New iMac (fully loaded) or Refurb Mac Pro (8 Core)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by pjnissim, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. pjnissim macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2011
    We are looking to purchase a workhorse computer for a video editing/post environment. There has been a debate as to which computer best suits our needs.

    We work often with a RED workflow but need to be able to cut with the gamut of HD options and media.

    He has ordered the new iMac under the impression that this is the "fastest" solution for our needs at the moment. The thunderbolt allows for a greater throughput than most connections and the screen that comes along with it is pretty good.

    iMac 27"

    # 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    # 16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x4GB
    # 2TB Serial ATA Drive
    # AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5


    Refurbished Mac Pro 2.4GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon

    Originally released August 2010
    Two 2.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Westmere" processor
    6GB (6 x 1GB) of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC memory
    1TB Serial ATA 7200 rpm
    18x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5 memory

    I'd like to get a general consensus on the issue. I'm interested what you all have to say.

  2. Texran macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2011
    The pro is much better option. It has more computing power and you'll have the ability to perform upgrades such as raid, and dual graphic cards if needed.
    You'll also be able to match the pro with a monitor/monitors of your choice.
    All of this comes at a price as you may well know.
  3. Macknife macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2011
    consider that the i7 3.4ghz imac has 8 cores, 4 RAM slots 1333mhz ddr3 and Thunderbolt for smoking fast RAID and additional thunderbolt displays. MacPro might be obsolete until apple refreshes the line.

    1tb standard drive in imac upgradable to 2tb or ssd drive 1 or 2 GB of VRAM options.
  4. accessoriesguy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
    The pro sounds like an awesome alternative but it has yet to be updated :(
  5. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    Definitely the Pro, much, much, MUCH more expandable than an iMac.
  6. Starlifter macrumors member


    Jun 1, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    I highly recommend the Mac Pro. Consider this; every single refurb is checked before it ships.
  7. 88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

    Jun 18, 2011
    London, UK
    The dual Xeon in mac pro have double the processor cores and threads. It also have triple amount of cache memory compared to i7 in imac.

    The mac pro can support more RAM, the imac only support 16GB according to Apple. Also the Xeon support ECC memory to protect against memory crush.

    The mac pro's hard drives and graphic cards can be expended easily.

    The only advantage the imac offer apart from price are the two thunderbolt ports.

    The Sandybridge Enterprise class CPU will be released Q4 this year, so there still few moths to wait for a mac pro with thunderbolt ports.

    If you need a mac with thunderbolt ports now, than the imac is the best choice. Otherwise if you can wait a few months or thunderbolt ports are not important to you, than the mac pro is the best choice IMO.
  8. yozip macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2011
    Go Mac Pro

    Hi there. There is absolutely no question about it : Go Mac Pro. Expendability is key + I could not warn you enough about the iMac glossy screen, heating issues. Bear in mind also that internal iMac components are "borrowed" from portable devices for miniaturization reasons.
    IF you choose to go Pro, then the refurb is a good solution. Personally, I went another way (not enough money) and bought a used early 2009 2,66 quad in a Craiglistlike site and all went smoothly for me. Only you have to rule out any machine you cannot see and test by yourself, that is to say : limit your research in your immediate neighborhood.

    I hope this was useful for you.

    MacPro early 2009 quad 2,66


    … But indeed,iMacs are still gorgeous and top notch computers !:apple:
  9. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    Get the iMac.
    In all my long years of computing for both business and pleasure, and having several of each, I can only remember upgrading a Pro once, simply with a few larger drives. And I had to add a $1,000 for the monitor. The much vaunted "upgrading" is simply not an issue if one gets a loaded computer, no mater what type, right from the start. And that iMac? Screams, and will for years.
  10. Doctor Zot macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2010
    Money decided it for me

    . . . and the Mac Pro is going to be upgraded any second now.

    I am a computer professional, but a novice moving into video.
    I'm sticking with Apple because I think FCP X is awesome but I need to upgrade my hardware.

    I'm getting the base 21" quad-core i5;
    putting an additional 8MB of third-party RAM inside;
    running a bunch of external Firewire hard disks (in RAID5 if I find I need it) until ThunderStuff becomes available;
    dual video hook-up to my 25" Samsung 1080 monitor.

    I am not making a full length movie any time soon; are you?
    I think I'm going to be fine for my foreseeable future.

    If I discover that I need more juice in six months, I'll consider the new & latest MacPro AND I'll still have the iMac for my backup computer.
  11. iSayuSay macrumors 68030


    Feb 6, 2011
    If iMac has a replaceable GPU, I'd go with iMac with a blink of an eye. But now if you budget is no object, I'd go MacPro from your options.

    iMac i7 seems tempting, little footprint, beautiful, and gorgeous .. but then again GPU is the deal breaker to me. :(

    Alas I still chose the iMac over MacPro due to I couldn't afford to spend more than $3000 at the time. Less likely I'm going to settle with less than 27" display if I went with MacPro. Not necessarily ACD, Dell Ultrasharp 27" is a brilliant alternative too.
  12. Qwaf macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2010
    The iMac does not have 8 cores. It has 4 cores and 8 threads. Each core has two software threads, and since each of those are still only running on one core, it just isn't the same as an 8 core cpu at all.

    Few other points in this thread:

    1) The iMac uses a desktop CPU, the only mobile component it uses (that would mean a drop in performance over it's desktop counterpart is the GPU).

    2) One or two posters here, I think, don't understand that some people really need massive amounts of CPU performance. The iMac is a consumer machine, it may be fast, but it isn't designed to be a workstation. Suggesting someone get one as a workstation isn't wise.

    If you can wait, get the new Mac Pro (when it is updated). It'll cost you more, but it'll be a machine you can stick with for a while yet due to it's upgradability and out of the box workstation class CPUs.
  13. dtpearson macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2010
    I do lots of video editing of 1080p from a Canon 5DII in FCPX on a Mac Pro 1,1 with 2 drive 4TB raid0 drive setup and a fast video card.

    I am moving to a maxed out iMac

    There is no way that i can get the speed i need in the current mac pro for even close to reasonable money for heavy video editing.

    The biggest issue is the SATA2 bandwidth limit for each drive (so no fast SATA3 SSDs) and no cheap options for getting access to external fast drive setups.

    Maxing out a MacPro to deal with RED footage will cost a minimum of $10,000 and in 12 months time no SATA3 and no Thunderbolt will mean it will be worth less than $2,000

    Get a maxed out iMac ($2.5k) add a $500 SATA3 SSD for boot add 16GB RAM for $100 and the Pegasus R6 for $2k total cost = about $5k

    Boot drive = +500MB/sec
    Data drive (thuderbolt) = +700MB/sec
    Lots of ram
    4 super fast cores (8 vertual)
    OK fast GFX card (2gb)

    and in 12 months time it will not be obsolete.

    See here for proof
  14. Baunkjaer macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2009
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Well, 4 cores with Hyper Treading isn´t exactly the same as 8 core....
    I would go wiht the Pro any day.
  15. lamboman macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    As Qwaf said, I'd wait. Apple currently has a very weak prosumer machine, and a very strong consumer machine. Quite frankly, while the iMac is fast (and to be honest it probably will be faster; a faster architecture with a far higher clock speed, coupled with the fact that not all cores will be used at once), but if you can hold out, the Mac Pro update, no matter when or what, will be far faster than that.

    If you desperately want a new machine now, the iMac is a good choice, but I wouldn't.
  16. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    I dunno if you're still looking for advice, but from the OP, I'm guessing this is for a professional environment. cost is not really an issue, ROI is. get the Mac Pro. video software typically scales well with CPU cores, and the MP has 8 and be upgraded to 12, whereas an iMac has four. it's designed for higher computing (and therefore heat) loads, it can take more memory, and parts can be swapped out. basically, it will likely last longer and than any iMac.

    TB is not really a reason to wait. TB PCI cards may come out, and if not, eSATA is pretty fast already. the only consideration is how much productivity you lose waiting 4+ months for new processors.
  17. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Pro for the reasons above, and...

    If it gets updated the money you dropped in hard drives and RAM can be reused in the new one with easy. The expandability is there for a reason.
  18. ABCDEFGHIJKLMAO macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2011
    New Jersey
    i am not really good with computer stuffs.
    but i just have a quick question to the people who told him to get pro.

    to me, it seems like the imac has way better specs than the pro.
    what is the main reason that pro is better at this time?
  19. Nameci macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2010
    The Philippines...
    If you are in professional environment you need a workstation class hardware, not a consumer class hardware. The iMac i7 might a faster clockspeed but it does not determine the efficiency of the setup with respect to the software that you want to use. Video encoding softwares works well with higher number of cores and to an ample amount of memory. On a mac pro you can have RAID internally, whereas on an iMac there is no way for an internal RAID. You cannot add or upgrade faster gfx cards which is important if you are working on videos. I agree if you are just working with PhotoShop or Illustrator or photo software the iMac would be enough but for encoding videos (not home videos), I don't think so. It just don't cut it.
  20. toxic, Aug 30, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011

    toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    the only things the iMac has over the Pro is a higher-clocked and newer CPU, and ThunderBolt.

    the Pro has more hard drive bays, supports more RAM, uses server-class processors designed for continuous loads, has more cores, and has PCI slots to add support for just about anything.

    CPU-wise, since video-related programs are usually well-threaded, that means the iMac's CPU has a maximum speed (excluding HyperThreading) of 3.4 * 4 = 13.6 GHz, while the 8-core MP has a potential 2.4 * 8 = 19.2 GHz, more than 40% faster. the MP will lose badly on single-threaded tasks, but that loss isn't enough to offset the gains made everywhere else, and the processors can be swapped out anyway.

    as for TB, as I said before, eSATA (3 or 6 Gb/s) is available now and TB PCI cards may be available in the future.
  21. pjnissim thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2011
    thank you!

    Thank you for all the help guys! It's great to see there is a strong/supportive community here.

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