6-core Mac Pro vs. iMac

“Jonathan at TLD ran a series of benchmarks on the 6-core Mac Pro vs quad-core iMac,” Mike Flaminio reports for Insanely Great Mac.

“I’ve got an argument against Apple using Xeon CPUs in terms of value, however, the new Mac Pro seems to stack up OK,” Flaminio reports. “Roughly it seems the Mac Pro score about 30-40% faster and it’s about 30% more expensive.”

Flaminio reports, “Where things can get sticky is the iMac of course includes a 27-inch display, but the Mac Pro incorporates dual workstation-class GPUs.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. I think Apple would be pleasantly surprised at the number of customers it would have for a mid-sized tower with:
    1) 2-3 options for CPUs — at least as fast as the iMac i7
    2) 2-3 options for discrete GPUs from cheap to Gaming-ready
    3) hard drive options for 2 internal discs or SSDs
    4) easily user-upgradeable memory
    5) no monitor included
    6) competitive pricing (about equal to iMac)

    Combined with a new PC switcher ad campaign, Apple could gain a lot of former Windows XP people who don’t like Windows 8 but who really do like to tinker with their machines. 2 hard drives would be important to them so they can run their Windows stuff from a different drive.

      1. Given the automated assembly plant for MacPros, I am guessing only options which are compatible with the existing case size and general automation devices are likely to be considered in the future for options on the MacPro.

        In reality, the MacMini is a similar example of a total package in a constrained space which is primarily externally upgradeable. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a modified MacMini form factor designed to be run in full automation!

      2. All Macs are Personal Computers. What Apple does not offer is a desktop that is really easy for a Wintel switcher. Allowing them to carry over their external hardware & monitor and offering a little bit of customization would be a huge attraction.

        We realize this the internet, but you don’t have to be so obtuse.

    1. Apple has gone off the idea of offering too many choices/ Strictly limited configurations are much more efficient from a stock control perspective.

      However now that Apple is starting to assemble computers in the US and using a high degree of automation, it might be possible to offer a wider choice of configurations and build them to order near instantly.

        1. Which would be significant if Apple were stocking all those various configurations, but they aren’t: they’re CTO options and not taking up warehouse space.

          Unlike the old Performa/Quadra days. Or like Dell or HP now.

      1. The idea with the Mac Pro design is that you aren’t limited by the size of the box when you want to expand. You can choose different drive technology, from different vendors, as it evolves, without worrying about it being supported internally. You can put those drives in an external enclosure, which connects via Thunderbolt, which is faster than any SATA connection.

        Unbundling expansion slots from the core of the system is brilliant. As soon as you jam it all in one box, you limit choices.

        1. The addition of internal SATA drive bays to a PCIE (Thunderbolt) machine increases compatibility, not the other way around.

          Desktop buyers care less about box dimensions and more about compatibility. Nobody would complain if the Mac mini was twice as tall as it currently is.

          Also, for those people who want something besides a glossy cinema screen and more powerful than a mini, Apple forces them to upgrade to a Xeon workstation. That’s way overkill for the gamer or amateur. There is plenty of room in the lineup for a mid-range desktop machine.

    2. @MacUser: With the exception of #2 (GPUs), what you described is a Mac mini. It can be ordered with different CPUs and multiple (2) drives, including both HD and SSD (or both in a Fusion set-up). The RAM is incredibly easy to replace and the price is right.

      Altho I use a Mac mini every day (with extra RAM and a Fusion drive it rocks), I wish for a return to the configuration of the 2011 model that had a discrete graphics card. But maybe that won’t be necessary when they ship with IRIS…

      1. The GPU issue is rather significant for some people. Laptop integrated graphics aren’t going to impress the big-screen gamer. For a little less than a 27″ iMac, why not offer the same or even better performance without a built-in screen?

        The mini might do OK compared to the smaller iMac, on non-graphics tasks, but the 27 inch iMac offers way more clock speed and twice the RAM.

        So if Apple wants users to embrace Thunderbolt, to push PCI devices further away from the CPU, then why not do the same for displays? Why couldn’t Apple have a high-margin prosumer desktop machine without a screen?

  2. Yes, the audience for the iMac will likely never even encounter the types of apps the Mac Pro is designed to run, or the types of files or data it is designed to process. These comparisons are utterly ridiculous. Why is this confusing to people? If you don’t know why you might need a Mac Pro or similarly powerful machine, than you very likely don’t need one. If you do know, you know nothing else will fit the task.

    The terming of Office as ‘professional’ software that enables ‘real work’ was probably the beginning, so, thanks Microsoft, thanks a lot. Specters of your dark ages still haunt the post PC era.

  3. There still seems to be some question as to how “pro” those GPU cards really are. As we should all know, the actual GPU’s on gaming and pro cards are the same. The difference lies in the ECC RAM, drivers, and a few other smaller things.

    Those cards don’t have ECC RAM, they contain less RAM than the equivalents they are compared to, and run at slower speeds. In addition, we don’t know what Apple has done with the drivers.

    I like this machine, but will wait until the next model before I get rid of my older Mac Pro. I don’t feel that the performance upgrade is as much as it could be, and that next year will see a boost that will make it more worthwhile.

  4. Just bought the iMac described in the video, maxed out plus 16GB or RAM for the kid and his 2nd Life military battles and for World of Warcraft. He says it’s blazing fast. Loves it. And it where the previous ’09 maxed out iMac was running really hot (really hot to the touch on the top backside) with these games, this baby stays cool as a cucumber.

  5. I wish Apple would sell one or two motherboards for the DIY types who want to build a box to suits their needs, but don’t particularly care what the box looks like. Never happen, but I can wish.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.