New to Apple

Frankie.

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 20, 2009
127
0
I'm only one week into my Apple experience and I was curious why people buy Mac Pro's compared to iMac? Why buy one over the other? What is the main use for Mac Pro's being reason people buy Mac Pro's rather than iMac's?
 

jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,864
1,480
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
I'm only one week into my Apple experience and I was curious why people buy Mac Pro's compared to iMac? Why buy one over the other? What is the main use for Mac Pro's being reason people buy Mac Pro's rather than iMac's?
Mac Pros are way more powerful than the iMacs. It's like comparing a Toyota Corolla to a Mini Cooper.
 

Frankie.

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 20, 2009
127
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Powerful for what kind of use? Gaming?

I'm looking at refurb Apple store and Mac Pro's start 2,000+
 

Frankie.

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 20, 2009
127
0
For work. Mac Pro's aren't gaming rigs, windows is far more adept at that. Instead they're meant for workstations.
Ok, fair enough. But I'm sure they are strong enough for gaming such as Call of duty 4? [only game I play]

Sorry for being empty headed, but what kind of work? I do web design/graphic design and it does fine on this piece of crap I'm on right now so just honestly curious what this Mac Pro's are really used for..

I plan to buy a Macbook Pro and a 24" Cinema. Once I graduate college buy another 24" Cinema and a Mac Pro and use dual 24" with the two Apple Cinema's.
 

VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
114
Vancouver, BC
Ok, fair enough. But I'm sure they are strong enough for gaming such as Call of duty 4? [only game I play]

Sorry for being empty headed, but what kind of work? I do web design/graphic design and it does fine on this piece of crap I'm on right now so just honestly curious what this Mac Pro's are really used for..

I plan to buy a Macbook Pro and a 24" Cinema. Once I graduate college buy another 24" Cinema and a Mac Pro and use dual 24" with the two Apple Cinema's.
That sounds like a decent plan. Some of these answers above are not very useful.

The basic advantages of a Mac Pro are the ability to upgrade/expand various elements such as hard drives, memory, graphics cards, and even the CPU's and obviously use any monitor you prefer.

The advantages of an iMac are the value and affordability due to the included monitor and generally lower price as well as the form factor (great if you are short on space).

In terms of performance, you can now equip a 27" iMac better than the entry level Mac Pro so there is overlap in performance between the two lines. However you can configure/buy a Mac Pro with much greater horsepower if you are willing to spend the $$$. This performance will come in handy for 3D, video, imaging, modelling, or other intensive tasks.

I guess Windows (or even Mac) gaming is better on a Mac Pro due to the greater selection of more powerful graphics cards available.

I think that about sums it up. :)
 

Frankie.

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 20, 2009
127
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That is a great reply, I appreciate it. Basically same as Windows desktops, ability to upgrade. I'm sure you are paying more (Apple) for better built and design. I have a desktop, Dell E510, and it was 1,100 without monitor or speakers four years ago. I upgraded video card but when you open up the computer it left literally zero room inside to upgrade. They made everything so tight you had to use Dell's products. Mac Pro's built the same way?
 

VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
114
Vancouver, BC
That is a great reply, I appreciate it. Basically same as Windows desktops, ability to upgrade. I'm sure you are paying more (Apple) for better built and design. I have a desktop, Dell E510, and it was 1,100 without monitor or speakers four years ago. I upgraded video card but when you open up the computer it left literally zero room inside to upgrade. They made everything so tight you had to use Dell's products. Mac Pro's built the same way?
Mac Pro's don't require proprietary upgrades but the fact that there are only limited expansion cards that support EFI/OSX, for example, does limit the upgrades you can perform. It's no PC, but the Mac Pro is light years better than any Dell in build quality.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,598
380
Redondo Beach, California
Ok, fair enough. But I'm sure they are strong enough for gaming such as Call of duty 4? [only game I play]

Sorry for being empty headed, but what kind of work? I do web design/graphic design and it does fine on this piece of crap I'm on right now so just honestly curious what this Mac Pro's are really used for..

I plan to buy a Macbook Pro and a 24" Cinema. Once I graduate college buy another 24" Cinema and a Mac Pro and use dual 24" with the two Apple Cinema's.
Some people buy them simply because they can afford them and it gives them a big ego boost. Many expensive cars are sold for this reason too.

But then some people really do need a Mac Pro. The number one use I can think of if video and film editing. This kind of work can suck up all the CPU power you have and still be slow.

Audio recording too. If you run Logic and have a lot of tracks the software instruments you are going to need a big computer.

One that I've done, although with Sun Equipment not Apple's s scientific data visualization. Basically crunching a lot of numbers into interactive graphics.

I use the term "real time media" to describe all of this. This means pictures or sounds that move over time.

Some applications need LOTS of memory but don't requires a lot of CPU. Aperture is that way. If get sfaster with RAM but the iMac tops out at "only" 4GB. Screen space -- If you want that 30" screen you have to buy the Mac Pro. I get spoiled easy. We have some 30" screens at work. All I do is runs many terminal sessions at once but it is nice to see them all.

Again many of these are sold to people who have little use for them except as a staus symbol of as a very expensive game console.
 

Frankie.

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 20, 2009
127
0
Thank you, another great reply.

I noticed lowest end refurb in the Apple store is 2.66 GHz. Pretty good weak-end processor speed considering only thing I'll ever do is small gaming [Call of Duty] and some Photoshop and Dreamweaver work. Looks like I'll only need the cheapest Mac Pro available to do what I do.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,718
2
Mac Pro's don't require proprietary upgrades but the fact that there are only limited expansion cards that support EFI/OSX, for example, does limit the upgrades you can perform. It's no PC, but the Mac Pro is light years better than any Dell in build quality.
The use of the EFI firmware does effectively make it proprietary though (if it needs to be a boot device). People have found ways around this with the graphics cards, but not with other devices, such as RAID cards.

As per the Dell comment, the consumer systems can be a mixed bag as per the internals being messy, especially on the older systems that used IDE. But I've not seen that lately, especially on the business/enterprise lines. Rather neat and clean. Easy to get to things, and the modular construction makes it quick to get things swapped out quickly. :)
 

300D

macrumors 65816
May 2, 2009
1,284
0
Tulsa
considering only thing I'll ever do is small gaming [Call of Duty] and some Photoshop and Dreamweaver work. Looks like I'll only need the cheapest Mac Pro available to do what I do.
Thats an extremely poor use of money. The MacPro is not a gaming machine, its a working computer. If you want to play games, stick with Winblows machines.
 

dissolve

macrumors 6502a
Aug 23, 2009
546
0
Thats an extremely poor use of money. The MacPro is not a gaming machine, its a working computer. If you want to play games, stick with Winblows machines.
If he's only playing one game, I hardly think he's looking for a "gaming machine." I see no reason why the mac pro wouldn't perform very well to play that and do the other tasks he wants. Sure, an iMac can do the same, but (like previously mentioned) it depends on how important expandability and choice of monitor are.
 

macz1

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2007
315
5
On a Mac Pro you can even play Crysis quite well with a HD 4870/4890, therefore I consider the Mac Pro as perfectly suited for occasional gaming in Bootcamp.
If you need the Mac Pro anyway, it would be wasted to buy another PC only for a few game sessions when the Mac can also do the job.
 

Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
3,523
367
Sweden
Thats an extremely poor use of money. If you want to play games, stick with Winblows machines.
ofc it is. but consider this:

1, I have a good screen
2, I want OSX

there really is not much options left is there? I cant stand mac mini piss performance.
 

Umbongo

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2006
4,929
54
England
You should consider that until 3 days ago iMacs only had dual core processors and didn't support more than 8GB of memory so the Mac Pro was the only choice for many who need computational power. While the iMacs can do more and present an alternative option there probably aren't many people buying iMacs who would have brought a Mac Pro instead.

Some more reasons to go Mac Pro over iMac
 

macz1

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2007
315
5
With a Mac Pro you can also have a dedicated drive for Bootcamp, where Windows can maltreat its own HD without touching the OS X drive.
In addition to that, together with the higher installable amount of RAM this allows a very pleasant VMware/Parallels experience in OS X.

But everything depends on how and for what you use your Mac... There are many things (almost everything, actually) which an iMac can do very well.
 

Tesselator

macrumors 601
Jan 9, 2008
4,601
4
Japan
Ok, fair enough. But I'm sure they are strong enough for gaming such as Call of duty 4? [only game I play]

Sorry for being empty headed, but what kind of work? I do web design/graphic design and it does fine on this piece of crap I'm on right now so just honestly curious what this Mac Pro's are really used for..

I plan to buy a Macbook Pro and a 24" Cinema. Once I graduate college buy another 24" Cinema and a Mac Pro and use dual 24" with the two Apple Cinema's.
My typical work-flow and the reason I got a Mac Pro:
  • Import 1080P or 720P video clips and chop them up into pieces,
  • Model and animate FX scenes to render,
  • Render about as many 3D frames as are contained in the HD videos x2 ~ 8,
  • Sandwich the multiple layers together in Motion, Shake, or something,
  • Maybe do some composing and some custom SFX,
  • Throw together the multi-layer BGFX / BGM and lay that in frame accurately,
  • And Stuff. :)

The rendering alone can take up days or even weeks. I wouldn't want to put an iMac and for sure not a laptop through 100's of hours of 100% CPU activity. Nor would I trust either to read and write 50 MB of files every 15 seconds for the same length of time. :eek:

I bet anything that an iMac or MBP would bust in less than a year under stress like that. In any case the downtime would not be worth finding out. IYKWIM... ;)
 

Schroedinger

macrumors regular
Feb 12, 2004
241
0
Baltimore, MD
This is not meant at all to be snotty or elitist, but I always took the point of view that if you have to ask Mac Pro or iMac, you should go iMac. The iMac gets you 80% of the way there and is fine for most and a much better value. The MP only starts making sense if you live in that final 20%. If you spend a reasonable amount of time staring at multiple cores all pegged at 100%, then you'll appreciate the MP. Otherwise, spend your money on more RAM for an iMac and get a Drobo.
 

WytRaven

macrumors 6502
Mar 19, 2009
353
0
Orbiting Mercury
This is not meant at all to be snotty or elitist, but I always took the point of view that if you have to ask Mac Pro or iMac, you should go iMac. The iMac gets you 80% of the way there and is fine for most and a much better value. The MP only starts making sense if you live in that final 20%. If you spend a reasonable amount of time staring at multiple cores all pegged at 100%, then you'll appreciate the MP. Otherwise, spend your money on more RAM for an iMac and get a Drobo.
Now that's the best way I've seen it put yet.

Must also say that I am really happy that Apple has finally bridged the gap between iMacs and Pros with the i7 model iMac. However, I do stare at 100% pegged cores all day, thanks to my obsession with unbiased rendering, and that's why I bought an octo Pro.
 

dissolve

macrumors 6502a
Aug 23, 2009
546
0
This is not meant at all to be snotty or elitist, but I always took the point of view that if you have to ask Mac Pro or iMac, you should go iMac. The iMac gets you 80% of the way there and is fine for most and a much better value. The MP only starts making sense if you live in that final 20%. If you spend a reasonable amount of time staring at multiple cores all pegged at 100%, then you'll appreciate the MP. Otherwise, spend your money on more RAM for an iMac and get a Drobo.
Except that the ability to use internal hard drives is not the only advantage of the Mac Pro. What if you want to add RAM to the iMac in a year or two? Or a new video card? Or use a different monitor? While it's certainly true that you pay the most for that final push in CPU performance, I don't think those who always throttle their computer to 100% are the only who benefit. Although, this is biased, because I think I fall into that category and I still want a MP :eek:
 

Bartman01

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2008
168
0
Except that the ability to use internal hard drives is not the only advantage of the Mac Pro. What if you want to add RAM to the iMac in a year or two? Or a new video card? Or use a different monitor? While it's certainly true that you pay the most for that final push in CPU performance, I don't think those who always throttle their computer to 100% are the only who benefit. Although, this is biased, because I think I fall into that category and I still want a MP :eek:
But like he said - "if you have to ask". If you can't articulate a reason for a Mac Pro for your needs TODAY then you don't 'need' one. The ability to upgrade in a year or two is a non-starter. No guarantees that anything new out 2 years from now will be compatible with the current machines.

There are plenty of reasons to get a Mac Pro over an iMac, but heavy CPU usage and lack of monitor choice are probably the biggest now that the 27" iMac has a quad core processor and supports 16GB of RAM.