2012 MacBook Pro 15" vs 2012 iMac 27" - GPU question

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by frankiej60, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. frankiej60 macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2009
    I've been an Apple user since the mid-90's, and an iMac user for over 10 years. I currently have an '08 top-spec (for its time) iMac 24", and have been (in)patiently waiting for the new iMacs to be released, with the intention that I'd be buying a fully loaded BTO 27" with the upgraded 3.4GHz i7 CPU and the NVIDIA 680MX 2GB GPU.

    But my circumstances have recently changed, which now has me considering that a fully specced MacBook Pro 15" might be a better option - namely due to me having to work remotely from home for a portion of the week, and in the office for the remainder of the week. Having a MacBook Pro would allow me to have all of my files and applications, and a familiar computer (once I'd get used to it), in the two places, and just plugging it into a display at each location. This is much more appealing than working on a PC (spit) at the office and on an iMac at home.

    My question is, in a nutshell, will the differences between the top-spec iMac and the top-spec Mcbook Pro be so gargantuous that its not even worth considering, despite the mobility benefits? I appreciate that both the CPU and GPU aren't comparable between the two, but could the advantages of the MacBook Pro's portability balance the drop in CPU/GPU from the iMac? My primary tools are the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator) and 3D modelling/rendering in Cinema 4D. There's a little FCP work thrown in there as well, occasionally, but that's only a fraction of the time in comparison to Photoshop/C4D. I guess I'm also asking if someone can advise me if the drop in GPU will greatly affect my 3D modelling, or does this utilise CPU more than GPU. Where will I notice the lower GPU performance most noticeably? And for rendering, will the lower CPU be hugely inferior, or just slightly?

    Hopefully you're still awake after this long description, and if so, hopefully you can advise me on the above? Many thanks.
  2. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    I will try to make it short :)

    Most likely, it won't. It depends on the complexity of your models though. Then again, if you work with really complex models, you would be looking at professional GPUs.

    In games :)

    The performance gap between the maxed out iMac (i7 3770) and the base retina MBP (i7 3615QM) is at most 15-20% in the benchmarks I am aware of.
  3. frankiej60, Dec 8, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012

    frankiej60 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2009
    Thanks. I do do many very detailed 3D models; does the actual modelling process require more from the CPU than GPU, or vice versa (on my current iMac it sometimes momentarily beach balls when working with very hi-poly models I'm working on)? I believe that during rendering, it's the CPU, rather than the GPU that's important; is that right? Well, that's what I've noted from the Activity Monitor at least.

    I won't be doing much gaming (if any - I save that for the X360), so it's more about whether the Adobe CS suite or C4D will be stifled by the Macbooks CPU/GPU for the intensive work I'll be doing? Would I be safe to say that on the MacBook they will work "very, very well", and on the iMac they would "be blazing"?

    Either way, I know that both machines would be a huge leap up from my current '08 iMac. I just don't want to be disappointed with the MacBook; for its price, I want it to be a beast using these apps.

    Thanks again for any advice/pointers.

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