Thinking of buying a Imac or Mac pro need some input

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jcr918, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. jcr918 macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012
    I am a photographer and I do a lot of photo editing in Cs6. I currently own a Mac book pro retina i7 2.7 GHz with 16gig of ram and a sold state drive.

    My Macbook pro works great and I love it however when I do video editing the fan screams and the macbook pro gets really hot. I am finding it to work most of the time there are a few times it can't keep up. Anyway I really want to get a desktop as a backup and primary use. I will be doing some video editing 1080p and running multiple screens with lots of applications opened up.

    Would a near maxed out imac be faster then my macbook pro or should I go with the mac pro.

    I am thinking of getting the 27" Imac with 8Gigs of ram upgrading it to 32gigs getting the sold state drive and the upgraded video card and CPU. The build cost came to $2,800 not including tax
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    A maxed out iMac will out perform just about any MBP. It's that simple, as far as the RAM goes do not buy it from Apple, buy with only 8GB and buy and install RAM from a reputable source such as OWC ( or Crucial. I tend to prefer OWC as they specialize in Macs, Crucial is also very good but they don't quite have the level of knowledge or support as OWC.
  3. jcr918 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012
    I was planning on getting third party ram and not Apple ram.
  4. Klae17 macrumors 65816


    Jul 15, 2011
    iMac will be good for you. With the Mac Pro you would have to buy some displays, and I don't know if apple includes the mouse and keyboard for the pro. With the solid state and some hard drives using thunderbolt or usb3 and you're set. I prefer the Magic Mouse for editing in photoshop but the trackpad more in Lightroom.
  5. propower, Dec 28, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013

    propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    I posted this elsewhere but I think it may help you... My signature shows my personal solution.

    One doesn't buy speed anymore (all machines below Turbo up to within less than 10% of one another) - you buy form factor, maximum parallel processing power and noise performance...

    MacMini/MBP i7 quad TDP 45W-47W: These two machines will Turbo up to 3.6GHz - 3.8GHz but once the 90deg CPU point is reached fans will ramp up and they will fall back a lot to 2.6GHz. On the 2012 MacMini that was about 25% constant CPU load.

    imac 27" 2013 i7 Quad: TDP 84W: Turbo up to at least 3.7GHz (3.9GHz for single core tasks) and due to higher TDP and much better heatsinking will stay up there till 70% load or more before ramping fans and falling back to 3.5GHz. (very similar resullt for 2013 imac i5) - note: 21.5" 2013 imac uses 64W TDP CPUs with subsequent reduction in threshold to ramping fans and loss of Turbo boost).

    nMP Quad: 130W TDP - Will turbo up to at least 3.7GHz (3.9GHz for single core tasks) and due to the highest TDP and best heatsinking should just stay there. CPU performance near identical to imac i7 but much more Graphics power, faster RAM and faster internal SSD.

    nMP Hex: 130W TDP - Will Turbo up to at least 3.6GHz or more and at worst come down under very heavy load to 3.5GHz - literally 50% more CPU power than Quad.... and so on to the 8 core. For the 12 core you better need 12 cores otherwise it will be slower and pretty much a waste...

    The much more important question nowadays really needs to be "how many cores do you need" and "how quiet do you need it to be under a demanding load"? For my use - Pro Audio) my 2013 i7 imac can do hundreds of tracks and hundreds of plugins with CPU temps in the mid60s degC- extra fan noise above base = zero.... I have yet to stress it past 30% in real use... very quiet machine!
  6. jcr918 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012
    I decided to go with this configuration on my Imac


    3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    32GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    3TB Fusion Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5

    Here's the specs on the Mac Book pro I had. Hopefully Ill notice a bit of speed increase of some sort on the new Imac

    Early 2013 model

    2.7 GHz Intel Core i7
    16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1024 MB
    512Gig sold state drive
  7. propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    Looks like a great machine -
    Speed will be a little better than MBP - not dramatic
    Responsiveness and speed under load - significantly quieter and quite possible noticeably faster

    Let us know how it works out. You always have 2 weeks from Apple to just give it back if you don't see the improvement you hope for
  8. RickRack macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2013
    I am not positive but

    I think that the SSD in the new iMacs is supposed to be up to 50% faster. I got your setup except I went with a 1tb SSD because read/write speeds are supposed to be equally as fast and at $800 dollars a 1tb SSD is a good buy and because I am pretty darn tired of watching spinning beach balls on my 2009 iMac. I am supposed to get my new iMac tomorrow and will do speed test as soon as I get it set up.
  9. PicnicTutorials, Jan 1, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014

    PicnicTutorials macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2013
    You should spend some time watching "imac fusion drive benchmarks" and then "iMac PCI ssd benchmarks" and see the difference in speed before you make your purchase. The 8G ram from apple comes in 4G sticks. So if you want to go 32G then you'll end up throwing the 4 gigers away. May want to consider paying the 30 bucks more than you would elsewhere from apple for the 16G ram and then just buy the extra 16G later from crucial.

    I just bought mine yesterday and my setup is...2014 27" iMac, 16GB Ram, 3.5GHz Quad-core i7, PCIe 512GB Flash Storage, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB, Apple Magic Mouse + Magic Trackpad + Apple Wireless Keyboard
  10. jcr918 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012
    I didn't think you could mix the ram ?
  11. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    Nice config, but why not get a 512/1TB flash drive and park big photo storage on fast externals?
  12. propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    Some like huge storage on board - 3TB fusion isn't my choice but its not a bad one either.

    Getting the stock 8G RAM is fine and you can add 8 or 16 more before you have to replace anything. 24G is a pretty awesome amount of RAM in the end and his path is the cheapest. Again - not what I chose (because I will go 32G someday) but not a bad choice either...

  13. jcr918 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012
    I have been using solid state for awhile. I have never used a fusion drive before. My understanding is you get 120Gigs of solid state and the rest hard drive and there's little performance over the solid state drive so why not ?

    I have 512GB in my macbook pro and I am running out of space. I know it's easy to have a external hard drive on the imac VS the Macbook pro.

    Am I going to notice a slower improvement ?
  14. AndrewMRiv macrumors regular


    Oct 29, 2013
    If you are loaded with money, then you can get a base Mac Pro. I would honestly think that it is overkill but you would never lag with it.

    The maxed out iMac sounds like a better option. Everyone made great suggestions. Max everything out except for ram and buy from OWC (

    Good luck!
  15. jcr918 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012

    Order placed today. My new macbook pro retina took a dump on me told the rep what happen he told me to speak to customer service rep about it. I ended up getting Apple Care & Magic Track Pad for free plus $15.00 off my order :eek:

    Here's the final order

    27-inch iMac

    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5
    • 3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    • 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X8GB
    • 3TB Fusion Drive
    • Apple Magic Mouse
    • Apple Wireless Keyboard (English) & User's Guide
    • Accessory Kit

    AppleCare FREE

    Magic Trackpad FREE

    Total after taxes

  16. GreyMatta macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2007
    Nice. I'm hoping to get a very similar setup next week. Got to sell my rMBP first though
  17. jcr918 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012
    I hear this Imac I just ordered can't do a external 4k monitor. A bit disappointed with the announcement of these cheaper 4k displays there really temping.

    I would be happy if apple dropped the price of the thunderbolt displays to $500
  18. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    I do video and photo editing on a similarly-configured 2013 i7 iMac, and I think you'll be very happy with it. It's pretty quiet except under extreme stress, such as extended Handbrake video transcoding.

    That said, you can find specific scenarios where SSD is faster. But as you've already experienced the smaller size makes you more likely to run out of space, you need to add external storage, and IF that's not really fast then you're no faster than a 3TB FD in the first place.

    You had the top-spec MBP, so it will generally be a little faster than that. The screen size and ergonomics are better.

    Re 4k, if you shoot, edit and distribute in 4k that's an issue. Unfortunately there's no standardized distribution method for getting 4k to customers. There's no such thing as widely-available 4k Blu-Ray, data rates for 4k are too high for streaming to most consumers, etc.
  19. jcr918 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012

    The only thing about the fusion drive that really concerns me is failure. I am confident I will notice a slight speed increase
  20. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    The FD may not be more likely to fail than any other rotating drive. A pure SSD can fail also -- lots of people have had SSD failures. The MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) of some SSDs is equal to some HDDs. It varies based on exact model and technology.

    When an HDD fails it often gives initial errors allowing much of the data to be recovered. When an SSD fails it's more likely sudden and total, with no chance of recovery.

    In general I'd expect the SSD to be somewhat more reliable but it definitely can fail.

    In theory the FD has both SSD and rotating elements, a failure in either one will kill the drive. So that's a theoretical concern, but the MTBF is still probably in the million plus hour range.

    However reality is you must back up your system, regardless of drive type, whether SSD, HDD, RAID 5 or whatever. An application software bug, operating system bug, device driver bug, firmware bug or user error can wipe out your data -- regardless of drive type.

    If the smaller size of an internal SSD forces you to use an external HDD for stuff, then you've got to backup both an internal *and* an external drive.
  21. Tanax macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden
    There are other issues with HDDs over SSDs to consider.

    • HDDs generates more noise as well as heat.
    • Even if your SSD can fail just like your HDD can, it is a higher risk that the HDD will fail due to moving parts.
    • There's also degradation of the HDD which will make it considerably slower in about 2 years from now compared to when it's new.

    SSDs don't really have that.

    Fusion Drive is just an intermediary "thing" that Apple invented in the mean time while SSD prices drop. I would assume that SSD is the way everyone will want to go and once SSD prices of 1 TB SSDs drop to a more reasonable level, people will get that instead of a 3 TB HDD. Obviously for data-centers and large storage facilities, HDDs will always be the thing to use for a considerable time onward but for personal computers, SSD is the future and Fusion Drive is just a way to "ease" the transition to get there.
  22. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Think you'll be happy with it.

    I think the FD isn't a bad idea; with the TBolt iMacs the failure of the internal HDD (which may be more prone to failure in the long run than the SSD probably) isn't as catastrophic as it was when externals were so much slower.

    Frankly the iMac is a MUCH better bargain than nMP. The nMP would have been faster, but unclear if that would've helped the OP that much. And value-wise there's no comparison IMHO.

    I built a hackintosh with somewhat similar specs (i7 4770K, same RAM, slower GTX 660 though) with 500GB SSD, 2x3GB HDDs, etc. Cost a bunch less, but not by as much once you consider the monitor (I have a 2560x1440 and an iMac in TDM). I needed expandibility, otherwise the one the OP bought is right there in value, which shows what a good deal these machines are. Best one in the Apple pantheon IMHO.

  23. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Benchmarking and testing

    If your MBP screams with your current workload you might be best to take an example of your work on an external drive to an apple centre and ask to test both the nMP and the iMac. You are going to be spending over 2k so I would want to know how it would perform first. There's no point getting the iMac if it can't cope and there's no point basing your purchase decision on people saying something like 'the iMac is fast'. How fast? It could be that the only way to get the performance you want is with the nMP.

    I'm also assuming that you want your new purchase to last more than a couple of years?
  24. jcr918 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012
    I use my Mac book pro while I am storm chasing. I needed a work horse to edit video and photos on the go.

    I also work from home for my full time job. IF my Macbook pro get's damaged while chasing tornado's OR craps out on me I lose my job. Another reason for purchasing this imac was to have a backup and protect my income + tax write off :D

    I think I will be happy with the Imac performance over my Macbook pro. I am getting a bigger screen to edit my images and video on. Plus it's a bit faster. My macbook pro only has a 1gb graphic card this new mac has 4gb plus this fusion drive is fast and the CPU. I will find out Monday if I made a good purchase
  25. jcr918 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012
    I got my Imac today. No screen issues and things seem to load faster then my macbook pro so far I am not regretting the fusion drive. The performance upgrade is slightly noticeable over the early 2013 mac book pro retina :D Over all I am happy.

    The only issue I have to complain about is the fan runs none stop. It's not very loud tho.

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