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  1. #1
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Mac Pro Vs. iMac ?

    Hi yall

    We're replacing our 8 year old Windows XP machine with a new computer and are leaning towards getting our first Apple. We purchased our last computer with an eye towards longevity and hoped to avoid premature obsolescence. After some serious bug/virus issues with Windows ME we upgraded to XP about five years ago and it has served us quite well. We spent about $1800 initially and between XP and various little doo-dads (new CD drive, power supply, maxing out the RAM to 512MB, etc.) we spent about $2500-$3K in all. Not so bad for nearly a decade. We are basically replacing it because it is maxed out with 512MB RAM and a 20GB Hard drive. We are having lots of latency issues and although we bought a 300GB external Hard drive, the machine is simply too overwhelmed to run it.

    Wondering if anyone has opinions on iMac vs. Mac pro - in general, and for us specifically. We don't game at all; mostly do alot of digital photography, watch videos and listen to music in addition to the usual internet/email stuff. I do a lot of Word, Access and Excel for work but we'll probably keep the old XP computer as a backup, so no worries there (I am also on a PC at work). We may take on major scanning of all our old family photos soon, and I could see myself doing some home music recording and maybe the odd home video projects in the next five years or so.

    I realize the iMac will probably suffice, and I know we're talking a $1000 difference in price. But I am not sure we wouldn't be better off laying out the extra grand now and be able to spend some money later for more hard drives and memory, along with getting the faster processors on the Mac Pro, versus saving $1k now and having to possibly get a whole new machine that much sooner (which I imagine will be a bit more than adding memory and storage - even tho I realize that stuff is wicked expensive.). Unless we'd be better off getting a whole new machine in time anyway? My friend still does lots of high-quality music and video etc. on his 2001ish G4 with no problems.

    any thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    The iMac is a desktop style machine. The MacBook Pro (which is what I now have --- so long Bill Gates ) is a laptop.
    How will you be using it?
    I got the laptop because the wife and I got tired of having to trudge back to the computer room, crank up the XP, go find two chairs while we waited (sometimes 5 or 6 minutes) while the XP decided it was ready to go, and then squeeze in front of the PC.
    Now we can both use the MacBook together or pass it back and forth when we want to use it.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon 105 on order

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  3. #3
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    well, just to be clear, we're looking at the Mac Pro workstation, not the Macbook Pro. We have been pretty basic home users (web, email) since getting our first machine in 1994. Bt we've been adding programs, growing a backlog storage of files (I do back up to CD and external drive regularly, but we still need to keep certain things accessible on the machine's local drive) and doing more and more memory-reliant things with video and audio files.

    we still don't play games or plan to watch entire films on our computer but the reality is our need for speed and storage space has grown and will likely continue to do so. So we are looking towards buying with an eye for the future (expandability).

    We're less than jazzed about our current PC's performance at present but we can't complain too much about its value over the last five or six years. Once we wiped Millennium and got XP it's been pretty stable and reliable. We spec'd a decent processor for its day (800+mHz) and the 20 GB drive was respectable if not lavish for 1999. If we could increase the memory over 512MB I'd probably do so and just get a nice new monitor and nurse this old one along for another 3-5 years.

    Since we can't do that, We hope to get a similarly reliable new machine for the long haul now. My wife is leaning towards the punt - getting the iMac and saving the $1000 for something else (like a new bed, which we desparately need-ow, my aching back) while I am thinking go for the TD, buy the Mac Pro, and have a tower we can continue to beef up over the next 10 years or more.

    Since computers do evolve and prices actually drop for some things, I reckon my approach can go either way - it might get much more rea$onable to add memory, processors and hard drives over time as prices drop (assuming they do drop, of course) - OR, we could spend $4000 and be 'stuck' with an outdated design in six or seven years, with plenty of life left in it but lots of great new designs and hardware available by then.

    I am usually of the "buy something solid and reliable and make it last" mindset as opposed to the "I'm tired of this, so I'll get the newest latest thing, even though what I have still works perfectly" attitude. We have a 10 yr old CRT tv, a 20 year old VCR and I ride a 12 speed '86 Trek with Reynolds 531 steel and Down tube shifters - 'nuff said!

    But I am not a stone cold retro grouch; I want to make the most intelligent decision here....
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  4. #4
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    The iMac will do everything you need. I am a graphics and production artist so I deal with some rather large PhotoShop image files. I have a Mac Pro at the office and an iMac at home. There are times when I have to work from home and the difference in their performance is barely noticeable.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  5. #5
    Giving you the business. Cypress's Avatar
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    My recommendation for people such as yourself is to get the Mac Pro and max out the processor ($1440 option), and depending on your needs, up the video card as well. The rest of the computer is user upgradeable. Your machine will stay current for HELLUVA long.
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  6. #6
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    I'd say you're best off with an iMac. PowerMac is for serious, heavy use. From what I can see of your requirements, the iMac will suffice. And you have advantage of something seriously sexy that doesn't look out of place in any room of the house. Congrats on seeing the light, btw.
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    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MMACH 5 View Post
    The iMac will do everything you need. I am a graphics and production artist so I deal with some rather large PhotoShop image files. I have a Mac Pro at the office and an iMac at home. There are times when I have to work from home and the difference in their performance is barely noticeable.
    +1

  8. #8
    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    The rate of obsolescence of computers is slowing down. My first Mac computer was an original iMac (tray load) which I bought in 2000 and by 2004 when I belatedly replaced it its age was an issue and there was software I couldn't run. I replaced it with an eMac and honestly its still going strong. The difference is that while I may look at the new iMac's and think it would be nice the eMac is still performing strong and I can't realy see it NOT performing strongly for a while yet.

    A new base model iMac comes with 2 gigahertz processing, 1 gig of ram, huge hard drive and the super drive (dvd write) as standard. Honestly I can't see that kind of power becoming obsolete any time soon.

    Regards, Anthony

  9. #9
    phony collective progress x136's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
    A new base model iMac comes with 2 gigahertz processing, 1 gig of ram, huge hard drive and the super drive (dvd write) as standard. Honestly I can't see that kind of power becoming obsolete any time soon.
    Yeah, but they've been saying that for decades.

    That said, I do agree with the slowing speed of obsolescence. It used to be that each new generation of computers could do more, and do more faster than what came before. Text, then images, then sound, then better images, then video, then video editing and 3D rendering!

    Now it's gotten to the point where you can do the same things you could before, but a bit faster! And you can accomplish these tasks using software that's more bloated and inefficient than before! Don't get me wrong, there are some people who need each new tenth of a gigahertz squeaked out of each core crammed on each die. But for a lot of people, the only real reason to buy a new computer these days is hardware failure or extreme age.

  10. #10
    Double Secret Probation R900's Avatar
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    I switched from 20 years of PC's to a iMac last year - no going back. Get the 24"!
    Time to Ride...

  11. #11
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x136 View Post
    ...
    And you can accomplish these tasks using software that's more bloated and inefficient than before!
    ...
    ++1

    I dream of the day that a software upgrade is not for a new set of processor/memory-hogging pops & whistles. Why can't they just give us a sleeker, faster programs.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  12. #12
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    I would recommend the Mac Pro. With music recording as well as video/editing you will hit the upper limits of your iMac. Once you get into HD video the iMac will suddenly become less Get the Pro now, it can be loaded up with more RAM, bigger and more HD's and use extra monitors can be added as your needs' grow. There is no growing an iMac. For Graphics, the iMac would be fine, for music/video stuff MacPro, megaRAM, hellaHD's....

  13. #13
    Senior Member mustang1's Avatar
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    Go with Mac Pro. But only as it's a lot more user upgradeable than an iMac and hence will (should?) last you longer.

    If by any chance you decide on iMac however, probably best to go for the larger 24" screen. One more point, I hear rumours that a new Mac Pro lies around the corner.

    If you decide Mac Pro is your game, may I ask which monitor you will go with? I am wondering, as you have a choice of the nice looking Apple Cinema displays, or you can buy an alternative brand monitor, still in a large size, but cheaper.

  14. #14
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    The Mac Pro, assuming you max out the processor has a very large RAM capacity. It can easily last you a long time with memory and HDD upgrades. Even 3D cards are decently upgradable.

  15. #15
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Get the off-the-shelf MacPro with quad-cores for now. As prices drop, you can upgrade to twin-quad-cores for 8-cores total for less in a couple years if you really need that kind of processing power. I built my own MacPro clone using Intel server-board and twin quad-core Xeons. Ended up costing me about the same as a real MacPro, but I didn't get the nice case with easily removed drive-bays.

  16. #16
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    That G5/Mac pro case really is a nice piece of case design.

  17. #17
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    With all due respect, spending $2k every 8 years is dumb.

    Better to plan to spend $1k every 4 or 5 years so that you can have an updated OS and hardware. Sure, you don't get the gratification of owning the latest and greatest, but you avoid the problem of having to live with an obsolete antique for 2 or 3 years.

    The worst thing that can happen is that you have two functional computers for a while.

    I've gone to upgrading every three years along with learning how to maximize bang/buck and it's worked out much better than having to try to coax that six year old computer into running the latest OS and apps.

    (please note that, excepting the irony of this disclaimer, I've suppressed my daily anti-apple rant)

  18. #18
    It is what it is Sage23's Avatar
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    I'd go with the iMac (24 inch). It sounds like you're a fairly standard user. I think the Mac Pro would be overkill for you. If you were doing a lot of video I'd suggest the Mac Pro. But if you're really just starting to experiment with video and sound recording, the iMac will be fine.

  19. #19
    Senior Member StrangeWill's Avatar
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    I'd go with the iMac, simply because I've had good experience with the really old one at work, nothing phenomenal in terms of hardware quality, but it looks nice, and performed well, if it wasn't for all the devices we used desk clutter would be practically nothing. If you just do simple stuff go with the iMac.

    Also, I'd look into using that Fusion stuff, I've seen it work on a Macbook and wow is it nice to see an XP machine running flawlessly in OSX (though I laugh knowing that I've been using VMWare technology for a long time now...). Further reduce clutter and power usage by not using that PC (unless you need a second machine).


    Personally, I don't think you need the power of a Mac Pro, and would mostly be for e-peen waving and blowing money and electricity out your arse.

  20. #20
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Thanks, folks, and pls keep the opinions coming....

    Well, I'm seeing good arguments for both sides. We're still torn. Either way you slice it it's a lot of money...

    My wife and I agree if we DID go iMac we would get it maxed out with the highest RAM and fastest CPU, as well as the 24" screen. That machine should last a while, I reckon.....but Not sure how that compares to buying an entry level Mac Pro in terms of price. We ned to crunch the numbers some more. But if the upper end iMac is close to entry level Pro, it truly becomes a 'pay now or pay later' scenerio in my mind....

    v1k1ng1001 - I'm not sure what exactly you are recommending - iMac? Pro? other???

    I am definitely not looking to win an e-pissing contest, and I agree simple streamlined is better. The salesman at the Mac store showed us all sorts of groovy features, but in the end I want the machine to do the basics that we use, and do them reliably and reasonably fast. Some of the features, like Time Machine were kinda useful looking, but a lot of other ones were sorta superfluous.

    Then again, you have a lot of users who need/want that stuff. I was waiting for photos of an event from work from another staff member and it was taking them forever to send the files from their digital camera. I emailed them a few times and couldn't understand why they didn't simply upload the images so I could see them.

    Several weeks later, I recieved a custom slideshow DVD in the mail from Walgreens - so there are people out there who take their digital cards to the pharmacy to 'develop', just like in the old days.....no wonder the computer companies build such things into their software.

    Thanks for all the comments and pls keep the opinions coming!
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  21. #21
    Royal Grand Exalted Pooba smoke's Avatar
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    get the imac; most people here seem to think you'll do fine with it. and then get the new bed. this thing is just a computer, but you need a good night's sleep. computer AND mattress for the same amount of money
    'In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, "Make us your slaves, but feed us." '

    -Fyodor Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor

  22. #22
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    If your mostly going to run the I apps (iMovie, iPhoto, etc) the iMac will be all you'll need. You'll rarely notice the processor difference. If you think you'll ever step up to pro level video editing (Final Cut) it might be worth considering the Pro, but only if your really going to push it. Hard drive space will be the biggest limitation of the iMac for video editing.

    Photoshop, iView Media Pro, LeafCapture, Bridge all work fine on a G5 iMac, so I doubt you'll stress an Intel based iMac system too much. Again, unless you get into pro level image editing, regularly working with large multi-layer images, then the Pro is worth considering.

    Don't underestimate the simplicity of the iMac. It's great having a full computer you can just pick up and relocate without hassle. It fits pretty much anywhere and looks cool enough to not be an eye sore. Use an iLugger and you've got the worlds largest, heaviest laptop. Our iMacs have traveled thousands of miles and never let us (knock on wood) down.

    Either system would work fine for you, but after many Apple desktops, laptops and iMacs, the iMac is still my favorite system to work with.

  23. #23
    zac
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    I would get the low-mid range 20" iMac. It is plenty powerful. I think it comes with 1G Ram which you can up later if you want (don't get Apple memory it is $$). With the money you save you can get a second monitor which is much more versatile than a single 24" monitor, and a backup drive to run Time Machine (minimum 500GB recommended).

    The hard drive and memory are upgradable on the iMacs. The memory is easy, the hard drive requires a case crack, but with firewire 800 standard, external drives are easy to add on if needed.

    Good luck and welcome to Apple.

    Another thing that may be important in your decision, is that iLife (iMovie, iPhoto, iDVD, GarageBand) is included with the iMacs, but not with the Mac Pro workstation, you have to purchase seperately.

  24. #24
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    some more excellent points, thanks!

    I should mention we'd get the biggest HD available on the iMac and we also have a 300GB external HD - not sure what that would do to increase the iMac's capacities, for Time Machine, etc.

    The new bed certainly would be nice - especially after sitting up in a office chair till 1 AM every night playing with our new Mac (Which I will no doubt do - this, after sitting at a desk all day at work - ow!)
    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
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    and remember, regardless of which way you go, you'll have earned the right to wear a goatee and beret, hang at starbucks, and act like a pretentious prick, without feeling the slightest bit self conscious

    Welcome to the fold.

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