I'm not into adjusting my living space to suit my computer monitor. I think I'm going to sell it now. Can probably get most of my money back.
  15. mariavittenson thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2010
    Eastend, what do you mean by clean install?

    I just searched monitors available currently. Most of them are LCD. Eizo is very expensive, but many people recommend Nec, which is cheaper. Do you agree? iMac is LED, which is newer technology, but does it mean it's better?

    I also heard that generally Xeon is better for video than i7. True? So, is it possible that due to some other factors lower clock Xeon could be better than higher clock i7? I feel more and more lost...
  16. VideoFreek macrumors 6502


    May 12, 2007
    Eastend is referring to a clean (fresh) installation of Mac OS X.

    Selecting a monitor will be a whole other research project for you. :) This thread has recently been discussing monitors, and you'll find lots of additional discussion in the Mac Peripherals forum. You can spend a little (a few hundred dollars) or a lot ($2000+), and the right solution for you will depend on your needs and your pocketbook. You mention you are photography-oriented, but are you a casual amateur, serious "prosumer," or a pro? It will come down mainly to how critical accurate color is for your purposes. LED is merely a backlighting technology; yes, it is newer and has some advantages, but afaik the high-end NEC and Eizo color management monitors still use conventional backlighting. What does that tell you? Many people seem to quite like the Dell Ultrasharp monitors for their relatively low prices/ good value. I'm presently in the process of deciding on a system; I will likely go with a hexacore, and the monitors I'm considering at the moment for photo/video editing are the Eizo SX2462W, the NEC PA271W and NEC LCD2690WUXi2. I'd love to go for the Eizo CG243W, but it's a bit too pricey for my wallet.
  17. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Oct 13, 2008
  18. Woodgrove@macla macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2005
    I would go for the 3.2 Ghz and add more RAM and a nice SSD later. OCZ has released new 3.5" Vertex 2 SSDs that can help you save some money if you don't have a 2,5 to 3,5 adapter like the Icy Dock. You can't use that one in a future Mac mini or Macbook though which might be something to consider.
  19. All Taken macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    The Mac Pro 2010 models have a built in solution for 2.5" SSDs.
  20. PenguinMac macrumors member

    May 21, 2010
    Always start at OWC for solutions to problems like this. The Icy Dock 2.5-to-3.5 coverter box works great in Mac Pro's, and they also sell a Multi-Mount kit (which I have) for mounting an SSD in the second optical bay.
  21. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    I think it comes down to a couple questions about the HD video work you plan to do.

    1) What will you use to edit HD video? (Final Cut, Adobe Premiere CS5, AVID, etc.)
    2) What size HD video projects are you expecting to work with? (Feature length, or maybe just up to 30 minutes?)

    An iMac would be fine for just photo and light video, which I gathered from your description of work load. However, if you were going to undertake a large HD video project, you'd be sorry you didn't choose a properly built Mac Pro, including a hardware RAID and 16+GB of RAM, in my opinion. A friend of mine edits HD video on a i7 non-RAID 8GB RAM system, and he suffers through frequent crashes. He ends up sending me the difficult sections to edit. Just sayin'.

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