Typical iMac vs Mac Pro Conundrum

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by wacomme, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. wacomme macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2009
    I realized this is a reoccurring question, and I've read many previous posts including my own on this same topic. However, I'm about to pull the trigger and have a few lingering questions.

    I own a G5 PowerPC with a beautiful 30" NEC 3090 LCD monitor. I dabble in photography as a part-time business, but this aspect of my life is decreasing due to other demands on my time. I'm selling off most of my photography equipment inventory. Therefore, while I'll dabble in photography, I mainly use my computer for web surfing, MS Office functions, and other non-CPU intensive activities. I don't play games, but I often run many programs simultaneously.

    My desk space is limited to only one large monitor. I recently downsized homes, so now my home office is upstairs instead of downstairs. When my office was downstairs, I hardly noticed the heat generated by the computer and monitor, but now that my office is upstairs, the generated heat is noticeable and unwanted.

    I have a PC notebook from work for my portable needs. If I buy a Mac Pro, I'll keep my NEC monitor. If I buy an iMac, I'll sell my NEC monitor.

    iMac Concerns:

    1) Glossy screen. Perhaps this isn't a problem, but as a photographer this irks me.

    2) Longevity compared to a Mac Pro (I've had my G5 for about 6 years).

    Mac Pro Concerns:

    1) Heat from the desktop and monitor. Does the iMac produce less heat?

    2) Additional cost relative to an iMac and selling my 30" monitor. How much can I sell a less than 2 year-old NEC LCD3090WQXi monitor? I can't find these monitors being sold used anywhere online.

    3) Simplicity of form factor with an iMac vs. Mac Pro.

    Thoughts? Suggestions? I'm leaning towards the iMac, but . . .

    glossy screen.
  2. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2009
    Mac Mall has this deal for 2K:

    2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon, 6GB RAM, 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s, ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB, Two 18x SuperDrives, AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi Card with 802.11n

    I can buy an i7 iMac for the same cost + sell my NEC monitor.

    Which is the better deal?
  3. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    Get the iMac. It has more than enough horsepower to handle the tasks you listed, and you can save a ton of cash.

    Regarding the glossy screen, it REALLY depends on how the lights in your office are arranged relative to the screen. I have absolutely zero glare on my screen with the overhead lights about four feet to my left, but not behind me.
  4. darknite38 macrumors regular

    Nov 18, 2010
    Please stop using the cliched "Pulling the trigger."
  5. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2009
  6. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2009
    I have similar office lighting. Thanks for the glare feedback.
  7. someguy macrumors 68020


    Dec 4, 2005
    Still here.
    Was it really necessary to post in this thread just to leave this comment? :confused:

    If you like the screen you have now as much as it sounds like, why not go with the Mac Pro? They are powerhouses, and then there are no worries about the glossy display.

    Have you visited an Apple Store recently? If there is one nearby your home town, maybe pay them a visit and see what you think of the glossy displays. Also, the salespeople at the store near me are very helpful, so perhaps they will be able to provide some additional insight. :)
  8. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2009
    The heat issue is a concern. I'm wondering if the iMac produces a lot less heat than a Mac Pro and my NEC monitor combined.

    The glare at Apple stores is horrible. If this is what I'd see at home then I don't want it.
  9. psiquest macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2004
    The glare isn't too bad. My overheads are actually behind me and I rarely notice any glare/reflection UNLESS whatever is on the screen is very dark (in which case, the reflection can be somewhat distracting).

    In terms of longevity, my experience has been that Pros will generally only "outlive" iMacs by a year or two... unless there's a major defect.

    The iMac can - under certain circumstances - put out a lot of heat... but you specifically said you didn't do those things (gaming, etc.), so I don't think heat will be a concern.

    Not sure about the NEC monitor. Maybe check for similar models from other companies and see what they sell for... then drop it $10. ;)
  10. andymodem macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    The iMac is the one I'd be PULLING THE TRIGGER on. :D
  11. Pearl Wisdom macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2009
    Sounds to me like a Mac Mini would meet your CPU requirements, along with being a lot less expensive and producing less heat. Then you would be able to keep using your 30" monitor.
  12. josh8711 macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2010
    I would look at performance over heating but my mac pro runs very cool. My screen though, runs quite hot HP w2408h. It does bother me a lot because it heats the **** out of the room with the door closed. My mum has an iMac though it is in a more open space it runs very very cool taking into consideration it has a screen built in.

    I think your main argument would be not the mac pro vs iMac but imac vs 3rd party monitors. Because really, my Mac Pro box runs cold.
  13. MattA macrumors 6502


    May 15, 2006
    Orlando, FL
    Yep, I'd forget both the imac and the Mac Pro and go with the Mini. With an adapter it'll drive your 30" and do basically everything you want it to do. Don't underestimate it.
  14. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    My 30" ACD consumes 150W with full brightness. Although most other screens aren't that bright, I suspect the general power consumption to be just as high.

    The consumption (and hence generated heat) of the Mac Pro really depends on its configuration.
    About 150 to 300W in idle seems realistic. Double these values if you (really) stress the machine.

    At any rate, a Mac Pro with 30" screen consumes much more power than a 27" iMac, thus generates considerably more heat.
  15. nlenz, Jan 1, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011

    nlenz macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2011
    Why don't you buy an iMac and keep your existing 30" screen?
    First you can buy a 21.5" iMac base model for $1,199 and see if the iMac's screen doesn't bother you, in which case you also sell your 30" screen. If the glare is unacceptable, then turn off the iMac's display and use the 30" as the main one. This would be cheap, you'd have a powerful core i3 CPU, and you'd have a display of your choice. The power consumption of the 21.5" iMac is stated to be a maximum of 240W. But since a) the heat dissipation is less than the power consumption, b) you would use only a small part of the max power because you don't do intensive computations, and c) you can dim or completely shut off the main display if you use the 2nd 30" display - the heat dissipated should be minor.

    If you're not in a hurry, you could also wait for a few months, by that time Apple may release a new iMac based on Sandy Bridge CPUs which use even less power, and the computers will undoubtedly be a better bargain. I don't want to predict, but I think that it should occur by this spring or before that.
  16. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    It is less, but not by much.
    Computer wise, energy = heat.
    Except for mechanical hard drives and displays, a 100% of the energy your computer uses is converted to heat, so power consumption pretty much equals the emitted heat. The energy mechanical hard drives require to spin and the energy the display emits through light is negligible.
  17. nlenz macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2011
    I guess you're right, thanks for the correction.
    Still, would you agree that the total heat dissipation would be about the same as a couple of incandescent light bulbs?
  18. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Absolutely, no question.

    Nevertheless I can comprehend the OP's considerations. Mac Pro plus large display(s), can heat up a small room pretty quick. Nice to have in the winter, horrible in the summer without an AC.

    Light bulbs, computer equipment, and a single person can easily add up to a 1000 watts of heat dissipation.
  19. nlenz macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2011
    True, a Mac Pro is very power hungry. I used to have a Power Mac, and it added significantly to my room's temperature.
  20. lilcosco08 macrumors 65816


    May 27, 2010
    Why would you get an i7 iMac if you said you won't be doing much CPU intensive stuff?
  21. jim4spam macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2009
    i'd agree with Pearl Wisdom and say to look at a Mac Mini. Our 2007 2.4Ghz iMac with 4Gig RAM handles our 10,000 photos, lightroom 2, PS4, and video editing (lightweight via iMovie) quite happily, as well as the easier surfing and MS office suite. As you already have the great monitor, then I'd try that. Worst case is after a few months you sell it on, desiring more of a monster computer and you'd only lose a couple of hundred dollars tops.
  22. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2009
    The heat issue is mostly my monitor.

    Perhaps the Mini is a viable option. How powerful is it compared to the iMacs, and will it last me 3-4 years? And which mini are you suggesting?
  23. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    You need a Mac pro about as much as I need a Lamborghini to drive to the corner grocery store.
  24. Battlefield Fan macrumors 65816

    Battlefield Fan

    Mar 9, 2008
    Go with the server config on the mini. Who honestly uses the dvd drive? just get an external one for the few times you'd need it.

    2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    Dual 500GB Serial ATA Drives (Raid 0 these drives for increased performance)
    Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (uses your non glossy 30 inch)
    Mac mini - AppleCare Protection Plan (just do it)

    get an external 2 TB drive to act as a time machine disk to help counter act the Raid 0. :apple:
  25. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    I'd definitely consider the Mini.

    A Core 2 Duo will be faster than any G5 (even the Quad), due to a multitude of advancements in technology. It will take up to 8gb RAM. It will save a lot of money, and you can keep your monitor. (You will need to buy an expensive converter assuming you're using Dual Link DVI, unless the screen has DisplayPort).

    I'd also consider forking out for an SSD drive and upgrading it yourself, you'll have a lot of cash left over and the speed really is worth it in comparison to a laptop hard drive.

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