Should I buy a MacPro? Or an iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by noke, Jul 10, 2014.

  1. noke macrumors newbie

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    Jun 25, 2014
    #1
    Hey guys,

    I am a software developer working on multiple projects including larger backends and the relating frontends (including Apps and Browserapplications). This means I normally have a server up and running on my own machine to speed up testing while developing apps and the applicationserver itself. My current MBP (nonretina) has 8GB of RAM and it uses constantly about 7.95GB. I also feel that deploying and the whole buildprocess (when it comes to CPU-heavy tasks) is noticeably faster on my self-built DesktopPC from 2009 which I want to replace.

    In my free time I play games (mmh I can say I do that every day, yes).
    I wanted a new machine from september on as there arrive some big projects in my pipeline.

    The question is if I should buy a MacPro (a rather small config then) or a maxed-out iMac. The price makes not a very big difference then.

    I am not very comfortable with each of them, because:
    • Regarding the iMac I get a mobileGPU and (how it currently looks like) no ThunderBold2 until September. Also I already own two Dell2412M monitors. Also I think a MacPro is more durable then the iMac.
    • Regarding the MacPro I get a whole graphics-card (I guess about 500$ in price) that I cant make any damn use of.

    Due to Intels roadmap I am pretty sure if anything, there will be only a minor spec-bump for the iMac this year (and especially until september). The next big step for CPUs got delayed to Q2 of 2015.
    Regarding the MacPro and its Haswell-E, Intel announced a refresh in September 2014.

    What do you think I should do?
     
  2. et477 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    #2
    ok. its very simple. if you want power, speed, and strength, the iMac is yours. but if you to carry that amour of power and speed around, mac pro. but if you're fine and wjhhat you really need is weight, than mac air. ok?
     
  3. noke thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 25, 2014
    #3
    I dont think its that simple.

    The Mac mini and MacBooks are not an option because of their mobile CPU and GPU.

    I nearly never carry around my computer, but I also dont think the main advantage of the MacPro over the iMac is that you can carry it around more easily.
     
  4. mr99 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 8, 2014
    #4
    I agree and would lean towards recommending an iMac.
     
  5. JoelTheSuperior macrumors 6502

    JoelTheSuperior

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    Feb 10, 2014
    Location:
    London, UK
    #5
    I have the same dilemma myself to be honest as I would love to have a fairly powerful desktop that runs OS X but can also play games.

    I've essentially come to the point at this stage where I've decided that as much as I dislike Windows I'm going to keep with a self-built desktop and then use my MacBook Pro for web development.

    If you don't mind having to put up with Windows I'd definitely recommend just building another desktop or upgrading your current one. Yes, it's not a Mac but you'll get much better value for money considering the specifications you want, plus you can keep using the fantastic Dell monitors you've got.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. joelypolly macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2003
    Location:
    Melbourne & Shanghai
    #6
    I do software development and have both an iMac, Retina MBP and nMP. I would say if you are looking for faster builds the CPU in the iMac and base nMP is not really going to be much different.

    Ram wise the iMac can go up to 32GB and the Mac Pro can go up to 128GB so unless you are going to be running a lot of memory there isn't much point there.

    The one thing that does make a difference is the SSD in the nMP as it can make those long builds faster.

    I got the nMP with the D700 GPU and for gaming they are pretty good especially under bootcamp
     
  7. noke thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 25, 2014
    #7
    Wow thats a heavy lineup!

    I dont hate windows, but it is no longer a real option because of doing much more Ruby on Rails recently, which lacks support on windows.

    Regarding your point with the SSD, I thought in the new iMac are also PCIe-SSDs, just like in the nMP? Where does that difference come from then?

    When getting an nMP, I stay with the D300. The other ones are just to pricy for just playing games on one of them. I know that under windows I can make use of Crossfire but when using a mac, I dont want to fall back to windows every day. I mostly play Diablo3, Leagueoflegends and CS:GO which all have their native mac-ports.

    Staying just with a laptop is also not an real option for me.
     
  8. fuchsdh macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 19, 2014
    #8
    Well the D300 is still going to be better than the mGPU in the iMac. Finding actual frame rate benchmarks proved difficult though. A review from Tom's Hardware said that its performance was roughly on par (sometimes better, sometimes slightly worse) than the Radeon HD 7870. So these benchmarks should give you an idea of what performance you'll get roughly--especially if you're topping out at 1080p gaming you'll get consistently good frame rates with any game on that list and I imagine the ones you play (assuming LoL is no more taxing than Dota 2, which is my only comparison on that front :). http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7870-review-benchmark,3148-14.html

    There's also the upgrade potential--it's possible we'll never see an upgrade, aftermarket or not, to bump the GPUs in the Mac Pro. On the other hand, we know we'll never see a way to replace the iMac GPU.

    The GPUs in the Mac Pro give great performance, but they are also based on workstation equivalents of old gaming chips. It's possible your $3000 on the entry computer might get you something more substantial if you can wait another half-year, but that's all unknown since we've got no clue when the next Mac Pro will come. Either way, a refresh is going to be better than whatever's in the iMac come next revision, so I'd say a nMP makes the most sense for you.
     
  9. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

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    #9
  10. noke thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 25, 2014
    #10
    I think the version with the external gpu and a maxed out mac mini isnt really cheaper, and it brings much hassle onto my desk what i dont like. And the mac mini still has a mobile-CPU what I also dont like.

    I already knew that the D300 can be compared with the HD7870, at least when regarding the stats. What I dont know is if is they are comparable when it comes to playing games since the drivers are different. Does anyone know about that?

    Oh, before I forget: I could get the nMP at ~2700€ (3600$), normally it starts at 3k€ (4080$)
     
  11. Neodym macrumors 68000

    Neodym

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    Jul 5, 2002
    #11
    Barefeats made a gaming comparison: iMac 2013 w/ 780m GPU, nMP with D300/D500/D700 and a variety of cards in an oMP.
     
  12. noke thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 25, 2014
    #12
    wow thank you very much for that comparison. it looks the mobile GPU of the imac is nearly on par with the D300 of the nMP, depending on what game you play.
     
  13. fuchsdh macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 19, 2014
    #13
    Huh. Not insofar as they're based on the W7000 and W8000 and the same results were found there, but still odd that the D300 performs better than the D500.
     
  14. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Apr 27, 2011
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    Virginia
    #14
    Since you already have 2 good monitors I would lean towards the nMP. It gives you a lot more upgrade options than the iMac. If you really want screen real-estate you can always add more monitors at a much cheaper cost.
     
  15. noke thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 25, 2014
    #15
    thats a good point. especially if there will be affordable 4k in the near future, its very simple to add two monitors. I dont like having two different monitors.
     
  16. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #16
    It's close (I know what you're talking about with build processes and the Mac Pro can be a champ at those), but if the Mac Pro config you're looking at it is the 4 core, go with the iMac. You'll get slightly better compile performance, and you'll get your gaming card which is faster than the D700.

    If you can wait a bit, wait and see if they do a rev in the next few months. Intel's next CPU is delayed which might mess things up, but I still feel there is a decent chance they'll rev them around Yosemite. Same goes for the Mac Pro, I feel there is a decent chance of seeing the Mac Pro rev'd around the release of Yosemite.

    The Mac Pro really begins to take off as a code/build system if your code base is medium to large and you're getting a getting a 6 or 8 core model.
     
  17. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

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    Oct 6, 2004
    Location:
    France
    #17
    The mac pro is not a good gaming rig. it's completely overprices if you want to do that. Is way better to have separated computers.
    For $1000 you can build yourself a really good gaming tower, and for other $1000 you get a mini+SSD.
    The eGPU solution is really good and is not that expensive or complicated either.
    (Case+GTX760 = $450).
    The mac pro gaming performance is "good" when you play in windows because you get the "crossfire" effect.
    Looking at activity monitor for ram usage is useless anyway, it will always show full ram usage.
     
  18. noke thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 25, 2014
    #18
    Dont get me wrong, I dont want to set up a gaming rig. I want a workstation at which I am also able to play games (and do that for at least 4 years).

    I thought about getting a tower for gaming and a mini for working but that also brings two keyboards and probably two mice onto my desk. And I really like it more to have only one computer. Some time ago I had two and I always felt like having just the wrong turned on...

    To have the separated system u also need a power supply on your desk.
     
  19. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

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    France
    #19
    I just think you are not the target audience for the Mac Pro. And is really under performing for playing games.
    The mini quad core i7 Cpu is really fast, and the Imac i7 is even faster.
    The problem is that if you want better performance than that, you will have to get the 6-core mac pro, and the price goes up really fast.
    You could have BT mouse and keyboard and don't need a duplicated setup.
    I have my gaming tower (i5+GTX660) + 2011 macbook pro, and I am really happy. I am considering moving to eGPU, just because it could be fun.
    I was just trying to give you some money optimisation, but If you really want to have a mac pro, it's your wallet.

    Do you really need OSX? why not a PC workstation with Linux?
     
  20. noke, Jul 11, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014

    noke thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 25, 2014
    #20
    Thanks for your reply! My problem is pretty much about money optimization yes, and I know i am not the key audience for a mac pro. I dont really like that its only available with dual GPU.

    I dont think I am a pro gamer but I am pretty decent in some of the games I play. A bluetooth mouse is not even close to be an option. But in general I thought about two keyboards because of different special-keys under windows and osx, not about having cable problems.

    If I went with a macbook, it would always be used docked on, and it would be closed as I wouldnt use its display because of prefering external monitors. working 8hours+ on a notebook literally breaks your back. Thats not a good solution I think.

    I tried out different Linux systems (native and virtualized) but got used to osx. If I would set up a Linux-machine I'm pretty sure I would very often just think: okay I use this now, but I prefer another OS.
     
  21. MMcCraryNJ macrumors 6502

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    Oct 18, 2012
    #21
    I'm in kind of the same situation as you. I'm in audio/music production, and either machine would suit my needs just fine. Since the industry is heavily favored toward Apple, I need to use OS X.

    I was between three options - iMac, nMP, and Hackintosh. I had a 2010 iMac which I sold, and I also have a 2012 MBP (non-Retina, but with upgraded processor and SSD from factory). My 2010 iMac was getting old for my needs, and I need something more than my MBP.

    What it came down to was this: The Hackintosh was my goal, but there are just way too many issues (still) for what I want out of it. The GPU I wanted to build with wasn't all that well supported, Thunderbolt is sketchy, and the new 9-series motherboards are still in experimental testing. So that was out.

    I ruled out the iMac because, the machine cannot be touched once it's built aside from the RAM. I ran into that issue with my 2010 as well, the spinning hard drive was deathly slow and there was no way to safely and reasonably replace it myself (and I wasn't about to pay OWC to do it for me). Also, just personal preference, but I really don't enjoy the all-in-one setup. My iMac screen needed to be replaced twice due to the LCD Contamination issue.

    I'm basically down to the new nMP. Currently saving up for the 6c model, but by the time I get there, Apple might be ready to move up to Haswell in them, so I might wait for the refresh at the end of the year/beginning of next year. I'm assuming we'll know more about that around the Yosemite release. The 4c might be OK for my needs, but if I'm doing such an expensive computer, I may as well go a little more pricey and get something that I won't feel the need to replace for the next 5-7 years. Plus, for all intents and purposes, there's not much of a performance difference between the 4c nMP and the i7 iMac...in fact, since the iMac is using the newer architecture chip, some processes are faster on it. I wouldn't feel too great forking out for the 4c nMP model, but that's just my opinion on it.

    This might not have helped you much, but just wanted to chime in with my thought process over the last few months of deciding what I wanted to do. The TL;DR version: The Hackintosh was going to double as a sick gaming PC via dual-booting Windows, but I'd have to make too many compromises on the OS X end, my professional work end, to get there. Since I have a PS4 and am pretty happy with it anyway, I just decided to forget about that, and any gaming performance I can squeeze out of the nMP via Bootcamp is what I'll be happy with. The iMac was another option, but I'm not too keen on an all-in-one anymore after owning one for several years, I hate how closed up it is. So, I'm going nMP.
     
  22. joelypolly macrumors 6502

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    Location:
    Melbourne & Shanghai
    #22
    For gaming one thing to keep in mind is that you can use crossfire in Windows which in theory should almost double your framerate.

    A consideration for myself was that a fast core was more important than a more cores so a 4 core CPU was sufficient for what I need today. Also you can always upgrade the CPU in 2 years time to say 12 cores for a fraction of the cost of what buying them today will be (probably in a hundreds instead of 2500 just for the CPU today)


    Also due to the modular nature of the Mac Pro I do dream of a day when there are upgrade packs that replaces the entire CPU daughter card so you can use newer CPUs but knowing Apple this probably won't happen. But third parties have done it in the past so who knows
     
  23. noke thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 25, 2014
    #23
    I dont really like the All-in-One too. I would bite myself if there comes a new display from apple in Q1 2015 when I buy my imac now.

    I have friends that ran into the same problems you described using a hackintosh. That made me aware of building one. Its not a good solution I think. Its working, but its messy and not the thing you want when you want a apple-product.

    I also like to have the 6c instead of the 4c because the power-per-core is nearly the same and you got 2 cores more, (the 12c power-power-per core is way lower) but the 3k€ for the basic is really all I want to spend, especially because there are applications that just make use of one core.

    I think I will wait for a refresh (Xeon upgrades come September 2014, so we could see a little specboost here) and go with the new entry.
     
  24. noke thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 25, 2014
    #24
    I dont really like the All-in-One too. I would bite myself if there comes a new display from apple in Q1 2015 when I buy my imac now.

    I have friends that ran into the same problems you described using a hackintosh. That made me aware of not building one. Its not a good solution I think. Its working, but its messy and not the thing you want when you want a apple-product.

    I also like to have the 6c instead of the 4c because the power-per-core is nearly the same and you got 2 cores more, (the 12c power-power-per core is way lower) but the 3k€ for the basic is really all I want to spend, especially because there are applications that just make use of one core.

    I think I will wait for a refresh (Xeon upgrades come September 2014, so we could see a little specboost here) and go with the new entry.
     
  25. makdeniss macrumors member

    makdeniss

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    European Union
    #25
    Exactly the same situation here. I guess I will wait until September/October to see if there are any changes/expansion to the nMP lineup. If not, then I will get myself the 6 core variant.
     

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