New iMac or Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by damienvfx, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. damienvfx macrumors regular

    damienvfx

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    Los Angeles, CA
    #1
    I'm trying to figure out which would be a better buy at the moment. I have a pretty good Dell Monitor, so I don't really need the monitor part of the iMac.

    I do a lot of Motion/After Effects work. I'm thinking the Mac Pro will probably handle the processing better. When was the last time the Mac Pro was refreshed? I do like the new iMac though, and additional screen real estate is always great.
     
  2. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #2
    the Mac Pro has gone almost a year without a refresh, unless you count the adding of the 8-core model which most people won't. If you don't need the computer now I would wait and go with the Mac Pro when it gets updated next, if you feel that you need one now, you probably would get a better value for what you spend on the iMac.
     
  3. Tattoo macrumors 6502

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    #3
    I agree - wait for the next MacPro update for sure!
     
  4. bennyboi macrumors regular

    bennyboi

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  5. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

    PCMacUser

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    #5
    Funnily enough, I agree with this idea! It's Apple's best compromise between performance and price IMHO.
     
  6. damienvfx thread starter macrumors regular

    damienvfx

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    #6
    Yep. I have one right now (15", C2D 2.33). Looking for a desktop though.
     
  7. Wayfarer macrumors 65816

    Wayfarer

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    Jun 15, 2007
    #7
    The Mac Pro is only half-way through its product cycle. It'll probably be a while longer until they are refreshed...
     
  8. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

    PCMacUser

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    #8
    In that case, you'll need a Mac Pro if you want to see any improvement in performance. You'll be taking a step backwards if you went for an iMac, especially with its awful video performance.

    I ended up having to go back to a PC. :eek:
     
  9. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #9
    I looked into this question and went for the imac in the end.. it's not as straightforward as it looks actually. For around the same price, you could get an imac with 2.8ghz dual core, or a mac pro with quad core 2ghz, with similar RAM. The default video card would be much faster on the imac, and with the Mhz advantage most tasks would be faster or similar on the imac. So you get similar speed, plus a free 24" monitor (I had a decent monitor already too... but for creative work dual monitor is a big plus, this is what swung me really).

    On the other hand if you need every bit of power and have the cash, a mac pro with 3ghz processors, more ram and a radeon 1950 would be a lot better than the imac. If not, the way I see it is that it's a choice of upgradability in future (i.e. you could put a pair of quad core 3hz cpus in that mac pro in a years time when they're nice and cheap!) or a free 24" monitor and decent speed now.

    The cards in the new imacs would actually be much faster for some video work than the one in your pc, as they have built in video decode functions. Obviously not for 3d though, which I guess motion might need.
     
  10. bennyboi macrumors regular

    bennyboi

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    #10
    That's funny people agreed with the macbook pro. I was torn between imac and mac pro, and the more I really delved into performance vs. price, the more the macbook pro appeared superior. Portability wasn't even a great desire, but it is an incredible bonus. Definitely outsmokes the imac especially with its express34 slot, which I hook up to a 4 drive 1 terabite RAID for screaming drive performance beyond what the imac could ever give me (even with a firewire 800 raid). Definitely happy with the purchase. And got it refurbed saving nearly 500 bucks, and oops, aperature pre-installed! :p
     
  11. maccam macrumors 6502a

    maccam

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  12. treehorn macrumors 6502

    treehorn

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    Aug 21, 2007
    #12
    I'm in the same boat. I do most of my editing and motion/dvd creation at the office (where I'm working on a 2.6 GHz dual core PowerMac) but find I'm doing more and more prep-work at home (where I'm using a pre-intel IMac). I was all set to buckle down and buy a 'big boy computer' and resigned to wait until October, in the vain hope that a Mac Pro upgrade would happen then (or at least I would get the new system)

    Then I saw the new IMac and honestly fell in love with the way it looked, and yes, it's compactness as I live in an NYC apartment (and space is an issue). It seemed to be more than adequate for work needs (a 2.8 processor would be even better than what I had at work and the graphics card is almost exactly what I have at work)

    And when I priced it out...it would cost $2300 for the 2.8 GHz IMac versus $3300 for a 2.6 GHz Mac Pro with the equivalent features (hard drive size, memory, bluetooth, Airport card...). And that's not including a monitor, which would bring the total to at least $4000 (and to get a processor that is better than the IMac's 2.8 I'd need to get the 3.0 dual core Mac Pro, adding another $800)

    While it's doable budgetwise, it doesn't seem like its that fiscally smart. For the same amount of money I could buy an IMac now and another one in 3 years which would reflect changes in chips and processors, etc.

    Or I could buy a Mac Pro and yes, have a faster graphic card and the ability to spend hundreds (or even thousands) of $$$ to keep up with technology and software changes...only to find that a new chip has come out in 3 years that requires me to buy a new computer to run programs, system software, etc (which is what would have happened if I bought a Power Mac like we did at the office instead of an IMac 2/3 years ago...)

    So unless I'm missing something, it seems the choice is pay $2300 now and figure on paying it again in 3 years or pay over twice that much and be locked into it for 6 years and risk having to replace it before that...
     
  13. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    Russia
    #13
    You seem to forget that the Mac Pro, even 2 Ghz has four cores, as opposed to iMac's two. And also the fact that iMac uses mobile processor, compared to Mac Pro's server-class.

    Even 2.8 Ghz iMac wont match the 2 Ghz Mac Pro in processing power, unless the app you are using cant utilize more than 1 or 2 cores, but then on a Mac Pro you can run another CPU-intensive app without any slowdowns.
     
  14. treehorn macrumors 6502

    treehorn

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    Aug 21, 2007
    #14
    Thank you for that! It may be a 'doh' moment, but I was under the mistaken impression that they were apples and apples (pardon the pun)...that they were both using the same type/number of processors/cores until you got to the quad core Mac Pro.

    That changes things considerably...

    So basically, I could get the standard 2.6 GHz Mac Pro (I keep wanting to type Powermac) and it would be loads faster than anything the IMac can toss out...

    As I said, thanks a million (or at least several thousands). I've been reading articles and threads galore and this is the first time that bit of essential knowledge was tossed out...and it is a deciding factor.

    (Now if only I had a crystal ball to tell me if an update in graphic cards was coming in October...)
     
  15. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    #15
    You're welcome :)
     
  16. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    It's not quite that simple actually.. doubling the number of cores doesn't double the speed. In rare situations it might come close, but most of the time you'd be looking at more like ~50% faster for 4 cores over 2 cores, so a 2ghz quad would be perhaps similar to dual core 2.8ghz on average. Some apps will benefit more from more cores (like video encoding and 3d rendering) so the mac pro would be better, some will benefit more from the faster MHz in the imac.

    I actually went for the 2.8ghz imac in the end, because the price was about the same as a quad 2ghz mac pro (and the imac would have more memory (not bought through apple obviously) and a better 3d card for that price) and the imac included a 24" monitor, which will really boost my productivity.
     
  17. treehorn macrumors 6502

    treehorn

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    Aug 21, 2007
    #17
    So how much of a real world benefit is there between getting a 2.6 GHz Mac Pro with 4 GB of RAM and the ATI X1900 Graphic card with 512MB and a 2.8 GHz IMac with 4GB of RAM and the ATI 2600 Graphic card with 256MB when working in Final Cut Studio 2 (especially FCP renders and Motion projects)

    (Still can't believe I looked over the specs a hundred times comparing the two and didn't make the connection that IMac was single Core/2 processor while Mac Pro was double dual core...)
     
  18. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #18
    I'm not sure to be honest as I don't use final cut. I'd say the X1900 would give the mac pro a big edge if FC uses the 3d hardware a lot (not sure but I'd guess it does?) UNLESS the ATI 2600 card can be used for hardware video decoding which would give it a huge advantage. Those are good questions to ask somebody more knowledgable on FC.

    For the rest of the system, the mac pro could have two big advantages - first, the extra cores will be very useful for final cut renders (no idea on the figures but I'd guess it should be perhaps 30-70% faster. There must be a benchmark or two out there somewhere).

    The other one is the hard disks - assuming you'll edit footage on the internal hard disk, with the pro you could get two (or more) disks, set them up as RAID 0 as one disk and you'd have much faster disk access, which is great for video. More disks would give you more speed, and that's a fairly cheap upgrade.
     

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