Poll: Mac Pro or iMac?

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.

27-Inch iMac

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.

Optical Drive

8x double-layer SuperDrive


Apple Magic Mouse

Apple Mouse

Apple Wireless Keyboard (English) and User's Guide

Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (English) and User's Guide

Add'l Specs

Apple.com: iMac Tech Specs

Apple.com: Mac Pro Tech Specs




Before you cast your vote, there are a few other things you should know:

  • No, I will not buy a PC. Sure, you can make a hackintosh for cheaper and this and that, but I want a real Mac. There are several reasons why, but that's not the point of this post.
  • There is a high possibility that the Mac Pro will be getting updated to a 12-core system sometime in the near future (hopefully at the same price point). I don't plan on getting the new computer for a few months, so it's entirely possible for me to go this route.
  • I may still want to get a new monitor if I go with the iMac, since my current secondary monitor is only running at 1440x900.

[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:

[poll id="2"]