iMac for motion graphics

Discussion in 'iMac' started by bxf, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. bxf macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2008
    I need to upgrade my 2012 macbook pro, and the new iMacs seem to be the better option right now. I don't know which one to get and what upgrades to make, and thought someone could help. I know that the best thing would be to get the best one, but I don't want to spend more money than necessary.
    I work with motion graphics, so I use After Effects all the time. I also work with Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere and sometimes Cinema 4D. My high end 2012 macbook pro with 16gb of ram is really struggling right now.
    Should I get the upgrade from i5 to i7? Is it worth it for this kind of work?
    And what about the graphics card? I need to get the Radeon Pro 580 or is the 575 enough?
    I'm planning on buying it with 8gb RAM and adding two 16gb later. That would give me 40gb. Can I do that or is that a problem?
    Thank you very much!
  2. ed. macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2008
    Hi, I work in motion graphics and have used a 2013 iMac for the past 3.5 years. My needs are very close to yours apart from C4D work, and that's really an important bit of difference.
    In general I tend to pimp out the top of the line model at least in terms of processor just to have a machine that will last longer (this one still works fairly decently), but your mileage (and budget!) may vary.
    Coming to the details, please keep in mind that Adobe appears to kind of have given up on multiprocessing optimization at least for rendering, so you don't really get 'geometric' better render times the more you add processing cores... which in turn drive the amount of RAM you need (it used to be you needed at least 2-3 GBs for every render core you wanted to use, plus some spare not to drag the system to a halt).
    This means that single core performance is more important than the number of cores (for example a current Mac Pro struggles against an iMac in AE). As for graphics card performance, I don't think it currently is a big factor in all Adobe apps, so probably the 575 is fine as well. So i'd say get a processor with a fast clock speed and stay with 16GB of RAM, you should be alright for all adobe apps.

    What changes things a bit is C4D, where graphics card performance makes a difference and most of all more cores translate directly to shorter render times, so you would probably want to get the faster i7 and put on some more ram (not cheap if you get it from apple but manual upgrade should be possible). Be careful with the ram pairings, as some times you can't just drop in random modules and there is a history of crashing when you use different pairs or even different brands. you should be able to find out supported pairings pretty easily, though.
  3. bxf thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2008
    Thank you very much!
    I don't use C4D that often and when I do they are not very complex projects, so I'm more concerned about the adobe apps.
    I'm only wondering if I should get the i7 or if the i5 is enough. From what you said it doesn't make much of a difference for after effects, but what about using multiple apps at the same time? Will it make a diference if I have After Effects, Illustrator and Photoshop opened? Or is that not a factor?
  4. ed. macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2008
    For AE, the difference between i5 and i7 will be proportional to the difference in calculation performance, so just google some benchmarks and you should have an idea (it's something like 20-25%, which might not seem a lot, but depends on how long your average renders usually are).
    For multitasking, more ram is what you want, so if you're on a budget save the extra $ of the i7 and get as much ram as you can, so your system will always be flush with memory and you can keep a lot of apps open without slowdowns.
  5. Jack Burton macrumors 6502a

    Jack Burton

    Feb 27, 2015
    Go i7 and get the best GPU. Bite that bullet. You can upgrade ram later, but not the rest without major surgery!

    Adobe Media encoder still uses the GPU even on my 2011 iMac, and the faster CPU will help AE move faster (single core speed). The C4d viewport depends on having a good GPU paired with a CPU that can feed it fast enough. The fastest video cards out there can be hamstrung in the C4d viewport with a slow single core clock speed.

    Also, cinema 4d has a GPU rendering engine coming in R19 based on AMD's ProRender, and you'll be thankful for the 8GB of vram for fitting a scene into GPU memory. It was even featured in Apple's State of the Union session at WWDC:

    From a C4d tester on twitter: "cinema 4d and prorender running on metal at the apple WWDC. scene by me :)"


    Of course, official eGPU support is coming in high Sierra! Get a big honking GTX 1080 and use it for rendering in Premiere or chewing through sims and renders in C4d:


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