5K iMac or 6 Core Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mashinhead, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. mashinhead macrumors 68020

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    #1
    My plan was to buy a loaded 5k iMac, upgraded processor, 1TB SSD, and the upgraded GPU. I'd by the RAM upgrade, from a third party. This is mostly because I'm seduced by the screen, I would much prefer to have independent monitors.

    However the sales this weekend mac the 6-core mac pro pretty tempting. I would still have to do some upgrading. The only bummer is that it would be the base 6-core with the lower GPU. I don't know how that compares to the upgraded GPU of the iMac. The other thing is the current gen Mac Pro is on the tail end of it's life cycle. So I would hate to buy it and have some kind of tiny, peripheral i/o upgrade or something on the next one that would make me regret this one.

    Anyway I'd love to hear some thoughts, before the end of the weekend. I'm a power user, I do video, photography, graphics, etc.
     
  2. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #2
    Mac Pro is better (theoretically) for ultimate reliability x computing power. Intel i-Series are nice for running short heavy tasks which requires ~1h to complete. However, when you're rendering Pixar-like movies in which you need running day-long (or week-long) tasks with CPU reaching 100%, you don't want a system crash forcing you to do a restart and losing your work. Massive VRAM also helps on dealing with big files at once through OpenCL. In practice, I don't know in which rate a 6-core Mac Pro will perform tasks faster than a maxed-out riMac, but theoretically there is plenty of power and reliability.

    In your specific case, I think a riMac would be ok, depending on the kind of video production you do. If you're a Hollywood Sci-Fi producer, maybe a Mac Pro would be better :p
     
  3. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #3
    Oh, I was almost forgetting. Have in mind that all the Retina stuff from Apple suffers from not allowing perfect calibration (uneven tinted displays).

    If you're a serious (color neurotic) photographer, maybe you'll be a little frustrated with the Retina color accuracy.
     
  4. Pending macrumors regular

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    Oct 1, 2014
    #4
    As a 'power user' and you mention video, photography and graphics I would go with a Mac Pro given those can be some of the most demanding uses. But you will need plenty of RAM and storage, video files eat Gbs up fast.
     
  5. koyoot macrumors 601

    koyoot

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    Jun 5, 2012
    #5
    The problem is, that because of thermal constraints in design of iMac, and Throttling of the GPU, M295X behaves quite similair to single FirePro D500 from Mac Pro, according to tests on BareFeats.

    M290X from base is just the D300 from Mac Pro.

    However, in MP there are two GPUs.

    And has better cooling system. And quieter.

    Your choice ;).

    Edit. Why not buy the refurbished Mac Pro? 6 core, 16 GB, 256 GB SSD, D500 costs 3400$ in US. And are other configs available.
     
  6. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

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    #6
    Above poster has a good point, that D500 hex setup will outperform the retina iMac for multicore and is much much better for OP's uses.
     
  7. whoosh macrumors newbie

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    Nov 28, 2014
    #7
    For me the bummer is the base 6-core should have been 512 GB SSD (even if it cost a little more). You can upgrade SSD in a custom order - but you cannot get discounts on custom orders :)

    I was also deciding between the 5k iMac and the Mac Pro. Ultimately went for the 6-core stock MacPro - partly due to the $3500 deal at B&H - and will be adding the new $699 Dell 4k monitor P2715Q (http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/dell-p2715q-monitor). Roughly felt the corresponding Retina iMAC was the base iMAC ($2500) + 256GB SSD ($0) + i7 upgrade ($250) + 4GB GPU ($250) + 8GB -> 16 GB (~$200) + AppleCare ($122 at B&H). So around $3300 (for the Retina iMac) vs $4200 for the 6-core Mac Pro ($3500 deal + the $699 Dell 4k monitor). Not bad for the flexibility (getting monitors like NEC in the future when they introduce a 4k 27 inch & the price has come down) & possibly more reliability you get with the MacPro.

    My big problem with the Retina iMac was that I cannot use it as an external monitor for a work 2012 Macbook Pro Retina at a lower resolution - which pushed me to the Mac Pro. Reason - my desk has space for a single monitor - with the 5k iMac I would have needed a different monitor for the MBP.
     
  8. mashinhead thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #8
    Well to put this in context, I probably wouldn't consider an iMac at all were it not for the 5k display. Though I have read the processor is quite good on it, the 4GHZ one at least.
     
  9. MMcCraryNJ macrumors 6502

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    #9
    I was in your same position. I've been saving up most of this past year for the 6-core nMP with upgraded storage (at least 512, but I'm going to end up shooting for the TB I think). We're so close to a Haswell refresh that I was waiting until then. Then the Retina iMac came out and I was tempted. I had enough money then to fully max it out. But I wanted to wait for reviews (specifically, Anandtech's review, which still isn't up yet), as I wasn't going to go in blind. I owned a 2010 iMac in the past, and after I sold it early this year I promised myself to never go back to an iMac (had to have the screen replaced twice for the "LCD Contamination" issue, as well as have the hard drive replaced, and since it has a 7200RPM drive in it, it was slow as hell).

    But then the reports came out from users here about fan noise, heat, and throttling. Especially with the higher end GPU, which seems like it's kind of necessary for best performance driving that many pixels.

    Ultimately, I decided against it. All things considered, the 4Ghz i7 in there is a beast, but will throttle down far quicker than the nMP due to the heat in the machine. And the GPU runs hot, which is probably fine since the GPU was built to run like that, but I'd be worried about the other internals of the iMac and how well they would hold up over time. The screen is beautiful (I've seen one in person), but I'm not playing that game.
     
  10. mashinhead thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #10
    How close is close?
     
  11. bxs macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    At least 6 months IMO. :)
     
  12. MMcCraryNJ macrumors 6502

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    #12
    There's a ton of speculation on this board as to the timing. Could really be anytime now, but probably Q1 or Q2 next year. I'm thinking there will likely be an event for the Retina MBA and iPad Pro, and we might see it revealed then. A lot of people are saying they'll wait until DisplayPort 1.3, but that's at least another year away. I don't think they'll wait that long for a minor Haswell/DDR4 refresh.

    What I'm hoping for personally is that they make the 512GB SSD standard, or reduce SSD upgrade prices
     
  13. mashinhead thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #13
    What are the advantages of this?
     
  14. MMcCraryNJ macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Namely more bandwidth, which would mean a single cable could push a 5K monitor rather than having to rely on two Displayport 1.2 connections to drive it.
     
  15. mashinhead thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #15
    That would be nice to have. I looked this up and it says this was released in September. Why do you think that would cause a year delay?

    It seems everything this available to make a new Mac Pro, Haswell-EP is out, so are the new GPU's and DDR-4 Ram.
     
  16. MMcCraryNJ macrumors 6502

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    #16
    To my understanding, DP 1.3 was just ratified recently. It's going to take awhile for GPU OEMs to build it into their cards, and then for that to trickle down to Apple.

    But you're correct, everything that is in the current Mac Pro currently has upgrades available. AMD has new FirePro GPUs out, but as far as I know, are still DP 1.2.
     
  17. heymadmat macrumors newbie

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  18. koyoot macrumors 601

    koyoot

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    #18
    AMD Fiji and rest of GPUs with HBM memory will have DP 1.3 and HDMI 2.0

    IMO Apple will simply double the amount of cores on each GPU. 2560 for D310, 3072 for D510 and 4096 for D710.

    Fiji is coming out on february. Soon afterwards there should be an Apple Special Event focused on Music, AppleWatch, iPad Plus/Pro, and updates to iPad Mini, iPad Air, and Mac Pro.
     
  19. blunti macrumors 6502a

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    #19

    I work on Hollywood features (not small budget movies) and I could not be happier with my nMP. Does everything I want, works great with 4k footage, no hiccups, and it is a joy to grade in Davinci with this machine.

    I don't see a reason why anyone ahould wait (lol?) if they make a living with the comp.

    Hope this helps.

    Ps get the d700 if you can and the TB ssd.
     
  20. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

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    #20
    Curious what NLE do you use and is it from preference or employer/workflow requirements?
     
  21. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #21
    Well these things specify certain features to help maximize hardware compatibility between various brands. They ratified a standard with specifications for 4K support and 10 bit out RGB in 2009. The 1.3 standard has been in the works for a long time and details resolutions as high as 8K. Anyway the anandtech article is more interesting than their press release, so I suggest reading it here.

    Your understanding is correct. The standards are often ratified long before they become common in shipping products. It won't be a feature of the next mac pro unless Apple and their manufacturing partners decide to do some amount of custom work. I'm skeptical regarding Apple and standalone displays. They didn't even update the thunderbolt display to match the screen treatment and case design of the updated imac, which hit in early 2012.
     
  22. odedia macrumors 65816

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    #22
  23. blunti macrumors 6502a

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    #23

    Avid with ISIS 99% of the time. And that's my preference as well :)
     
  24. mashinhead thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #24
    Thanks for sharing. Had a look. Not super sure what to think of this. They seem to have their strengths and weaknesses in terms of these tests. I'm a heavy PS user so for me the Mac Pro seems to make more sense according to these.

    I do really wish it could support a 5K display though. That really is kind of a bummer. I bet most people that buy these hold on to them for a very long time. They should be more future proofed than iMacs and laptops.
     
  25. AppleDroid macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 10, 2011
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    Illinois
    #25
    You also have to take into account what MPG does with Photoshop 99% of users won't need (Over 32/64GB of ram for 100MP panoramas etc) so you can ignore tests like the HUGE test unless you do that same type of enormous work.

    I do photo compositing with 22MP 5DMIII files all day with 24GB on my 2009 MP and I rarely ever run out and hit the scratch disk.

    That said I've been debating this all weekend with the deals going on but there are two things holding me back from the rImac:

    1. The upgraded m295x GPU is stupid-hot running at 105c* within a minute of the GPU being tasked which has been verified by MPG, various gamers on YouTube and here. That's hot enough to boil water and in such a tight form factor that doesn't make me feel comfortable.
    2. Being retina my 22MP raw files are 5600px wide which means to "zoom in" to do fine retouching I'd have to blow it up 200% and edit very blurry/pixelated" images. The way around this would be run a normal, secondary screen but it defeats the purpose. I'm probably wrong but Martin Bailey mentioned this on a podcast that it's beautiful for viewing but editing can be difficult with smaller MP files.

    *Forgot to mention I'm talking about the model I'd get with an i7/m295x
     

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