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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Mac Pro - Mac Pro vs. iMac


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pigoo3

 
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So I find myself with a bit of a dilemma.

I don't have as much money to spend on computers as I used to when I was younger (other priorities: house, wife, cars, etc.)...so I want to make sure I spend the money I have as wisely as possible.

Two Macs that I'm interested in, and my budget will allow me to purchase, is either a used:

- Mac Pro, Quad Xeon 2.66ghz, 3 gig ram, X1900 video
- iMac (aluminum, 2007 release), Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.4ghz, 24" monitor, 1 gig ram, Radeon 2600 graphics

I can get either of these computers for basically the same price.

Here are my thoughts:

- I already have a 22" LCD display. So I don't need to purchase a display if I buy the Mac Pro.
- I don't REALLY need the expandability of the Mac Pro...but it's always nice.
- I would think that the 2.66ghz "Quad" processors on the Mac Pro would be better than the 2.4ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processors on the iMac.
- I like the "Glossy" display on the iMac, and the 24" display (1920 x 1200) would be an upgrade from my 22" monitor.
- I like the "all in one" design of the iMac (monitor, speakers, isight camera, new slim keyboard, the remote for Front Row, iTunes, etc.).

I do find the 24" iMac display sort of "awesome"...but I guess that I could eventually purchase a 24" LCD glossy display to go with the Mac Pro.

I think that I REALLY...want to base my decision on computing performance period.

I also wanted to mention that my main purpose for the computer is using MS Office, e-mail, internet browsing, AND gaming (both Mac games, and Windows games via bootcamp).

So basically...am I better off (short-term & long-term) with the slightly older 2.66 "Quad" Mac Pro, or the slightly newer 2.4 intel core 2 duo 24" Aluminum iMac?

Sorry for the long post...and possible rambling.

Thanks,

- Nick
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martyp

 
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Personally, if you can get both for the same price I'd go for the Pro.

You say you want to play games etc and the ATi 2600 isn't really good enough for the latest games. Also you can upgrade the Pro to a 8800GT which would significantly boost FPS in games.

As for speed, yes the Xeons will be faster - but only on some applications, specifically multi-treaded ones. Also, since they use special DIMM modules they are more expensive to upgrade (compared to an iMac but that can only go to 4Gb Max).

So. Long term = Mac Pro, Short term = iMac 24".

Just my opinion though.
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Benjamindaines

 
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The iMac will be fine for everything, except the gaming. If you are looking to play new games (and keep buying new games as they come out) I would definitely go for the Mac Pro with the better graphics card, plus you can upgrade the graphics card in the Mac Pro. If you aren't playing demanding games (say Treasure Mountain) then the iMac should work fine for you.

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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martyp View Post

You say you want to play games etc and the ATi 2600 isn't really good enough for the latest games.

Also, since they use special DIMM modules they are more expensive to upgrade (compared to an iMac but that can only go to 4Gb Max).

Just my opinion though.
Thank you very much for your opinion!!!

I don't believe that I said that the iMac Ati 2600 graphics weren't good enough for the latest games (unless I incorrectly read your post)...but if thats true, then that is a big plus for the Mac Pro, since it's graphics are upgradable!

Yes...the ram for the Mac Pro is much more expensive...but not so bad if it helps keep the Mac Pro "useable"...if for some reason 4 gig of ram in the iMac isn't enough in the near future.

Thanks again,

- Nick
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pigoo3

 
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So since graphics performance was mentioned...

How do the iMac ATi 2600 XT Pro 256mb, and the Mac Pro ATi X1900 XT 512mb graphics compare in performance/gaming?

Thanks,

- Nick
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Benjamindaines

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
Yes...the ram for the Mac Pro is much more expensive...but not so bad if it helps keep the Mac Pro "useable"...if for some reason 4 gig of ram in the iMac isn't enough in the near future.
If RAM is what you're after, then the Mac Pro is definitely for you, it will take up to 128GB of RAM

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vpkb

 
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I was in the same boat as you when I was shopping. I ended up with an imac since:

1 - I didn't have a nice monitor and obviously would have had to spend more.
2 - The "all in one" package was somewhat appealing, iMac is a piece of table art.

It has served me well so far. Games such as Warcraft 3, WOW, Red Alert 3 etc.. run fine on it, but if you're looking to play more graphic intesive games, Mac Pro would definitely be your best bet.
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scathe

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
So since graphics performance was mentioned...

How do the iMac ATi 2600 XT Pro 256mb, and the Mac Pro ATi X1900 XT 512mb graphics compare in performance/gaming?

Thanks,

- Nick

the difference is in their "age" the 2600 is a newer model with dx10 and pixel shader 4.1 support (e.g HD movices in 1080p), x1900 only support shader 3.0 ...
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kisuke3

 
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Mac Pro is indeed upgradeable. Based from the usage its not that resource-hog compared to video-editing, photo-editing except for the games.iMac is also well-rounded since they have the Nvidia Geforce 8800 GS. but as you said you can get both at the same price Mac pro would be your best bet.
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Alexis

 
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Quote:
You say you want to play games etc and the ATi 2600 isn't really good enough for the latest games.
Mine does pretty well. Crysis, Left4Dead, Call of Duty World at War, Guitar Hero all run nicely from where I'm sitting.

I'd get the Mac Pro, but only with a better graphics card than the X1600.
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Mama Luigi

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scathe View Post
the difference is in their "age" the 2600 is a newer model with dx10 and pixel shader 4.1 support (e.g HD movices in 1080p), x1900 only support shader 3.0 ...
Yes, the 2600 is a newer card, but it is also a slower card. The important number to look at isn't the first, but the second.

The first number indicates which generation the card is in. The current generation for ATI cards is the HD4000 series. The previous generation was the HD3000 series. Before that was the HD2000 series, then the X1000 series. So the HD2600 is one generation newer than the X1900.

On the other hand, the second number indicates how good the card is. A second number of 5 or less indicates a low end card (HD2400, X1550, etc.). A second number of 6 or 7 indicates a midrange card (HD2600, HD3650, etc.). A second number of 8 or 9 indicates a high end card (HD4870, X1900).

The X1900 is a better video card for gaming, period. I bet even a brand-new Radeon HD4350 would be a lot slower just because it's so cheap and slow.
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Alexis

 
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I misread. I thought it had the X1600, not the X1900.

In that case, I'd definitely get the Mac Pro.
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if you can get both at the same price, it's a no brainer. The Mac Pro is good value for money considering its raw power and upgradeability. I manage a bunch of 5 year old G5s in my design studio and they're still kicking *** with just minor updates and tweaking.

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pigoo3

 
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Thanks a million guys/gals for all of the feedback...including the specific answers regarding the video cards!

Here's a quick conclusion to the purchase decision. The two options were:

- 2007 Aluminum iMac 24" display, Core 2 Duo 2.4ghz, 4 gig ram, 320 gig HD, ATI 2600 XT Pro 256mb graphics, with warranty thru 2011

- 2006 Mac Pro "Quad core" (2 x 2.66 dual core Xeon), 3 gig ram, 230 gig HD, ATI X1900 XT 512 mb graphics card. No remaining warranty.

Prices (local Craig's List):

- $1000 for the 24" iMac
- $1050 for the Mac Pro

The 24" glossy display of the iMac is beautiful...but I purchased the Mac Pro (guess I can purchase a nice glossy 24" monitor later)!

Thanks again for all the help,

- Nick
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Good choice!
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