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Full Tilt iMac or Low End Mac Pro?


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#1
nordie

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Hi,

I'm new to the Mac world, and am trying to put together my first Mac.

First, I'm primarily a PC user, but want to use the Mac for low level video editing using iMovie. I'd also be using screenflow as a kind of Camtasia substitute. I'm generally going to be shooting short on-screen tutorials, or shooting short product descriptions for an online store (30 seconds to 1 minute each). So I won't be doing any 2-hour movies or anything like that.

So, I'm torn between getting:

- a high-end iMac with the 24-inch screen, 3.0ghz core 2 duo, NVidia GeForce 8800, 750gb hard drive.

- a low end MacPro with only ONE 2.8ghz Xeon quad core CPU, base ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT, 750gb hard drive (I would use my existing 24-inch monitor on a KVM switch with this setup).

When I priced these two out, I found only about a $300-400 difference, and I was wondering if it would be worth the stretch to get the MacPro instead?

If I got the MacPro, I could add a second CPU later on, or get an upgraded ATI video card (ATI 3870) later on.

Any opinions on this?

Will the iMac do the job well for me, or would I get better longevity from the MacPro?

Thanks for your opinions!


Nordie


P.S. Is the MacPro as easy as a PC to upgrade and "tinker" in (adding CPUs and CPU coolers, hard drives, etc.)???

#2
m16

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On paper the iMac looks faster... Although the video card difference is negligible...

#3
Purple Puppy

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One should never buy a Mac Pro with only one processor... it would be a shameful waste of the Mac Pro's awesome motherboard.

When doing video editing, it appears that the more cores the better (in which case the Mac Pro surely wins) but bear in mind that certain video editing software are not multithreaded, meaning they would not take full advantage of many cores (in which case the iMac is faster). I'm not so sure about whether the iMovie is multithreaded though.

If I were you, I would get a Mac Pro with the two processors, 4 GB of RAM or more from 3rd party (although you must be careful to choose quality RAM with sufficient heatsinks), and with the base hard drive (Apple's hard drives, like their RAM, are overpriced; buy 3rd party hard drives if you need the storage). But everything depends on your budget.

When it comes to upgradeability, the Mac Pro is clearly better. AMD appears to be preparing the ATI Radeon HD 48xx cards for the Mac Pro soon... Whereas with the iMac, you are basically stuck with the same setup throughout its lifetime (except for RAM, which can be upgraded).

It is easier to upgrade a Mac Pro's hard drives than a PC. However, the same cannot be said for the RAM and CPU etc because the Mac Pro uses ECC FBDIMMs, which are considerably more expensive than regular DDR2 SDRAM. In addition, the Mac Pro uses the expensive "Harpertown" 1600MHz CPUs, which are over a thousand dollars each. The Mac Pro's cooling system is like the best there is though, so you wouldn't need to upgrade that.

#4
nordie

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Hi folks,

Thanks for the replies!

I see that Small Dog Electronics is a sponsor here............are they a pretty good place to buy Macs from (I've not heard of them before, but their prices look good).

And as far as hard drives go, I can pretty much use any garden variety SATA 7200rpm hard drive to expand a MacPro, yes?

Also, is the MacPro a quiet machine, fan-wise?

Oh, and do you recommend getting the AppleCare extended warranty, regardless of which desktop I buy?

Thanks!

Nordie

#5
kitkat54

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also of note, an iMac does not support more than 2 displays, nor will it support a 30 inch display.

The mac pro is quiet fan wise. Very well designed. You can use most SATA drives in a mac pro, but be wary -- the easy load drive bays fit compliant drives, but if you have a drive that does not match the normal physical layout (I had an early SATA drive that had the old style power on it) they won't fit.

I personally don't have apple care, but I am tech saavy and can fix my own hardware. If you can't it may be worth it on a $2000+ machine.

#6
Synaesthesia

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Get the Mac Pro - although the iMac is a very nice computer, the Mac Pro is just more expandable, and you have a 24" screen already. One quad core is plenty power.

#7
teknojunkie

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y only one quad core processor are you getting an older model or the newest model which come with 2 cores defualt?

#8
nordie

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Hi,

Its the newest MacPro............when ordering the MacPro, you can delete one of the dual CPUs from the machine, thus saving money.

#9
Alessandro17

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And as far as hard drives go, I can pretty much use any garden variety SATA 7200rpm hard drive to expand a MacPro, yes?


Yes, definitely.
In any case, Mac Pro all the way. You'll be able to upgrade it later as much as you wish (hardly possible with an iMac).
However I'd upgrade the graphics card immediately to a NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT if I were you. The Radeon HD 2600 XT is ridiculously low end for such a computer.

#10
kdb424

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The iMac is most of the time a waste, though they are cool looking, and space saving. Then again, so is the Mac Mini. LMAO

#11
outaru

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go for the new iMac or you can wait till the new Mac Pro update, Mac Pro line should have a refresh soon..





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