2017 iMac or iMac Pro for photo work?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by steveperry, Jun 6, 2017.

  1. steveperry macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2016
    New member here - I hope you can help :)

    I'm torn between waiting for a new iMac Pro or just getting the top i7 core "standard" iMac. Mostly for photo editing, with some video (like a 10 minute video or two per month).

    I can't find any specific info, but I seem to recall programs like Photoshop and Lightroom really don't use multiple cores well and you're actually better off with a chip that has a faster clock speed. It seems like I saw a test where - for photoshop - a fast i7 was better than a similar Xeon.

    I figure if there's no real advantage to the Xeon processor for what I do, then why spend the extra $$ and wait another 6 months?

  2. M3Jedi77 macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2007
    You are correct. The iMac Pro (at $7000-$1500 once you add any reasonable options) is definitely overkill for photo. A faster single-processor is better than the multi-core setup for Lightroom & Photoshop.

    I just ordered my 2017 iMac ($4300 after tax) as an upgrade to my 2014 iMac which was also fully loaded. Hoping its a decent upgrade.
  3. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007
    Honestly, you don't even need the top end iMac. An i7 is overkill for your uses-- though it will help with video so perhaps worth getting. But ten minute videos not as much. Upgrade the RAM yourself with two 8Gb sticks for a total of 24GB. That will likely be plenty. From what you describe, you probably wouldn't even take advantage of of the 8GB of VRAM on the high end graphics card.

    What I'd recommend for your needs is the mid-range i5 with a 512GB SSD and there won't be any noticeable difference for you between this and the high end machine. However, it seems that money is not an object.

    So if you want, start by spending the extra coin on the 1TB SSD just to make your life awesome, and then think about upgrading to the i7 and then the highest end graphics card.

    However, here are two other options for spending the extra money that may be more valuable.

    1. Charity. It is always good to give
    2. Take some photography/video courses. You would have a better sense of the technology needs I think if you did.
  4. NMSUballa macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2012
    I have been debating a 27 inch now or refurbished iMac Pro when they come out. I want a new iMac Pro but just can't talk myself into spending $5000 on a computer. I take good care of my stuff so it will last a long time for me either way.

    I guess it comes down to how much you feel comfortable spending.
  5. steveperry thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2016
    Thanks - that's what I had suspected. I like the computer to move as fast as possible (I do quite a bit of photo editing, sometimes with an embarrassing number of layers), but I didn't think the Xeon would be a substantial enough improvement over the i7 for the price.
  6. ThisBougieLife macrumors 68000


    Jan 21, 2016
    SF Bay Area, California
    I'm also interested in an iMac for photo work, specifically Lightroom and Photoshop. Do you guys think the Radeon Pro 560 in the 21" would be good enough for photo editing (without overheating the computer)?

    I just remember trying out a 2015 21" with integrated graphics and the fans blasted just from browsing through the Photos app. :( I'd be afraid of something like that happening again.
  7. hugodrax macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007
    I would say the iMac. I have been doing photo editing (RAW files ie canon 6D DSLR) and video from that camera as well with no issues on my 2012 mac mini (i7 2.6ghz quad core ivy bridge with integrated GPU) and 16gb ram/ 1tb fusion drive.
    I have used Aperture,Lightroom and photos in addition to iMovie.

    Unless you like to throw money away, The 27inch iMac with the dedicated AMD GPU 580 pro with 8gb of VRAM in addition with the i7 quad core cpu would be a beast for what you want to do.

    These new iMacs provide the best bang for the buck in the performance per dollar offered in the Apple line up. I am upgrading to one as well since I have put 5 years of hard duty on my little Mac Mini and it is time she retires :)

    BTW: SSD is overkill.

    I store my photos etc.. on a Synology 716+II (dual 10TB drives) My fusion drive on my Mac Mini has served me well. the local lightroom catalog that get hit hard are cached on the SSD part all the images etc.. are on the synology.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 6, 2017 ---
    Or 3 Invest :) I bought my iMac with some of this months options premiums collected.
  8. Glideslope macrumors 603


    Dec 7, 2007
    A quiet place in NY.
    5K iMac with the i7 CPU. No other changes in config. Add RAM yourself. 32g is good for Photo Edit/Home Video..... :apple:
  9. MrX8503 macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2010
    For photo, I think the regular iMac 5K would suffice. iMac Pro is made for video editing.
  10. slitherjef macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2012
    May be a bit of a thread jack here but... I'm in a similar boat

    I was just getting ready to post a similar question. At first I was thinking about a MBP but with the iMac refresh I may choose this option instead.

    Was thinking the 27" and upgrade the ram myself, SSD either 512 or 1tb. I may run vms for fun but for the most part the photo and maybe some raw video (kind of unlikely but I have magic lantern installed on my 5dmkii) or 4k. And time lapse, so I'd end up doing final cut pro most likely

    I would store stuff on an external drive and maybe use external SSD as a scratch disc to work from

    Video card I'm unsure of and could use some guidance on.

    Right now I'm running a 2011 MBP and using light room and it's workable but slow as tar.
  11. Chancha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2014
    PS and LR do benefit from multi-core performance, but only at intensive tasks such as batch filters, and RAW processing and exporting etc. If you are a professional wedding photographer for example, and have to routinely deliver hundreds to thousands of adjusted photos from exported from RAWs then the time saved by having a good CPU is noticeable. But doing anything less than that will have little to no difference, which I believe describe your case.

    You should probably invest in a SSD internal drive though, since the PS and LR apps themselves, the cache, and catalogue, and the scratch disks etc all benefit from faster read/write speed onto the drives. Even though you can always get Thunderbolt 3 external SSD for this usage but nothing beats the internal PCIE SSD as of now, for an iMac.

    Light video editing can be easily done on mediocre GPUs, while the current iMac RX5xx series isn't near top of the line but they surely are not crap, and can serve your sparing video needs more than well.

    Do not consider the iMac Pro, it is completely out of your league of needs. if you actually have that level of budget, consider investing in an Eizo or NEC top of the line monitor, and perhaps an A3 ink jet printer as well. The iMac 5K screen while nice, it is DCI-P3 not Adobe RGB, it is more geared towards video and general digital media purposes but not so much for photography and print. Not to mention it is fuuking glossy.
  12. Master Photographer macrumors newbie

    Master Photographer

    Jun 7, 2017
    I have a related question about using a new 27" iMac for photography. I do fine art photography using high quality DSLR's and Lightroom/Photoshop for digital processing. Having a bright monitor (the new 5k monitor has 500 nits) is not of benefit to me because I set my monitors for ~95 nits so my monitor and prints match. Does anyone know how the new 27" iMac monitor performs at lower brightness levels? How about ease of calibration?
  13. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007
    According to this site https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/a...Intel-Core-i7-7700K-i5-7600K-Performance-879/ you will see about a 2.4% increase in performance with the i7. If a task takes seconds, or micro seconds, 2.4% is not so much and perhaps nothing in practical terms.
  14. steveperry thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2016
    Thanks again or all the advice. I think I'll end up with a i7 core - 8GB of RAM (I'll bump that to 32 or 64 once I get the computer - I went that route with my last iMac - saved a ton) and probably a 1TB SSD since I keep my working files on my local drive and then send the finished stuff to a RAID setup once they are finished. I'm sure I'll save several thousand this way over a iMac pro.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 7, 2017 ---
    That is close - far closer than I would have expected! While most of my work is photo related, I still do some video though, so I think the i7 is still the best choice. I think :)
  15. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    This isn't something you have to worry about in this day and age. Fans kick on when there is heavy processing going on and image processing is heavy processing. Its completely normal operation.

    The only time you ever have to worry (and still you don't really have to worry) about overheating is if you have a laptop with bottom ventilation on a blanket. The laptop will get hot then shut itself off as to prevent damage.
  16. jeffnesh macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2010
    My question too. In fact, wondering about Pro 560 as well as 570, 575, 580 on 28" primarily for photography with Lightroom and/or Capture One.

  17. slitherjef macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2012
    I'm still looking into things

    My current configuration is sitting at 3349.00 not including tax or shipping. Top end 27 model with 1tb of storage, 16gb ram.

    Is this a bit overboard and future proofing?

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