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ivion

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 18, 2019
22
12
First of all, I am impressed by the knowledge of many MacRumors forum members here. So a big thank you for all the information shared by many of you already.

I'm excited for the switch to ARM - not because of predicted regular benchmark improvements, but mainly because of what the dedicated processor modules on Apple Silicon could achieve. If you look at the power of, for example, the Apple Afterburner, one can only imagine how certain pro-workflows could speed up massively (and some pro-workflows could be left in the dark by the 8,1 Mac Pro).

Now my dilemma I want to ask your help for, what to buy for current needs if you want to work on a Dual XDR-Display setup?

I currently own a Macbook Pro late 2016 2,9 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 2TB, Radeon 460, with an XDR-Display (nano) and LG 5K Display.

My workflows:
- I built digital content and interactions for b2b companies
- For video content I shoot with 5.7k ProRes RAW (Panasonic EVA-1 with Shogun Inferno) and edit in Final Cut X (some projects still in Adobe Premiere).
- For 2D/2.5D animated content I work in Adobe After Effects (horribly slow).
- For digital ads and landing pages I use the terminal to develop locally with Netlify Dev, Hugo (based on GO), Microsoft Visual Studio Code, Google AMP, NPM Homebrew, etc.

Problems current setup:
- Can't view and edit 5.7K ProRes RAW natively (only on lower quality settings)
- XDR-Display can only display on a 5K resolution
- I need to be able to run server emulations in Terminal, so Intel x86 is currently the way to go (I guess?)
- I often encounter CPU throttling when coding (especially Chrome is terrible); causing me to wait a couple of minutes (losing valuable work time) or close applications.

Choice:
Option A: MacBook Pro 16" with the 5600M (should be able to run ProRes RAW on 5.7k natively), 64gb ram, 8c, 8tb, AND an extra XDR-Display (Nano + Pro Stand). With Apple business discount and VAT deduction: 10.807,18 EUR
Option B: Mac Pro 16c, W5700X, 8tb, 32gb ram (to be upgraded with aftermarket ram), Apple Afterburner no extra XDR-Display (buy later). With Apple business discount and VAT deduction: 10759,77 EUR

Performance increases (using Geekbench):

- Current 15" MBP 4c Radeon 460 late 2016: 845 (Single CPU), 3379 (Multi CPU), 15743 (GPU)
- MBP 16" 8c 5600M: 1119 (Single CPU, 132% increase), 6959 (Multi CPU, 206% increase), 40641 (GPU, 258% increase)
- Mac Pro 16c W5700X: 1127 (Single CPU, 133% increase), 14482 (Multi CPU, 429% increase), 75427 (GPU, 479% increase)

Dilemma: What would you do, buy the MBP 16" 5600M with an extra XDR-Display or buy the Mac Pro without an extra XDR-Display (buy later)?

Considerations:

- Will the MBP 16" 5600M still run ProRes RAW 5.7k natively with a dual XDR-Display setup?
- Has anyone got any experience with using the MBP 16" clamshell mode with two displays (eg. 2x 5K or 2x 6K?)?
- Has anyone on the new 5600M in the Macbook Pro 16" experienced thermal throttling?
- I see much activity in the thread of the Mac Pro regarding GPU problems with the W5700X card, especially in regard to After Effects.
- Big Navi is upon us, with the Mac Pro you could upgrade the GPU in the future (promising huge speed improvements, just like the 5500M vs 5600M difference)

I love the MBP form-factor as it lets you to be mobile, but dislike thermal throttling. I could solve the mobile use case by keeping my Macbook Pro 15" for those circumstances and use the Mac Pro at my desk. With the MBP 16" 5600M I have budget to acquire an extra XDR-Display. With the Mac Pro I would pospone the extra dual XDR-Display to a later date.

What would you do?

Looking forward to your thoughts.
 

Malus120

macrumors 6502
Jun 28, 2002
356
571
I think you summarize your best option pretty well there in the last paragraph. The Mac Pro will be significantly faster along with being more expandable/upgradable and thus future proof.
The 5600M is an awesome mobile GPU, but let's be honest, even with all that power it still cant match a 5700XT, and the price/performance at $700 USD over a standard config is terrible.

I've personally gone the route of having a dedicated laptop/desktop setup (see my sig) and can honestly say I'm a lot happier than any time when I only had one or the other.

That said, you know your business better than anyone else. At the end of the day you're going to have to ask yourself which machine is going to bring more value to your business. If mobility is somehow much more critical to your workflow and income stream than you imply in this post, it could (somehow) be worth sacrificing 2x the cores and the afterburner. That's up to you though, you should try and find some benchmarks other than Geekbench.

Side note, is there any reason you actually NEED a second XDR display? Because it seems like the LG 5K should be just fine as a secondary monitor for the use case you described.
 
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gallico916

macrumors member
Jun 27, 2014
36
19
Austin, TX
Hey

I would go with the Mac Pro with W5700X
Take the basic memory config and buy the extra memory from OWC: https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/owc/apple-mac-pro/2019

Edit: just saw that 32GB is the basic config

The price difference will pay for the card

Another option is to take the 12 core CPU, especially if you are going to have the Afterburner and the W5700 cards

The extra 4 cores will not make such a difference and you will also get a higher operation speed and save $1k
 
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Malus120

macrumors 6502
Jun 28, 2002
356
571
Another option is to take the 12 core CPU, especially if you are going to have the Afterburner and the W5700 cards

The extra 4 cores will not make such a difference and you will also get a higher operation speed and save $1k

This is such good advice.

Given that the OP mentioned throttling and not the inherent CPU performance of their current machine as a key problem, the difference between a 12 and 16 core CPU especially, when using the afterburner card is probably not going to be that big of an issue.
Furthermore the $1000 saved could (along with the proceeds from selling his current machine) be put towards a 16" MacBook Pro, or a variety of other options that could generate more revenue for his business (or just more leisure)
 
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patrick.a

macrumors member
May 22, 2020
52
42
I'm in the same situation. My MBP 2018 can't handle my workflow with the LG 5k attached. It overheats and throttles down. So either a top of the line new MBP with the 5600M (should be better in terms of GPU and thermals) or a Mac Pro 12 core with the 5700X. The Mac Pro is double the price for double the performance in multicore but also is a huge investment with worse resell value than the MBP because of the smaller market. So the risk / loss is higher especially with the shift to AS coming soon.

@ivion Have you decided already?
 
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gallico916

macrumors member
Jun 27, 2014
36
19
Austin, TX
@patrick.a

The decision needs to be based on your business needs,
We are a consulting and IT company. when we talk to our clients we asked them about their needs and how long they are going to keep the machine.
Production people and Audio/video pros need horsepower as for them time is money, the cost of the machine will cover itself in a few months as they can do more with the Mac Pro (It will last longer due to the upgradability of it)

Also, do you need mobility?
For heavy lifting, we do not recommend the MBP as it has it limitations and thermal limit

All depends on your needs (try to think also how your needs will CHANGE in the next 2-3 years)

cheers
 
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patrick.a

macrumors member
May 22, 2020
52
42
Thanks for your reply! It sounds quite easy once you put it that way. But in my case things are a bit more complicated:

- I'm an architect and have quite a mixed workflow. I do 3D and renderings so the Mac Pro would make sense for that. That machine would enable things that I can't do at the moment and also would speed everything up. But the 3D-stuff is maybe only 20 or 30% of my daily work. For all the rest a MBP should be plenty enough (in theory, my 2018 MBP is even struggling with that right now). So question is: Do I scale and invest for 30% or 70% of my workflow?

- In a business context usually the machine pays for itself, yes. But I've just started my own business and there's no income just yet. I do take a risk with that investment and of course the smaller price is easier to handle right now.

- I do plan to keep the machine for quite some time. But the current MP is just not best in terms of cores per $. And I'm a bit worried that Apple might go 64 cores with their AS in a year and outshine the crazy expensive machine I've just bought.
 
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gallico916

macrumors member
Jun 27, 2014
36
19
Austin, TX
@patrick.a

We have a client with the same "business requirements"
they use Revit as for the main platform and do rendering also

The funny thing, they set up a PC, yes a PC with mid-tier CPU and two strong GPU that just do the rendering
and use laptops for work.

You will save money over a MacPro and probably get a better result rendering with the PC
 
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patrick.a

macrumors member
May 22, 2020
52
42
If you want to save money, that's the way to go! But then you also need to deal with two systems and Windows of course. And you need to to rent a room to hide away that RGB-lighted PC case! ;)

But you're right. It's pretty amazing to have ONE machine that can you can do everything with. But of course there are more efficient (and cheaper) ways to deal with this.
 
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gallico916

macrumors member
Jun 27, 2014
36
19
Austin, TX
@patrick.a

yes, its another machine, BUT for rendering PC are doing way better then Mac as most software use the CUDA processors
To get a Mac Pro that can do rendering the same as a PC you will pay X5 more.

and the PC is super upgradeable when it comes to graphic cards and price-wise.


A rule of thumb. you never use a rendering machine as your everyday machine (unless you renders once in a blue moon)
 
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patrick.a

macrumors member
May 22, 2020
52
42
I use renderings in a different way than most architects. For me, they are part of the design process. I try out things in 3D and let it render to a point where I get an impression of how it will look like. Then I change things and re-render. Up to 10 times or more a day. Of course, I could do that on a PC quicker and cheaper but that would actually mean a switch to Windows for my whole workflow. And yes, there would be the advantage of CUDA and GPU rendering etc. But I really want to stick with Mac. I work with ArchiCAD so 2D and 3D and the whole project is all one file. You can't really split things as you can with Autocad and Revit I guess.

So ideally I have a Mac that can handle a rendering as a sidejob while I continue working on other stuff (100% CPU usage). This is not really about time. Once the design is done, I could still send it out to a render farm or have a render slave with Windows on it. Isn't that how big production companies handle it? And yeah, I suppose for that job the MBP is a bit underpowered.
 
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