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markw10 03-17-2007 09:42 PM

Mac Pro vs. iMac (Energy use)
I currently have a macbook pro but plan on getting a desktop mac sometime this year. My perfect computer would probably be the 'headless' mac but there's no such thing as that. I've even thought of a mac mini but I know power is limited. I ended up coming up with a Mac Pro. I don't like the idea of upgrading the iMac and then losing my monitor. I know there's a variety of processors I can use as well as other configurations. I'd likely add a 24 inch widescreen monitor to it but overall the Mac Pro does seem like overkill to me. If I get a iMac I'd likely get a medium range 20 inch model.
My question comes down to power usage (wattage, etc). It seems with the 4 core system out now and the future 8 core mac pro's that are rumored that this is a very powerful system and although nice way more power than I need. I like the tower case where I can expand it more than the iMac but with all those cores I can't help but wonder what type of power it uses. How does the power of a Mac Pro compare to a iMac? (wattage, etc) and are there many power saving features where the mac pro could use far less than maximum if I don't use full power? I see it is considered to be a energy star computer.

schweb 03-17-2007 09:49 PM

Overall I'd have to ask whether a Mac desktop is truly the right system for you. If you're looking at tinkering with hardware and upgrading things like you can do on a PC, I would just buy a PC.

For the most part, the only upgrading really every done on a Mac may be more memory and possibly a larger HD (although most people usually just buy an external drive). With that in mind, an iMac would suit your needs just fine.

Macs are not the same as a PC where you can just rebuild all the pieces at will from off the rack parts.

technologist 03-17-2007 09:59 PM
Not exactly what you're asking for, but playing with it should give you an idea how things vary between models and with various energy saving features

Obviously, this can't include a monitor on the Mini or Pro, since that would depend on the specific monitor you chose.

mac57 03-18-2007 01:06 PM

Is your motivation mainly environmental, or are you worried about power consumption because you equate that with higher heat and hence more fan noise? If it is the later, I would remove it from consideration. Both the iMac and the Mac Pro are reputed to be very quiet machines - not silent, but quiet.

TheThirdMan 03-18-2007 06:26 PM

iMac uses all laptop parts and is one of the lowest power-consuming desktops out there, about the same as a laptop in fact! Mac Pro is pretty good relative to a regular PC because of the good case design and the good intel xeons, but relative to the imac, its probably 3 or 4 times more power, more if you upgrade the graphics.(Mac pro probably uses a 600 or 700 watt power supply, the imac uses a laptop type 150w psu i think (?))

markw10 03-18-2007 08:41 PM

That's very helpful information.
How well does the mac mini do at multitasking and would it run Flight Simulator X in Boot Camp well? I know the CPU's in the mini are more limited than other Mac's and as well the graphics card isn't as good as the card in most imac's.
My needs are fairly basic, using word for word processing, dreamweaver for web design, web browsing in Safari, Parallels for Windows XP, and Illustrator and Photoshop for graphic design.
It isn't uncommon though for me to have 4 web pages open at a time while I have parallels running Quickbooks at the same time, Photoshop editing a picture, and dreamweaver open. I would definitely max out ram at at least 2 gigs.

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