iMac 2019: 580x or Vega 48 for SketchUp?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by simacc, May 18, 2019.

  1. simacc macrumors newbie

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    Aug 29, 2018
    #1
    Hi,

    Coming from an iMac 2011 and trying to decide if the Vega 48 is worth the upgrade. I mostly do music production, but recently have been doing a lot of SketchUp, and it looks like I will be getting more into it. The 2011 iMac is really showing its age with SketchUp.

    Anyway, I heard the Vega 48 is also supposed to run a bit quieter, which would be a good thing for recording. Will it also show much of a edge with SketchUp? If both those are true then I could just about stretch to it...

    Thanks for your thoughts!
    Si.
     
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #2

    The Vega runs cooler and quiter - But for music work, you're generally not really using the GPU, so it running quieter won't really impact recording, since the CPU's temperature is what'll determine fan speed at that point, not GPU.

    I don't think very many people have both machines to test with; Max Yuriev has made a video comparing the 580X and Vega 48 for video production workflows. For that at least there's a decent and noticable difference in a lot of cases, but in others not really at all. That's video though, and not necessarily directly comparable to a workload like SketchUp.
    I honestlly think you'd be fine and very happy with the 580X, especially coming from a 2011
    Based on the data I've been able to find, I do think the Vega 48 would perform a decent chunk better; But the real question is, if it'll be noticable at the complexity levels you deal with? A lot of the time, the best approach is not to buy the best to future proof, but to buy just enough for what you need, and store the saved money away for a future machine that'll perform better than the "future proofed" for less, especially when considering resale value of the model you're upgrading from.

    Based on what GPU hardware SketchUp would stress, it'd be more similar to a gaming workload than a video workload (though not identical to gaming either); In Unigine (Valley I think it was? Maybe it was Heaven?), if I remember correctly, the Vega was ≈35% faster than the 580X. Which is substantial.

    I think the final conclusion is YMMV; But I actually think the 580X is fine for you. Depending on how complex the graphics work you'll do it.
     
  3. simacc, May 18, 2019
    Last edited: May 18, 2019

    simacc thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 29, 2018
    #3
    Great reply! Thanks!

    Good point re music, however all these music apps are getting fancier and fancier looking...on my 2011 iMac I never even half run out of CPU (3.4GHz) with music, but the GPU will begin to struggle with loads of windows open in Logic X and various third party plugins...it's kinda stupid really, I don't see the point in all these glamorous looking plugins that just slow down your workflow, anyway that's getting OT. I suppose my point would be that when I'm working heavily, i.e. finishing off a project, with automation etc., I could see the GPU working hard...

    I should also mention I use two screens, so the iMac will be running a 32" 2K screen also...and I will probably upgrade that to a 42" 4K later this year.

    Although I did a lot of the drawing work on the 2011, when I wanted to add textures and people and create an animation I had to borrow a trashcan Mac Pro...and then even that struggled...so then I borrowed a very top spec current MacBook Pro (2.9 Vega 20) to finish it!

    BTW, the model I'm looking at is the 27" 3.7GHz 6-core with 512GB SSD...

    35% faster in SketchUp would make it worth it to me for the money involved...and the fact that I will get the external 4K screen? That's bound to put more pressure on the GPU. What do you think?
     
  4. codernova macrumors member

    codernova

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    May 13, 2019
    #4
    I was in your boat VERY recently trying to make almost the exact same decision. Mine is currently being assembled by Apple. Main use cases for me are Logic Pro X, general computing, and light gaming. I opted for spending more on the Vega 48 because I want this machine to last me ~7 years. Virtual synths/effects MIGHT start using OpenCL/Metal/whatever more often in the future and any reduction of heat from the system overall is a good thing for the life of the system and performance of the i9.
     
  5. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #5
    Well, DAWs isn't my strongest suit if I'm honest. I only just got a MIDI controller very recently. I'm mostly done video work in the past, as well as programming. If the music world is using the GPU to a greater extend than I'm aware, I guess the heat considerations are indeed very valid.

    What exactly is your use case here? Are you using SketchUp as a hobbyist? Semi-professional? - Is it something you could get an ROI on? - The Vega 20 is still a good bit slower than the 580X, but obviously the Vega 48 is even better, but in the end it's a judgement on how much that performance will benefit you, and if you only use SketchUp once in a while for light fun, then I still don't think it's worth it. If it's something you're getting really into, and perhaps even make a bit of money with, or just see yourself doing a lot, it could be a value-add that'd be worth it.
    Suppose it does also add to potential resale value if it comes to that.

    Keep in mind that ≈35% is probably on the quite optimistic end of the spectrum. GeekBench shows close to 0 performance difference between the Vega and 580X, and something like h.264 encoding in Final Cut also sees no real improvement. It's workload dependant, and the 35% I mentioned is in a scenario that plays more to the Vega's strengths than most general workloads I'd guess. I think 15-20% is more what you could feasibly expect for most of the SketchUp work, but it's essentially educated guesswork. My own GPU is an R9 M295X. I'm basing this on other benchmarks, an understanding of how GPUs work, limited knowledge of SketchUp and the spec sheets for the two GPUs.
     
  6. simacc, May 18, 2019
    Last edited: May 18, 2019

    simacc thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    I think with two high resolution screens running and the way plugin manufacturers are going with all these fancy GUIs, coupled with the fact that I like to have a lot of windows open at the same time, it might be a good idea for my music workflow...even if not so much a performance thing...just to keep the fan noise down...my work area gets very warm when I have all my equipment running and close the windows to avoid disturbing neighbours...27c-33c (winter-summer)...

    Semi-professional SketchUp use...in terms of ROI, will most certainly will pay for that GPU upgrade over the next few months anyway. I have one design lined up...maybe another.

    I'm still on the fence...leaning toward the Vega since I use two displays and I like a fast computer for work...gives me more time to play music. Ideally I would buy an iMac Pro, but no way I can afford that at the moment. The GPU just died on my 2011 so I need a new computer now...I was planning on saving up for an iMac Pro (dreaming maybe), but I think the 2019 will be totally sufficient. That said, "The Vega 20 is still a good bit slower than the 580X" has me leaning back towards the 580X, that MacBook Pro I borrowed was well fast...although I never tried it with a second display. 500 euro is a lot of money to me...
     
  7. codernova, May 18, 2019
    Last edited: May 18, 2019

    codernova macrumors member

    codernova

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    May 13, 2019
    #7


    This helped with my decision, it'd be nice if someone did something similar with the 580X

    edit: "500 euro is a lot of money to me..." Get the 580X, you know it will work well enough compared to the Vega 20.

    edit 2: The second monitor isn't going to factor in, the speed of the 580X is already well fast enough to handle it, the consideration for more monitors would be available video RAM, of which the 580X and Vega 48 have the same amount.

    edit 3: @casperes1996 and I flipped positions lol. This truly is a difficult decision to make.
     
  8. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #8
    After reading this, I've flipped. I think you should go for the Vega actually.

    Now if the interface is entirely static, having to run more pixels won't necessarily strain the GPU a lot at all; But it will fill the memory in the GPU more.

    The reason I'm now leaning more to the Vega for you, is that you'll actually be able to earn a bit of cash from the work the computer will facilitate, work in which the GPU will play a significant part. If the faster GPU choice will mean you can make money faster then that's essentially increasing your hourly salary through a one-off investment.

    The 580X is as I mention a fair bit faster than the Vega 20, but the 5K iMac alone also has almost 3x the amount of pixels. Now as mentioned that doesn't necessarily scale with performance, especially for static content, but if you're working with content in SketchUp and SketchUp renders based on screen resolution that is a lot more to drive regardless.

    Initially I figured you were mostly into music production and just did a bit of SketchUp for fun, but it now sounds more like you do computations that could benefit from the extra power, and lower temperatures.

    Now if you work with high resolution textures, the Vega also has another feature that's a massive benefit; HBM memory.
    The benefit of HBM2 over GDDR5 is very workload dependant, but especially beneficial when working with high resolution, high detail textures and a lot of pixels.

    As someone else mentioned, the lower heat produced from the Vega will also help the lifespan of the computer, and help it stay performant down the road when dust may inhibit the cooling capacity somewhat.

    I would not advice most people the Vega, and thus didn't initially, but after our messages here; I feel you'd be better off with it actually. I think you'd regret getting the 580X when you have your first GPU related slowdown.
     
  9. simacc thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 29, 2018
    #9
    Cheers for the replies guys! Think I'm going to try stretch for the Vega 48 now...it'll mean I'll have to wait another week or so...but probably worth it in the long run...
     
  10. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #10
    Hope you'll be satisfied with your decision :). I know I'm well envious at least ;)... Though not of the cost, hehe. I think it'll be worth it for you though.
     
  11. simacc thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 29, 2018
    #11
    Cheers Casperes, very well thought out replies BTW...like I had read up a bit on all this, including some reviews, and I'm no stranger to computers in general...but you broke it down really nicely...thanks.
     
  12. codernova macrumors member

    codernova

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    May 13, 2019
    #12
    @simacc I've yet to receive my new iMac but I will update you with as much info as I can when it's delivered. It wasn't an easy decision for me to make when I purchased mine and if I can help further when mine is delivered, just ask.
     
  13. simacc thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 29, 2018
    #13
    Cool man. I might do, yeah...cheers!
     

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