iMac 27" souped up versus baseline Mac Pro

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Revo Designs, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. Revo Designs macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2014

    I was wondering if a new 2014 27inch IMac could process 4k video or at least compare to the new baseline 4core Mac Pro.

    Here are the specs of the IMac:
    -3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    -32GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4X8GB
    -256GB Flash Storage
    -NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5

    Specs of the Mac Pro:
    -3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor
    -12GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory
    -Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM each
    -256GB PCIe-based flash storage1

    I assume the IMac would work just fine for this.. but just wanted a second opinion. Also, we will be editing simple AE animations such as cartoons and whatnot.

    Thank you very much for all the help!

  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Have you factored in the cost of a 27" IPS panel?
  3. Revo Designs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2014
    I do know Apple sells their 27inch thunderbolt displays for $1,000. Which means to me the build is only valued around $2,000 minus the built in display. However, If I get the Mac Pro, I will be forced to buy 2 4k screens instead of one extra for playback.

    Is the screen really worth it? and will it still complete the tasks with ease?

    Thank you so much for your help!
  4. Outrigger macrumors 68000


    Dec 22, 2008
    the screen will more than complete the task with ease, but whether or not its worth $1k is very subjective.
  5. Revo Designs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2014
    I will not be purchasing a TB Display. I'm just factoring in the value of it when buying the entire IMac. Since the screen costs $1000 from Apple, I assume that means I will be buying a $2000 computer. (about $3,000 total)

    That being said, I just wanted to know if the IMac with top specs will still be able to handle 4k video and AE animations.

    Thanks again!
  6. gmanist1000 macrumors 68030


    Sep 22, 2009
    This video does an excellent job comparing the two: (the Mac Pro he has is a 6-core, though)

  7. Revo Designs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2014
    Thanks for the excellent video.. however the 6core is not in budget range. I am just looking for an answer as to which I should buy.

    Thanks again!
  8. p3ntyne macrumors 6502


    Jan 10, 2014
    Sydney, Australia
    I would purchase the iMac unless you could get more RAM into that Mac Pro.
  9. willydimes macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2014
    I can't find it right now but I recall reading how the souped iMac was more than comparable if not a tad faster than the baseline Mac Pro but what I came in here to type was that if you end up doing the iMac, get the RAM on your own, it'll cost half as much as Apple charges and it a simple plug in. I recall they charge something like 600 to go from 8 to 32 and I think you can get that 32 GB for like 320 or so from Crucial, maybe a tad cheaper on eBay. Could use that extra money for a larger SSD
  10. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    I have a top-spec 2013 iMac 27 which I use for FCP X video editing. Most of our footage is 1080p/30, but I have edited small amounts of 4k H.264 video and it works OK.

    I have personally tested my workflow on a 4-core nMP on FCP X, and overall there was little difference vs the iMac. For some things the nMP was a little faster, for H.264 single-pass export the iMac was vastly faster.

    For this workflow, it takes an 8-core nMP to be majorly faster than a top-spec iMac. There may be some GPU-intensive workflows where the 4-core nMP was a lot faster, but it's not relevant for me.

    Both systems you mentioned have only 256GB internal flash storage. Be sure that is enough. Do not resort to slow, bus-powered USB drives for major editing work.

    That is another advantage of the iMac. You typically have fixed $ to spend, so for a given budget the iMac configuration can be equipped with much higher performance external drives than the nMP.
  11. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2007
    Midwest America.
    If you need the power in the future, get the Mac Pro, if you need it now, maybe the iMac might be the better choice. If you have the Adobe digital subscription, then a future update would probably let the ponies run, but I've found Adobe often drags their feet a LONG time before doing meaningful updates on their Mac software.

    On non-Apple memory. After having an iMac go mental after a few months of installing Kingston memory, I have come to the realization that using third party memory is not worth the hassle in the long run, at times.

    I needed that machine, and needed the level of ram in it. I took the machine to Apple and they couldn't find out what was wrong with it, and ended up replacing the unit with a new one. I also got the same amount of ram I had in the mental one from the Apple store for about what the Kingston originally cost me. I don't know why the price was so reasonable, but I didn't question it and walked out a happy minion... So, like most things in life, 'Your Mileage May Vary'... I've definitely lost the verve that I had for trashing OEM memory upgrades. I mean, if the price is reasonable. Sometimes it's ridiculous. As an example, once we quoted HP server ram that was four times the cost of four times more Kingston memory. Even I was shocked at that...
  12. willydimes macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2014
    I've never had any issue wth third party ram although the I most certainly have heard of some. My reason for suggesting on your own is just that they charge almost twice as much as crucial does which is a well known ram brand.
  13. Rud3Bwoy Suspended


    Oct 9, 2011
    i got a maxed out imac excluding the hd which i got 512 gb ssd ram i went with crucial got it from amazon first set i got was bad called crucial got my replacement in 2 days now so far working fine. other than that the machine is hella fast for photo/video editing
  14. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    For consideration:

    (1) iMac has Nvidia GPU which is essential for applications that take advantage of CUDA only (eg based on benchmarks, I think Blender cycles will probably render about 10 times faster using a Nvidia GPU such as GTX 780M as compared to using the CPU)

    (2) while lots of folks suggest upgrading to 32 GB of third party RAM, I would think that the best performance / price ratio comes from adding 16 GB of third party RAM and keeping the factory installed 8 GB

    Personally, I would forego the Fusion drive and install the biggest SSD I can afford in the high spec iMac.

  15. iMcLovin macrumors 68000


    Feb 11, 2009
    There will be no performance gain on the Mac Pro vs the iMac in AE or any other adobe programs. You should know, adobe programs utilize 1 CPU core and doesn't support twin gpu's. Most likely that expensive Mac Pro will perform less than a top spec iMac because most of its cores and one of the gpu's will just sleep. The only software that I know of that needs a fast machine and actually is optimized for the mMP is Final Cut Pro x. So don't waste more money on a less performing rig....
  16. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    Photoshop and Premiere Pro CS6 used multiple cores -- anyone can verify this by simply running Activity Monitor or iStat Menus. Premiere Pro CC uses multiple GPUs on the nMP via OpenCL. AE can use multiple cores via the multiprocessing option. It appears in AE CC, multiple GPUs are supported for some tasks:
  17. iMcLovin, Aug 23, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014

    iMcLovin macrumors 68000


    Feb 11, 2009

    I don´t know so much about Premiere, but AE does not. Im pretty sure Premiere as well only uses it on only a few features - since the program was initially made for 1 core, and adobe hasnt optimized it. It´s common knowledge in the community and Adobe is even avoiding answering disappointed customers about it. So you are correct in some way, AE uses multiple cores, but ONLY in rendering, but honestly, rendering isn´t the big issue, thats something you can put on over night .What users need is a software that uses multiple cores when working, the way Final Cut has, and thats not something AE has...and I doubt Premiere has it either.
    So if you are willing to pay twice as much for a nMP to get a bit faster rendering speed, then by all means do it. Photoshop has multiprocessing for some of the filters and features (they are increasing it) but it goes slowly and the core program is still only use 1 core. They are patching the corners instead of rewriting the program...that way it will never be a truly multicore supported software. Besides, you dont really need a nMP for Photoshop anyway, you can work with thousands of layers and images with 10k dpi without any problems on a high spec iMac.

    If you buy the 12 core nMP Xeon cpu with 2,7 gHZ (that cost crazy much), you will get LESS performance "while working" in AE than if you buy a 3.1 gHZ 4 core iMac.
  18. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    Premiere is heavily multithreaded and uses all available cores for common operations. Anyone can see that by just running Activity Monitor or iStat Menus. I just started Photoshop CC, loaded an image and applied one filter, and it was already up to 50 threads.

    Even though AE can use multiple cores for certain operations, you're right there is much room for improvement. Photoshop likewise uses multiple cores and GPU acceleration for certain tasks but could be improved.

    FCP X is good at using multiple cores for background rendering, which is a fortunate since it requires a lot more rendering than Premiere during the edit phase.

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