Used Mac Pro vs New iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by gibbo132, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. gibbo132 macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2010
    I am thinking about upgrading my Macbook Pro Mid 2009 15" 2.53GHz, in the near future.
    I was originally looking at the 21.5" i5 2.7Ghz, however thecreativeone on youtube put up a video stating that a used Mac Pro may be a better option over a iMac.
    I have been looking at a 2.66Ghz Mac Pro with 8GBs for £850 (with the extra cash I would upgrade it further and get Cinema Display, however if i spent more I do already have a display) with a warranty! Is this to old or should I be looking at a newer machine?
    I mainly use my computer for photo editing tasks in Photoshop CS4 (well Design Standard CS4), Aperture, a little bit of video in iMovie and a small amount of gaming.
    I like the idea of a Mac Pro over an iMac due to expandability, of hard drives (18mp RAW files aren't small!) and also a slightly less important point but notable never the less, is I love the design of the Mac Pro!
    What would be the best Mac Pro to go for? A 2.8Ghz 2n gen would be nice however they are fairly expensive, so a 2.66Ghz with a warranty seems like a decent compromise.
    I do expect my computers to last around 2 1/2- 3 years, and run the latest operating system.

    Sorry for the long post however this is a fairly big upgrade!

  2. plumosa macrumors regular


    Mar 17, 2007
    you're going to have to give us more information; there are 2.6ghz options for the 2006, 2009 and 2010 mac pros.
  3. gibbo132 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2010
    2.66GHz or 3.0Ghz 2006 gen Mac Pro or a 2.8Ghz 2008 Mac Pro.
    We can also assume that they would all have 4-8gb of ram and plenty of hard drive.
  4. ctucci macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2008
    Yer Mom's basement.
    I have the 2.8 '08 Pro, the Quad core model running Lion. I have zero complaints. The faster graphics of course pitch in for the overall smoothness when moving images/videos through the normal processing packages, other software works very quickly, and without drama.

    On the VM side, never seen my parallels machines run so smoothly/quickly.

    Most importantly, I can clean the inside easily, and if a monitor/superdrive/HD starts to act up, I can replace them easily. The new imacs might be somewhat faster, but I don't think I'll ever buy one again.

    Too closed.
  5. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Don't expect it to be incredibly fast by current standards. The 2006 is a fairly old machine. Nothing you're using scales past four cores, so an 8 core from 2008 is useless unless you're running multiple applications and have things running in the background, in which case you'd probably want a lot of ram. If they 2008 mac pro is being sold for more than $1200 or so these days, the seller is asking too much, which many people do.

    Regarding displays, do you photograph professionally? If so there are better display options out there. The older cinema displays were kind of okay. The new aren't really appropriate for color correction (nor is LED backlighting in general, but that's starting to change).
  6. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    Agreed. In fact, I'd rock a new mini over an iMac too. Although, TB might change things a bit, if we ever get affordable options...
  7. robbie12345 macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2011
    United States
    go for iMac

    the older mac pros are not powerful at all and i would not suggest buying a 6 year old machine considering the mac mini base is just as powerful as it if the mac pro is fully loaded

    i would go iMac because you wouldn't have the upgradability but the c[u would be better and with thunderbolt you can use external hard drives and will notice no speed difference between these and the internal ones
  8. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    the aluminum displays are more than "kind of ok." from my experience with an eIPS HP ZR24w, they sit firmly above the budget IPS models now (which plenty are happy with) and the full blown professional ones.

    the problem with the new displays is they oversaturate and they're too bright. I have no experience with calibrating them, so I dunno about that.
  9. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    The imac + thunderbolt is a pretty limited solution currently. You're stuck with the promise enclosure. I wish we had some better options. The mini is fine if your problems are cpu bound. At the moment we're past the point of faster cpu = more responsive machine.

    For the OP, what is slowing you down with your current machine? If it's processing loads of raw files, an older machine wouldn't be an improvement there. If it's responsiveness in Photoshop, I could give you some suggestions. They would start with upgrade to CS5 if you have 4+ GB of ram as CS4 I think can address about 3, and CS5 went to a 64 bit build, but I could give you the rest of my notes on optimization there. They're quite detailed, but photoshop's smoothness is affected by more than just the cpu.

    Adobe is actually supposedly removing the ability to upgrade from up to three versions back with the next version. Now you must upgrade every version or go to the subscription model. This just gives them a way to be lazy on updates. Typically the best things are speed and ui improvements. Aside from maybe puppet warp and a couple other tools, I could do anything done in CS5 in Photoshop 6 (assuming it ran on current hardware and Lion or SL which it doesn't). I don't mean changing colors. I mean compositing, drawing, retouching, etc.

    I'd like to see them improve the interface for retouching (and possibly color grading) video. That would really keep them on top.
  10. foidulus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2007
    Mac pro unless.....

    I would go with the Mac Pro UNLESS you can afford the 27" iMac + the SSD/HD combo. I/O is going to be your biggest bottleneck, and only the mac pro allows you to easily add/swap discs.
  11. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    The aluminum displays were okay at one time. They still have a lot of inconsistency. Some units had really bad uniformity. With the 20 and 23" ACDs, they were too bright to begin with, showed a lot of clipping in highlights and shadows, and lost all contrast if turned down to something less blinding. The 24" and 30" are the only two I'd still consider to be really good ones today. I'd take either of those over the current 27".

    I still prefer Eizo. I used to use NEC but they can be really problematic. Their older ones didn't age well which was frustrating, but they've had a few really really really good displays. If you've sat in front of quite a few displays for an extended period of time, you become quite opinionated like me :D.

    And yes... totally agree there. Going to CS5 would also be a good idea if you're using a machine with a lot of ram installed. Adobe switched to 64 bit at CS4 on Windows, CS5 on OSX. Just allocating a 64GB SSD as dedicated scratch can solve that problem, but you still need efficient long term storage.

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