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Thread: Need expert advice - iMac or Mac Pro

  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jul 05, 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    77
    Your Mac's Specs
    iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014), 32 GB Ram, 27" Thunderbolt Display, 4TB G-RAID TB Storage
    Need expert advice - iMac or Mac Pro
    I need a new computer. My 2009 27" iMac has died, and I was never really happy with it anyway. I thought I'd get a Mac Pro but after visiting the local Mac experts store I was advised that getting an iMac would be very similar, spec-wise, and that the Pro was excessive for what I do. This is what I was told the last time, BTW.

    So, their point was that the iMac processor is actually faster than the basic Pro, unless I went with the bigger model (6 core, 8 core?), however that wouldn't necessarily improve my performance anyway since most of what I do depends more on Ram and Video card. Also, the apps I use don't utilize more than the quad.

    So, I'm a graphic designer who works in Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign a lot with very large Photoshop files (1GB saved, 2-3BG open). I have these apps open simultaneously with web, mail, Office suite all open, etc.

    The computer they recommended was:

    27" 5K, 4GHz Quad i7, 16GB Ram, 256 Flash Drive, AMD Radeon R9 4GB
    4 TB G-Raid Thunderbolt 7200RPM (Roughly $4K)

    Other than performance, I was also concerned with things like life expectancy of the computer, I was guessing the Pro would be more expandable (though not the processors), being stuck to a monitor (however with the Pro I would need to purchase a new monitor to start with...$), and working in the computer...I hated having to bring my computer in just to replace a HD.

    So what do you think? Am I back to purchasing a new iMac? Are the specs they suggested good, or would you change any of that? This is a pretty big purchase that I expect to work on for the next 5 (?) years so I want to get it right.

    Thanks for any insight you might have and any advice.

  2. #2

    McBie's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    2,954
    Your Mac's Specs
    iPad Pro 12.9 latest iOS
    I would go for the iMac.
    You made a good analysis yourself, so I would not doubt any of that.

    Cheers ... McBie
    A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
    The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

  3. #3

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    39,647
    Your Mac's Specs
    2011 17" MBP 2.2ghz, 16gig ram, OS 10.11.6
    Quote Originally Posted by RKC View Post
    I need a new computer. My 2009 27" iMac has died, and I was never really happy with it anyway.
    Just curious…what were you "never really happy" about?

    - 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

  4. #4


    Member Since
    Jul 05, 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    77
    Your Mac's Specs
    iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014), 32 GB Ram, 27" Thunderbolt Display, 4TB G-RAID TB Storage
    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    Just curious…what were you "never really happy" about?

    - Nick
    Well, mostly the performance. I think it was fine in the beginning, but it was quickly giving me issues with large files, multiple files, etc. I had to really change the way I worked to keep my computer from becoming too overwhelmed. I would get files from coworkers who were using Pro towers from around the same purchase date (or earlier) and would have trouble handling their files. I'd ask them if they had issues and they said no, so I assumed it was the iMac.

    At some point I upgraded my ram from 8GB to 16GB and noticed no difference at all.

    I also had lots of issues with kernal panics and crashes at some point, never being able to solve the issue. That's probably some other hardware issue and I guess that can happen, whether an iMac or a Pro.

  5. #5

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
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    39,647
    Your Mac's Specs
    2011 17" MBP 2.2ghz, 16gig ram, OS 10.11.6
    Thanks for the info. The performance issues could have totally been a result of not knowing how to keep things running optimally. We get folks posting all the time with performance issues (used to be fast…now it's not). This usually comes down to a user not really understanding how to keep a Macintosh computer running properly…and what to check when things start to seem slower than previously (just being honest).

    Many times…this can simply be due to a hard drive starting to fail (but many other possibilities or combinations of possibilities as well).

    Kernel panics are usually hardware based…but sometimes it's software. If it's a hardware problem…then the defective hardware needs to be replaced. Usually ram is the only thing an end user can replace…but "bad ram" is many times responsible for kernel panics. If software is the kernel panic problem…sometimes it's due to various software apps not "behaving" well with each other. Uninstall the problem app/apps…and things can improve.

    Of course it is also possible that this computer did have problems that really couldn't be simply addressed via what I mentioned above. This really wouldn't be an "iMac's as a whole problem"…but an individual computer problem. iMac's as a whole are great computers!

    - 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

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Jul 05, 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    77
    Your Mac's Specs
    iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014), 32 GB Ram, 27" Thunderbolt Display, 4TB G-RAID TB Storage
    Thanks for the info pigoo3.

    Yeah I know the kernal panics and crashes may have been the specific computer. However I tried everything - changed the HD, swapped all the ram for new ram, etc. Maybe it was software, graphics card, who knows. But the performance issues...I don't know.

    If there are any links you can share, as far as keeping a mac running optimally I'd love to find out more.

    So should I trust that the consensus is that I'd be just as happy with the performance of the new iMac I mentioned as with one of the Pros? One thing I'm looking forward to and expecting to see an improvement with, is having an internal flash drive. Do you think the 256 will be enough for apps and such, or should I go with the 512?

    Thanks again.

  7. #7

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    39,647
    Your Mac's Specs
    2011 17" MBP 2.2ghz, 16gig ram, OS 10.11.6
    Quote Originally Posted by RKC View Post
    If there are any links you can share, as far as keeping a mac running optimally I'd love to find out more.
    Generic stuff:

    - install enough ram
    - don't let the HD get too full (more than 80% full)
    - run the free maintenance app "Onyx" now & then
    - In Activity Monitor keep an eye on "page outs" and "swap file" sizes. When these get large…things slow down. Lots of ram helps. Restart the computer when they get large.
    - Don't open too many apps at the same time (depends on amount of installed ram).
    - Be careful installing a lot of 3rd party apps (utilities, interface customizing apps, etc.). Can cause conflict problems.
    - Sometimes attached peripherals can cause problems.
    - Don't use apps like MacKeeper, CleanMyMac, etc. These are junks apps that just cause issues.
    - Not really a need to have anti virus apps installed and running 24-7. Many can be resource hogs. Best comprimise (if someone REALLY feels they need to have AV)…just run periodic checks. Then turn AV off.
    - Practice "safe-computing". Don't visit questionable websites. Don't "willy-nilly" click on links in email messages from unknown sources.

    HTH,

    - 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


    Member Since
    Jul 05, 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    77
    Your Mac's Specs
    iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014), 32 GB Ram, 27" Thunderbolt Display, 4TB G-RAID TB Storage
    Hey guys. I'm about to finally place my order for the iMac. Going with:

    Apple 27" iMac with Retina 5K Display / 4.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Core
    i7 / 16GB / 512GB Flash / AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5

    So I have a related question. I'm going to need storage and I'm planning on getting a:

    0G02289 G-Tech 4TB G-RAID Thunderbolt External Hard Drive, 7200RPM

    For increased performance, and then a drive for backing this drive up:

    0G03594 G-Tech 4TB G-Drive External Hard Drive - USB 3.0, 7200RPM

    Then I'll also need to back up my actual computer HD with Time Machine which I have a Firewire or USB drive already that I can use, should be fine.

    Does this seem like a good set up? I'm used to using Time Machine for mirroring my internal HD, but what would you recommend using to BU or mirror an external drive, where I'll be storing all my files? Is there something that works like TM that is smart and can update things?

    Thanks.

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Dec 13, 2009
    Posts
    198
    Your Mac's Specs
    MacBook Air mid-2013 4GB, and other machines
    Quote Originally Posted by RKC View Post
    ...One thing I'm looking forward to and expecting to see an improvement with, is having an internal flash drive. Do you think the 256 will be enough for apps and such, or should I go with the 512?
    For anyone coming into this thread late like me, I'd comment that even 128 GB SSD (what I have on this iMac I'm using right now) is more than enough for system and apps and even photos.* It is NOT big enough for a lot of music, and I presume thus not movies either. If you have a lot of that stuff, even 512 GB won't be enough. You'll need a permanent external, or should get the hybrid drive instead.


    *I take not few but not a lot of pictures, mostly from iPhone now so whatever that file size is. From a digital camera I didn't use huge megapixel sizes. So if you're taking a lot of huge photos, my comment might not apply.

  10. #10

    Bob_Stan's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 17, 2011
    Posts
    312
    Your Mac's Specs
    Mac Pro 3.5 Ghz 6 Core XEON, 1TB SSD,64GB . MBPro 2.2Ghz 480GB SSD, 500GB HD, 16GB
    I recently switched from an iMac to a Mac Pro. My main reason for doing so was the absolute necessity to have the machine available. Failure of a screen or hard drive in an iMac would mean a trip to the genius bar (60 miles away) and an unknown time for repair even when under warranty. With the Mac Pro I could replace the SSD, monitor, memory in a pinch in a very short period of time.

    Performance wise, with the applications you mentioned, you will probably have just as good performance with the iMac as you would with the Mac Pro, even better with single threaded applications.

  11. #11


    Member Since
    Feb 23, 2015
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    8
    I would recommend you to go for iMac. It seems you have a pretty good idea about both things so I am pretty confident that you'll end up making the right decision

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