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Mac Pro vs i7 iMac
Old 25th November 2009
  #1
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T_R_S's Avatar
Mac Pro vs i7 iMac

Details
Mac Pro Jan (2008 Model)
OS 10.5.8 Leopard
Dual Processor Quad core 2.8 GHZ
16 GB RAM
Boot Drive SSD 2 X 250 GB OCZ Vertex in RAID 0

iMac i7 Quad Core 2.8 GHZ
OS 10.6.2 Snow Leopard
4 GB RAM (stock RAM)
Boot Drive 1 TB (stock drive)

see pdf file for full results

Mac Pro wins mainly due to:
SSD Boot Drive

But CPU and RAM is much faster on the iMac

I am wondering if I could get better results is Snow Leopard on the Mac Pro.
Attached Files
Old 25th November 2009
  #2
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Dysanfel's Avatar
I wonder how the i7 would perform with 16GB of RAM.
Old 25th November 2009
  #3
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T_R_S's Avatar
I am not going to spend $1000.00 to try and find out. HAHA!
I will be ordering 4 more GB but 8 is as far as I will go for a while as those
DDR3 4GB SO-DIMM's are way too much right now.
But more RAM is not going to speed up my CPU and RAM in the iMac is already faster faster than the slow server EEC RAM in a Mac Pro.
If you want to make any computer go faster add a SSD drive to it. It is by far the cheapest way to get instant satisfaction. My Mac Pro boots in about 30 seconds and launches PT in about that same amount of time. Sessions opens faster, much quicker reboots after a crash etc.
Old 26th November 2009
  #4
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Here's what you'd get if you put an SSD in that imac heh
Attached Thumbnails
Mac Pro vs i7 iMac-screen-shot-2009-11-25-6.31.27-pm.jpg  
Old 26th November 2009
  #5
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T_R_S's Avatar
The i7 iMac beats out a 8 Core 2008 Harpertown. I can see that BUT look at some of the numbers close.
Recording
iMac Uncached Write Sequential 256K blocks = 45.35 MB/sec
Mac Pro Uncached Write Sequential 256K blocks = 372.76 MB/sec

Mac Pro is 800% Faster

Playback

iMac Uncached Read Sequential 256K blocks = 205.79 MB/sec
Mac Pro Uncached Read Sequential 256K blocks = 423.94 MB/sec

Mac Pro is more than twice as fast as the iMac

But the i7 imac is still a great machine. CPU test iMac is 19% faster than a 2008 Mac Pro so if your running lots of plug-ins that matters
Old 26th November 2009
  #6
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everythinglouder's Avatar
 

@T R S

Which Harpertown is it beating in the CPU test?
Old 26th November 2009
  #7
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T_R_S's Avatar
the 2.8 i7 iMac is almost 20% faster than a 2008 2.8 Dual Processor Harpertown Mac Pro. Which respect to CPU speed. But SATA disk access the mac pro really shines.
Old 26th November 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
The i7 iMac beats out a 8 Core 2008 Harpertown. I can see that BUT look at some of the numbers close.
Recording
iMac Uncached Write Sequential 256K blocks = 45.35 MB/sec
Mac Pro Uncached Write Sequential 256K blocks = 372.76 MB/sec

Mac Pro is 800% Faster

Playback

iMac Uncached Read Sequential 256K blocks = 205.79 MB/sec
Mac Pro Uncached Read Sequential 256K blocks = 423.94 MB/sec

Mac Pro is more than twice as fast as the iMac
This is kind of misleading. Keep in mind that this speed is strictly a limitation of the SSD I'm using, an intel X18-M. In your case you have an OCZ vertex, which has much faster write speeds. Both the mac pro and the imac have 3.0Gb/s SATA connections, so if an OCZ vertex were installed in the imac it would perform the same as it does in you mac pro.
Old 27th November 2009
  #9
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T_R_S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JH4music View Post
This is kind of misleading. Keep in mind that this speed is strictly a limitation of the SSD I'm using, an intel X18-M. In your case you have an OCZ vertex, which has much faster write speeds. Both the mac pro and the imac have 3.0Gb/s SATA connections, so if an OCZ vertex were installed in the imac it would perform the same as it does in you mac pro.
The Intel drive has a better read spec than the the OCZ but yet the Vertex performs twice as fast on the Mac Pro.
Yes the OCZ has a faster spec than the intel but not 800% better
It just goes to show that real world bench marks vary with every system. I am sure even with a 2009 Mac Pro the gap would be even higher.
With that said both machines are plenty fast enough for lots of tracks.
I still think a more important spec in the CPU Test and the imac is clearly faster than the 2008 Mac Pro thus translating into more plug-ins.
I still like my new i7 imac it's a killer machine.
Old 6th May 2010
  #10
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gsilbers's Avatar
 

I'm not so good understanding these tests.

But in terms of streaming samples for example,
which one is better?
Old 6th May 2010
  #11
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Wink undecided between Mac Pro and imac

Hello there,
I am just switching now from a PC to Mac and I am undecided between Imac and Mac Pro. I do not know much about computers in general, so I found this thread but I am struggling to understand why you all say that Imac is faster than Mac Pro...Mac Pro costs twice as much and has a quad core...why is Imac faster? why then Mac Pro costs so much more...there has to be an advantage, right? What would you recommend considering that I run several heavy plugins like Omnisphere, Eastwest symphonic orchestra, Stylus, Komplete, etc..?

Thanks in advance!
Val
Old 6th May 2010
  #12
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kgdrum_nyc's Avatar
 

the difference in the 2 macs in regards to a daw is more about connectivity ,the ability to have pcie options,additional sata hard drives,more ram etc.....it not just the power of the chip in the mac.
The mac pros give you much more flexibility than an Imac but at a cost.
Old 7th May 2010
  #13
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Dysanfel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doublethumb View Post
Hello there,
What would you recommend considering that I run several heavy plugins like Omnisphere, Eastwest symphonic orchestra, Stylus, Komplete, etc..?
l
Either machine will handle several heavy plugs. What it really boils down to this: do you UAD, or do you not UAD?

For me the UAD stuff was nice (I sold my UAD-1), but I am not buying a Mac Pro just to use a plugin.
Old 7th May 2010
  #14
Myr
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Myr's Avatar
 

I personally thing the i7 iMac is a technological marvel, especially for the price. Fast, quiet, and it's the size of your average 27" HD-TV/monitor.
Old 7th May 2010
  #15
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysanfel View Post
Either machine will handle several heavy plugs. What it really boils down to this: do you UAD, or do you not UAD?

For me the UAD stuff was nice (I sold my UAD-1), but I am not buying a Mac Pro just to use a plugin.
No, I will just use the audio plugins in Logic, or maybe get something like Ohmboyz (I like that one).
I heard that UAD stuff is really good, but at the moment I already have to invest on a Mac + the plugins I mentioned, so I will stop there :-)
Old 7th May 2010
  #16
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gsilbers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doublethumb View Post
Hello there,
I am just switching now from a PC to Mac and I am undecided between Imac and Mac Pro. I do not know much about computers in general, so I found this thread but I am struggling to understand why you all say that Imac is faster than Mac Pro...Mac Pro costs twice as much and has a quad core...why is Imac faster? why then Mac Pro costs so much more...there has to be an advantage, right? What would you recommend considering that I run several heavy plugins like Omnisphere, Eastwest symphonic orchestra, Stylus, Komplete, etc..?

Thanks in advance!
Val
this is a long answer. and speed here is relative. mac pros have processors usually used for servers and i7 is the consumer version of the same processor.
with thats said, i7 and xeon are just names and under each falls different models of the chip. so it depends on the actual models.

what makes the mac pro "better" is that a xeon processor can be doubled up with another xeon processor for 8 cores. 8 cores means that it can run more processes at once. for gamers and most of these benchmarks that may not mean too much because they are doing one thing; gaming or rendering .
and yes, a lot of programs can use more cores to spread the weight. but the programs need to be coded that way, or the OS, etc so there is different variables.
oh , plus the normal background processes.

for the modern composer, 8 core is a god send. because of programs like vienna ensemble pro, and bidule using the adat loopback trick you can load
as much ram of samples in your computer as u want. so, bidule or VEP will use different cores or be spread along logic etc, there is more room for it not to choke.
yes, you can do that with an i7 imac, but the mac pro will handle more weight.
also, the pci cards and different expansion.
this is all besides 64 bit processing. even if u could load all that much samples into logic, would u wanna wait 20 minutes per project to load?
with bidule or VEP is like having 4-8 gigastudios inside one mac pro.
also, u can have 4 internal HD which is faster, more stable and space saver than external drives which u need in a imac.

so an 8 core is like having 2 macs in one pretty much. not doubled in speed but in processes it can handle.

this forum; Welcome to the VI Control Forum! Musicians helping Musicians! has more info on the above techniques used by modern film composers. (or folks with lotsa samples. )

so all of the above is from a composer (film or otherwise that use heavy samples use) point of view, for other types of production then i dont see why an i7 is a better choice. specially for affordable they are.
Old 7th May 2010
  #17
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Dysanfel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsilbers View Post
so all of the above is from a composer (film or otherwise that use heavy samples use) point of view, for other types of production then i dont see why an i7 is a better choice. specially for affordable they are.
I think he means if your making records get an iMac. If your scoring film, need PCie audio interfaces, or absolutely have to have the UAD stuff get a Mac Pro.
Old 8th May 2010
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
I am not going to spend $1000.00 to try and find out. HAHA!
I will be ordering 4 more GB but 8 is as far as I will go for a while as those
DDR3 4GB SO-DIMM's are way too much right now.
But more RAM is not going to speed up my CPU and RAM in the iMac is already faster faster than the slow server EEC RAM in a Mac Pro.
If you want to make any computer go faster add a SSD drive to it. It is by far the cheapest way to get instant satisfaction. My Mac Pro boots in about 30 seconds and launches PT in about that same amount of time. Sessions opens faster, much quicker reboots after a crash etc.
ECC memory is no slower than non-ECC memory. However they were using Fully Buffered DIMMs which are much slower and use much more power. No good reason to use FBDIMMs really but that was the way they did it at the time.

i7s also use triple channel memory (if configured correctly) previous systems only used duel channel and it ran at a much slower speed.
If you add/change memory to an i5/i7/5500/5600/3400/3500/3600 without reconfiguring the entire memory allocation you will make the entire memory system run slower. So think twice before just poping in an extra SO-DIMM.
Old 8th May 2010
  #19
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Dysanfel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussie_techie View Post
ECC memory is no slower than non-ECC memory.
Actually, a computer engineer friend of mine told me that ECC memory is slower as it must take the time to check for the error. But, in the real world you would never notice.
Old 8th May 2010
  #20
Gear Nut
 

Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysanfel View Post
I think he means if your making records get an iMac. If your scoring film, need PCie audio interfaces, or absolutely have to have the UAD stuff get a Mac Pro.
well, at the moment I am just writing my own music, which is a combination of electronica, orchestral and pop stuff. I never used UAD or PCi cards so far, but maybe I would get a Mac Pro thinking of an investment in the future years, so that if I get into serious composing or into heavier stuff I am not crippled. especially I want to get into synthesis and sampling more.
at the moment I am in a really bad situation, with an old pc that doesn't handle not even 3 vsts together. Open Eastwest or Omnisphere and everything freezes up.
I spend half of my time bouncing down midi into audio, freezing tracks, sometimes bouncing down more audio together...in the end mixing is just impossible and everything sounds like rubbish. this is because when I built my first system I thought I would just write very basic demos, but then my production got more and more involved.
it's so frustrating...I really want to get a good system or I'll go mad :-)
thanks for all the feedback
V
Old 9th May 2010
  #21
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Dysanfel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doublethumb View Post
well, at the moment I am just writing my own music, which is a combination of electronica, orchestral and pop stuff. I never used UAD or PCi cards so far, but maybe I would get a Mac Pro thinking of an investment in the future years, so that if I get into serious composing or into heavier stuff I am not crippled. especially I want to get into synthesis and sampling more.
at the moment I am in a really bad situation, with an old pc that doesn't handle not even 3 vsts together. Open Eastwest or Omnisphere and everything freezes up.
I spend half of my time bouncing down midi into audio, freezing tracks, sometimes bouncing down more audio together...in the end mixing is just impossible and everything sounds like rubbish. this is because when I built my first system I thought I would just write very basic demos, but then my production got more and more involved.
it's so frustrating...I really want to get a good system or I'll go mad :-)
thanks for all the feedback
V
If your just writing music for yourself and don't need UAD or a PCIe audio interface I believe a MacPro is overkill. Theres nothing you can't do on the i7 and it is a clean design that saves a ton of desktop space. Not to mention the greatest backlit LED monitor I have ever seen.

I believe I will get 5-7 years of use out of my iMac.

For ****s and giggles I just opened 7 instances of Omnispheres with the "Galactic Invasion" performance at 128 sample latency and it uses about 28% of my CPU.
Old 9th May 2010
  #22
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Darwin James's Avatar
 

my new 27" i7 arrived this evening. setting it up now. :D
Old 10th May 2010
  #23
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysanfel View Post
If your just writing music for yourself and don't need UAD or a PCIe audio interface I believe a MacPro is overkill. Theres nothing you can't do on the i7 and it is a clean design that saves a ton of desktop space. Not to mention the greatest backlit LED monitor I have ever seen.

I believe I will get 5-7 years of use out of my iMac.

For ****s and giggles I just opened 7 instances of Omnispheres with the "Galactic Invasion" performance at 128 sample latency and it uses about 28% of my CPU.
well, in my last song (where I had to bounce down all the Vsts) I used 4 atmospheres, battery, eastwest symphonic orchestra, stylus RMX, ravity, Korg Wavestation and about 15 audio tracks between vocals and strings, with 3 different delays, 2 different reverbs and 2 Guitar Rig (besides the usual compressors and EQ). Other arrangements are bigger than this one.
The thing is I am not sure where I am going to be in 3 years time and I do not want to regret not having a Mac Pro to save basically 500 pounds..
on the other hand it' true that the imac screen is a real treat :-)
Old 10th May 2010
  #24
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Thumbs up

well, I narrowed down my options:

1) Imac i7 with one 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core and with 8 GB RAM (2 x 4 GB). it costs £2250.

2)Mac Pro with two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon, 8 GB RAM (2 x 4 GB). it costs £ 2875.

I need to run simultaneously:

plugins from Komplete 6
Omnisphere
Stylus
Eastwest QL gold
my arrangements might have 15-20 audio tracks with 5-8 audio plugins on them.

Possibly will get UAD or more processor hungry plugins, but not sure, that might happen in 2-3 years depending on which direction I take.

Which one OF THE TWO CHOICES ABOVE do you think is the best one? I am really thankful for any comment/advice!

Val
Old 10th May 2010
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doublethumb View Post
well, I narrowed down my options:

1) Imac i7 with one 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core and with 8 GB RAM (2 x 4 GB). it costs £2250.

2)Mac Pro with two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon, 8 GB RAM (2 x 4 GB). it costs £ 2875.

I need to run simultaneously:

plugins from Komplete 6
Omnisphere
Stylus
Eastwest QL gold
my arrangements might have 15-20 audio tracks with 5-8 audio plugins on them.

Possibly will get UAD or more processor hungry plugins, but not sure, that might happen in 2-3 years depending on which direction I take.

Which one OF THE TWO CHOICES ABOVE do you think is the best one? I am really thankful for any comment/advice!

Val
Well, iMac = no UAD possibility, so if that's definitely on your radar you'll need to replace the computer at that point too.
Old 10th May 2010
  #26
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Dysanfel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doublethumb View Post
well, in my last song (where I had to bounce down all the Vsts) I used 4 atmospheres, battery, eastwest symphonic orchestra, stylus RMX, ravity, Korg Wavestation and about 15 audio tracks between vocals and strings, with 3 different delays, 2 different reverbs and 2 Guitar Rig (besides the usual compressors and EQ). Other arrangements are bigger than this one.
The thing is I am not sure where I am going to be in 3 years time and I do not want to regret not having a Mac Pro to save basically 500 pounds..
on the other hand it' true that the imac screen is a real treat :-)
The i7 can handle that session easily. If you must get the Mac Pro wait for the 12 cores coming in June. The diffence was about $1400+ for me in the US. That made the decision much easier. I can't speak on UK pricing, but I save about $300+ over Apple's website.
Old 10th May 2010
  #27
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doublethumb View Post
well, I narrowed down my options:

1) Imac i7 with one 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core and with 8 GB RAM (2 x 4 GB). it costs £2250.

2)Mac Pro with two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon, 8 GB RAM (2 x 4 GB). it costs £ 2875.
and the iMac comes already with the 27" screen, obviously, while you have to buy it apart for the Mac Pro.
Old 11th May 2010
  #28
Gear Nut
 

Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysanfel View Post
The i7 can handle that session easily. If you must get the Mac Pro wait for the 12 cores coming in June. The diffence was about $1400+ for me in the US. That made the decision much easier. I can't speak on UK pricing, but I save about $300+ over Apple's website.
well, the difference in price depends on how you configure the mac. One british pound is about two USD (just a guess).
I am a student until june 2nd, that's why I want to hurry up...with the educational discount I can save £250=$500 on the Imac i7 or £500=$1000 on the Mac pro. although 12 core....gosh, now you're tempting me heh
As for the screen, I guess if I bought the Mac Pro I would opt for a cheaper screen. I'd love to have the 27 inch, but that would be really expensive on top of the mac pro (about $1000).
Old 11th May 2010
  #29
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KarmaPolice's Avatar
 

I wouldn´t buy an I mac before they have usb3. There will be no way I can think of to upgrade the iMac to usb3.
Old 11th May 2010
  #30
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarmaPolice View Post
I wouldn´t buy an I mac before they have usb3. There will be no way I can think of to upgrade the iMac to usb3.
well, I have a Tascam US-1641 interface and that uses USB anyway...do you think USB3 will be out soon?
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