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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

'early 2009 iMac (Part Two):
Do you need a Mac Pro or
will an iMac do the job?

Posted Thursday, April 7th, 2009, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Many readers have asked me, "Do I really need a Mac Pro or will an iMac do the job?" The short answer is, "It depends on what you do." We have gathered a mixed bag of benchmarks to make this point. The graphs show two 4-core Mac Pros being compared to the fastest 'early 2009' iMac along with a few older iMacs.

GRAPH LEGEND
m2.9 4c = 4-core 2009 Mac Pro 2.93GHz with 12G of RAM and Radeon HD 4870
m2.7 4c = 4-core 2009 Mac Pro 2.66GHz with 6G of RAM and Geforce 120 GT
m2.8 4c = 4-core 2008 Mac Pro 2.8GHz with 8G of RAM and Radeon HD 2600 XT.
i3.1 G13 = early 2009 iMac 3.06GHz with 4GB of RAM and GeForce 130 GT
i3.1 G8S = early 2008 iMac 3.06GHz with 4GB of RAM and GeForce 8800 GS
i2.8 R26b = early 2008 iMac 2.8GHz with 4GB of RAM and Radeon HD 2600
i2.8 R26a = mid 2007 iMac 2.8GHz with 4GB of RAM and Radeon HD 2600

"Schizophrenia"
The iMac does some things much slower than the Mac Pro, some things just as fast, and some things even faster. So, is an iMac just as "good" as a Mac Pro? It depends on how you use it.

In a sense, it's not fair to compare the iMac with the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro is a different "animal" that can be expanded with multiple drives, more memory, and multiple graphics cards. The iMac is a sleek all-in-one, though it is a little more expandable than it used to be (up to 8GB of RAM) and comes with more choices of GPUs than before (as long as it is chosen before the factory build).

Fair or not, the comparison is invariably made because there are consumers trying to decide between the two. We hope our data will help clarify the choice.

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copyright 2009 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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