Why do you need a Mac Pro when you can get an iMac?

“Do we need the Mac Pro at all? After all, isn’t the iMac the… well… pro desktop Mac?” Peter Cohen asks for iMore.

“Topping out with a a $2000 price tag before you get fancy, it’s easy to look at the 27-inch iMac and conclude that it is a suitable replacement for a Mac Pro, at least for most Mac users,” Cohen writes. “Inside the high-end 27-inch iMac model is a speedy quad-core Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 3.2 GHz, with a blazing fast 3.4 GHz i7 as a configure to order option; RAM configurable to 32 GB, up to 3 terabytes of storage space in a combination SSD/hard disk ‘Fusion Drive;’ a speedy Nvidia GeForce GTX 675MX graphics subsystem with 1TB of video memory. There aren’t a lot of compromises inside the iMac.”

Cohen writes, “But despite all those attributes, it’s clear that the iMac is designed to suit a fundamentally different audience than the Mac Pro. It’s certainly a machine suited to a fairly wide swath of professionals, but at its heart, the iMac remains a consumer-focused machine. Inside that slim case is a system architecture that’s designed around parts for laptops. Nvidia intended the GTX 675M graphics chip specifically for laptops, for example. Apple’s certainly blurred the line between consumer and professional workstations with the iMac, but it hasn’t erased it.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

49 Comments

        1. Honestly curious – what type of work do you do that you need to daisy chain so much equipment?

          And the iMac DEFINITELY isn’t for everyone. Glad the Mac Pro update is finally coming.

  1. I can think of many reasons. How about because I want to do high-end 3D CAD and I need a real graphics card instead of the middling one in the iMac.

  2. PCIe is still relevant and supports many needed third-party devices. Thunderbolt, while promising, has yet to deliver as an end game interface, especially as it pertains to the analog world.

    Mac Pro is still warranted, because it is the only Mac that supports PCIe.

    But, maybe, Apple does not want to sell trucks to truck drivers anymore.

  3. Stupid question. There is no iMac of any kind configured in any way that can do what a Mac Pro can do – that is if Tim Cook ever makes good on his stupid promise (lie) to produce one.

        1. I’m not a troll. Like your peeps on this site, you have no substantive or meaningful rebuttal to the reality and common sense of my posts so you take the cheap and easy way out by calling me names. Why don’t you just say nothing at all?

      1. Sometime about mid year last year Tim promised a new Mac Pro in the spring of 2013 – not the fall. Among the great many rumors of what will happen at WWDC is that the new Mac Pro will make its debut. The stupid thing he did was to kill the sales of the current Mac Pro – antiquated as it is – and leave the correct impression that he has absolutely no idea of what he is doing.

        1. Anyone who doesn’t constantly gush about Apple is called a troll around here. You just have to consider the sources. Most of them don’t do anything on their Macs except post to the site. And that’s okay. But it’s no reason to be a fanboy. In fact, there is no reason to be a fanboy. I’m embarrassed for them. They seldom if ever know how to make an objective observation and comment. If you are critical of Apple they turn into defensive screaming little girls. I don’t get it but it is funny. You’re right about Tim Cook’s comment on the Mac Pros coming in the spring of 2013. We are in the spring of 2013. No Mac Pros. I believe they will get here by fall if not this summer. Those of us who use them to make a living need them yesterday. But I’ll take 4 as soon as they are available and a few more later this summer. Obviously anyone who knows anything knows that the iMac is not a substitute for a Mac Pro. Just another article to fill space. A waste of time.

          1. Agree with everything you said.

            As to your not getting it, one reason for the founding of this website was as a tent pole, a rallying place, for chronic Windows sufferers, many with emotional scars and stories to tell. There is a certain fervor of the converted that shines through the verbiage, as well as a twelve-step recovering addict mentality that can seem startling.

            From MDN’s mission statement:
            Most importantly, MacDailyNews exists to provide a place for our readers and the Mac community to discuss these daily news items in their own words with real-time feedback.

            Why do we do this? Because long ago we received the most important advice a computer user can ever receive, “Get a Mac.” We want to help spread that valuable advice.

    1. Tim Cook said fall and an apple spokesperson confirmed that there would be a new Mac Pro shortly after Cook said so.
      Now you would have a reason to call him a liar if 2013 came and went without a new Mac Pro but until then chill out.

      Most of the delays were due to the late late unveiling of the ivy bridge version of the xeon, which was 1 year late. To design and build a machine like the mac pro takes quite a while too. Its not like an iMac that uses mostly laptop designed parts.

  4. I’ve played with a Mac Pro in an Apple store. To me it runs no faster than a MacBook Air. I open apps on it thinking it’ll be blazingly fast but nope still as slow as molasses. To me the Mac Pro is an anachronistic dinosaur that is a throwback to the age of the mainframe computer. I have no need for one and if it’s as dead as a door nail, I don’t think I’ll miss it.

    1. Mr. left nut… you have absolutely no idea of what your are talking about. Enjoy the gadgets Apple is trying to bring up to speed but leave the computing to adults.

      1. I confess, I will not buy a Mac Pro, nor do I think I need one, still I am an adult and the price of (4) iMac 27″ consumer machines each with quad core i7s provides me with a powerful computing mini cluster – at a reasonable price. And as backup, it can also be seen as 4 independent yet complete units for use.

        But with that said it doesn’t mean Apple should not make one.

        If Apple wishes to maintain the leader in the computer industry and hope to continue winning benchmarks outshining the competition – that alone should evoke reasons to make a Mac Pro. Whether the professional or superpower computer needs require one or ten is not to question. They know what they want, if Apple can not deliver that is a shame.

    2. This is where BLN shows his true colours. He’s Mr. Amateur Hour and doesn’t understand individuals’ computing needs

      My Mac Pro houses 4 2TB drives, runs 3 monitors and has 3 PCIe cards enclosed as well. The next generation of Pro Tools (11) addresses Macs on a core-by-core basis. This will give my Mac Pro 24 virtual cores. Furthermore, my CPU is in a room remote to my studio and monitors.

      You can’t do this with an iMac.

      Sorry BLN, an iMac won’t cut it. And nor do you.

      1. Jay and Tom,

        I finally figured out BLN.

        He is a smart guy. Whereas I used to take offense at his posts, I have come to realize that they are carefully crafted and posted with purpose.

        His goal is to bring out as much passion as possible and push the boundaries of reality and watch the fallout and creative responses.

        Enjoy his posts…it’s just a joke.

    3. Erm, methinks you don’t have a particularly strong grasp of how computing works.

      Were you running large data-sets, or working on intensive CAD files, on either? No? Then what the heck are you complaining about?

      Essentially, you’re arguing that pro-level computers are no different than consumer-level laptops, simply because your limited use doesn’t tap into the power of the high level machines.

      It’s like declaring that a Honda Accord and a Ferrari Italia 458 are the same speed, simply because you only drive 35mph.

  5. Reasons why an iMac does not (and for the next few years will not) replace a decent Mac Pro (I don’t consider that Mac Pro shipping today a decent Mac Pro). Some of these have already been mentioned.

    1) PCIe 3.0 and x16 and multiple x1 and x8 slots (think fibre channel and such connections)
    2) Multiple GPUs that can be used in OCL configurations
    3) Multiple SATA 6.0 with RAID support
    4) 12+ physical cores (24+ logical cores) for multi-threaded applications or running multiple, concurrent virtual machines in the same Mac
    5) Access to multiple UHD monitors (>= 2160p)
    6) Multiple optical drives (that can be swapped out for multiple Blu-ray drives, or multiple next generation optical drives)
    7) 128 GB RAM for large scale computations
    8) High end GPUs that can be independently upgraded (the current developer’s release supports the top of the line GeForce Titan card)
    9) Ability to connect multiple very high quality, calibrated monitors (that Apple will likely NEVER put into an iMac)
    10) multiple Ethernet ports (and even more possible in PCIe slots)

    If necessary I could think of more as this list flowed as fast as I could type. Need I go on?

    1. I second Mr. Morrison’s applause, and would only add something not mentioned generally here: the incredible ease of DIY upgrades to optical drives, storage drives, RAM, video cards, Airport cards and such. Access through the side panel is outstanding as computers go, and even repairs to such components as the headphone jack is a breeze. Let’s face it: If the iMac was not a Mac it would be laughed out of this forum for it performance parameters alone. Capable, yes. Comparable to the Mac Pro, no. The iMac is a sleek sports car, the Mac Pro a hybrid of a Freightliner, Hummer, Porsche and transit bus. It is a fast, tough revenue-earning machine. Suggesting that the iMac and Mac Pro could compete with, as opposed to merely complementing, each other is absurd.

  6. The most ignorant BS click-bait of the day award goes to…
    The doofus that thinks the overpriced desktop with a laptop CPU and GPU is somehow a suitable replacement for a highly expandable and flexible tower.

  7. Because I don’t want apples glossy 27 inch display, I want a 30 inch matte finish display. I’ve already bought the 30 inch Dell display that I plan to use with the new Mac Pro if it ever comes out. Because I dont want apples keyboard and mouse. I want to buy ones that suit me.

    What I really want is an upgraded mac-mini with components that can plug/snap together using thunderbolt.

    1. Say what? You mention all your wants and dos waiting a Mac Pro, then you end your post with, what you really want is a mac-mini?

      oh heavens – well if thats what you want – santas coming
      entitled to wish for whatever

  8. I need:
    1) Blu-ray drive (can’t put that in an iMac)
    2) Massive disk drive space (external drives don’t cut it)
    3) Windows (that doesn’t steal drive space from my single drive)
    4) 8+ cores of high-end processing (I do a lot of simulations and video encoding)

    iMacs don’t cut it. Anybody who thinks otherwise doesn’t know Jack.

    1. Exactly. Video card that comes with iMac is sub-standard for my purposes. Not to say the iMac isn’t a good machine, because it is. But nothing beats a Pro that is flexible enough to be easily upgraded

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