buy 2015 iMac i7 or 2012 Mac Pro 12 Core

ludykriz

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 31, 2016
40
3
I am an AE and Editor who needs to replace my current 3.1 8 core Mac Pro.. I mainly use Premiere, Davinci for transcodes and Avid.. so...

Late 2015 27" iMac 5K retina 4ghz i7 quad core,32gb ram,500gb flash storage,4gb amd video.
It has dual thunderbolt ports and 4 usb-3 ports.

better than a 2012 12 core 5.1 with ssd and nvidia video card?

i like the fact that i can use thunderbolt..
 

ludykriz

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 31, 2016
40
3
Any particular reason you are looking at these older models as opposed to the new ones?

12 core vs i7.. video card upgradability if necessary.. and the idea that i can hook up 2 monitors that are exactly the same.. thats it..

the imac would have thinderbolt which is a plus.. 5k monitor.. but i am looking for one that has good amount of ram and a video card that is decent. so i dont have to open it up and do anything.
 

SecuritySteve

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2017
853
976
California
My understanding is that transcoding utilizes multiple cores, but ...

The i7 might have newer features that are specific to specific transcoding. HEVC transcoding in particular is better off on Kaby Lake processors (2016 and later), which have hardware acceleration built into them. The video card upgradability is definitely a very big consideration. I too was daunted at the prospect of the inability to upgrade the GPU in an iMac.

The next generation Mac Pro comes out in 2019 (though when is anyone's guess). It is supposedly going to be modular, so one would hope that we can slap in our own GPUs again. If you can wait, you will definitely be advantaged by the processor hardware acceleration advancements, as well as superior GPUs, and faster RAM. Even if it costs more, your performance / dollars would be *MASSIVELY* better on the 2019 Mac Pro, simply because of the advancements in chip instruction sets and hardware acceleration, compounded with increased hardware performance.

But if you MUST upgrade to either of these two machines, the i7 has almost 1 GHz advantage over the Xeon processor in terms of single core performance. In terms of threads, the Xeon 12 core has 24 threads as the Westmere architecture supports hyper threading on both 6 core CPUs. There also will be some minor overhead loss in communication between the two CPUs, so you should factor that in as well. I think because of this, you will notice better CPU performance on the iMac.

Really you will need to decide if the un-upgradable GPU in the iMac is acceptable. You're already buying a pretty lame GPU by today's standards by buying the 2015 iMac. The Mac Pro could be upgraded with a nice NVIDIA GPU, but then you're stuck with slower RAM, and an already aging system. Not to mention the 2012 Mac Pro will likely fall out of hardware support with Apple next year, which gives you two years of software support (High Sierra) remaining on what otherwise is a new purchase for you.

TL;DR - If you can hold off, wait for the 2019 Mac Pro. If you can't, pick the iMac if you value CPU performance more, and the Mac Pro if you value GPU performance more.

EDIT:

I believe these are the two CPUs in question:

Mac Pro (keep in mind there are two of them): https://ark.intel.com/products/4792...X5650-12M-Cache-2-66-GHz-6-40-GT-s-Intel-QPI-

iMac: https://ark.intel.com/products/88196/Intel-Core-i7-6700-Processor-8M-Cache-up-to-4-00-GHz-
 
Last edited:

ludykriz

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 31, 2016
40
3
My understanding is that transcoding utilizes multiple cores, but ...

The i7 might have newer features that are specific to specific transcoding. HEVC transcoding in particular is better off on Kaby Lake processors (2016 and later), which have hardware acceleration built into them. The video card upgradability is definitely a very big consideration. I too was daunted at the prospect of the inability to upgrade the GPU in an iMac.

The next generation Mac Pro comes out in 2019 (though when is anyone's guess). It is supposedly going to be modular, so one would hope that we can slap in our own GPUs again. If you can wait, you will definitely be advantaged by the processor hardware acceleration advancements, as well as superior GPUs, and faster RAM. Even if it costs more, your performance / dollars would be *MASSIVELY* better on the 2019 Mac Pro, simply because of the advancements in chip instruction sets and hardware acceleration, compounded with increased hardware performance.

But if you MUST upgrade to either of these two machines, the i7 has almost 1 GHz advantage over the Xeon processor in terms of single core performance. In terms of threads, the Xeon 12 core has 24 threads as the Westmere architecture supports hyper threading on both 6 core CPUs. There also will be some minor overhead loss in communication between the two CPUs, so you should factor that in as well. I think because of this, you will notice better CPU performance on the iMac.

Really you will need to decide if the un-upgradable GPU in the iMac is acceptable. You're already buying a pretty lame GPU by today's standards by buying the 2015 iMac. The Mac Pro could be upgraded with a nice NVIDIA GPU, but then you're stuck with slower RAM, and an already aging system. Not to mention the 2012 Mac Pro will likely fall out of hardware support with Apple next year, which gives you two years of software support (High Sierra) remaining on what otherwise is a new purchase for you.

TL;DR - If you can hold off, wait for the 2019 Mac Pro. If you can't, pick the iMac if you value CPU performance more, and the Mac Pro if you value GPU performance more.

EDIT:

I believe these are the two CPUs in question:

Mac Pro (keep in mind there are two of them): https://ark.intel.com/products/4792...X5650-12M-Cache-2-66-GHz-6-40-GT-s-Intel-QPI-

iMac: https://ark.intel.com/products/88196/Intel-Core-i7-6700-Processor-8M-Cache-up-to-4-00-GHz-


thanks for the in depth explanation.. I actually dont see myself getting a new MacPro and dumping $4-8k.. I dont work from home that much but when I do id like something more updated.. so I think the iMac may be a good system.. i am kind of leaning towards that..
 

SecuritySteve

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2017
853
976
California
thanks for the in depth explanation.. I actually dont see myself getting a new MacPro and dumping $4-8k.. I dont work from home that much but when I do id like something more updated.. so I think the iMac may be a good system.. i am kind of leaning towards that..
I'm actually expecting the base system of the 2019 Mac Pro to be ~3,000$. The reason being that the iMac Pro (similar hardware) has about a 1,000$ markup for the 5k monitor. If you can bring your own, that can seriously reduce your cost. Just something to consider!
[doublepost=1544210203][/doublepost]Oh, one final consideration might be a 2017 iMac. The reason being that you might be able to upgrade the GPU via the external TB3 connector to an eGPU. That's been my plan on paper for when my Vega Pro 64 starts to get long in the tooth in a few years. (Also quietly hoping Apple makes peace with NVIDIA for the eGPU drivers being supported instead of hacked-in)
 

EAguitarshop

macrumors newbie
Apr 2, 2019
8
0
Corvallis, OR USA
Daw and complex recording here.

My i7 could not keep up and overloaded
the process regularly. The 12 core I have now can do it is sleep.

Add the versatility of being able to upgrade, No brainer.

I am an AE and Editor who needs to replace my current 3.1 8 core Mac Pro.. I mainly use Premiere, Davinci for transcodes and Avid.. so...

Late 2015 27" iMac 5K retina 4ghz i7 quad core,32gb ram,500gb flash storage,4gb amd video.
It has dual thunderbolt ports and 4 usb-3 ports.

better than a 2012 12 core 5.1 with ssd and nvidia video card?

i like the fact that i can use thunderbolt..
I am an AE and Editor who needs to replace my current 3.1 8 core Mac Pro.. I mainly use Premiere, Davinci for transcodes and Avid.. so...

Late 2015 27" iMac 5K retina 4ghz i7 quad core,32gb ram,500gb flash storage,4gb amd video.
It has dual thunderbolt ports and 4 usb-3 ports.

better than a 2012 12 core 5.1 with ssd and nvidia video card?

i like the fact that i can use thunderbolt..
 
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