Speced out imac or base-line MP

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Raven56, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. Raven56 macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2007
    I need a machine that can render over night in Maya, but can also handle HD video editing in FCP and a bit of compositing in Nuke and Motion.

    I'm thinking about:
    27" 2.93Ghz Quad imac 8Gbs Memory with a Solid State Drive 8GB Ram
    3.2Ghz Quad Mac Pro 8GBs of Memory with the ATI 5870.
    (I'm looking at spending around 3500ish us + the extended warranty)

    Although the gloss screen is annoying, I'm more worried the compact imac may have heating issues with the Renders.

    Most of my data is kept on external drives so the extra HD bays don't phase me. How does Nehalem weigh up to the I7 ect.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.
  2. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    i7 = Nehalem.
  3. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    Can you manage with the stock 5770 since you don't list gaming in your requirements? That would mean you could budget for 3x4Gb of ram.
  4. DeeEss macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2011
    Depends what level of use you need it for.

    I use to have iMacs but my work load became more intensive and their lack of expandability became crippling. And their monitors aren't adequate for what I need.

    iMac's are a great choice for medium level use.
  5. highdefw macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148a Safari/6533.18.5)

    Go with the pro. Easier to expand if it comes to that. I also recommend going with a dual quad. I finally took the plunge and I've never looked back since.
  6. loungecorps macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2010
    the imac is not designed to be under full load 24hrs a day the mac pro is
  7. kfordham281 macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2007
    If you think you might expand down the road, Mac Pro all the way.
  8. gameface macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2010
    Boston, MA
    I have a 2.8MP with 16GB of ram and it smokes renders in After Effect all day long. Drop in, but don't stick with the 3GB, it will be painfully slow in rendering.
  9. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    The fan noise alone that the iMac will exude would drive me nuts. Everyone I know with a iMac 2.93 Core i7 thinks they get way too hot. They are only running CS5 etc. One FW800 port is very sad for HD I/O. Get the Pro.
  10. Raven56 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2007
    Thanks Guys I'll probably go the Pro

    I'll consider this. I've heard Maya has issues with both ATI cards, Geforce is the only official support.

    From what i hear Maya can only push for 4 cores and FCP only uses 1. Although it leaves a little room to upgrade the cpu when the warrenty runs out. I could go $500 further for the 3.3Ghz 6 core.
  11. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    Actually, the 5770 is certified by Autodesk for use in Maya with the 10.6.4 graphics update, according to this document. It doesn't seem to mention any reported problems with the 5770. Oddly, the 5870 isn't even part of the list.

    Your only real option with NVIDIA (still in production, anyway) is to buy a Quadro 4000 or 4800 (both are expensive workstation cards). The 4800 is certified and the 4000 is still undergoing testing.

    FCP itself uses very little CPU resources outside of timeline rendering and video encoding. But Compressor is a different story. It can utilize all your available CPU power if you want it to by setting up a virtual cluster in QMaster.
  12. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2010
    I always use to go for the iMacs due to the price difference of the Mac Pro's.

    This time i went for the Mac Pro Quad core. Couldnt afford the 8 core unless it was the 2.26GHz which is too slow for my use.

    There are huge advantages to the Base Mac Pro over the iMacs:
    Expandability - I couldnt work without at least 3 internal drives.
    Noise - The iMacs are a bit noisy sometimes
    Temperature - My Mac Pro renders at 49 - 55 degrees C. My old iMac idles at 50.
    Choice of good screens - I cant stand the iMac-iSeeMyself screens
    Resale value - Take a look on ebay at how much Mac Pro's sell for.
  13. Raven56 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2007
    Cheers, Yes sounds like ATI is more of a problem with pcs. Still I think I'll go 5870 to give motion a kick.
    As for the extra cores, I was mistaken Maya will often use more than 4 (the restriction is with the default MR licence).

    I'm now looking at the 8 core 2.4Ghtz (With the extra memory ports, I'll save in the long run if I upgraded to 16Gbs)

    Many variables though:
    4 and 8 core review (new 2.4Ghz 8 core outperforms the old 2.66Ghz 8 core?):

    Nuke will also utilises the extra cores.
  14. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
  15. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    The iMac will not have heat problems with heavy duty renders, they're designed to run at load.

    For rendering, don't feel stuck on a quad core machine. A renderer should be able to use all your cores. Multiply the ghz x the number of cores and find the best deal for a Mac Pro. Last years 8 x 2.13 would beat that config.
  16. benmor, Feb 17, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011

    benmor macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2011
    Mac Pro for Lightroom

    I have a similar question - I'm looking at the 27" 2.93ghz core 17 Imac or the basic 2.8 ghz quad core Mac Pro ,or at a pinch, the 3.2 quad core Mac Pro.

    main use is photography - Lightroom mostly - my current 24 inch imac is not coping.

    I've read in these threads that the 6 core 3.33 ghz Mac Pro is the sweet spot for Lightroom/Photoshop - but I can't afford it.

    the 27" quad core Imac would be fine performance wise - but I want to use a different monitor - and having the computer off the desk would suit my workstation better.

    so I guess my question is - is the basic quad core Mac Pro comparable to the top specced 27"Imac for my purposes - or does the Imac perform so well for the price (as some of the posters in these threads suggest) that unless I could afford something like the 6 core Mac Pro there'd be no advantage in the Mac Pro.
  17. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I don't think you will be happy with the iMac, and if the right MacPro is out of your budget, and your main use is Lightroom you may be better served with a windows box. If I had to replace my MacPro today that is what I would do. For working in Photoshop or Lightroom the OS does not matter. How ever I will not give up my MacBook Pro.
  18. Evil Spoonman macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2011
    Wait, what?

    Dude, an iMac is fully capable of doing Photoshop and Lightroom… it is not a slow computer. You can support an external display on it, so you can use the display you like, and the whole point of the iMac is that you don't notice that it is on your desk because it is basically just a display. If you calibrate both displays, you should have a very nice working situation. i think an iMac is just fine for a 2D workstation like that.
  19. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    iMac vs. Mac Pro depends on your future requirements.

    An i7 iMac is one hell of a nice computer right now, it will do everything you want it to, as specified already. The only real benefit from getting a Mac Pro is that in the future you will find it much easier to upgrade and expand as your requirements increase. If you plan to keep the iMac 3 years then sell it on and buy another more up to date model, go for it. If however you plan to go long with this purchase the Mac Pro will keep you happy for the next 5 years easily as long as you are prepared to invest in it.
  20. benmor macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2011
    Thanks for the responses everyone - sorry if I misled you. I don't doubt that the core i7 imac would be fine for my needs - I've seen it in action with lightroom and it's great. My real hesitation is that I would like another monitor (the NEC model I'm looking at is about $1700). So rather than the iMac I thought I could get a basic mac pro. I was just concerned that I've read that the basic mac pro would not be as good (ie fast) for lightroom/photoshop as as the core i7 iMac - so I'd end up with the monitor I want - but a slower set up for which I've spent more money.

    The specs on the basic mac pro look pretty good to me - but I'm not computer savvy enough to know whether what I've read about the 2.8 or 3.2 ghz being slower than the core i7 iMac is true?
  21. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    I'd go with the Mac Pro and use the monitor you want if I were you. The Mac Pro is far more upgradeable. You can put your own SSDs in there, a better graphics card (if you wish). Though not supported you can even upgrade the CPU in the Mac Pro later on if you wish. There's an even faster CPU than the 3.33Ghz 6-Core that you can upgrade to already.

    Do you have a link to some of those reviews you've read?
  22. benmor macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2011
    here's one link: http://macperformanceguide.com/Reviews-iMac2010-CompareMacPro.html

    I've just noticed he's comparing the 2009 mac pro 3.33ghz

    Here's a couple of others. the last one's comparing mid 2010 Mac Pro/Imac



    Actually - re-reading these - I may have answered my own question. Am I right that I could configure the Imac with a SSD and extra RAM, it would be comparable in speed terms with the Mac Pro (but not expandable, I know) and it would still be cheaper than a Mac Pro ( but of course, I'd have to forego the new monitor)?
  23. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    You could get the iMac. It'd be much harder to replace stuff such as the SSD and the RAM limit is lower. You could still buy the display you want to and use dual screens.

    It looks like there's not that much of a difference performance wise between the iMac and the Mac Pro so either should be a good choice.

    A comparison of the iMac with the 09 machine isn't really that useful if you're looking at a new 2010 Mac Pro. The comparison between the 2010 Mac Pro and the iMac is the important comparison.

    I don't think the 3.2Ghz quadcore is listed in those comparisons so that does make it harder to compare if you're still considering that Mac Pro.

    You could save a bit by buying a refurb still getting the standard 1 year warranty and the option to buy AppleCare.

Share This Page