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sage73

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2019
25
23
Hello all!, my late 2015 iMac has been showing its age recently and really want to get a new iMac before they go ARM. I do a lot of development on both xcode and .net (windows) but also would like to game in windows. So im looking at either a loaded iMac i9 2020 with a 5700xt vs an iMac pro with the new standard 10 core.. there is about a 900 difference. With all the recent improvements to the new 2020 iMac the main difference for me is the better cooling on the iMac pro.. So not sure what to buy.. i think the i9 will game better than the xeon's tho...i do like the space grey a bit better tho ..lol

thoughts?
 

ADGrant

macrumors 68000
Mar 26, 2018
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The Pro does have a better cooling system and I too prefer the color. Plus it also has two more TB3 ports. However, RAM in the Pro is not easy to upgrade so you could end up spending more than $900 more. I am not sure how the base GPU in the Pro compares to the 5700XT either. You may be tempted to upgrade that too.

For software development the workloads are typically not that sustained (unless you are building something like a large C++ code base).
 

sage73

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2019
25
23
The Pro does have a better cooling system and I too prefer the color. Plus it also has two more TB3 ports. However, RAM in the Pro is not easy to upgrade so you could end up spending more than $900 more. I am not sure how the base GPU in the Pro compares to the 5700XT either. You may be tempted to upgrade that too.

For software development the workloads are typically not that sustained (unless you are building something like a large C++ code base).

Which do you think would be better for gaming? I'm guessing the regular iMac 5700xt even if i were to upgrade the gpu on the pro.
 

Cookie18

macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2014
583
684
France
The 5700 XT outclasses every GPU option for the iMac Pro, the Vega 56 is 3 years old and getting out of date. The 5700 XT is a very good card, even in a windows gaming machine it is a solid choice.
 

Cookie18

macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2014
583
684
France
But what about the vega 64x option on the iMac pro?

A 5700 XT is around 30% more powerful than the Vega 64X, the 5700 XT is the successor to the Vega 64 and the 5700 is the successor to the Vega 56. The 5700 is also more powerful than the Vega 64X, the graphics options on the iMac Pro aren't that great anymore.
 
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ADGrant

macrumors 68000
Mar 26, 2018
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A 5700 XT is around 30% more powerful than the Vega 64X, the 5700 XT is the successor to the Vega 64 and the 5700 is the successor to the Vega 56. The 5700 is also more powerful than the Vega 64X, the graphics options on the iMac Pro aren't that great anymore.

But the iMac Pro does have HBM2 memory for its GPU and better cooling. A Vega 64X might be close to the 5700 XT in real world performance.
 

Cookie18

macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2014
583
684
France
But the iMac Pro does have HBM2 memory for its GPU and better cooling. A Vega 64X might be close to the 5700 XT in real world performance.

All Vega 64 GPUs have HBM2 memory so that 30% faster number has that factored in.
 

Cookie18

macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2014
583
684
France
Which benchmark shows the 30% performance advantage.

TechPowerUp although I have noticed I looked at the 29% number for Radeon VII, the 5700 XT is 27% faster.

No matter how you slice it the 5700 replaced the Vega 56 and the 5700 XT replaced the Vega 64, they are much better cards and it isn't wise to buy a computer with such an old GPU when almost the same computer is available with the much newer and faster GPU, especially if gaming is a priority as it is for OP.
 
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nick9191

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2008
3,365
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Max Tech made a reasonable comparison:

Seems like unless you really need ECC RAM or some other features you only get with the Pro graphics then the iMac is the way to go.
 

Digital Skunk

macrumors G3
Dec 23, 2006
8,096
916
In my imagination
Go with the BTO 2020. The iMac Pro for what it's worth seems dead. The anti-glare coat didn't make it on there as an option and it's nearly impossible to upgrade without taking it halfway apart.

The iMac 2020 has a faster chip (even if you don't opt for the 10-core) and the ram is user replaceable and can go up to 128GBs. Even the GPU options are more up-to-date.

The only thing you'd be missing ... I mean REALLY missing, are the two extra thunderbolt 3 ports.
 

Grumply

macrumors 6502
Feb 24, 2017
285
193
Melbourne, Australia
A 5700 XT is around 30% more powerful than the Vega 64X, the 5700 XT is the successor to the Vega 64 and the 5700 is the successor to the Vega 56. The 5700 is also more powerful than the Vega 64X, the graphics options on the iMac Pro aren't that great anymore.

But the Vega 64/64x iMac Pros offer 11 TFLOPs and 12 TFLOPs of single precision computing power versus only 7.6 TFLOPs with the 5700XT in the new iMac - surely that's going to make a substantial difference in computing-focussed workloads?

Obviously the newer 5700XT does far better in anything 3D-related, which you can see clearly in the numbers it puts up for games and Blender benchmarks. But for compute work, I'd have thought the beefier Vega 64s still have the edge (for colour grading in Davinci Resolve, they certainly seem to (according to Puget Systems benchmarks).
 
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ADGrant

macrumors 68000
Mar 26, 2018
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Go with the BTO 2020. The iMac Pro for what it's worth seems dead. The anti-glare coat didn't make it on there as an option and it's nearly impossible to upgrade without taking it halfway apart.

The iMac 2020 has a faster chip (even if you don't opt for the 10-core) and the ram is user replaceable and can go up to 128GBs. Even the GPU options are more up-to-date.

The only thing you'd be missing ... I mean REALLY missing, are the two extra thunderbolt 3 ports.

Well that and the better cooling and presumably glitch free GPU drivers.
 
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Cookie18

macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2014
583
684
France
But the Vega 64/64x iMac Pros offer 11 TFLOPs and 12 TFLOPs of single precision computing power versus only 7.6 TFLOPs with the 5700XT in the new iMac - surely that's going to make a substantial difference in computing-focussed workloads?

Obviously the newer 5700XT does far better in anything 3D-related, which you can see clearly in the numbers it puts up for games and Blender benchmarks. But for compute work, I'd have thought the beefier Vega 64s still have the edge (for colour grading in Davinci Resolve, they certainly seem to (according to Puget Systems benchmarks).

You’re correct that the Vega64 is better for computational work and only computational work but we weren’t comparing the cards for computational work, we were comparing them for gaming, which the 5700XT is far ahead in.

The Vega64 was built with computational graphics work in mind and the 5700XT was built with gaming in mind. They each excel in their lanes but, again, we were comparing gaming performance and not computational performance.
 
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AZREOSpecialist

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Mar 15, 2009
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iMac Pro is more of a platform dead end than a 2020 iMac. The dual TB3 buses are nice, enabling 3,500+ MB/s transfer rates when striping multiple drives across both buses.
 
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Grumply

macrumors 6502
Feb 24, 2017
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Melbourne, Australia
iMac Pro is more of a platform dead end than a 2020 iMac. The dual TB3 buses are nice, enabling 3,500+ MB/s transfer rates when striping multiple drives across both buses.

I just don't follow that logic. The dual TB3 buses (and the additional two TB3 ports they give you) literally double the available bandwidth you have for future system expansion (through eGPUs, custom processing or I/O cards, or additional fast storage etc.)

Price/performance-wise? Certainly the new 2020 iMac has the edge. But the iMac Pro quite literally offers twice the expandability. Surely that gives it the edge (as much as an all-in-one system can have an "edge" in expandability/future-proofing).
 
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ADGrant

macrumors 68000
Mar 26, 2018
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iMac Pro is more of a platform dead end than a 2020 iMac. The dual TB3 buses are nice, enabling 3,500+ MB/s transfer rates when striping multiple drives across both buses.

I don't agree with that. The 2020 is the last 27" Intel iMac, the iMac Pro is the last Intel iMac Pro. The iMac Pro is going to be slower for some things and it will be more expensive (particularly without the upgradable RAM). Neither of them represents the future of the Platform though.
 

filmgirl

macrumors 6502
May 16, 2007
341
236
Seattle, WA
Price/performance-wise? Certainly the new 2020 iMac has the edge. But the iMac Pro quite literally offers twice the expandability. Surely that gives it the edge (as much as an all-in-one system can have an "edge" in expandability/future-proofing).

I don’t think so. If you use or plan for lots of concurrent TB3 devices at once (multiple XDR displays*, multiple SSDs in a striped configuration), yes the iMac Pro is better. In fact, a 16” MacBook Pro is better. My only complaint (driver issues with the 5700XT aside) with my 2020 iMac is the single TB3 lane. I wish it was two like the iMac Pro.

But I'll take the newer processor, more accessible RAM, and better GPU in the highest end BTO iMac (which is what I’ve got), over the iMac Pro. I have a 2TB SSD. I have 10GbE for my NAS (and that 10GbE is the same speed as if I connected via TB3...I don’t do striped NVMe configs at their prices/capacity, I use an M2 NVMe as a cache in my NAS and am accessing an array of 4 8TB disks and 4 4TB disks) and can’t imagine NVMe drives getting cheap enough for me to want to stripe them in RAID 10 or RAID 0 to get what is in practice, an incremental speed increase (I write a lot of data with video, but data transfer speeds isn’t my blocker) over the projected life of my iMac. (Meaning I don’t anticipate 4TB and up SSDs being cheap enough to RAID 0/RAID 10 over TB3 and for me to really be able to appreciate/benefit from the increased speed). For people using something like OWC's Thunderblade (which can’t get over 2700 MB/s at least with right now), which is $4100 for a 16Tb, $2100 for an 8TB, etc., you might be better off with a Mac Pro if that kind of storage and speed is a legitimate concern.

When you look at components that will blow out the TB3 bandwidth, you’re primarily looking at displays and SSDs. I’m personally not concerned with SSDs, for the reaspjs I mentioned above. With displays, yeah, the extra bandwidth is nice but you’re also limited on the iMac Pro with the old-ass Vega 56/64, which negates some of those increased bandwidth benefits. In fact, you can’t even connect an XDR to the iMac Pro without using an eGPU (which is redundant when the Blackmagic Pro is just a Vega 56 but with a Titan Ridge controller, unlike the iMac Pro) if you want to use it at 6K and I’m not sure if you can daisy-chain two XDRs off that one eGPU or not. The iMac 2020 can drive two XDRs over DSC — doing that will almost certainly zap all the bandwidth for any of your external storage (unless you’re using 10GbE), and that sucks — but at least you can connect two 6K displays without having to buy an eGPU.

If the argument is that in 5 years you could maybe use a slightly better AMD eGPU (assuming drivers are even available in macOS, something that is not even remotely guaranteed and that I would bet money won’t happen) than the 5700XT so that you can connect multiple high-resolution displays at the same time AND a striped SSD config, fine. But that seems like a highly rare and unlikely upgrade scenario, especially when you’re looking at spending MORE money at the outset. People with those concerns are much better getting a Mac Pro since Intel Macs are a dead-end for all of us anyway.

The better colorway, the better cooling (though I personally find the cooling improvements marginal, YMMV), and the four TB3 ports are advantages for sure — but it doesn’t change the fundamental problem which is that it is a 3 year old machine using an older generation GPU architecture, the last-gen Xeon architecture, difficult to upgrade RAM, and an inflated price point. If you can get a good deal on an iMac Pro, more power to you — that’s where there’s value. But anyone paying retail is making a mistake IMHO. You’d be better off getting a 2020 iMac, a 16” MacBook Pro or a 2019 Mac Pro, depending on your needs/budget.

* The older TB3 controller in the iMac Pro (in addition to its older and aged GPUs) is a real bummer for anyone who would want to connect multiple 5K or 6K displays (or a 6K display at all).
 

Digital Skunk

macrumors G3
Dec 23, 2006
8,096
916
In my imagination
Well that and the better cooling and presumably glitch free GPU drivers.

The cooling is moot. The iMacs get hot, sure, especially around the top of the frame, but that's where the exhaust is. There's never been an issue with the iMac's thermal design.

The glitch free GPU is a firmware update away, and since I made the post a month ago is also sorta moot.

I just don't follow that logic. The dual TB3 buses (and the additional two TB3 ports they give you) literally double the available bandwidth you have for future system expansion (through eGPUs, custom processing or I/O cards, or additional fast storage etc.)

Price/performance-wise? Certainly the new 2020 iMac has the edge. But the iMac Pro quite literally offers twice the expandability. Surely that gives it the edge (as much as an all-in-one system can have an "edge" in expandability/future-proofing).

I agree, having two TB3 lanes is better than 1, but that's the only .... ONLY advantage the base iMac Pro gives over the 2020. As far as it having an edge, only if the end user NEEDS two TB3 lanes over everything else, including money in the pocket.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68020
Oct 14, 2018
2,237
664
The Sillie Con Valley
…the iMac Pro is the last Intel iMac Pro.
I wouldn’t bet on that.
What’s Next for the iMac Pro?

Unlike many, I’ve been able to A/B the two side by side.

I’ve been waiting for an iMP with 8TB storage. Nano-glass would be nice—looks great on my wife’s new 2020 iMac. For my work, there’s no comparison in rendering times between the 5700 XT and the Vega 64X. To be fair, I’ve never cared for playing games on my Macs so that will never be an issue for me.

I considered a 10 core iMac — would certainly save me a few thou$and but it takes too long to render my projects and the iMP is quieter and runs cooler. For those who think that’s not an issue… well, it is for me.

When Time=Money, the iMac Pro rules. At some point soon, I’ll need to upgrade. I hope it’s not to the Mac Pro 7.1 — as nice as those are, it’s another $5K or so to get what I need.
 
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iMi

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But the Vega 64/64x iMac Pros offer 11 TFLOPs and 12 TFLOPs of single precision computing power versus only 7.6 TFLOPs with the 5700XT in the new iMac - surely that's going to make a substantial difference in computing-focussed workloads?

Obviously the newer 5700XT does far better in anything 3D-related, which you can see clearly in the numbers it puts up for games and Blender benchmarks. But for compute work, I'd have thought the beefier Vega 64s still have the edge (for colour grading in Davinci Resolve, they certainly seem to (according to Puget Systems benchmarks).

I am curious about this as well. Can someone please explain why the higher computing power of the Pro Vega 64X doesn't translate to better FPS performance in gaming? On paper, the Vega is considerably more powerful. What gives?
 

pldelisle

macrumors 68020
May 4, 2020
2,248
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I am curious about this as well. Can someone please explain why the higher computing power of the Pro Vega 64X doesn't translate to better FPS performance in gaming? On paper, the Vega is considerably more powerful. What gives?
Because Vega has never been designed for gaming, but optimized for computation.
 
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