Have Late 2013 MacPro 6 Core - 4k Display or 5k iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by aplnub, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. aplnub macrumors regular

    Nov 16, 2008
    I have a late 2013 6-Core MacPro (3.5 GHz with 16 GB ram and AMD FirePro D300 with 2048 MB).

    I am running a Thunderbolt display and I am want to move to a 4K display or the new 5k iMac. I do my photo editing in Lightroom and I do a lot of editing. Especially during football season.

    I do some video in FCPX and iMovie. My video projects are usually under 5 minutes in total length and fairly simple.

    I know that is not a lot to go on but I was hoping to get some thoughts on my MacPro vs a new 5k iMac. I like the 27" screen size but I just want better resolution.
  2. dogbait macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2005
    London, England
    Just sold my Mac Pro (6-core, D700, 64 GB RAM) for an iMac 5k after weighing up this exact question.

    This video on the speed differences between the two (few in the Pro's favour) made the decision pretty easy:
  3. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    Due to Apple's cooling approach, the iMac's CPU can't live up to its full potential, i.e. it thermal throttles.

    Cf. this video:

    If I had the money, I'd take a 6 core Mac Pro + 4K display over the 5k iMac any day.

    P.S.: The title of the video is misleading. Just watch it. ;)
  4. MMcCraryNJ macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2012
    Thank you for this, I've been saying this for awhile now. The iMac by design is just not going to keep the components cool enough to run as the on-paper specs would indicate that it should. I feel that, on these boards at least, nMP got users got a little envious of the Retina 5K because it's newer/built on newer architecture/5K/etc, which turned into "omg, selling mine, the Retina 5K is better in benchmarks, so it must perform better!".

    I have a 6-core nMP with the D500 and the only thing I'd consider trading it in for is the next-gen nMP in the future. Especially since Dell's 5K monitor is supported now (pricey, but that won't be an issue or barrier forever).
  5. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    If they had kept the iMac just a little thicker they could have incorporated a huge heat sink with a bigger, slow-spinning fan. That would have made it killer – quiet, cool and powerful.

    Talking about Apple and thermal throttling, this is quite interesting, too:

  6. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Keep the Mac pro and buy a monitor.

    It's a far more powerful machine.
  7. koyoot macrumors 603


    Jun 5, 2012
    Yeah. Dual GPUs will make sense from 10.11 and for Apps with Metal support.
  8. dagamer34 macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    If you already have a Mac Pro, I'd just buy 2 Dell P2415Q monitors.
  9. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Where the heat sink is the new iMacs aren't that much thinner. It is mainly the edges that go thinner.
    If they weren't so thermodynamically hostile they could do better with the same edge thickness thickness constraints.

    A bigger slow-spinning fan was/is possible at the current thickness. An 27" iMac 2013 teardown pictures


    but the 5K model is essentially the same ( 5K Teardown )


    They could get probably 0.5-1 inch increased diameter fan in there. It would probably be more custom order and cost more, but there is space. There is nothing around the fan on the top and right edge ( as look straight on). Might need to tweak the illuminated Apple logo up 0.25 inch, but that is doable too. (and/or just get rid of the backlight. Need a radio exit. don't need to shine light out the back. )

    The problem they have is the Johnny Ive "super clean" OCD restrictions. The outlet vent is only in the back behind the pedestal arm. Most likely this is so you can't see the vents from most angles where arm doesn't hide them. ( "Oh look it is magical it has no vents" ) Similar with the inlet vents ( arrayed on the bottom so no casual viewer will see). Again symmetric OCD drives the bottom edges about as thin as the top two so restricting inlet flow too.

    The speaker/air baffles soak up tons of space too. If had pulled air in from the back (instead of lifting it up over and back down again ) that complexity isn't necessary.

    The Mac Pro is somewhat built around the "one single fan" sitting on top. The round , cylinder shape flows from just extending the enclosure down from that. Here it appears somewhat stuck in almost "last" in the design. Previous, iMacs had more than one. It is a huge step forward to put the heat sink right next to the the outlet vent, but this is still needs some work. At minimum they should start with the hottest GPU/CPU combo and set the fan specs there. What it looks like they did was set to the mid point of the 27" line up and hoped to cover the rest. There is just wasted space in the current design. (pretty sure could get two fans in there. Add one above/right of the HDD. Needs an outlet. ).

    If they weren't trying to drag hot air down that would help too. Mac Pro lets hot rise up and out almost for free ( not just size/diameter as to why the fan is spinning so slow most of the time). The fan doesn't have to fight what hot air naturally wants to do. It also doesn't help to "pre heat" (mix with the heat from the other components with no direct air flow ) the air before it goes to the heat pump radiator.

    A huge metal heatsink coupled to uninspired air flow design isn't going to help as much.
  10. aplnub thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 16, 2008
    Thanks to everyone for the responses. Unfortunately, I am more inclined to stay with my MacPro but no closer to choosing a display. I wish Apple would release a 4k/5k display with a two cable solution for us MacPro users.
  11. colodane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2012
    I will be making a similar decision after the next round of updates on the iMac and nMP. If I had to choose with today's specs, I'd go with the nMP and a Dell P2415Q. Given that you already have the Pro, it would seem to be a no-brainer to just spend $400 for a 4K display. Even if you end up not liking it, you won't be out much.
  12. jerwin macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2015
    If the advantages of the mac pro are chiefly that "it doesn't throttle", I imagine that would be possible to design long benchmarks that show the mac pro in a good light, and the imac in a worse light. Trouble is, they take time. A m295x is roughly equivalent to a D700. An m290x is roughly a D300...
  13. MMcCraryNJ, Jul 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
  14. jerwin, Jul 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2015

    jerwin macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2015
    > It occurs in normal, every day use doing tasks that a prosumer, media professional, or gamer would do.

    And the benchmarks should reflect this. But Oh no. 1.5m 4K transcodes (taking up 3 minutes of ones time) suffices for a "benchmark." It would be informative if time consuming, if longer tasks were considered. Raytracing for a few hours, for instance.
  15. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I too would prefer an Apple display, but if you want something similar to the 5K iMac display, you could get the very pricey 5K Dell UP2715K but to be honest, you can get the same experience for a fraction of the price with the Dell P2715Q which is a 4K monitor, but running 2560x1440 or 3008x1692 looks retina sharp at 4K. I run a pair of the P2715Q on my nMP and they are amazing!
  16. MrJandali macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2013
    If you love your power keep the Pro. The iMac is a toy in comparison.

    The quiet best display I can recommend you for your work is a NEC PA322UHD. It is a brilliant monitor with a clear and clean picture that will blow your mind. Alternatively you might try the Dell UP2715k. It´s half the price, much more PPI, the most brilliant colors you will ever see on a screen for sure, but it´s luck to get a really good unit and for work 31.5" is a lot better than 27".
  17. dagamer34 macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    iMac doesn't start throttling until about 15 min into a 100% CPU transcode, and then it goes from 4Ghz -> 3.3Ghz with fans running at full blast. Mac Pro will continue to hum along unthrottled at pretty cool temps. This effect is less pronounced in FCPX vs Premiere Pro because FCPX has background rendering of clips and takes advantage of QuickSync for fast encodes.
  18. jerwin macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2015
    Useful to know. Pity the benchmarks aren't designed to detect this. I suppose they need to let the macbook air play too.

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17 June 18, 2015