Entry level Mac Pro Quad-Core or spec'd up New 5K iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MrXiro, Jul 7, 2017.

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Should I upgrade to the 5K iMac from my Mac Pro?

  1. Yes, cut your Mac Pro loose now while the value is high.

    84.6%
  2. No, the your upgrade a 5K iMac won't be worth it to you.

    15.4%
  1. MrXiro macrumors 68040

    MrXiro

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    I currently have the entry level cylinder 4-core Mac Pro; w/ 16gb RAM (up from the stock 12gb) with a dual 1080p monitor set up. I do a bit of video editing as it's my side job and I also produce short films hoping to break in as a film maker. Currently I only edit video in 1080p but I do want to look into 4K cameras soon, which I'm told that my Mac Pro can handle. I have yet to do a movie longer than 10 min thus far so I'm not sure how bad the rendering would be for a file that big. Oh and I use FCPX as my main editing app.

    I was thinking that I might want to upgrade to the top end 5k iMac with the i7 upgrade, 512gb SSD, I'd upgrade the RAM to either 16gb or 32gb depending how much I can afford.

    Now computing hasn't really accelerated in the last few years as much as it has in the past, I mean laptops from 2010 are still VERY usable today especially with a RAM and SSD upgrade.

    Do you think I should be upgrading to the 5k iMac? I can't tell if I actually "need" to upgrade right now or if I just really really want the shiny new device?

    Based on specs I'm really just upgrading a 4-core w/turbo-boost for another 4-core w/turbo-boost including a better graphics card and architecture. Should I be more looking into the base iMac Pro if I want a REAL upgrade or is it better to sell off the Mac Pro now to get the best value before the new one comes out?

    Would you upgrade to the iMac or wait for a bigger tech jump? Help me out!

    The answers to the poll are "Yes" or "No" really; I just added more commentary because it's what on my mind. Would appreciate any other rationales below.

    Thanks!
     
  2. satinsilverem2 macrumors 6502a

    satinsilverem2

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #2
    I would upgrade to the iMac as the graphics cards in the Mac Pro D300,500,700 are getting quite old. Also with the iMac you get that amazing 5k screen and less clutter on your desk.
     
  3. theluggage macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #3
    It sounds like you don't "need" to upgrade right now. Editing 10 min HD videos is not going to unduly tax your Mac Pro. The iMac will probably be faster for video editing (it will definitely be faster on tasks that aren't multi-core/multi-GPU optimised) but I'd want to look for specific FCPX benchmarks to be sure, because FCPX ought to be taking advantage of the dual CPUs in the Mac Pro.

    I think a big question is how you feel about an all-in-one system vs. a headless desktop (with multiple display outputs). If a 27" 5k display is the sweet-spot for you then the iMac is a no-brainer. However, 4k is pretty nice (and you can used scaled mode to get the same real estate as 5k with only a modest loss of resolution) so what about a matched pair of 4k displays... or a big 32"+ 4k? Sounds like the MP might also be quieter than the i7 iMac.

    However, if you wait, the question is "what are you waiting for?" - nobody knows for sure but I doubt we'll see any substantial updates to the iMac for a year or two (maybe a spec bump). Would you pay 5 grand for an iMac Pro in December? (frankly, I'd give it a couple of months after that to see how it pans out - the early worm gets the bird/the second mouse gets the cheese, etc.). As for the fabled new Mac Pro I would be unsurprised if (a) it isn't available until December 2018 and (b) the entry level is at least $3000-$4000 (I just don't see Apple making a Mac Pro + 5k display significantly cheaper than an iMac Pro). The new iMac seems like a decent machine and, as you say, secondhand prices on Mac Pros (probably) aren't going to go up when the iMac Pro becomes available and/or the New New Mac Pro is announced.
     
  4. propower macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #4
    CPUs have come much further than you are thinking (IMO)
    Geekbench Single core/multi core
    2013 MP Quad = 3736/12724
    2017 iMac i7 = 5586/18920

    I am mulling the same decision yet have a 2013MP Hex 32G ram, 512 SSD. The current i7 iMac (which I had for 2 weeks) does everything as good or better than my MP except stay cool. When stressed the iMacs run hot - the MP does not. The screen is ridiculously good compared to my 1440P or my 4K 27" screens. Not even close.
     
  5. Arctic Moose macrumors member

    Arctic Moose

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2017
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #5
    Do you have a decent 4K or so monitor to go with your Mac Pro? If so, I'd wait for a more substantial upgrade, perhaps a second-hand iMac Pro when they become available.
     
  6. danielwsmithee macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    #6
    In my opinion the only reason you listed to upgrade that makes much sense in my mind is selling the Mac Pro before it drops in value. Currently 2013 Mac Pros still have a very good resale value. My guess is once the iMac Pro and new Mac Pro comes out those resale values are going to drop pretty quickly.

    That being said. If it were me I'd hold onto the Mac Pro for a few more years.

    My guess is in late 2018 or 2019 Apple will release an updated iMac that included some of the new design features of the iMac Pro (Space Grey, improved cooling system, removed support for spinning hard drives) with a mainstream 6-core Coffee Lake chip. That is the system I'm waiting on...
     
  7. MrXiro thread starter macrumors 68040

    MrXiro

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #7
    I don't. I have 2 1080p monitors currently... I was thinking about waiting for open item iMac Pros from Best Buy cause I'd save about $500 for one of those suckers... but then I wonder if a $5000 machine is overkill or not...
    --- Post Merged, Jul 7, 2017 ---
    It's further of course but it's not nearly the jump they used to be. The jump from Pentium chips to Core2Duo (which was about a 7 year span) was a MUCH bigger leap than a 2010 computer to now. A computer from 2003 is barely usable by 2010. My wife's Macbook Pro from 2010 still does everything from watching videos and editing photos just as good as it did back then. It could edit video too, just a little slower by today's speeds. A 2003 computer couldn't even handle the OS released in 2010.
     
  8. theluggage macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #8
    Bear in mind that the top end iMac has always given the 4-core nMP a run for its money, especially in single-core. As I said earlier, it would be interesting to see some FCPX benchmarks to see how the dual GPUs fared against the single, faster GPU. The Mac Pro has other advantages (you mentioned the noise).

    As for displays, I'd definitely prefer the iMac 5k 27" over a 4k 27", but other permutations are possible. For instance, I'm currently using a (fairly cheap) 28" 4k display, and the extra inch means I can just about use the (non-scaled) 4k resolution when I need the real estate. If I had either a 30" 4k, or the eyes of a 30 year-old, I'd probably use it like that all the time.

    I'm considering a new iMac (currently using a 2011 17" MBP and an i7 Hackintosh) and while I wouldn't consider buying a nMP right now, if I already had one I don't think I'd be in such a hurry to upgrade.
     
  9. Arctic Moose macrumors member

    Arctic Moose

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2017
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #9
    In that case the display is reason enough to switch, a reasonable monitor for 4K editing will set you back quite a bit, you may as well get the computer for a little more, especially considering you will probably be able to get a decent stack of cash for your Mac Pro.
     
  10. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #10
    I'm a professional documentary editor and spent all last week testing a 12-core D700 nMP vs my top-spec 2015 iMac 27. For most things in FCPX the iMac was equal or faster on H264 long GOP material. For a very few things on ProRes the nMP was faster.

    Since my crew shoots nearly 100% 4k H264, transcoding performance to proxy is important. For that the 2015 iMac is nearly twice as fast as the 12-core Mac Pro. It likewise exports to H264 much faster than the Mac Pro. This is likely because the Xeon CPU does not have Quick Sync: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Quick_Sync_Video

    The 2017 iMac 27 (which I'm getting next week) has a little faster CPU performance than the 2015 but a considerably faster GPU. It would be that much more faster than a 12-core nMP in FCPX on H264 workloads.

    Even on compute-intensive effects such as stabilization, Neat Video, and Digital Anarchy flicker reduction, the 2015 iMac 27 was either close to the nMP or faster.

    In terms of benchmark performance the iMac Pro will range from considerably faster than the 2017 iMac 27 to vastly faster (for the 18 core with Vega 64 GPU). However it is Xeon based so it will likely have the same H264 weakness as the current Mac Pro. The 12-core D700 Mac Pro is not fast enough to smoothly edit 4k long GOP H264 material without transcoding to proxy or optimized media. For 4k ProRes or 4k H264 intra-frame material it is fast enough, but so is an iMac 27.

    I'm in the midst of editing a big documentary that was mostly shot on 4k long GOP H264, so I needed the fastest available current machine for editing with FCPX. That is currently a top-spec 2017 iMac 27.

    A top-spec 2017 iMac 27 would be significantly faster at almost everything than a quad-core nMP. For editing 4k long GOP H264 material it would be vastly faster.

    For editing H264 1080p material almost any computer is fast enough, so if that's all you'll ever do the quad-core nMP may be OK. However if you care about export performance to H264, an iMac is probably 4x faster.
     
  11. jerwin, Jul 7, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017

    jerwin macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    #11
    I'm not sure that Best Buy will stock the iMac Pro. They don't stock the Mac Pro, do they?

    The 2017 imacs do have h.265 decode and encode circuitry. Might be rather useful for 4k video production.

    However...

    if
    your current, or anticipated workload involves running the machine at 400% load for hours on end,
    and if
    Kabylake's new quicksync features won't dramatically speed up the process.

    you might run into some fan noise issues.
     
  12. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #12
    I'll come out and say it: You want a shiny new toy! That's OK. We all do.

    You would likely enjoy the iMac's gorgeous display, and you would probably find a top-spec model to be moderately faster. But consider your environment: Are you sensitive to fan noise? Be aware that the top-spec iMac is known to be quite noisy when running certain applications. If you are sensitive to that, I'd suggest the mid-tier model with an SSD.

    Also, I'm sure you know that there will be (1) a new iMac Pro coming later this year, and (2) a new Mac Pro coming sometime next year. Unless you are sure that a current iMac (non-pro) will suit you fine without remorse even after those are available, I suggest waiting. Your can is still a fine machine.

    If you do wait, I like the advice given above to get a nice 4k monitor. It will ease the frustration of waiting and sooth your gear-lust a little.
     
  13. propower macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #13
    ^^^^^^ When does the 580 make a difference vs the 575? Does dual monitors impact this?
     
  14. curmudgeonette macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Location:
    California
    #14
    How big is the SSD in your nMP? Is it big enough for your projects? Or do you have to store your source video on an external drive? In short, how well does the configuration work for you?
     
  15. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #15
    The 580 is slightly faster. Maybe 10-15%. The 575 is a bigger jump up from the 570 in terms of speed.

    All can handle the same monitor configurations. However, the 580 has twice the ram (8 GB). I imagine that might help if using multiple 4k monitors or playing very heavy-duty games.
     
  16. MrXiro, Jul 7, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017

    MrXiro thread starter macrumors 68040

    MrXiro

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #16
    They do. It's not on the display but they have it on their website. Even open item ones.
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/apple-m...b-flash-storage-black/2680016.p?skuId=2680016

    --- Post Merged, Jul 7, 2017 ---
    It only has a 256gb SSD so I edit off of an SSD on a thunderbolt sled.

    Am I happy with it? It's fine. It's what I would do on an iMac as well. I'd only shell out for the 512gb SSD over a larger fusion drive. But most video editors edit off of an external I believe.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 7, 2017 ---
    I love the idea of the iMac Pro but $5k is a lot of cash. Using a educational discount I can get a nearly fully spec' out i7 for about 1/2 the price. Which is a little more reasonable. I doubt I'll ever get a Mac Pro ever again too. This Mac Pro is only a tiny bit faster than the i7 Mac Mini it replaced which was really disappointing for me. I feel like an iMac is more suitable for my situation.

    My only concern is the black soot under the screen that happened to my iMac from a few years back. I hope they managed to solve that issue now.
     
  17. MrXiro thread starter macrumors 68040

    MrXiro

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #17
    Is the 580 worth the extra $?
     
  18. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #18
    It's not worth it in strictly financial terms, e.g. if you compare the cost of desktop card equivalents (under rational circumstances, not during this crypto-mining card crisis). However, if you somehow know you need the 8GB vs. 4GB VRAM, then it's worth it, because that's the only way you will get that.

    (To put VRAM in perspective by one measure, less than 5% of people playing games on Steam have 8GB cards, and only 11% have 4GB.)
     
  19. MrXiro thread starter macrumors 68040

    MrXiro

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #19
    I don't really play games on my Mac... mostly use it to surf, convert videos and edit. It's also my Plex server which I share with my sisters and parents who use it often. I have it set to transcode though so it doesn't buffer too often on their slower internet access. So if I do go with a iMac, you think I should just go with the mid tier with the i7? I also qualify for the education discount because I have a daughter going into 8th grade.

    The price difference only seems to be $90 though...
    Screen Shot 2017-07-08 at 6.07.52 PM.png
     
  20. Ph.D., Jul 8, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017

    Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #20
    Ah, you are comparing I7's. Yes, if you go for the I7, then by all means get the 580.

    Personally, I'd go with the mid-range I5/575 for the cost and power (noise) savings over the high-range models. That said, only you can decide what's best for you.
     
  21. Arctic Moose macrumors member

    Arctic Moose

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    Jun 22, 2017
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #21
    I got the highest possible spec (except for RAM of course) and haven’t noticed any fan noise at all during normal use.
     
  22. MrXiro thread starter macrumors 68040

    MrXiro

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #22
    Well I would want the i7 to match my current Xeon set up in speed though wouldn't I? From what I understand the i7 & Xeon has Hyperthreading while i5 does not. Since I do a lot of video editing I would at least want a Quad Core with Hyperthreading otherwise I will have a machine that is operating slightly slower.

    I had an understanding that the hyper threading creates 4 virtual cores so there is 8 cores processing. While the i5 would only have 4 cores processing the rendering in FCPX which renders videos and effects on the CPU and not the GPU.

    Or am I mistaken on how much actual real world use hyperthreading is.
     
  23. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #23
    That is roughly correct but the 8 logical cores on an i7 are not equally efficient to physical cores. In my testing of FCPX rendering performance, hyperthreading adds about 30% more speed. That is on a timeline with no effects. This can be tested exactly on the same hardware by using the 3rd party CPUSetter utility to disable hyperthreading.

    If there are effects in the timeline those also must be rendered, which are often GPU-intensive. In addition to this the 2017 iMac i7 clock rate is about 10% faster than the i5.

    So from the standpoint of FCPX rendering performance the i7 iMac is about 40% faster than the i5, not including GPU factors. It will be vastly faster than your quad-core nMP.

    That said the nMP is a very quiet machine. When I tested a 12-core version I never heard the fan -- the exhaust air just got hotter. It was a nice design. By contrast with an iMac 27 under heavy multi-core load you will definitely hear the fan periodically. Typically this is when doing sustained transcoding, not when editing. In my work environment I have stacks of Thunderbolt disk arrays on the same desktop plus a Windows workstation, so the iMac fan noise isn't that noticeable due to all the other background white noise. However someone who only has an iMac in a quiet room and doesn't use much external rotating storage might notice the fan noise a lot more.
     
  24. MrXiro thread starter macrumors 68040

    MrXiro

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #24
    Thanks! So in your opinion is it worth it for me to upgrade to the top end i5 iMac from my nMP? I was dead set on the i7 due to the hyper threading but I do enjoy saving money too. The extra 200 could go to more RAM.

    Ideally which configuration is the best value (bang for buck) upgrade for me in your opinion?
     
  25. Arctic Moose macrumors member

    Arctic Moose

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #25
    You can easily and affordably add another 32 GB of RAM later, without taking the stock RAM out.

    In contrast, the processor and SSD are expensive, difficult and/or impossible to replace.
     

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