As my primary computer, I'm using a first-generation iMac Core 2 Duo; I believe I got it around Christmas 2007. At the time, I had little cash to spend on a computer, let alone a Mac; needless to say it wasn't "top-of-the-line."
Even though my iMac has served me well over the last two-to-three years, it's time for an upgrade; it's been lagging when running my normal day-to-day tasks, and choking when trying to do anything beyond that. So, I've done a bit of research and a lot of thinking, and I've come up with two possible solutions to my problem; however, I may need some help from you to decide on which route I should go.
My first idea was to go straight for Apple's top-of-the-line Mac: the Mac Pro. It's a fast machine, and has a lot of room for upgrades (4 PCI-Express slots, 4 HDD bays, two optical bays, etc). Since it would be relatively easy to keep up-to-date, the lifetime of the computer should be rather long (I'm hoping for at least 5 years). However, there is one main drawback with this option: price.
Being Apple's high-end machine, even the base model starts at around $2,000 (the quad-core machine). On top of that, monitors are still needed; my preference is to go with a multi-monitor setup instead of a single, large monitor (I like being able to separate my work across multiple displays). Reasonably, I'd have to add another $150 per monitor that I'd want attached; being that I'm used to a dual-display already, that's at least another $300 on top of that.
My second idea was to upgrade my current setup: get a newer generation iMac. The main benefits of going this route is the price and the fact that it already comes with a monitor (since it's an all-in-one computer). Also, some of the extras it comes with are a bit nicer, such as the magic mouse and wireless keyboard (although, I wish it were a full-sized wireless keyboard). However, I lose all of the other benefits that the Mac Pro offers; upgrading is mainly limited to just RAM, and if I ever want more than two monitors, I'm totally out of luck (an issue I ran into with my current iMac).
This is where I'd like some input. You've heard my arguments for both computers; each I could easily integrate into my workflow and replace my current iMac with. I've outlined some of the specs of each computer, along with their price. At the bottom of the post you'll find a poll where you can leave your opinion, and feel free to leave commentary in, well, the comments.
8-Core Mac Pro
2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
Two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x2GB
1TB Serial ATA Drive
640GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB
NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB
Built-in 27-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen TFT active-matrix liquid crystal display with IPS technology; 2560px x 1440px.
Not Provided; however, the graphics card allows for up to two displays to be attached.
8x double-layer SuperDrive
Apple Magic Mouse
Apple Wireless Keyboard (English) and User's Guide
Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (English) and User's Guide
Before you cast your vote, there are a few other things you should know:
[update]Some additional information on the update schedule for the Mac Pro and the iMac. Looks like both could have potential updates soon. Mac Rumors Buyer's Guide.[/update]
With that, feel free to cast your vote: