How much difference between high end iMac and low end nMP?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by td2243, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. td2243 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    You guys understand the specs and numbers way more than I do.

    How much difference do you all suspect there will be from the i7 iMac and the entry level MacPro?

    Will it be substantial or very little difference? My guess is that is will be considerably faster for video editing and such, simply because the price of each is relatively the same and the MP doesn't have a screen. I would certainly hope that the money I would be spending on just the MP without a screen would be much better than that same amount of money (or close to) the highest iMac.

    Let me know what you guys think? I'm on the fence between these two models.
     
  2. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #2
    What will you be using the machine for? Keep in mind, it's hard to beat the 27" iMac Display.
     
  3. td2243 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    I'll be doing lots of video editing in Premiere Pro and a little After Effects here and there. I want to get Pro Tools and do some recording as well. I use Adobe Audition on a regular basis. Those are the most system taxing things I do.
     
  4. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020

    pgiguere1

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    #4
    I can't find any GPU benchmark, but CPU benchmarks (Geekbench) indicate a score of 18,309 for the 6-core new Mac Pro vs 13,057 for the top-end 27" iMac.

    So that's a 40% increase in CPU for the Mac Pro, but I imagine the GPU diffence would be a lot bigger than that. You may end up with something like double the speed for video editing (renders, exports and such).

    It's true that the 27" iMac's display is really high-quality, and a display of this kind alone would be $700+, so that's something you have to consider too.

    At the end of the day it comes down to how much video editing you do. If it's really occasionnal, I'd go with the iMac. However if that's something you do for a living, or for several hours every week, the Mac Pro might be worth it.
     
  5. snapdragonx macrumors regular

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    #5
    I've wondered about this also.

    What about the entry level quadcore 2013 Mac Pro vs i7 iMac?
     
  6. Tanax macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Except he said "entry level Mac Pro" - meaning the 4-core model, not the 6-core one.
     
  7. Gonk42 macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Top 4 core iMac vs 4 core nMac Pro

    I've not seen benchmarks yet but my guess is that the CPU on the MacPro won't be significantly faster and might well be a little slower. But it should be more robust using ECC memory and probably better thermally cooled so that running it continuously for a long time won't cause problems. Having said that, the iMac CPU is a laptop part I think so is also designed to use less power and need less cooling.

    The dual GPUs on the MacPro should be much more powerful but they are not nvidia whilst I think the one on the iMac is. This means if the software is written to run GPU processes under CUDA it might make use of the much less powerful GPU in the iMac and not be able to take full advantage of the ATI GPUs in the Mac Pro.
     
  8. snapdragonx macrumors regular

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    #8
    The iMac CPU is actually a desktop model. At least the i7 is, it's the standard 4770.
     
  9. englishman macrumors 6502a

    englishman

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    #9
    The new base MP in UK is £2,499 (12GB RAM and 256 SSD)

    The high end iMac is: £2,388.

    3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X8GB
    256GB Flash Storage
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5

    The difference is the screen and any extra performance/expansion etc the nMPRO has

    I use 2 high quality used 19" screens which are almost giveaway in the UK (ex Business) so I am not sure the screen will add that much in practice - although it will look nicer.

    What's the usability difference between 1 large screen v 2 small screens?

    I need to replace my slow mini (no stressful apps but is used for games) but not sure which way to go similarly to the OP.
     
  10. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    #10
    Depends on what you are doing - of course.

    If you're using multiple documents and/or multiple applications (e.g. web development) then two screens can be easier to manage than trying to keep everything neatly tiled on one large one. The new multi-screen features on 10.9 should make this even truer.

    If you're focussing on a single application (maybe with its own window/palette layout management) and want to get the maximum possible on screen, then the larger screen might be helpful - but its always handy to have a second screen to park reference material.

    Personally, I'd go for a 27" as a companion for a laptop (so you have the laptop as a second screen) or 2 x 24" for a desktop.
     
  11. tripitz macrumors newbie

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    #11
    The iMac should be faster 4 core vs 4 core. The iMac uses the latest generation cpu (Haswell) while the nMP uses the previous generation. Of course, the nMP will have more GPU power...
     
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #12
    What are you planning to do with the Mac? Speed difference will vary greatly based on the task. For example

    1) Watching a 120 minute hollywood movie will take exactly 120 minutes on either computer. There is no advantage at all for media consumption. Same goes for emails and web browsers. no or very little difference.

    2) Transcoding media. If you have a munch of AVCHD video and you need it to be turned into ProRes format the MP will be way-faster.
     
  13. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #13
    Depends. If running highly single threaded (of the threads doing most of the work... not the multiple GUI threads hangning around waiting for the user/OS to do something. ) then the newer micro-architecture will make a difference.

    If running 4 apps heavily or one app with mulitple worker threads than the E5's twice as larger memory bandwidth and much larger L3 caches will tend to even out ( or sometimes pass ) the new micro-architecture. Can only be a difference if the data/instructions actually get to the newer chip. Stalled on a memory load/store and then pragmatically just issuing no-ops.

    Geekbench E5 v2 multiple core benchmarks tend to nudge past the old Ivy mainstream desktops.

    The question is more so software that can fully leverage it. It isn't just whether using Adobe products but whether committed to using older Adobe products or not. If a user's software is firmly rooted in living in the past, the new Mac Pro's GPUs aren't going to help as much.
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #14
    Any app that uses OpenCL will be MUCH faster on the nMP because of the GPS

    Also storage bandwidth. Those six TB jacks could be used to make a really fast disk array
     
  15. td2243 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I edit video almost daily. Not for a living, but as a serious hobby which brings occasional money.


    Yeah, I know the 6-core will be faster than the four, but I was curious of the difference between the highest iMac and lowest MP.


    YES. I do this often.



    The thread talk is where I get lost, that is beyond my understanding of what is going on. I have no clue how many threads the programs I use need. I guess if I understood that, I might understand how many cores I need.

    I will have two screens regardless. I use a 2007 MBP now and it is a total dinosaur. I've been saving to get either the newest iMac or a MP when it comes out. I have a second screen connected to the laptop, but I can always add another screen after buying a MP. I can't afford to throw down $3K and higher often, so I want to make a wise decision.

    Thanks for the responses, all of this is helpful. So, how do I know how many cores I even need?

    ----------

    Is this info I would find on the app sites, or some special knowledge that only computer gurus instinctively know and understand? :confused:
     
  16. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #16
    Not all six if need high, low latency bandwidth between I/O device ( Symphony) and the Mac Pro. All six of those aren't independent bandwidth. Very likely, it is much closer to three pairs of jacks when it comes to independence.

    It is likely not so much bandwidth as a combo of bandwidth and latency need to external storage for this stream audio context.

    Three pairs more so means that aren't going to run into as many TB network configuration constraints as an iMac. There is substantially more flexibility with the new Mac Pro design relative to the iMac.

    Especially, if need to through a port or two at some legacy Firewire devices have to interface with. Either with TB->FW dongle or Firewire off of a more high power docking station/display.
     
  17. chfilm macrumors 65816

    chfilm

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    #17
    I'm curious about the difference as well. Especially compared to last years top level imac.

    Does anybody even know if adobe premiere or after effects support multi gpu setups of non nvidia cards AT ALL? I'm still wondering what those gfx cards are supposed to be used for. :confused:
     
  18. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #18
    I have a Radeon and GeForce in my Mac Pro currently, and even though it took some patches, the NVIDIA works, but it Adobe doesn't even SEE my Radeon.
     
  19. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #19
    Go to the utilities folder and start Activity Monitor. It is somewhat coarse grained so can't do down to the granular level easily but will:

    i. show you how many threads are runner per app. ( Not all of them are active workers. web browser having 20 threads doesn't mean need a 12 core processor for good performance. )

    ii. show you how active your cores are.


    If you have skewed workloads where a small subset of cores are grinding at 80-90% and the rest are down in 10-25% range then 12 cores won't particularly help.

    Similarly if OS X is just dribbling everything out to all the cores and they often all are at (or under) 10% utilization... 12 is just going to dilute that further. It is not particularly productive or cost effective.
     
  20. td2243 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    That helps. So, looking at my Activity Monitor screenshot, how would you interpret how many cores I would benefit from? Obvious, a 38 core machine isn't the answer. So how do you interpret the number of threads into the core number needed? Sorry for the dumb questions.

    Also, this machine is 6 years old. :( I started up a bunch of apps to give a picture of the stuff I use.

    [​IMG]
     
  21. Gonk42 macrumors 6502

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    #21
    All the CPU percentages in your screen shot are tiny so it is difficult to judge. That is, when you took the screen shot, the cpu(s) were not really being used presumably because your tasks were busy reading and/or writing to disk or waiting for input from you.

    If you switch to the cpu tab it should give a graph giving history of cpu usage.
     
  22. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #22
    You have to measure while you are doing things you think take high CPU load. Also helps to measure at some random times when you think you are doing "normal" or "low" workload just to get a baseline. If collecting a bunch of snapshot pictures to help remember and tracking the CPU load, click on the 'CPU' button toward the bottom to show the CPU summary tab. [ Tracking disk activity is good too. ]

    While running a project, if you select the application and press "Sample Process" will collect much more detailed information. Probably "too much info" for what you are doing. [ Can see breakdown per thread of what calls they are making. If thread is spending 90+% of its time in 'xxx_wait_xxx' or 'xxx_sleep_xxx' or something that looks like it is trying to find something to do or timing something then it isn't doing much "work". ]

    You can also select and "Inspect" a process to get a more detailed summary of what resources it is consuming.


    The mapping from how the OS views things is in a bit oversimplified view that

    Application --- process ( threads are grouped by process )
    'worker' --- thread ( a series of instructions being executed to get something done )

    An application, like a person, can be doing multiple things at once.

    Some apps invoke "headless"/background processes to help them out. For example, Chrome Helper. It is usually pretty obvious who they 'belong to'. Each process has its own address space (virtual memory working area), so sometimes that is a good thing to do to get more of the work done either more safely or more effectively.


    It isn't just the applications themselves. The number of cores is more so driven by the combination of application and the data being run through them. With these applications just idling, you don't need many cores at all. Even the threads associated with an app may largely be just idling most of the time. [ e.g., a thread spawned per browser tab. ]

    Finally, if looking to collect data for how many cores for the whole system you'll want to select "All processes" from the drop down menu at the top, not just "My Processes". Some apps may invoke a large amount of supportive/helper work for the OS to do. The "accounting" for CPU time may/may not be 'charged' to the application.
     
  23. jasonvp macrumors 6502a

    jasonvp

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    #23
    If you're using the CS6 version of Premiere Pro, it'll be able to take advantage of one of the GPUs in the new Mac Pro. Based on one of your later screen shots, it looks like that's what you're using. Upgrade to CC, and Pr will be able to use as many GPUs as it can get its digital hands on.

    Adobe added OpenCL support to the OS X version of Pr for version CS6. They've continued to polish that up a bit for CC.

    I'd recommend if you do decide to go with a new Pro, that you also entertain the idea of upgrading your NLE to something newer.
     
  24. Tanax macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Haswell only introduced marginally better CPU-performance. What really sets them apart is the clock speed, 3.7 in nMP vs 3.5 in iMac. Considering the iMac has newer architecture, I'd say they are pretty much on par - at least as far as single-threaded applications go.

    Keep in mind that Xeon processors are workstation processors, thus better suited for CPU-intensive work instead of the consumer processors such as the i7.
     
  25. stjames70 macrumors member

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    #25
    Get a Mac Pro

    If you plan to have your computer on 24/7 and your computer is to be used in a business environment (well, I would say that the Mac Pro is better for a home environment as well), get a Mac Pro.

    iMacs get awfully hot, and their compact design does not inspire confidence for me in a business environment where down time is really not something that can be contemplated.

    Even if the iMac had slightly better performance parameters in certain situations, the trade off in system stability is not acceptable at least to me.

    Measuring benchmarks are cool until your system crashes -- then the party ends -- stick with the Mac Pro so you can keep the party going 24/7
     

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