Need to upgrade my macs - iMac or Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by CharleyUK, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. CharleyUK macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2010
    Hi All, I'm hoping to get a few useful opinions or suggestions from those who are more familiar with the Mac lineup then I am. I'm looking at upgrading my current Mac setup.

    At the moment I've got an iMac (one of the first Intel-versions). I keep it on pretty much 24/7 and use it to stream my iTunes library to the AppleTV. I have two external drives (1TB each) connected which I keep my ever growing library on. That's pretty much all it gets used for theses days.

    My main workhorse is a 3 year old MacBook Pro which has been great but is showing signs of wear. It also needs a new battery and ideally more memory but instead of upgrading the parts, I think I would prefer to put the money towards a new system.

    The MacBook spends 98% of the time on my desk connected to a monitor so instead of getting another MacBook I'm thinking of going back to a desktop so I can get rid of the old iMac & clutter on the desk and just have one machine. Then I can keep the MacBook for when I'm out and about. Think I'll also take the opportunity to finally get rid of my old PC and setup either boot camp or Parallels.

    The choice I've got is (and what I'm struggling to decide on) is do I get an iMac or a Mac Pro. I've ruled out the Mac Pro Quad-Core for the moment due to the fact that the Quad-Core iMac appears to far better value for the money, very similar spec?

    The Mac Pro 8-core is obviously a huge price-jump from the iMac and will be a big investment. It's just even though it's nice & shiney with a good spec & plenty of room for expansion - I'm not sure I'm ever going to make use of all those cores. The main applications I use are Photoshop, Aperture & Final Cut Express. The two main reasons why I'm leaning more towards a Mac Pro are; the upgradeability of a Pro & the 4 HDD bays.

    I'm sure that a 27" iMac i7 will be plenty enough for what I need spec-wise and comes with a LED monitor and will cost nearly a grand less but means I'll have to continue using external drives and apart from adding memory, won't be able to upgrade it.

    So anyway if you're still reading this, what I would like to know is; do you think I would notice a big difference performance-wise between an iMac i7 & a MacPro 8-core for what I would use it for? or I'm I being stupid for even thinking about getting a MacPro? And lastly, if you were me, what would you get?

    Sorry for the long post...
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    None of the apps you mentioned can really take advantage of the extra cores so in fact, the iMac will be faster due its clock speed. 3.33GHz 6-core would be faster but that is even more expensive.

    I would go with iMac. FW800 is fast enough for storage IMO
  3. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Agreed. Go for the iMac. More cores and/or faster clock speed won't make any noticeable difference for your usage. I'd suggest you spend some of the money saved on a proper Network Attached Storage device and move away from directly connected drives.
  4. GeekGuys macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    Agree with the above. Go for a current iMac which also allows for 2 internal drives now.

    Get a 2TB drive (or bigger if you can get one) and an SSD for the iMac boot/OS. This will make it even quicker and if you run out of internal storage, you can then add more via Firewire. I have 2x1TB firewall 800 drives chained together and you don't notice any great speed issues. They are used for my iTunes video library and stream to a number of ATV's in the house (up to 3 at once sometimes). Only occasionally get any video stutter, usually during initial movie buffering and when all three are streaming HD movies wirelessly.

    Hope this helps
  5. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    i7 iMac is more than enough for your apps (which I use regularly). And I use Parallels to run some CAD software. Having 4 cores is nice -- it never gets bogged down like my 3 year old C2D iMac would when I had lots of apps running.

    Do consider a NAS or server for mass storage and streaming. I used a spare PC for years but this year got a Mac mini server with 4TB total capacity at the moment. I got rid of all externals elsewhere. You could continue to use your iMac for this although they are bulky. You don't need a display for this. My mini takes about 1.5' of bookshelf space in the corner of my office.

    Considering the infrequent use of your MacBook, just get a new battery and keep using it as long as it keeps holding up and does what you need on the go.

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