Buy new 2019 i9 iMac OR 2017 iMac Pro? What's faster?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by rc705, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. rc705, Apr 13, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019

    rc705 macrumors newbie

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    Apr 13, 2019
    #1
    Hi! FINALLY upgrading my computer (2010 iMac with 32gb RAM and 2tb SSD with a busted screen that flicks on and off). I mainly due video work with Premiere and After Effects. Initially, I was looking into getting a used iMac Pro, but now the new i9 iMacs just came out. So... what would be faster and the better deal?

    iMac with 8gb ram, 3.6 i9 with ProVega 48? $3150 (i'll add more ram later and upgrade the SSD)

    OR

    iMac Pro with 32gb, 3.2 Xeon chip with Pro Vega 56? $3800

    Just wanted to get some opinions before i drop 3-4k of hard earned money. I like the iMac Pro but now leaning to the new iMac due to not being able to upgrade anything (easily) on the iMac Pro. Thanks in ADVANCE!
     
  2. jerwin, Apr 13, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019

    jerwin macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #2
    The imac pro apparently has a second thunderbolt 3 bus. This is probably unimportant unless you envision yourself using multiple eGPUs or thunderbolt connected SSDs. It also has 10Gigabit ethernet. Niche features, to be sure, but you might be in that niche.
     
  3. macduke macrumors G3

    macduke

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    Central U.S.
    #3
    The i9 iMac is faster at single-core tasks and a little bit faster at multi-core tasks. The iMac Pro has a faster GPU and might be slightly quieter. I have the i9 iMac at home and an iMac Pro on order at work (if it gets approved), so I'll hopefully be able to do some better tests later on. But from the benchmarks this seems to be the case. My i9 is pretty quiet so I doubt there is much difference. The other thing to consider is the iMac Pro has gigabit ethernet, two additional Thunderbolt 3.0/USB-C ports, a faster UHS-II SD card reader, ECC RAM that is more stable, and RAM that is more difficult to upgrade with no user-accessible door.

    Why did I go with the iMac Pro at work? Because the people who make the rules are stupid. I'm in a different unit at work now, but in my last job I upgraded in 2017 to the iMac 5K with the loud i7. They said I could order a trashcan Mac Pro with some upgrades that cost a lot more (stupid decision even in 2017) or the iMac 5K. So I order the iMac 5K and wanted the 1TB SSD and 32GB RAM. I was denied the upgrades for some reason even though the cost was way lower than the Mac Pro I could have gotten, so I only got the 512GB. Then I had to go through a whole song and dance with getting my IT Pro to order the RAM separately and put in a work order to install it since they wouldn't just give it to me even though I know how and it takes two minutes. So to avoid all the drama and hassle I'm going with the way more expensive iMac Pro since it exists now and didn't exist when I had to upgrade in summer 2017. Hopefully it gets approved. The iMac Pro is also really cool looking and I'll get another new work computer in few years, so I don't really care if it's a little bit slower right now. For maximum performance for minimal cost I went with the 5K iMac at home because it needs to last 6+ years. I also have some decals coming in the mail to make it space gray so if anyone is interested I'll report back on how that goes.
     
  4. rc705 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 13, 2019
    #4
    I'll probably only be using 1 Thunderbolt connected SSD and 1 Thunderbolt for my Cintiq (i think that's where it plugs into). But it would be nice having 2 extra just in case. I work from home, so I don't think the Ethernet is a big deal since i'm not networking with anyone... besides my dog who I give treats to throughout the day. ;D
    --- Post Merged, Apr 13, 2019 ---
    They have decals? Didn't even think about even looking into that! Thanks!!! And is your i9 quiet so far? Mine iMac used to be loud until I upgraded and put a SSD in. Now I never hear anything. I left the old 2TB drive inside and just use it as a Time Machine B/U. It's actually come in handy TWO TIMES when I thought I lost everything. Go Time Machine! I've never used it until a few years back. Lifesaver. Can't wait to hear about your work iMac Pro!!
     
  5. wayllander macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    #5
    I went with the pro with the 64x video card. If I had to choose between the specs that you posted, I would have went for the i9. The proc on the i9 is superior and the difference between the 48 and 56 vega's seem marginal at best.
     
  6. macduke macrumors G3

    macduke

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    Central U.S.
    #6
    Yeah this company called slickwraps was having a 70% off sale the other day so I picked up the iMac Pro upgrade for about $8. Saw someone on reddit who did it on their boyfriends iMac and ordered him the matching keyboard and mouse from Apple so I figure for $8 what’s the worst that could happen? If I like it I might get the matching keyboard/mouse on Amazon since it’s a little cheaper there.

    Yeah the i9 is pretty quiet unless I’m gaming in Windows, and then it’s way quieter than a gaming PC. When pushing it on macOS it rarely ramps up compared to my 2017 i7 at my old job which would all the time. The few times it has ramped up are for a minute or two and it’s when engaging lots of apps that use different hardware components at once such as networking, USB, multi threading and GPU.
     
  7. rc705 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 13, 2019
    #7
    Thanks for the advice! Much appreciated!!
     
  8. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

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    Sep 3, 2013
    #8
    Here is a good comparison between the two focused on video editing. This includes Premiere, FCPX and Resolve:

     
  9. mikehalloran, Apr 14, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019

    mikehalloran macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 14, 2018
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    The Sillie Con Valley
    #9
    A lot of armchair advice that means nothing. The real answer is IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND HOW YOU WILL USE IT. Without that knowledge, no one will know the real answer.

    Unless you have certain pro needs, the i9 iMac is a pretty safe bet. This still doesn't mean it will be faster for you but it will be within range.

    After a ton of research, I decided that a 64GB 10 Core 2TB iMac Pro was the right machine for me so, when I saw a used 128GB 14 Core 2TB for the same price, I jumped on it. I may sell it, get the one I need and pocket the difference—we'll see. The i9 wouldn't have been a bad choice for me but the iMP was clearly better. Either will kick serious ass over my 2010. FedEx says I get it tomorrow.

    Good luck with that. Let us know how it turns out. It will be interesting reading actual real-world experiences with both machines instead of armchair guessing and lab testing.
     
  10. jerwin macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    #10
    The obvious course of action is to buy both machines, and have your people benchmark both of them. If you don't have the budget, or the staff on hand to test the machines, you aren't a pro, but merely a prole.

    Do not betray the brotherhood of professionals by publishing these results!
     
  11. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #11
    The OP said he does mainly "video work with Premiere and After Effects" and was interested in the i9 iMac vs iMac Pro. I think Max Yuryev's review which focuses on video editing between those two machines -- inc'l several Premiere tests -- will probably help him.

    The very latest Premiere update (ver. 13.1) claims "hardware decoding improvements for H.264...on macOS". However I just tested it on my 10-core Vega64 iMac Pro and it still seems sluggish on 4k H264, at least going by JKL keyboard lag and Program Viewer lag. This has been typical for Premiere for many years since Adobe hasn't used Quick Sync for decoding (on Mac) only for encoding to output files. I haven't tested it on my 2017 i7 iMac yet. Maybe that is faster. If so it might tilt the balance in favor of the i9 iMac for Premiere.

    https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/using/whats-new.html#
     
  12. rc705 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 13, 2019
    #12
    Thanks for this! I've been searching youtube all week and didn't see this one. I'm mainly on Premiere so the iMac looks super promising!!
     
  13. cylack macrumors regular

    cylack

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #13
    I am in the same buying decision now. I have been reading on the forums here and on Apple's own about problems people have been having with random crashes and restarts in machines with Apple's T2 chip (imac pro, mac mini, and macbook pro). Are these crashes happening only for a small subset of users or for everyone? The imac pro has been out for 1.5 years and Apple still hasn't fixed the T2 problem either via software or firmware updates.
     
  14. joema2, Apr 15, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019

    joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #14
    I use a 2017 10-core Vega64 iMac Pro very heavily for video editing on FCPX. It has been mostly reliable. I had one or two possible T2-induced "BridgeOS" crashes months ago, but only during reboot. The OS has never crashed or hung during normal operation.

    There have been a few people with intractable iMac Pro problems, but now and then you see that with every machine type. Overall it has been more reliable than my 2017 i7 iMac when subjected to the same heavy load. It is definitely quieter.

    If I was getting a new high-end iMac I'd be tempted to get the i9 because for many workloads it has equal or better performance than an 8-core iMac Pro. However I like all the ports on the iMac Pro and I have many external drives and Thunderbolt arrays connected.

    Edit/Add: Another theoretical advantage of the i9 is it's a ninth-generation design (Coffee Lake Refresh) so has some hardware mitigations for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. The older Xeon in the iMP requires slower microcode and OS mitigations. I haven't see anybody test the two machines on specific workloads affected by those fixes, but in theory the i9 has a performance advantage in those cases.

    Edit/Add: I just saw this test but it indicates the hardware-based Spectre/Meltdown fixes don't make much difference: https://www.anandtech.com/show/1365...ith-spectre-and-meltdown-hardware-mitigations
     
  15. mikehalloran macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 14, 2018
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    The Sillie Con Valley
    #15
    I stand by what I wrote. "Max" started the video by saying the same thing.
     

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