Refurb Mac Pro 8 Core 2.26GHz Nehalem or Refurb iMac 27-inch 3.4GHz i7 Sandybridge

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by scottmacuser, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. scottmacuser macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2012
    I currently have an old 2003 G5 Dual 2.0 with 1 TB + 500gb internal storage. 3TB external (USB 3.0-only 2.0 on macs), a couple of SATA 500gb drives not using, 2 500gb portable usb's for wifes Macbook Pro.

    I'm a long time Apple user—went from a 7100 PowerPC in the 90's to a G4 silver to my current G5. I also have a working Apple IIe with 2 floppy drives, monitor and tape drive—so Macs are what I use.

    I am a working art director and have a side design business. I have a small budget of $2,500 and looking to get the most for my $$.

    I found these macs at good pricing to fit my budget.

    I found a Refurb Mac Pro 8 Core 2.26GHz Harpertown/Nehalem(2x Quad-cores),
    Geekbench: 11648/12651
    6GB RAM, 640GB HD,
    OS X 10.7
    with a 30" Apple Cinema Display!
    for $2,450

    and was also considering a

    Refurbished iMac 27-inch 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 (Sandy bridge)
    Geekbench: 11864/13363
    4GB memory
    1TB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics with 1GB memory

    Built-in FaceTime HD camera
    for $1,869

    My question: which would be a better (now and long-term) computer, since I don't plan on buying again for another 5-7 years. I work in Adobe CS5/CS6 suites, Final Cut Pro and After Effects. I have demanding deadlines at times and would like to work simultaneous in all apps, plus use iTunes for music, Skype/facetime with clients.

    Priorities are speed/performance, multiple apps running, storage of 4 tb or more. Relaiblity

    My concerns on the 2009 Mac Pro:
    • Just on par with performance with iMac i7 (through beatfeat and geek bench marks) for now.
    • Does it still perform on par with Lion and Mountain Lion installed?
    • Will future OSX releases be available for the 2009 after 10.7?
    If so, would the slow down the Nehalem processor in favor the the new Sandy bridge?
    • Little more upfront cost compared to the iMac as I would need to upgrade the ram and video card immediately—additional $350.
    • Int HD Interface: Serial ATA (3 Gb/s). iMac is has faster Serial ATA (6 Gb/s)
    This is more of a factor if I choose a SSD in the future.
    • no built-in camera.mic

    The pros for 2009:
    • System Bus Speed 6.4 GT/s over iMac 3.4 System Bus Speed 5 GT/s
    • multi-thread performance
    • internal expanded drives to 8 TB. Cheaper/faster eSata option then external
    • expanded ram to 32mb/64mb (per
    • 4 FW 800 ports
    • Can install current SATA 1 TB and 500gb from G5
    • Can run internal Raid
    • 30" Apple display and 8:5 format
    • Adding USB 3.0 possible (mixed results)

    My Concerns on iMac 3.7 27":
    • Limited storage space 1-2TB internal
    • 27" Glossy Screen 16:9 format compared to the 30".
    • Might have performance problem running multiple pro apps at once.
    • Limited ram to 16mb, however claims 32mb
    • Heat of CPU, internal larger drive, Monitor.
    • Failure rate of early 2009-2010 iMacs due to heat/fan issues
    • Thunderbolt very expensive at the moment for more space
    • 1 FW 800
    • Only external raid options with Thunderbolt, very expensive
    • No USB 3.0

    Pros for iMac:
    • Cheaper then 2009 man pro set up
    • Newer technology
    • Future OSX updates four Sandy Bridge and above
    • Faster overall then 2009 Mac pro day-to-day activities
    • Much better graphics card included over 2009 mac pro
    • Internal HD interface Serial ATA (6 Gb/s). Much faster the 2009 mac pro
    • Can install SSD (future) at 6gb speed.
    • Built-in camera/mic

    So any help in advising my decision as I would of course, like the newer technology at a cheaper price, knowing future OSX updates will be achievable. However, I do know that the mac pro has more expandability. Can be on pair with performance with some upgrade (costs) compared with the iMac 3.4 i7, but worry about the next system release bricking the 2009.

    Advise please!

  2. EGS1550 macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2012
    I will be interested in the replies. I am in the same boat. I have a Macpro 1,1 that won't run Mountain Lion. It will run cs5/6 and I assume cs7 but before long Adobe will probably require an OS that this Mac won't support

    I am considering moving to an iMac within a year or so. I wish I knew Apple's plans for the Macpro as this would help make the decision easier. One part that concerns me is the built in monitor of the Imac. Currently if my monitor goes bad it can be replaced immediately unlike the imac. Also I already have a very good 23 inch apple display. It could become a second monitor to the imac

    I would prefer to stick with the expandability of a Macpro and not have the computer/monitor be an all-in-one but that depends on the direction that Apple goes with the MP
  3. steveOooo macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2008
    The 2009 / 2010 is effecituvely the 2012 model so should be good for Os updates up to 2017/18 (5+years) your machine wouldn't just stop working if no new Os updates - if it ain't broke...

    iMac vs 8core - I don't think ou really need 8 cores, you could get a quad core amd upgrade to 6 core - stick a ssd in the spare optical bay and a Gtx graphics card and you have a superior beast.

    The 30 apple display is pretty dated, I think for most design / graphics work your looking for a wide gamut monitor (HP / dell)

    The iMac uses a mobile graphics card + has been made to be super slim - if your doing lots of video renders etc, it will sound like a mini hair dryer - the mac pro more or less makes the same sound/ ie none! A light hum.

    I have 2x 2tb WD black raided, 2tb WD green for general storage (old fcp projects that I might / plan to work on / use footage from showreels etc) and 1x 1tb as the home directory - all the general stuff I use daily.

    For me it's just nice to have most stuff in one box
  4. twietee macrumors 603


    Jan 24, 2012
    Actually, I'm not so convinced of both alternatives. I personally dislike iMacs, but the processor-speed of the 8-core in singled-threaded programs like PS or sth. similar would be the reason to go for the iMac.

    Did you consider building yourself a Hackintosh? You could get a very attractive machine without too much troube and money..and it would be much more futureproof than any of your options imho.
  5. scottmacuser thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2012

    How would upgrade the CPU on a 2009 Nehalem to 2010?

    " I don't think ou really need 8 cores, you could get a quad core"

    The reason I'm looking at the 8-core besides the current deal I found is multi-processing power. Besides a few applications using the multithread support via Final cut, etc. I would like to render a 15 min HD video while laying out a magazine in inDesign, while photo retouching in Photoshop, while communicating with a client via Skype/FaceTime. I would think 8-core would be more robust the the iMac but I don't know for sure. Coding video only uses a certain amount of the GPU, the rest is fed by ram in conjunction with the scratch disk.

    "The 30 apple display is pretty dated"

    Not worried about the 30" Apple display, I can calibrate to whatever my needs are and the project. Most of my monitors at work are 2006 30" and are still stunning and are in a CMYK spec since I most work on print. These monitors have more life then 6 years and I'm considering a 2009.

    Would the iMac be able to hand that work flow or is the 2009 Nehalem 8 core the better choice?
  6. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    I would be looking for a refurb 6 core 3.33 Mac Pro, personally. They aren't that difficult to get.

    The clock speed is so low on that 8 core that isn't great for single threaded tasks. The 6 core is a great compromise between single and multithreaded apps.
  7. twietee macrumors 603


    Jan 24, 2012
    I'm far from being an expert, but it's possible and not so complicated, there are plenty of threads around here about how to.
    The problem is that upgrading your dual socket 1366 cpus is going to be really expensive. You could buy a new system for that.

    Sorry, can't help you there. I read somewhere that some iMacs (maybe the 2009) can get 32gb ram...

    I have an older ('08?) 23" ACD and I'm loving it. Would buy a 30" when I find a used one in good condition anytime.
  8. ThePreditor macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2012
    Pro running After Effects CS6 and Final Cut Pro 7 here. I have the 3.4Ghz 27" iMac, and here's why:

    -It's as fast or faster as an 8-core Mac Pro for FCP 7 since FCP 7 is stupid and doesn't see multiple cores

    -I have 32GB of RAM in this thing

    -It does get warm, but I run SMC fan control during renders at max blast.

    -I got the 2GB VRAM, and haven't had any issues with it at all

    -I installed a 256GB SSD as my boot drive, and have a 2TB 7200RPM as a scratch disc.

    -It has Thunderbolt, which I use a LOT for file transfers, scratch, and backup...this is the thing the Mac Pro is sorely lacking.

    -The Mac Pro tech is far outdated, and it would be very difficult for me to sell an outdated Mac Pro and recoup costs in order to upgrade to a new Mac Pro if they ever come out with one.

    -I have 6 and 8 core Mac Pros at the office and use FCP 7 and AE every day. I notice very little real-world difference between the those and my home iMac.
  9. steveOooo macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2008
    The iMac would be able to do that, may get a bit stuttery whilst rendering and skyping, iMac will get quite hot but will cope (though depends have in depth the hd video render - motion / after fx renders can put a low spec system to its needs.

    If its all day long, get the mp, even the QC would handle what you want no problems. If time is money, go with the system that will be most reliable and quick
  10. scottmacuser thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2012
    So does a mutlicore 4/6/8 mac pro use each core for any app demanding a process to be completed depending on the load? In other words, I'f I'm rendering something in final cut pro while working on a large photoshop file (applying an effect) then switching to inDesign to complete a layout while skyping, does only one core handle all of those processes? Or do other cores activate relating to the demand of the tasks?

    I know ram helps keep the apps "Active" but I'm talking about actual real work in multiple application simultaneously. If the 2009 pro is better at that then the iMac I'm considering then thats my choice.

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