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iMac 27" i5 vs i9 Processor

MacManiac76

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 21, 2007
1,592
380
White Mntns, Arizona
I have been looking at purchasing an iMac 27" for photo and video editing. I'm wondering if the 9th-gen Core i9 8-core processor is worth the upgrade cost compared to the 9th-gen Core i5 6-core processor? Will the i9 processor throttle heavily due to overheating under heavy load? Should I stick with the i5 and spend the money on either the graphics card upgrade or more SSD storage instead? I'm looking for advice from those with personal experience with the i9 processor.
 

sublunar

macrumors 65816
Jun 23, 2007
1,375
813
Depends on your budget I think. I'd go SSD only for storage. RAM can be upgraded after purchase but obviously for serious video editing you can't really assume 8Gb will be ok for any length of time.

CPU is probably the last thing I'd consider upgrading alongside the GPU even with video editing because we're into the realms of return on investment up against what Apple will charge. An 8 core i9 could cost over 10% of the price of the overall iMac and would only benefit long renders.

Similarly with the upgrade to Pro Vega 48 which is hugely expensive.

By the time you've thrown on the 8 core CPU upgrade, the GPU upgrade, 1Tb SSD, and lashings of RAM you're getting awfully close to the base iMac Pro which I'm sure can be found on deals and has VEGA 56, more Thunderbolt ports, and probably more capable of long renders even though the base clock appears to be lower than the i9.
 

gilby101

macrumors 6502
Mar 17, 2010
363
143
Tasmania
I have been looking at purchasing an iMac 27" for photo and video editing. I'm wondering if the 9th-gen Core i9 8-core processor is worth the upgrade cost compared to the 9th-gen Core i5 6-core processor? Will the i9 processor throttle heavily due to overheating under heavy load? Should I stick with the i5 and spend the money on either the graphics card upgrade or more SSD storage instead? I'm looking for advice from those with personal experience with the i9 processor.

The i9 does not throttle under load. Mine runs at about 3.9GHZ (above the base speed of 3.6GHz) with all CPUs running.

If you are working to a budget, consider in this order: SSD, RAM (but not from Apple), CPU, video. There are lots of options for SSD - I chose internal 512GB and added a 2TB Samsung T5. And an external HDD for backup.
 

robgendreau

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
3,371
277
There are bunches of videos on YouTube of folks testing the i9 and it doesn't seem to have the throttling or heat issues of some previous iMacs.

For some Lr and Ps work a faster processor is great. You can look at say Puget Systems websites to see some tests, or at barefeats.com. Some actions would definitely benefit from it.

Whether the extra SSD storage is worth it depends. How much space does your current system take up? Lr catalog and previews? you are going to need external storage in any case, and NVMe cases with say a biggish SSD inside via Thunderbolt are very fast and maybe a better use of that money, especially for video.

The enhanced graphics might help with video as well. It seems to help in some Lr exports, but that's one of the things most of us care less about than say tool response while editing itself, and I'm not convinced the cards are that different, except in video. Again, Puget has some tests.
 

Zen_Arcade

macrumors 6502
Jun 3, 2019
310
380
I have been looking at purchasing an iMac 27" for photo and video editing. I'm wondering if the 9th-gen Core i9 8-core processor is worth the upgrade cost compared to the 9th-gen Core i5 6-core processor? Will the i9 processor throttle heavily due to overheating under heavy load? Should I stick with the i5 and spend the money on either the graphics card upgrade or more SSD storage instead? I'm looking for advice from those with personal experience with the i9 processor.

It depends on your workload.

I recently went through the same decision tree and wound up with the i9 (after buying a 3.7 GHz i5). Enough of my work is CPU intensive that the i9 makes a noticeable difference. Conversely, if your workflow depends more on I/O speed then the i9 probably isn't worth it.

The other observation I'd make is that the i9 does not appear to throttle at all, which has been a pleasant surprise (even given the number of people in these fora who have reported the i9 doesn't throttle).

Finally, aside from booting and app launching, I don't see much difference in day to day use with the 2 TB fusion drive and an SSD.
 

MacManiac76

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 21, 2007
1,592
380
White Mntns, Arizona
I'm finally at the point of speccing out the best system for me. At this point I am debating between the Core i9/580x and the Core i5/Vega 48 config. I will be doing more cpu intensive tasks than gpu intensive. I know the Core i9 will be much better for cpu intensive tasks, but not sure how well it pairs with the 580x vs the Vega 48. Almost all the benchmarks and videos I have viewed only test the Core i9/Vega 48 combo. I am leaning towards the Core i9/580x combo since I can't really justify the $400+ upgrade to the Vega 48. I am also upgrading to the 1 TB SSD and 40 GB RAM (Upgrading myself using Crucial RAM). I will not be doing gaming and very little video editing. My workflow will consist mostly of office work, some programming, database, photo editing/processing and the usual web browsing/etc. Will the Core i9/580x be the best solution for me?
 

sublunar

macrumors 65816
Jun 23, 2007
1,375
813
I wish I could afford an iMac Pro, but the cost is over $4200 for the base iMac Pro refurb. I am getting the education discount on the 2019 iMac, so I am saving some money there.
If you can get an EDU discount for the 2019 iMac it's going to start at over $3000 not including your extra 32Gb of RAM and prior to your discount. Does EDU discount not extend to the iMac Pro?
 

MacManiac76

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 21, 2007
1,592
380
White Mntns, Arizona
If you can get an EDU discount for the 2019 iMac it's going to start at over $3000 not including your extra 32Gb of RAM and prior to your discount. Does EDU discount not extend to the iMac Pro?

The base iMac Pro with Edu discount is $4599. The base refurb iMac Pro is $4249. The Edu discount does not apply to refurbs. The Core i9 iMac with the 580x and 1TB SSD is $2809 with Edu discount. I can get the 32 GB RAM for $134. Upgrading to the Vega 48 is a $405 cost that the more I think about it I really can’t justify.
 

bpeeps

macrumors 68040
May 6, 2011
3,261
3,188
If you can get an EDU discount for the 2019 iMac it's going to start at over $3000 not including your extra 32Gb of RAM and prior to your discount. Does EDU discount not extend to the iMac Pro?
Top spec 2019 iMac is cheaper and faster than base model iMP, even with the better cooling and T2 chip. Not worth the price increase imo. iMP in the education store starts at $4559. 2019 iMac costs $3494 (i9, Vega, 2tb SSD). That’s over a 1K difference. The choice is easy.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,882
508
The Sillie Con Valley
Doing photo editing? If you can afford the i9, forget the i5. If you’re a hobbyist, the trade off is time. If you do this for income, then Time=$.

A maxed out i9 is as expensive as a base iMac Pro. I’d get the iMP. Wait... I did.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,882
508
The Sillie Con Valley
Top spec 2019 iMac is cheaper and faster than base model iMP, even with the better cooling and T2 chip. Not worth the price increase imo. iMP in the education store starts at $4559. 2019 iMac costs $3494 (i9, Vega, 2tb SSD). That’s over a 1K difference. The choice is easy.
That’s funny. Those who have used both for Photoshop and the like do not agree.

BTW, the Refurb Store is priced $310 less on the base model iMP — $2,249 and it’s always in stock. There are 12 others in the Refurb Store at the moment.
https://www.apple.com/shop/refurbished/mac/imac-pro

I really like the this one @ $5,399. 8 Core, 64GB RAM, 2TB, Vega 64. Eats an i9 for breakfast for photo and AV. Again, overkill for a hobbyist (maybe) but it’s the best bang for the buck for the pro
https://www.apple.com/shop/product/...9f229d2ffc634b3b1c006cbd2bd36df68feedd4fb57a6
 

MacManiac76

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 21, 2007
1,592
380
White Mntns, Arizona
I ended up ordering the Core i9/580x combo with 1 TB SSD for $2809 w/Edu discount. The iMac Pro is way overkill for me at $4249 or more for the base config. A maxed out Core i9/Vega 48/64 GB RAM/2 TB SSD (with Apple's ridiculous prices for RAM) does come close to a base iMac Pro, but that is with a $1000 RAM upgrade that nobody in their right mind would pay.
 

haddy

macrumors 6502
Nov 5, 2012
345
101
NZ
I'm finally at the point of speccing out the best system for me. At this point I am debating between the Core i9/580x and the Core i5/Vega 48 config. I will be doing more cpu intensive tasks than gpu intensive. I know the Core i9 will be much better for cpu intensive tasks, but not sure how well it pairs with the 580x vs the Vega 48. Almost all the benchmarks and videos I have viewed only test the Core i9/Vega 48 combo. I am leaning towards the Core i9/580x combo since I can't really justify the $400+ upgrade to the Vega 48. I am also upgrading to the 1 TB SSD and 40 GB RAM (Upgrading myself using Crucial RAM). I will not be doing gaming and very little video editing. My workflow will consist mostly of office work, some programming, database, photo editing/processing and the usual web browsing/etc. Will the Core i9/580x be the best solution for me?
Well the next iMac I buy will be the iMac Pro.....just for the 10GB internet/RJ45 speed.....which is coming available here in Nov. All the current iMacs only have 1GB:(
 
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