Upgrading from a Mac Pro 2009 to 2012 iMac worth it?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by likkuid, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. likkuid macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2013
    Hi all,

    Though I've done some research, this is quite confusing to me and I am hoping you could offer some clarification.

    I'd like to know if I can justify upgrading my early 2009 Mac Pro to a late 2012 27" iMac.

    Mac 2009 Specs:
    2.93 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    20 GB 1066 MHz DDR3
    640 GB SATA Drive
    Ati Radeon HD 4870 512MB

    iMac 27" 2012 Specs:
    3.2GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3
    1 TB Fusion Drive
    Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB GDDR5

    How much of a speed boost would I be looking at? I use my Mac for design work; namely Photoshop, Illustrator, and [seldom] rendering out complex stationery/brand mockup scenes in Cinema 4D.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks,
  2. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    Not worth it. Rather get a ssd or a new processor and gpu for your Mac Pro.
  3. likkuid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2013
    The early 2009 Mac Pro is quite difficult to upgrade. CPU-wise, if you don't do it right you can fry the whole tower, thus my hesitance.
  4. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    Then just get a ssd - makes a big difference and is not too expensive.

    Another thing to consider, since you earn your money with the machine, a Mac Pro is much more reliable than an iMac. And it's cheaper to add more storage for your projects and backup.

    Do you really get by with that 640 gb hd? I have 6tb in my tower and I'm slowly running out of space. :eek:
  5. Macsonic, Apr 7, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013

    Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Hi Kyle. Technically the 2012 27" iMac is slightly faster I think maybe because of its newer cpu technology, has turbo boost and its bigger fusion drive. Though with Photoshop and Illustrator, the difference may be minimal if you are doing medium to light graphics. Your other option is to upgrade your 2009 Mac Pro by adding a SSD and have your other HD as scratch disk for Photoshop.

    Like what Chaosbunny suggested, if your budget permits, get a Mac Pro instead and you can use your 2009 27" as your monitor. Maybe refurbished or a used Mac Pro. A 6 core 3.33ghz Mac Pro would be good for your needs.
  6. teleromeo macrumors 65816


    Dec 2, 2006
    kidnapped by aliens
    Since the Mac Pro has 4 slots it would be a better idea to upgrade to SSD and keep the current drive as scratch disk. I've no idea if it would be better to let photoshop use the SSD as scratch disk.
  7. jonnyback macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2008
    London, UK
    Yes it is worth it.

    I had a maxed out Mac Pro 2008 (without SSD), and upgraded to a new 2012 iMac with Fusion Drive.

    Different league. The speed increase can not purely be down to SSD. The processor speed, new graphics and more RAM. An SSD will not fix this.

    Mac Pros are old tech, don't spend out on an upgrade.
  8. turtlez macrumors 6502a


    Jun 17, 2012
    I went from a MP'08 to an iMac'13 and notice big differences in speed for the gpu, hard drive (fusion) and cpu (judging by modo's preview renderer and normal render speeds). I've not run any benchmarks but I can tell you this new machine is barely audible, beautiful screen (i needed a new screen so it helped me with the purchase) and runs very cool even after a few hours of rendering in 3d with all 8 cores at 100%. I used my optical drive maybe 3 times while owning the 2008 mac pro and have yet to have a need to use a cd/dvd on my iMac so don't worry about that. dvd storage is way to limited these days. There are some nice bluray burners that connect via usb3 and TB if you want large optical storage and they look really nice sitting under the iMac too. the 680mx runs rings around my old 8800gt.

    Edit: RAM is a lot cheaper in the new iMac compared to the '08 MP too.
  9. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Hi Teleromeo. Sorry was not being clear earlier. Yep, upgrade to SSD and have another HD as the scratch disk.
  10. likkuid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2013
    Thank you all for the discussion; this is very much appreciated.

    These were my thoughts prior to posting this thread. I've been told the 2009 is difficult to upgrade, so I'm now debating between the SSD or rather spending $2K on the upgrade to the new, fully-upgraded iMac. I have one at the studio I work at (this thread is for my personal computer where I do freelance) and it's notably faster than my home computer. I would be shocked to think this is all caused by the SSD?
  11. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Also be aware that a new version of the MacPro doesn't look to be all that far away -- two or three months' off.

    Might be worth waiting to see what they offer this time around.
  12. calaverasgrande macrumors 65816


    Oct 18, 2010
    Brooklyn, New York.
    I'd go for the SSD. It is only a couple hundred bucks for a decent SSD. And Carbon Copy Cloner makes it super easy.

    Upgrading the ram may help as well, but it is hard to justify if you aren't planning on hanging on to it long term. Especially given Apples history of 'leaving out' older models when the next OS bump occurs.

    Still, with the oft prophesied immanent arrival of "the next Mac Pro" I'd say it is not a good time to make the jump to a new machine.
  13. eric/ Guest


    Sep 19, 2011
    Ohio, United States
    Either wait for the new Mac Pro, or go with the upgrades to the device you own.
  14. likkuid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2013
    Thanks for all the help guys.

    I'll wait for the new Mac Pro to see how that stacks up.

    Hopefully I can find an affordable display on par with the new iMac's.


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