MacPro or 24in iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MacFan25863, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. MacFan25863 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2004
    Hi everyone,

    Right now, I'm using a base 1.33 GHz Powerbook G4 with 512 MB of RAM to do all my work (heavy photoshop and final cut stuff), and I've just about had enough with the speed. It's wayyyyyy too slow. So, I'm trying to decide if I should upgrade or not. I'm looking in the low $2000 range with my Education Discount. I'm looking at either getting a 24in iMac with 2 GB of RAM or a base 2.0 GHz MacPro with 1 GB of RAM. I already have a Dell 2005FPW, so I'm not too concerned about the screen.

    Which do you guys think will give me the best preformance? I'm not sure if the processor increase on the MacPro will be able to outpreform the iMac since it will have 1 GB less memory. Would I get much of a difference with the 24in screen the iMac has over my Dell 20in screen?

  2. iJaz macrumors 6502a


    Dec 16, 2004
    Have you thought abou adding more RAM to your PowerBook?
    512mb sounds painfully little!
  3. trueheart78 macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2006
    Just had a friend go from 512mb to 1gb in his 4 year old pc laptop, and he's a heavy adobe user. He was amazed at the difference. If the powerbook supports more than 512mb, then I'd really consider using that unless you really want to upgrade.
  4. fivetoadsloth macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2006
    get the mac pro you can alwways add more ram to it and the processors are definatly faster, and once you get more ram itll fly.
  5. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    If it where me i would buy the Mac Pro, even though it is the slowest i think it will last you much much longer as you can always up the ram later. It comes with a better video card as standard. Also if you already have a screen then you dont need one built in, however this does have an added advantage with the iMac cos you can have 2 screens. IF you feel that 2 screen would really boost your productivity then it may work out that with the iMac you get more work done.

    Also in the future i think the iMac will hold its value pretty well as it is top of the range iMac with a massive screen. The Mac Pro will hold a lot of its value as well.

    Or you could check out the refurbs, there are quite a good few bargains there.

    Such as Mac Pro
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    I would buy the iMac, because I'm the type of person that buys new computers every 4 years or so. By that time even the Mac Pro will be outdated.

    But....part of the reason I wouldn't buy a Mac Pro is that I've got 4 of them in my lab at my disposal...
  7. Rickay726 macrumors 6502


    Dec 29, 2005
    New Jersey
    i would go with the macpro, mostly becasue you can upgrade more then u can with the 24inch iMac. if you already have a screen i think the Macpro is definitly the better choice
  8. MacFan25863 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2004
    Well, I need a new computer anyway (running out of space on my hard drive, case is starting to get out of alignment, no RAM, etc) so I would rather just buy something new. I'm planning on still using my laptop but not for anything heavy (internet and travel mostly) so 512 MB will be fine for me.

    I doubt if I get the MacPro I will upgrade the memory anytime soon (it is expensive, and I'm a student..its taken me 3 years to save up to buy this!). I don't think I have room on my desk for another monitor, either. I would probably end up giving the 2005FPW to my family if I got the iMac.

    Can you use edu discounts on the refurbs? If not, is it cheeper to buy a refurb or a new one with a edu discount?

    Also, I would like to be able to run Windows and play games on this (probably BF2). Would the graphics card in the MacPro be that much better than the iMac?

    Are there any benchmarks out there comparing the two? I can't find one...
  9. iJaz macrumors 6502a


    Dec 16, 2004
    Good point, a new computer is always fun! :D

    No, you can't use both at the same time. Which is cheaper, I don't know.

    I found one for you! :D
    Seems like the 24" iMac holds up pretty well against the Mac Pro.
  10. Tymmz macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2005
  11. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    Either machine should be fine for you, but since you already have a nice display, I think that I would go for the Mac Pro. :)
  12. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    I'd go with the Mac Pro - mostly because of the silly 3GB RAM limit on the iMac. A few years down the road that will be irritating.
  13. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2006
    Mac Pro since you already have the monitor. Why pay the price of a monitor in the iMac when you already have one? The Mac Pro is going to give you an upgrade path so that you can extend its useful life when your computer budget is replenished. The graphics card flexibility alone would sell me in that scenario.
  14. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    I'd opt for the Mac Pro, hands down. You already have a screen, it's going to be faster, it'll last you longer because you can upgrade down the road...

    The only exception to this is if you were to consider selling your display, because both machines will suit your needs just fine, but if you can get the iMac for a lot cheaper, then that would make more sense.
  15. Skilargo macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2006
    Hopefully not too long a post...

    In the past, I've always opted for more expensive, upgradeable macs for several reasons:

    1. I could extend the life/costs of the mac through cheaper add ons rather than replacing
    a. processor upgrades
    b. additional RAM
    c. Cheaper macs weren't all that cheaper (so keeping a more expensive machine longer was effective).
    2. There was a huge difference in offerings
    a. Black and White versus Color (going way back here)
    b. Internal versus External drive performance (if you had to add to a non-upgreadable)
    c. processor performance
    d. All-in-ones (orig iMacs, emacs) fell under the 8in1 toolkit syndrome (you'd get better quality, performance, functionality, size by buying the tools separately).
    e. If one part of an all-in-1 computer broke, the whole thing might be useless (monitor for example)

    I have changed my tune, and last week bought a 24 inch iMac.

    There are several reasons now why I have changed:
    1. Cheaper macs are definitely cheaper
    a. Minis are cheap, but still powerful
    b. I spent more for an iMac, but after a long agonizing trade study of pros/cons (note I have a 22in Cinema Display which I am extremely pleased with)
    2. Latest iMacs are not a typical 8in1 toolkit:
    a. A GREAT monitor
    b. Size (amazing, really)
    c. performance barely below the top of the line, and much better graphics than a mini (unfortunately)
    d. 400/800 firewire (!), SotA built in wireless/bluetooth, 500GB SATA
    3. I've found as they create new macs, specs changed that processor/memory/disk upgrades in upgradeable macs can't compete with:
    a. internal bus speeds increase
    b. OS upgrade incompatability (eventually)
    c. ADB to USB 1.0 to USB 2.0, limits to disk sizes, SCSI to UW-SCSI to IDE to ATA to SATA to ?

    I am very happy with my decision...two games we play are very graphic intensive..Ghost Recon, WoW...I am utterly amazed at the details I have been missing once I maxed out all the graphic details (and still 40-50 fps on WoW).

    So my vote for you would be an iMac
  16. fall3n macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2006
    Simple answer, yes. Yes you do. I have a 20.1 inch acer monitor sitting next to my 24" iMac and it towers over it. I didn't think it would be that much, but it really is. It's a beauty. I would get the 24" iMac simply because of the screen space. I've found it so easy to work in multiple applications without having to find your way through different windows. With 2 gigs in it you'll fly much much much faster then with your current machine. The iMac is still quite expandable, maybe not so much as the Mac Pro, but in 4 years your probably going to buy a newer machine anyway at the rate processor/technology upgrades are going nowadays. What I would do is spend my money on upgrades to the iMac, 7600gt gpu and at least 2 gigs of ram and then if you really have extra money get the cpu upgrade, though I don't really think it's worth it because i don't think it'd make THAT much difference. I think more RAM would prove to be more beneficial as adobe and final cut both love their RAM. Anyway, this is just my 2 cents.
  17. Skilargo macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2006
    I upgraded all options on my 24" iMac except the processor. Didn't believe the 10% increase was worth an extra $250, especially when you probably will be able to upgrade to even faster processors more cheaply in the future.
  18. fall3n macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2006
    exactly what I was thinking. Apparently the newer processors coming out next year are supposed to be compatible with the current machines so all you do is swap them up. The cost for the processors are around 500 i think? So might as well just wait a year and just do the upgrade, then you'll really benefit.
  19. Gurutech macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2006
    I'd rather get Mac Pro.
    You will be getting the lower end MP, but iMac is a waste imo considering you already have a nice monitor.

    I really don't like the idea of all in one.. so I'm bit biased.
  20. clintob macrumors 6502


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York, NY
    Get yourself a used PowerMac (Dual 2.5 G5 for instance), put 4GB of RAM in it, and sit back and enjoy.

    The new MacPros are incredible, but you will be very disappointed for Photoshop use. Until Adobe puts out a Universal Binary version of Photoshop in 5 or 6 months, using CS2 in an Intel Mac is pretty frustrating.

    The Dual G5 on the other hand, still absolutely FLIES through Photoshop if you give it enough RAM. I do a ton of high-res editing and layout, and I almost never have any wait time at all. It's really pretty impressive how good those machines have been with Photoshop. I'd imagine Final Cut is the same.

    It'll save you some bucks, and frankly will work better than the MacPro until CS3 comes around.
  21. MacFan25863 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2004

    I want to go with an Intel processor, though, since I want to be able to run windows and play games. If I find Photoshop to be that big of a hassle in OS X, I can always run it under Windows on the same computer. Not THAT big of a deal for me.

    I see your point about the iMac..and the statistics show them VERY close to one another. I think ANY upgrade will be a HUGE leap from what I have now, so I'm starting to lean towards that. I'm not big on upgrades other than RAM, so I'm not THAT concerned about expansion options.
  22. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
  23. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    I once had a CRT blow on a G3 iMac. It cost more to fix than buying a much bigger external display would have cost. That turned me away from all-in-ones somewhat.

    Also, my PowerMac G4 dates from 2001...but due to its upgradeability it is still very useful today. I'm a big fan of upgradeability.

    Still, the current iMacs do have one big advantage over older all-in-ones: their LCD screen won't go soft over time like a CRT will. This makes their potential lifespan signifcantly longer.
  24. Skilargo macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2006
    I didn't either...but now the all-in-ones are not much bigger than most LCD monitors, and the other reasons I mentioned.

    Here I your 20-inch Dell a CRT or LCD? If its a CRT, than you understand the huge size/heat difference.

    As I mentioned, I really struggled about getting an iMac because I already have a 22-in cinema display that I dearly love. If I would have bought a Mac Pro, I could only drive a maximum of 1600x1000 resolution. The 24-inch is 1920x1200, and is a brighter display. Another benefit was I now have two complete systems, and can put my tower/cinema display in another room (may or may not be important to you). And when they eventually fix the mac mini graphics problem, I might replace the tower with a new mini.

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