Seeking advice on hardware purchase: iMac vs Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by supermacdesign, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. supermacdesign macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2006
    I work for a advertising agency. We need to upgrade to CS3 but all our machines are Power PCs, no intel machines so hardware upgrades are the discussion of the day.

    How does the 2.8Ghz iMac compare to the 2.8Ghz quad-core Mac Pro? Is there a $1000 dollars worth of performance difference? Is it foolish to even consider the iMac in a work environment (working in the CS suite allll day)?

    I'll ask you forgive my tech ignorance ahead of time.

    Thank you.
  2. takeabyteoutta macrumors 6502

    Jan 31, 2008
    There are many things to consider

    besides just performace. Do you need the space saving attributes of the iMac? Do you need to upgrade your monitors as well (the apple cinema displays are outdated and still pretty expensive) or do you have monitors from your previous PCs.

    The other question is do you need 4 cores? CS3 isn't the same as 3D model rendering and I'm not sure it's designed to take advantage of a quad-core, but I could be wrong.

    Personally, the iMac should be suitable, as long as you're willing to move around some lighting (glossy displays and all). A 2.4 ghz and upgraded memory (to 4) might be more then enough for what you're doing, which would still keep you below the $2000 mark.
  3. supermacdesign thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2006
    We currently have big beautiful 23 inch and 30 inch cinema displays. We would find homes for them if someone convinced me iMacs were the way to go.

    We are looking for a boost in speed and thought going intel and CS3 which I thought took full advantage of the new chip set would do that for us.

    The reason the iMacs came up because someone saw the 2.8Ghz vs the 2.8Ghz and over a thousand dollars difference.
  4. kem macrumors newbie


    Jan 25, 2008
    San Francisco
    If this is a professional work environment, then mac pros are it without question..The added hard drive bays, the memory expansion are must. For profesional graphic designers 4gb of ram (the imac limit) is a bare minimum. 8gb to 16gb would easily be used. Also the 2.8 24" is $2299, only $500 less.

    Also look at these benchmarks:

    In the photoshop speed test, I could not find a imac 2.8 result, but the 8core mac pro was twice as fast doing a series of photoshop tests as a 2.4 imac.

    Also have multiple/external monitors is a huge plus.

    Honestly, mac pro without a doubt, this is not your home system
  5. JackButler macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2008
    Adobe suite CS3 will run on PPC no problem. Still not all vendors can take files in CS3 (for print). You probably knew that. ;)

    At work (ad agency) we use PC's :( ... but at my home studio I prefer Mac and I'm also looking to upgrade my G4 Mac soon. I prefer the performance and upgrade ablitly of a MacPro design over an all in one iMac. I've had to change many HD's in my old G4 and the optical... you can do it yourself with the iMac, but it's nowhere as easy as the desktop would be.
  6. drag0nreb0rn macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2008
    The new mac pro has a higher bus speed as well as 4 or 8 cores. This is important in terms of speed and makes a big difference.

    Additionally CS3 is built to take advantage of multiple cores.

    That said, this only matters depending on what you are doing.

    WHen you say CS3, that could mean FX with After Effects and rendering video with premiere. THe mac pro will kick the iMac's *ss in these scenarios. If you are just using photoshop to edit pictures, the difference will not be as apparent (but the mac pro will still be better)
  7. kem macrumors newbie


    Jan 25, 2008
    San Francisco
    Even photoshop and illustrator cs3 will be dramatically faster with the pro. You could probably live with the imac cpu speed wise, but the ability to have 8gb+ of memory you will notice.
  8. student_trap macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    if you already have good screens, id go for a bunch of mac pros
  9. eyecool macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2008
    Fort Worth, TX
    Mac Pro has a higher initial cost, but will have a longer life span for your agency. It may have side effects too: a boost in creativity and productivity from your graphic designers. :)
  10. iBook G4 FTW macrumors newbie

    iBook G4 FTW

    Jan 21, 2008
    Vancouver BC, Canada
    in my opinion you should go with a Mac Pro, since you need good performance with CS3. Also since the Mac Pro is upgradable it will last longer and will be able to run the pro apps you need much longer than an iMac.
  11. jb60606 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    the major selling point for the Mac Pro, aside from quad processing, is it's expansion capabilities (more hard drives/optical drives/RAM) and upgradability (CPU/video/sound). Plus you can choose your own monitor.

    If these are important to you, go with the Mac Pro. Eventually, nearly every app will be designed for QUAD+ processing and even when a Mac Pro is outdated, it still makes a fine server.

    If the above isn't a major requirement, and you're OK with upgrading again in a year or two, go with the iMac.

    Just my opinion.
  12. ray_uk macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2005

    Dude, there right, its all about the expandability, even if you buy the single cpu config now then in the future you can spend some extra cash on the second cpu if the need ever arises, lets face it even the single cpu mac pro is going to offer nearly twice as much processing power then the fastest Imac, you could always get a stand alone 24 Inch monitor for a bit extra, something like a Dell or Samsung.

  13. supermacdesign thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2006
    Thank you everybody for the excellent feedback!
  14. Michael73 macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2007
    A couple of people have mentioned about the longevity of the machine but a slightly different twist to consider is also the accounting and tax piece of the equation.

    Depending on how you guys compute depreciation...straight line, declining balance, activity based, etc. You could very well justify the cost difference between the iMac and Mac Pro. From a tax perspective I think IT hardware is computed over 5 years. At my company we use a 3 year depreciation method based on GAAP in which we depreciate the machine's cost 1/2 a year in the calendar year it was bought, then 1-year, 1-year and 1/2 year.
  15. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2006
    I know few ad agencies/design firms that use solely iMacs (24") for the ADs and copys. Way cheaper,way easier to move around (hell,advertising is a volatile business...) and and when running CS3 Suite speed difference is very small between iMac and MP most of the time.

    I mean most of the time, you could get a macpro for the assistant or whomever who runs the final layouts or does the heaviest stuff and let all the others tinker with the iMacs. iMacs speed is almost allways enough.

    With the saved money you could get good backup solutions (I am still shocked how poorly many ad agencies run their backup stuff!!!) , train your staff to use the programs properly, buy a segway (that is not passé, it is allready retro) or as a any decent ad agency,use the money for hookers and blow.
  16. mac2maverick macrumors regular


    Jan 19, 2008
    How does the 2.8Ghz iMac compare to the 2.8Ghz quad-core Mac Pro? Is there a $1000 dollars worth of performance difference? Is it foolish to even consider the iMac in a work environment (working in the CS suite allll day)?

    The 2.8 GHz iMac is generally faster than the ($2000 refurbished) 2.66 GHz Mac Pro

    The Mac Pro with a single 2.8 GHz quad core is somewhat faster than the 2.8 GHz iMac

    2.8 iMac $2300 or $1950 refurbished
    2.66 Mac Pro (2dual=quad) $2000 refurbished + monitor
    2.8 single quad Mac Pro $2300 + monitor

    I'm also considering whether I should get the 2.8 iMac or the single quad 2.8 Mac Pro. The iMac is quieter, comes with a slightly larger drive and of course includes the monitor. The Mac Pro is upgradeable with large amounts of RAM, additional drives, and my favourite - better and multiple graphics cards. The Mac Pro also takes up more space, but it should be a viable computer for much longer than the iMac. The real questions here are whether you have a spare monitor and if you want your computer upgradeable. I'm sure you'll be happy with either choice. Myself, I'm going to wait to see what the next 'speed bump' is for the iMac. I'm hoping for a better GPU otherwise I might choose the Mac Pro.
    Note gamers: Graphics card differences make gaming performances vary between computers.

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