Mac OS forum

General discussion

Need Techi Advice:Imac vs Mac Pro without spendingmany $$

I need a Mac to do video editing, audio and video streaming as a leisure time activity. I am not a Pro and so I don't want to spend too much on this.
Should I go for a high end Imac or a low end Mac Pro?.

Which of them will last me longer without having to buy a new one?

I want something that I will not have to throw away within 5 years.
I need assistance so that I can purchase asap.


Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Need Techi Advice:Imac vs Mac Pro without spendingmany $$
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Need Techi Advice:Imac vs Mac Pro without spendingmany $$
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Then no laptop.

In reply to: Need Techi Advice:Imac vs Mac Pro without spendingmany $$

Laptops tend to be 3 to 5 year devices. In this case, the iMac.

-> Did you know spam robots harvest that email address?

Try to not post that and if you ask, we can delete this thread so you can try again.

Collapse -
Forgive an ignoramus's (or ignorama's) question

In reply to: Then no laptop.

Bob, but why such a short life? In my family, as you know, we keep our computers for ages, including laptops. Is there something I don't know? Is it really necessary (or likely) to have to give up a laptop in three to five years? Will a laptop become truly obsolete or too small, or are you making this statement because those who are not like me start to hunger, after that length of time, for the latest thing?

Not quibbling at bit; I really don't know. Considering that my old PowerBook G3 is failing, bit by bit, at last, at eight years old (my desktop is older still) and I am thinking about the possibility of getting a replacement, I want all the information I can get. I hope to fill in this blank, if you'll be so kind.



Collapse -
Let's pick on a simple component. The flat flex wire.

In reply to: Forgive an ignoramus's (or ignorama's) question

It's rated at 5 years of life. Yes they may last longer but when people are looking for more than 4 years for a piece of modern electronics we only need to start finding the rated life of the components to see we are stretching our luck.

Collapse -

In reply to: Need Techi Advice:Imac vs Mac Pro without spendingmany $$

I am running an iMac, which is almost two years old, and I am quite satisfied with its performance running Photoshop CS3, Aperture and some plug-ins. I have done a little video editing, and the iMac seems to do quite well with iMovie. I have not tried any higher end video editing programs on my iMac.

One thing to investigate is whether your applications of choice are able to make use of multiple processors. If not, you may be wasting your money on the four or eight processors that you would get in a Mac Pro. Photoshop, for example, uses only one processor at a time, so adding processors of the same speed does not make the program run faster.

The benefit of the Mac Pro, in addition to more processors and generally faster data pipelines, is expandability. The only thing that can be easily added to the iMac, by the owner, is more RAM. You can easily add internal hard drives (up to four), RAM, video cards, etc. to the Mac Pro. You can also add a RAID card to the Mac Pro, although you would definitely be out of the low end if you did that!

I have tried to future proof computer purchases in the past by buying the top of the line and have never made it to five years; some sort of new processor or architecture always comes along that is just too tempting. My previous Apple PowerBook did make it four years before I sold it. If I were you, I would max out the iMac, buy a second monitor, to make editing easier, and two external hard drives, one to make video editing faster and one for backup. Then, I would start saving my money for the Mac that I will just have to have in three to five years!

Collapse -
Imac vs Mac Pro which is better for editing w/o spend'g $$$$

In reply to: iMac

Thanks for yr detailed response as well as the specific recommendations you made including Video card specifications, and the strategy to adopt in order to prepare for future upgrades.

With an Imac 24" and 2.93ghz speed with a 512 MB ATI radeon card, do you think that machine would be able to handle video editing, streaming video as well as audio clips and video on demand without impacting the performance of the machine?

Collapse -
Without a doubt,

In reply to: Imac vs Mac Pro which is better for editing w/o spend'g $$$$

but you probably don't want to be doing all those things at once! Happy


Collapse -
Probably strong enough

In reply to: Imac vs Mac Pro which is better for editing w/o spend'g $$$$

Well, that iMac would be faster than my 1-year old Mac Pro (2008, 2GHz, 6GB RAM)! But then, I do have two processors and four hard drives in my Mac, which is really important for video editing since you need a lot of scratch space for the software. But yes, that configuration should work (with at least 4GB of RAM) with programs from iMovie and Final Cut Express on up to Final Cut Pro, After Effects and Motion. I agree you might also want to get an additional 20"+ display for the menus.

Collapse -
things to consider

In reply to: Need Techi Advice:Imac vs Mac Pro without spendingmany $$

What you want to look for are 3 things:

A fast large hard drive: on a laptop the standard is 5400 rpm - this will slow you down. On the imac it is 7200 rpm, i believe.

As much memory as you can afford. 3rd party is cheaper (OWC is a good source) I don't know how easy it is to replace in the imac - it's easy on the macbook. 4gigs is nice. 2 is probably OK since you'll be going to the hardrive anyway.

A video card with lots of memory - get the best you can. This feature is the key to future proofing:

The video card - this is harder or impossible to upgrade later. The rest (hard drive, system memory) can be changed as you grow out of them. With hd video and future formats the demands on memory and storage will grow.

Of particular concern is that more and more image/ video programs will use video memory - as opposed to system memory. This will be your bottleneck in the years to come if you don't get the best video card you can afford.

Looking at the Apple store: the midrange 24" imac with the 512mb ati card is the best bet. Do not get the nvidea 9400 low range 24" imac. This is integrated memory and it will slow you and resale value will plummet.

OK- other things:

Laptop: You can take the laptop with you. You pay for the miniaturation of components: It is much more expensive than the equivalently configured imac.

Imac: Cheaper. The 24" screen is very good - better than the laptop and bigger.
The smaller imac screens are not of the same quality.

If portability is not an issue - go with the imac.

If it is an issue, configure the macbook carefully (see above)- get the extended warranty - and enjoy a lovely machine.

Both should be durable.

One last thing: For video work the ideal is to have all your project folders on a separate drive from your application. It speeds things up a lot and when dealing with large video files. HD fragmentation might also be a concern.

So, I'd invest in a firewire or e-sata drive(if you have the port) for this purpose. USB is a last resort.

One really last thing: If you get the imac - make sure you get the full keyboard - as many video programs use this.

Final last thing: Do yourself a favor: get a good mouse and never use the apple thing. Put it away and pretend it never happened.

Collapse -
Imac Vs MacPro, which one is durable if on a budget?

In reply to: things to consider

Thanks for yr suggestions and ideas.
Does it mean if i get the high end Imac I should be fine to do video editing,as well as do video streaming and audio clips like mp3 without any problem? No occasional freezes like like windows would do?

What do you think?


Collapse -
yes, probably, yes

In reply to: Imac Vs MacPro, which one is durable if on a budget?

It's a powerful machine.

Yes: The main thing to avoid hiccups for video editing is to have one drive for your application and another for your project files. a single harddrive would have to both run the system and read and write the files. a firewire 800 drive would be good.

Probably: Video streaming would probably have more to do with your incoming bandwidth and video compression than anything else.

Yes: MP3's should be a piece of cake.

double check this with your ISP and maybe apple.

In general the Apple OS is more stable than windows. Nothing is perfect but it is very good.

Collapse -
(NT) Agreed, no problem

In reply to: yes, probably, yes

Collapse -
Imac Vs Mac Pro

In reply to: Imac Vs MacPro, which one is durable if on a budget?

Thanks. Do you have any specific specs i could use in terms of the type of Hard drivr space and its rpm speed that i could use to save work i've done?
Is there a particular vendor/manufacturer whoso hard drives are better than others when using them with a Mac?

Collapse -
HD's are a matter of personal taste

In reply to: Imac Vs Mac Pro

and experience.
I like the Seagate drives, they have a very good warranty,
Western Digital are ok
I don't like Maxtor, bad experiences.

As for size, don't let anyone tell you that size does not matter! Go for 500+ for your storage


Collapse -
Imac vs Mac Pro which is better for editing w/o spend'g $$$$

In reply to: HD's are a matter of personal taste


Collapse -
good resource

In reply to: Need Techi Advice:Imac vs Mac Pro without spendingmany $$

OWC specializes in mac peripherals, and is a good source of information.

Regarding the hardrive: A cooling fan in the case would be a good idea and , as I mentioned before, firewire.

When you get it and format it via the mac disc utility use a guid formating scheme. If you use it for system back up this will make it bootable. However, if you plan on sharing files with windows users you may want to use FAT but you'll lose a lot of functionality.

It might be a good idea to get a large enough drive to make 2 partitions: one for your system and one for your project files. This will avoid corrupting your backed up system files due to reading and writing large video files. So maybe a terabyte HD if you can afford it. The prices are dropping as we speak.

And when you finish a project burn it all the files to a dvd so you don't lose it .

If some of this is Greek to you don't worry. if you haven't used OSX, once you poke around a bit you'll find it very straightforward. When you get the mac and go to disc utility it is very easy to use. Also the apple website has a very good problem solving forum and tech info on all these subjects.

You're a lucky man to be getting these nice new toys. I'd just open the boxes and start playing.

Collapse -
my mistake

For some reason I thought you said "mac book pro" not "mac pro".

Some of my responses must have been confusing.

What i said about the imac holds true. The mac pro is a lot of machine - it's BIG. It would- of course offer you the ultimate flexibility but for what you've described the imac will be fine.

Sorry for the misread.

Collapse -
iMac and Video editing

In reply to: my mistake

I do a fair amount of video on my 2.16GHz 20 inch iMac(2GB) using Final Cut Express. It works pretty well - even for HD. But you absolutely *must* use an external Firewire drive for your media, especially if your are capturing from tape. My Imac only has FW400, the new ones have FW800(groans with jealousy!). The only thing I'd use an external USB drive is for backup- in my case I use SuperDuper! onto a WD 500GB external USB. I have a 1 1TB Lacie FW drive for my video work. Sounds a lot but HD files are BIG.

The main area of frustration with the iMac is rendering times - it can take a while to render if you have done a lot of compositing. A Mac Pro would be nice, but as a home user I just can't justify the expense(but if I win the UK Lottery, who knows..)

Editing video on a Mac is great. I started out on the old iMovie HD and moved up to Final Cut. I have never really managed to get to grips with iMovie 08/09, but if you want to layer up multiple tracks of video, have better control over the audio and easier media management then the learning curve for Final Cut is well worth the effort. There is a lot of help out there(most things that apply to Final Cut Pro are also relevant to the Express version - the interface is the same, just missing some of the extra bells and whistles))

Collapse -
Some confusion...

In reply to: Need Techi Advice:Imac vs Mac Pro without spendingmany $$

I think some folks here are a bit confused (or maybe it's me)...

I don't think Fred is considering an iMac vs. a MacBook Pro, but an iMac versus a Mac Pro.

Popular Forums

Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Sublime suburban chariot

High on style and technology, the 2019 Volvo XC90 is an incredibly satisfying everyday crossover.