MacWorld: Forget the Mac Pro, Buy an iMac

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Macworld has some interesting, contrarian advice about buying a Mac these days.

A couple of years ago, pro users would never consider a low-end iMac or MacBook portable for work: it just wouldn’t be powerful enough.

But because Apple is using powerful dual-core Intel chips across its entire line, the difference between machines is blurring.

After running a battery of tests, MacWorld concludes that for most people, a new iMac or MacBook Pro is good enough — pro, power users included. The savings add up to $1,000 or more.

… for most mainstay applications, the high-end iMac and MacBook Pro models are plenty fast (the 3.06GHz build-to-order iMac even beat the Mac Pro in some of our tests). Even Adobe Photoshop, a heavy-duty program that conventional wisdom has long argued should be run only on a high-end system, works acceptably well on just about any Mac (unless you’re editing gigantic files).

16 responses to “MacWorld: Forget the Mac Pro, Buy an iMac”

  1. Craig Grannell says:

    Seeing as my year-old Mac Pro is noisy and bulky, and, it turns out, was damaged (something I only realised when going to install a new hard-drive, finding a mashed connector), and my ACD is starting to die after two years, I think I’ll head for an iMac next. I’m done paying for the top-line kit when I probably don’t really need it, and when a certain hardware company doesn’t respond in a remotely timely manner when issues occur.

  2. Alan Christensen says:

    I have five hard drives shoehorned into my first generation G5 plus a 1TB external drive. So, until they have an iMac with 3 or 4TB of storage, I’ll stick with the big box when I get a new Mac.

  3. leigh says:

    Craig:

    If your MacPro makes any noise at all it is likely sick. they are designed to be whisper quiet, so if you hear any fan noise, I’d get it serviced.

    Most likely cause of excessive (read: Noticeable) fan-noise: using non-standard RAM (that does not mean you need to buy OEM RAM, the stuff they sell at Macsales.com has great thermal performance).

  4. leigh says:

    I too want the expandability of a tower. but don’t necessarily need a full MacPro (although I own one). It would be nice to see a Mini-Tower Mac driven by one of the Core2Quads at the 1500 dollar price point.

    When the Core2Quads hit the iMacs this summer/fall, we’re going to see them fully eclipse the 2007 model year MacPros. in everything other than high-end video editing, runing multiple VM’s or any other RAM intensive activity).

  5. imajoebob says:

    Alan – Look into external drive enclosures, especially firewire. They’re cheap (as little as $30), and even more expandable than your Pro’s internals.

    As for the MBP, I thought I read that Apple designed these to “throttle down” the processors as a way to deal with heat. So there’s a threshold where the more you do, it actually goes slower – compounding the load already on the CPU. It was there way of dealing with airflow/fan noise and preventing 3rd degree burns on your thighs.

    But I’m not that reliable a source.

  6. Mr Wibbly Wobbly says:

    There are still great reasons for a Mac Pro. The iMacs, for example, will
    only take up to 4GB of RAM. Using more than that can help Photoshop
    performance, especially with larger files. How much RAM did they have
    in the Mac Pro? I can’t see it in their article.

    Also, the Mac Pro has a true desktop graphics card. That can be more
    important than you might think if you’re using Windows for the occasional
    game:

    “Currently AMD does not provide any driver support for Mobility Radeonâ„¢
    products. All driver and technical support for Mobility Radeonâ„¢ products
    is provided by the original laptop or notebook manufacturer. The drivers
    that are available for download at ati.amd.com are for desktop products only.”

    http://support.ati.com/ics/sup

    And I could blather on and on about the other advantages, which I think the
    linked article underplay. That said, most of Apple’s current crop are fine machines,
    and if you’re in the group that needs a Mac Pro, you’ll likely already know that.

  7. Holen Chan says:

    what is the difference at the same configuration for iMac and Mac Pro

  8. Behind7proxies says:

    iMacs can go all the way up to 16GB of RAM (maybe only with the higher speed processor configurations, but I’m pretty sure all models except for the budget education model – fixed at just 2GB I believe, with no upgradability – can take at least 8GB)…