Should I switch from my Mac Pro to iMac? Please Read.


macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 14, 2010
Hey all,

Long time Apple user here, but I haven't had the chance to really mess around with any of the iMacs in the past few years. With yesterday's announcement of the new iMacs, I have been wondering about the following, and need your help.

Currently, I have and use a Mac Pro system (1st gen found here It has 4 gigs of RAM, two 500GB HDs, and the Dual Core 2.66 GHz Xeon 5100 Processor. I mainly use it for Final Cut Pro (with the other studio programs occasionally), Photoshop, internet browsing, photo storing/viewing, and music storing/listening.

My question is, would I see an upgrade in performance and usability if I switched over to one of the new iMacs, or would this be a downgrade from my Mac Pro tower?

Thanks for your thoughts :)


Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
If you get the quad core iMac, you will notice significant difference. Keep in mind that iMac lacks upgradeability so you cannot add HDs for example. Sure you can add externals but they are slower


macrumors 601
Feb 19, 2008
Your stated uses favor your considering an iMac. You'll pay a premium for the upgradability (graphics, HD, optical) of the Mac Pro. The current iMac line will be an improvement on your Mac Pro. Do you NEED, or WANT, to upgrade?


macrumors regular
Apr 30, 2010
SW Virginia
In my current experience, having the basic same system, I think you can still upgrade the system you have for better performance and such. Getting the iMac (and I am seriously considering it for myself) looks to be a lateral move - not up, not down.

I put some money into an SSD, external drives, a Sonnet E4P eSata card, a port multiplier (for more external drives) 6 2TB drives, and recently a 2010 Mini. (I've already given enough to Steve.)

Your situation is so borderline. The thrill of a new computer, that smell, that feel, cannot be discounted from the equation. It injects a new energy into what you do, at least for a while. I'd say go for the iMac for that, if nothing else. It will be fun, if you can swing the $.


macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 14, 2010
Thanks all for the sincere weigh-ins :) (keep em' coming from anyone else as well)

Having recently upgraded to a new macbook, and the iPhone 4, perhaps I just have "upgrade fever". But my thinking is that if the new iMac is a better performing system then mine (by a fairly significant amount), then it may be better in the longer run to sell/trade off my mac pro for a new system now. As we all know, very few computers retain a significant resale value. Being able to get 4 figures for a 2006 machine would be pretty nice now, and I suppose I'd hate to see that drop.

I've also got a thread running on the Mac Pro forum with the same question posed, and am hearing that the i7 model would show me some great improvements. The prices on the SSDs right now are out of my range this generation, so I'm going to probably stay lateral with the stock 1 TB HD. The 1 TB on my Mac Pro has suited me pretty fine, having an entire feature film's raw footage all stored and edited on it with room to spare.

I can see possibly doing the 27 inch i7, stock 1 TB HD, with the stock 4 GB RAM (possibly upgrading the RAM elsewhere for cheaper I imagine?)

Any further thoughts on that? Is that still staying in a "lateral" formation as above posted (like how you put that :) )? I do want to actually UPGRADE rather than only simply get the "fresh out of the box" feel.


macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
I have essentially the same system as the OP (2006 quad 2.66GHz Mac Pro, nVidia 8800, 2.5TB of HHDs).

My uses are fairly light as modern computing goes (iPhoto, Pixelmator, iMovie, lots of Keynote, email/web and HandBrake once or twice a week). The only high-end app I routinely use is Osirix 64-bit, and that runs just fine on my current system.

I'm looking for a speed boost with daily OS activities and to reduce the clutter of tower+monitor+cables...

I think the 27" i7 with the 2TB+256GB SSD option will give me what I'm looking for.


macrumors 6502
Sep 23, 2006
the REAL Jersey Shore
Video might be my only concern...

Ever since the first gen white 24's came out I have blathered on about what a great workstation the iMacs make. The same dollar equation still stands, I spend about half on an iMac as compared to what I would spend on a Pro.

The first time admittedly I was nervous, but I figured I could upgrade every two years instead of around four, and still make out. I got four years and it still runs like a charm, but is showing signs of age coupled with an increased workload (Aperture library of 75k images, etc.).

I run Quark, shop crunching huge files, Aperture, etc. I have the max amount of 3gb RAM installed and am thrilled with the ability to drop 16gb of ram in. That will make a huge difference right there. Max out everything you can afford to, and just remember you are saving a lot by not going to a Pro. If you do a lot of intensive, production level editing in FC, maybe you would be asking a lot. Not sure on that as I work with very little video. I do produce entire publications, billboards, work on huge files, open up a ton of programs at yeh same time, all without difficulty. There are a lot of professionals who now work on iMacs now too. It is a smart buy mostly. Expandibilty is WAY overrated, most machines only function for around 4 years as a primary workstation before they reach the point where they need to be replaced anyway. Plus, most of your needs can be met with by adding devices periphiallly if needed. I have about six externals on mine, no big deal.

For a good counterpoint however go here:

But, for my money, I choose and recommend the iMacs. If you run a studio like I do, you can buy two well equipped iMacs for the price of one Pro. So it is a no-brainer for me.



macrumors 65816
Jun 22, 2007
The i7 should be a considerable upgrade for you. I work on a 2007 and 2009 Mac Pro and Nehalem family is impressive for Compressor. I'd expect you'd see a significant improvement with a quad 2.93 i7 vs dual 2.66 Xeon.

I'm not sold on SSD, especially at Apple's prices. I'd be interested in looking at a compelling case that applies to my work. I think more RAM will benefit video editing than SSD. SSD seems best at boot and launch times, but if you have enough RAM to keep everything open, then not sure the real advantage for the money.

My only hesitation with an iMac is storage expansion. No eSATA either.

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