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  1. #1
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac

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    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac
    Hello everyone,

    My work has me doing some HD video editing and it looks like I'll be getting some money in my budget for a machine to replace take the place of my dual-core MBP has my primary editing tool. I'll probably have around $3000 to spend and, given that there's no firm answer as to when/if the Mac Pro line up will be updated, I wanted to get some opinions on which machine would give me better results: the current iMac 3.4 i7 quad core or something like the 8-core Mac Pro.

    The 8-core Mac Pro has a higher score on Geekbench, but I have reservations about buying a product that came out nearly two years ago.

    Any input is appreciated.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Depending on which iMac & Mac Pro you're thinking about...if you're using software that can take advantage of all 8-cores...kind of hard to beat the Mac Pro!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
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  3. #3
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac

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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    Depending on which iMac & Mac Pro you're thinking about...if you're using software that can take advantage of all 8-cores...kind of hard to beat the Mac Pro!

    - Nick
    That's a good point. The extra cores should be advantageous in Compressor, no?

  4. #4
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattgam View Post
    That's a good point. The extra cores should be advantageous in Compressor, no?
    There's actually not that many programs that are "multi-processor" capable. And some that are supposed to be multi-core capable...don't necessarily do a good job of it.

    Here's a link to multi-core apps. written for the Macintosh...and how well they are implemented (check the list for the apps. you use):

    MPG - Mac Performance 101: Application support for multiple CPU cores

    If the applications you use are multi-core capable...and this "multicore-ness" is implemented well...then you can't beat an 8-core (or 12-core) Mac Pro!

    Also realize that Mac Pro's have video card options that are not available for iMac's...so if you do a lot of high-end video or graphics work (these higher end video cards may be better)...or if you want to run LOTS of monitors...you can install 3-4 video cards into one Mac Pro...and run up to 6, 8, or more monitors.

    But don't get me wrong...the iMacs are very powerful as well...and can handle lots of demanding tasks!...and cost a good bit less than Mac Pro's.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac

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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    There's actually not that many programs that are "multi-processor" capable. And some that are supposed to be multi-core capable...don't necessarily do a good job of it.

    Here's a link to multi-core apps. written for the Macintosh...and how well they are implemented (check the list for the apps. you use):

    MPG - Mac Performance 101: Application support for multiple CPU cores

    If the applications you use are multi-core capable...and this "multicore-ness" is implemented well...then you can't beat an 8-core (or 12-core) Mac Pro!

    Also realize that Mac Pro's have video card options that are not available for iMac's...so if you do a lot of high-end video or graphics work (these higher end video cards may be better)...or if you want to run LOTS of monitors...you can install 3-4 video cards into one Mac Pro...and run up to 6, 8, or more monitors.

    But don't get me wrong...the iMacs are very powerful as well...and can handle lots of demanding tasks!...and cost a good bit less than Mac Pro's.

    - Nick
    Thanks for the link. Either option will surely be a huge upgrade over my dual core MBP (I should hope). It would be easier if we had a firm idea when/if the Mac Pros will be updated.

  6. #6
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac
    chas_m's Avatar
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    You mean "if we had a firm idea of WHETHER the Mac Pros will be updated."

    You can try pleading your case to Tim Cook, his email is tcook@apple.com, but don't expect an answer.

    Here's what I say (pure speculation): I think the Mac Pro WILL get an update later this year. Given Apple's LONG silence on the subject, it could be quite the radical overhaul OR it could be that they're totally stumped on where to go from here and will keep but freshen up the current design.

    There are some new chips from Intel that would make for a sweet workstation, and the Mac Pro NEEDS Thunderbolt support, so I think it very likely we'll see an update later this year. The question of course is when, but if I had to guess I'd say summer.

  7. #7
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattgam View Post
    Thanks for the link. Either option will surely be a huge upgrade over my dual core MBP (I should hope). It would be easier if we had a firm idea when/if the Mac Pros will be updated.
    By the way. You mentioned having a $3000 budget...and 8-core Mac Pro's.

    If you're talking about purchasing a brand new computer...I don't see any new 8-core Mac Pro's for under $3000. Quad-core Mac Pro's yes...but not 8-core. I didn't know how "firm" that $3000 budget was.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  8. #8
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac

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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    You mean "if we had a firm idea of WHETHER the Mac Pros will be updated."

    You can try pleading your case to Tim Cook, his email is tcook@apple.com, but don't expect an answer.

    Here's what I say (pure speculation): I think the Mac Pro WILL get an update later this year. Given Apple's LONG silence on the subject, it could be quite the radical overhaul OR it could be that they're totally stumped on where to go from here and will keep but freshen up the current design.

    There are some new chips from Intel that would make for a sweet workstation, and the Mac Pro NEEDS Thunderbolt support, so I think it very likely we'll see an update later this year. The question of course is when, but if I had to guess I'd say summer.
    I agree, thus it's a question of how patient I am, since most of the heavy lifting I have to do is in Apr-Jun.

    Thanks.

  9. #9
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac

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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    By the way. You mentioned having a $3000 budget...and 8-core Mac Pro's.

    If you're talking about purchasing a brand new computer...I don't see any new 8-core Mac Pro's for under $3000. Quad-core Mac Pro's yes...but not 8-core. I didn't know how "firm" that $3000 budget was.

    - Nick
    Not set in stone, and with the current (meaning 2010) 8-core Mac Pro going for $3200 via amazon currently, it's an option. And I would guess that when/if the Mac Pro is updated with Intel's recently released processors, that ~$3000 would buy more power from the newer edition.

    I'm thinking I'd rather stick it out for this season and wait for the new ones, though it would be easier if there was something to confirm that they're actually coming out anytime soon.

  10. #10
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattgam View Post
    Not set in stone, and with the current (meaning 2010) 8-core Mac Pro going for $3200 via amazon currently, it's an option. And I would guess that when/if the Mac Pro is updated with Intel's recently released processors, that ~$3000 would buy more power from the newer edition.
    With most other computers from Apple...this strategy would make sense. But when it comes to Mac Pro's...there is a different "rule book". Mac Pro's generally don't go down in price as quickly as other models.

    So when (and if) new Mac Pro models are released...they're going to be expensive (especially models with more than 4 cores)...and the older models will not be discounted a whole lot.

    Example...Apple (in their refurbished section) is still selling Mac Pro's from 2009 (with Mac Pro's from 2010 being the latest model). The 2009 Mac Pro's (with only a quad-core) are still selling for $2749:

    Refurbished Mac Pro 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon - Apple Store (U.S.)

    There are less expensive 2009 Mac Pro quad-core options in the refurbished section as well. But if any of these units were 8-core models...they would be a good bit more expensive.

    So I wouldn't "hang my hat" on the idea that when new Mac Pro's are released (if they are released)...that the 8-core models will still be within the $3000 budget.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  11. #11
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac

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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    With most other computers from Apple...this strategy would make sense. But when it comes to Mac Pro's...there is a different "rule book". Mac Pro's generally don't go down in price as quickly as other models.

    So when (and if) new Mac Pro models are released...they're going to be expensive (especially models with more than 4 cores)...and the older models will not be discounted a whole lot.

    Example...Apple (in their refurbished section) is still selling Mac Pro's from 2009 (with Mac Pro's from 2010 being the latest model). The 2009 Mac Pro's (with only a quad-core) are still selling for $2749:

    Refurbished Mac Pro 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon - Apple Store (U.S.)

    There are less expensive 2009 Mac Pro quad-core options in the refurbished section as well. But if any of these units were 8-core models...they would be a good bit more expensive.

    So I wouldn't "hang my hat" on the idea that when new Mac Pro's are released (if they are released)...that the 8-core models will still be within the $3000 budget.

    - Nick
    That's good to know. Thanks, Nick. It's just obviously harder to make the decision on what is the best use of the money I'll have, given that the expectation will be that what I get will last me several years, and that it feels a bit daft buying a two year old machine, when new ones are supposedly around the corner, and you know you probably won't be buying a replacement until 2017 or so.

    I would have thought that roughly $3000 would have bought more power from the hypothetical 2012 model by virtue of the fact that they will carry the new processors (that a six or possibly four core 2012 Mac Pro would perform better running apps like Compressor or Flash Encoder than the 2010 8-core 2.4 that I can buy today).

  12. #12
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattgam View Post
    I would have thought that roughly $3000 would have bought more power from the hypothetical 2012 model by virtue of the fact that they will carry the new processors (that a six or possibly four core 2012 Mac Pro would perform better running apps like Compressor or Flash Encoder than the 2010 8-core 2.4 that I can buy today).
    If you can afford to wait...then there is no harm in that.

    To give you some recent historical pricing info in regards to Mac Pro's (middle of the road models...not slowest/not fastest):

    - 2009 2.93ghz quad-core $2999
    - 2009 2.66ghz 8-core $4699
    - 2010 3.33ghz 6-core $3699
    - 2010 2.4ghz 8-core $3499

    Notice that some quad-core models can get close to the top of the $3000 budget...and the 8-cores usually will exceed $3000.

    For references sake...it was possible to get a 2009 2.8ghz quad-core model (when first released) for $2499.

    I would not expect Mac Pro pricing to differ a whole lot from this when (and if) new models are released.

    Good luck,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  13. #13
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac

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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    If you can afford to wait...then there is no harm in that.

    To give you some recent historical pricing info in regards to Mac Pro's (middle of the road models...not slowest/not fastest):

    - 2009 2.93ghz quad-core $2999
    - 2009 2.66ghz 8-core $4699
    - 2010 3.33ghz 6-core $3699
    - 2010 2.4ghz 8-core $3499

    Notice that some quad-core models can get close to the top of the $3000 budget...and the 8-cores usually will exceed $3000.

    For references sake...it was possible to get a 2009 2.8ghz quad-core model (when first released) for $2499.

    I would not expect Mac Pro pricing to differ a whole lot from this when (and if) new models are released.

    Good luck,

    - Nick
    Thanks.

    One thing I thought of yesterday: if I wait for the hypothetical new line of MacPros, they will certainly neeed to run on Lion (instead of being able to roll them back to SL) which means I would need to move to FCPX instead of sticking with the previous release as I had inteaded, correct?

  14. #14
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattgam View Post
    Thanks.

    One thing I thought of yesterday: if I wait for the hypothetical new line of MacPros, they will certainly neeed to run on Lion (instead of being able to roll them back to SL) which means I would need to move to FCPX instead of sticking with the previous release as I had inteaded, correct?
    If & when new Mac Pro's are released...they most definitely will only run Lion (and newer OS versions as they are released). So if the app. you mentioned is not compatible with Lion (and there's no updater)...then you would have to purchase and upgrade to the newer version of the app.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  15. #15
    Current Mac Pro vs. iMac
    Lastmboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    the Mac Pro NEEDS Thunderbolt support
    I'm not trying to be a wiseguy or anything, but what types of uses do you see for Thunderbolt on a Mac Pro? You don't really need external drives with all the internal space in the Mac Pro. Does it provide any advantage for the displays? They definitely don't need the Thunderbolt speed. You have me curious.

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