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  1. #1

    DSCole312's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 26, 2007
    Location
    New York City
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    77
    Specs:
    Current iPhone and iPod owner, Future Mac Owner
    2.8 GHz iMac or 2.66 GHz quad-core Mac Pro?
    Greetings, all…

    Sometime by the end of November I’m planning to toss my Dell PC out the window and upgrade to a Mac. I’ll most likely be using Boot Camp / Fusion and Windows XP Pro for certain applications that are PC-only, but Mac OS X Leopard for everything else.

    Right now I mostly use my computer for fairly basic household stuff (email, web surfing, finances, etc.), but I will also increasingly be using it for architectural design and 3D renderings using ArchiCAD, Rhino (when the Mac version comes out), and 3D Studio MAX and AutoCAD via Windows. I also use Photoshop on a fairly regular basis, and I'm looking forward to learning InDesign.

    I'm trying to decide whether to get the 24" 2.8 GHz iMac ($2149 w/ student discount) or the base-model Mac Pro tower ($2299 w/ student discount, or $2199 refurbished). The pros and cons of each:

    24” iMac: More features for the money, beautiful design, doesn’t take up much space, but lacks expandability. I'm also concerned about some of the display issues that have been posted here as well as on the Apple discussion forums; the ATI graphics card seems problematic.

    Mac Pro tower: Can be vastly expanded and customized over time, but more expensive overall. Display would need to be purchased separately (my existing 19” Dell display could be used in the interim). The nVidia graphics card seems to have a better reputation than the ATI.

    Any suggestions? Thanks…..

  2. #2

    theonegod's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 02, 2006
    Posts
    476
    Specs:
    24" 2.8ghz IMAC, MB Pro
    The graphics issue on the IMAC card is most apparent in WOW gaming or switching from full screen to non rendering. It is directly related to a bug in the video driver that was released recently and a fix is supposed to be out soon. I would not worry overly much about this as it is just a bug in software released by apple and not in any way a result of bad video cards.

    However it sounds like you plan to do alot of Pro related stuff with your Mac. You don't do any of this now but if you think you will be doing the things you listed with any real intensity you may get better use out of the Pro.

    Keep in mind though that with the pro you are paying out the nose for that expandability. It starts at $200 more then the IMAC and for less hardware and features. Just to match the IMAC you have to spend several hundred more dollars. If you count the display in the IMAC you have to spend more then a thousand dollars just to match the IMAC.

    The Pro doesn't take standard DDR2 ram so you can't transfer any from a PC you may have around the house. The CPUs are a slightly older line (Core Duo instead of Core 2 Duo), the video card can be expanded but the choice is very limited. No GeForce 8800 for example.

    The Pro also does NOT have any built in Bluetooth or wireless. You will have to buy a webcam and microphone as well as speakers if you want them.

    So to summarize the things the IMAC has over the Pro out of the box are as follows.

    1) Twice the ram
    2) Twice the HD space
    3) 24" LCD
    4) Bluetooth
    5) Wireless
    6) Newer CPU line. In the case of the IMAC you are considering, a cutting edge CPU.
    7) ISight Cam
    8) Microphone
    9) Speakers
    10) $200 less

    Whereas once you upgrade the Pro you may be better able to run the software you listed. Just at a substantial cost.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Apr 28, 2006
    Posts
    2,542
    Specs:
    iMac Core Duo 20", iBook G4, iPhone 8GB :)
    I'd say go for the Pro.

    1) It is twin Dual core CPUs, not just a Quad Core (why did ^^ say Core Duo? It is Core 2 Quad in fact...or Xeon whatever)
    2) Expandability. You can set up huge amounts of space, in RAID and others, put in different graphics cards (The Nvidia Quadro for one) and soundcards and such.
    3) Can power a 30" display (as many as 8)

    Agreed the RAM and such is different, but you can put in upto 16GB of the same, which is not possible with the iMac. And you can always add small-time features like Bluetooth, iSight and such (doesn't it have inbuilt wireless?).

    Of course, if you plan on just watching movies and surfing the web, then it makes sense to go in for an iMac....

  4. #4

    theonegod's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 02, 2006
    Posts
    476
    Specs:
    24" 2.8ghz IMAC, MB Pro
    I said that because it ISNT core 2 quad. It is Core Duo Quad. True it is Xeon, but that only makes it a server class CPU.

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Apr 28, 2006
    Posts
    2,542
    Specs:
    iMac Core Duo 20", iBook G4, iPhone 8GB :)
    Seriously? To the best of my knowledge it uses 2 Xeon CPUs based on the Woodcrest architecture very similar to the Conroe architecture which is Core 2 and not the Core (Yonah). Yonah only debuted in the laptop segment...

  6. #6

    theonegod's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 02, 2006
    Posts
    476
    Specs:
    24" 2.8ghz IMAC, MB Pro
    I can't find anywhere that it refers to them being Core 2 Duo. But it is certainly possible I am wrong. I just know I find reference to Core Duo but not Core 2 Duo.

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Apr 28, 2006
    Posts
    2,542
    Specs:
    iMac Core Duo 20", iBook G4, iPhone 8GB :)
    A quick google search brings me to this page. Turns out I was right indeed.
    http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=2811&p=2

  8. #8

    theonegod's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 02, 2006
    Posts
    476
    Specs:
    24" 2.8ghz IMAC, MB Pro
    Seems you were I was browsing the intel sight and that is just impossible to read

  9. #9

    Zoolook's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 24, 2006
    Location
    Brooklyn, New York
    Posts
    2,756
    Specs:
    15" MacBook Pro, i7 2.66Ghz, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD; iPad 3, iPhone 5
    This is not a bad article on which to go for...

    http://www.tomsguide.com/us/2007/09/...ac_or_mac_pro/

    Although after reading it, you might buy a Dell instead... it raises a few legitimate questions about Apple's choice of hardware...
    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is stoned to death.
    - Joan D. Vinge


  10. #10

    DSCole312's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 26, 2007
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    77
    Specs:
    Current iPhone and iPod owner, Future Mac Owner
    Thanks for the info... I'm leaning more towards the Mac Pro at this point, although I change my mind on a near-daily basis. Most of the "missing" features on the Mac Pro are things I already either have (display, speakers) or things that I can live without for now and add later. Seems like the Pro would cost me more money over the long-term, but also keep me satisfied for the long-term.

    I'll admit that I've always had somewhat of a personal bias against the iMacs because for years I thought of them as stripped-down children's computers, but I'm very impressed with the latest generation... They have solid specs, and look very sharp.

    That's the problem with working two blocks away from the huge Fifth Avenue Apple Store... I go in there on my lunch break and want to buy one of each!

  11. #11


    Member Since
    Apr 28, 2006
    Posts
    2,542
    Specs:
    iMac Core Duo 20", iBook G4, iPhone 8GB :)
    True the iMac is one capable machine. I use an iMac for a lot of photoshop + other adobe apps work. The machine really flies and I use a Core Duo model.

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