Should I get an iMac or Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Winstonp, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. Winstonp macrumors 6502a

    Winstonp

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Boston
    #1
    Good day everyone. I am currently considering buying an Apple Desktop, and I'm curious if you think I should wait.

    I am looking for the following Apple computer:
    • capable of serving as a decent gaming system
    • good media center
    • will satisfy gaming and work needs for at least 3-4 years

    I already have a Unibody macbook pro, and the gaming on it is around average. It can play Crysis Warhead and similar games, but you need to reduce the settings for a smooth play.

    Should I hang onto the MacBook pro for a while, and wait for another decent video upgrade in the Apple Desktop line, or do you think the current 4850/4870 is as good as it gets for a while?
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #2
    For Mac Pro for use as a game console? Buy a Windows PC.
     
  3. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #3
    if you want a killer gaming PC, build it yourself and run Windows 7

    iMac's are competative in price but you pay for different features. for the same price you can get a graphics card on a PC that will smoke anything Apple uses
     
  4. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816

    Sweetfeld28

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Location:
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    #4
    MacPro. Then maybe install Win7. Buy a better Video card if need be.
     
  5. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #5
    2 choices. iMac or Mac Pro.

    Not sure how well the 4850 will run the newest games at a great resolution and high effects.

    Buying a mac pro is definitely the better solution graphics wise, but at a cost. As people have said buying a windows box is definitely cheaper, especially since you game under windows. But with the mac pro you can put in whatever video card you want for Windows or get a 4870 or 285 for a seamless transition. However it comes at a high cost, especially if you don't use the mac pro for anything besides word, internet and other usual stuff.
     
  6. Winstonp thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Winstonp

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Boston
    #6
    You make a good point, it does come at a high cost. Do you make the most of your mac pro? How is gaming (if that's your thing)?
     
  7. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #7
    Lets be honest here.... Apple does not build their systems for gaming. They may or may not make good gaming machines, but that is entirely dependent on the games you like to play. The Mac Pro is an awesome machine, for working with professional applications. If you want primarily to play games, get a console or a Windows machine.

    Macs have some interesting features if you are looking at it for a media centre, but my media needs are not too extensive and I don't have any Windows Media centre experience. Perhaps if you explained what you want the media centre to do then more informed and experienced users will jump in. I use a Mac Mini hooked up to a TV to store all of our movies and music (I use iTunes and Airtunes to pipe music around the house). We use iTunes to listen to radio stations from around the world, and watch public TV stations through Livestation and Safari.

    We rent movies (on-line and DVDs) when we feel like a movie, don't have cable TV, listen to a lot of radio and podcasts, and watch the BBC news and/or the CBC news daily on-line.

    Hope that helps
     
  8. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #8
    I only need the power of the imac, but I wanted the expandability of the mac pro. I rip DVD's, have an extensive library, multiple backups and do a little photo/video work. I already had the displays, internal and external hard drives and external accessories that would only work with a mac pro. Also I don't like all in ones, because I don't like if one thing goes out, your whole computer does.

    Further it was on end of year clearance for 1799 or so. I had a MDD powermac and a custom built PC (for gaming), but I was moving and wanted to only have 1 computer. So I sold those for 800 or so and got the Mac Pro. Not to mention I bought 4 or 5 of them and resold them, so I really didn't pay anything for it.

    Overkill yes, but to stay with apple it is the only choice I was offered that best fit my situation and at a great price.

    With gaming it works great. If a game actually comes to OS X and is written well I will buy it, i.e. BioShock. However if they don't offer it or it is a poorly written port I just boot into Vista (7 is on the way). I have the 4870 and it handles every game I have played on it, at highest settings. Games I have played are WoW, BattleField 2042, COD4, COD MW, BioShock, and some others.

    If you don't mind spending the extra cash its a nice option, however cheaper ones are out there. But to stay with apple, its either iMac or MP. MP is only a few hundred more and in my opinion worth it.
     
  9. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #9
    I would buy a PC specifically for gaming and be done with it.

    i5/i7 iMacs look fine for gaming on the Mac side, nearly as fast as the current MP with a 4870

    http://www.barefeats.com/imi7g2.html

    http://www.barefeats.com/imi7g.html

    http://www.barefeats.com/imi7.html

    But $2000 for a gaming media center sounds about $500-1000 too much. If you are familiar with windows, then really, just get a nice i5/17 PC with a Radeon 5900 series card.

    Maybe about $1500 configured nicely with say 12 gigs ram and 1TB drive.
     
  10. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #10
    Get a PC for gaming - end of discussion. If you are looking to play some of the most processor intensive games then you should get a PC.
     
  11. Winstonp thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Winstonp

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Boston
    #11
    It sounds like you've got a great setup that works out quite well for you. I agree with the All in one limitation. Does your workspace feel cluttered and cable covered, though? Unfortunately, I don't own a monitor, I have mostly broken external drives that likely can't be salvaged, and very few extras, so to go with a mac pro is likely going to cost me a considerable sum. If I can spend 2k, for a complete gaming capable Mac Pro setup, I feel it would be worth it. That looks like a longshot, though.

    I've owned a gaming PC before, and I was not very satisfied with the build quality or the overall experience. It seems that most manufacturers skimp on reliability and quality to try and lower the price. Windows Vista was a nightmare, windows XP is relatively limited, but I understand Windows 7 is an improvement.
     
  12. 92jlee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
    Location:
    Cardiff, Wales, UK
    #12

    no one else notice MEDIA?

    The mac pro doesnt work with the apple remote! that thing is a life saver!

    all this rubbish about the 4850 not being able to game - I play loads of games on my 4850!
     
  13. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #13

    The Pro does not work out of the box with the Apple remote, that's correct, BUT for 30 bucks you can make it work. -> http://twistedmelon.com/mira/
    Works fine on my 2009 Pro and with the bundled software you can control much more compared to the remotes basics.

    Even better works the iPhone app 'Rowmote'. If you already have an iPhone or iPod, I highly recommend that tool. Costs nothing but a Mac with Airport.


    Gaming on the Mac Pro works great, provided that you've got a decent graphics card.
    I use the Apple 4870 in my Pro an that card is absolutely capable of running games. I've tested COD MW and MW2 (Windows 7 64 Bootcamp of course) and both run with the highest settings and full AA flawlessly on 2560x1600. I think that's the cards limit though.
    For me it's fine as I don't game, but to last 3 to 4 years, a newer card would be necessary. The ATI 5870 should be fine. Maybe we will se such an upgrade with the upcoming Mac Pro next spring.

    Edit:
    The ATI 4850 you get in the iMac is a mobile version, hence considerably slower than the 4870 you get in the Mac Pro. If you're really into gaming, especially with high resolutions, the 4850 is definitely the wrong choice.
     
  14. nuke123 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    #14
    i agree go with a custom built windows, it will be alot easier to make it future proof [​IMG]
     
  15. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #15

    Copy that.
    A Mac Pro just for gaming and HTPC issues is just not worth it.

    Build yourself a decent gaming machine and get a Mac Mini for HTPC issues. That's cheaper and better!
     
  16. 26.2 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Location:
    Chapel Hill
    #16
    Agree. Apple not cost effective for just gaming.
     
  17. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #17
    Get a iMac (or keep your current notebook) for all tasks not gaming and use the PC solely for gaming, that might help it last longer.
     
  18. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #18
    Did you see the numbers at barefeats?

    http://www.barefeats.com/imi7g2.html
     
  19. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #19
    Not cluttered at all. Have the mac pro to the left, with both displays in front. No other wires can be seen.

    Here is a pic, slightly older and during messier times and before my cable management was done.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. zer0tails macrumors 65816

    zer0tails

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #20
    Since you want to game on it and keep it for at least 3-4 years I think between the imac and mac pro, go with the mac pro. Unless of course you build a dedicated windows gaming rig which is the smarter idea.

    But between imac and mac pro, I suggest the mac pro just because in 2 years you can swap out the video card for a better one. You won't be able to do that with the imac.

    Honestly though..the mac pro is an amazing work station..it can handle games you throw at it but at the end of the day a dedicated windows gaming rig is still better..for gaming.
     
  21. Winstonp thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Winstonp

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Boston
    #21
    Nice setup! Even with the stuff lying around, it's still pretty neat, totally worth it.
    Yeah, you're totally right about the Mac Pro, and upgrading will be a huge advantage. I'm not going with the Windows route, just because I know I want to use this for more than games, and Windows computing can get messy and frustrating.

    Mac Pro it is. Now I just need to find a good deal.
     
  22. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #22
  23. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #23
    Try and find a 2008 quad core or octo core. The quad can be upgraded later if you want an octo. Or you could go 09 quad refurb for 2299 if I recall.

    Good luck. Craigslist would be a good bet and I would want apple care for the piece of mind.
     
  24. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    Brunswick, MD
    #24
    I don't really agree ....

    It depends on a lot of things....

    I used to have a dedicated "gaming PC" myself, but as I started finding myself using my Macs for practically everything else, it became really annoying trying to maintain a separate PC just for the games I wanted to play. (You still have to do all the anti-virus software updates, the Windows security patches, the updates to the misc. utilities on the system like Adobe Acrobat reader and Quicktime, update video drivers as they're released, etc. etc.)

    I wound up setting up a Mac Pro with Boot Camp, so I can boot into Windows 7 if and when I want to for gaming, and have a great, high-end system for OS X the rest of the time, all taking up space on only one desk.

    This also has the benefit of letting you invest in a single good LCD monitor, and getting the full use out of it for your gaming AND everything else.

    And besides, "the most processor intensive games" should be perfectly happy on a Mac Pro,considering it has Xeon class CPUs with 4 to 8 available cores to work with! The only real issue is NOT CPU usage, but demands on the video card. The Mac Pro doesn't have a video card any better than the Radeon 4870 right now. (Except you can buy a PC version of a 4890 and re-flash it with hacked firmware to turn it into an OS X compatible card that's a bit faster than a stock 4870 ... But even if you're willing to go through all that, you still have to modify a file in OS X after each system upgrade, because it doesn't recognize the ID of the 4890 by default.)

    Personally though, I think a 4870 is plenty adequate for any games you want to run today. The people spending lots more for 5000 series ATI cards or higher-end nVidia stuff are just fixated on "bragging rights". (And frankly, to those who say "But I NEED the faster card because I want to run super-high resolutions on my big 30" display!" .. I say, "Foolishness!" Your gaming experience actually DECLINES on displays any larger than 22" to 24" tops, because your eyes can't take in the whole screen at once. You wind up panning back and forth constantly, giving you more eyestrain.)


     
  25. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    Brunswick, MD
    #25
    re: remote on Mac Pro

    I have my Mac Pro attached to a DLP projector on the second display port, and use the Plex software when I want it to serve as a home theater/media center for me. To solve my issue of no support for the Apple remote, I bought the "Remote Buddy" shareware package, which makes use of the built-in Bluetooth card in my Mac Pro and bluetooth compatible remotes like the one sold for the Sony PS3, or Nintendo Wii. It works out great since bluetooth lets me use the remote from up to 30 feet or so away from the computer, without having to be "line of sight" with an IR receiver or anything.


     

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