iMac Pro now or wait?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by xWhiplash, Jun 14, 2019 at 6:44 AM.

  1. xWhiplash macrumors 68000

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    #1
    After much consideration and discussions with many people, I have decided my next system will be the iMac Pro due to the T2 chip and HEVC work. I was considering the Mac Mini, but there are too many compromises and work around a I would need to do like an eGPU.

    Should I get the iMac Pro now, or is a refresh/price drop coming soon?
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #3
    My guess only, but there probably won't be a 2019 iMac Pro model (since all the energy and hoopla for this year went into the Mac Pro).

    Perhaps in 2020...?
     
  3. Zen_Arcade macrumors member

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    #4
    If you need it now, buy it now. Certainly look for the best discount you can find.

    If you don't need it now, wait.
     
  4. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

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    #5
    I have a 2017 10-core Vega64 iMac Pro; it's great but so is the 2019 i9 iMac. When working in a collaborative group, I like all the ports and 10-big ethernet on the iMP. It's very quiet but supposedly the 2019 i9 iMac is also fairly quiet.

    From an HEVC standpoint, each NLE and system area different. On the iMP the T2 handles HEVC, on an iMac, in theory Quick Sync handles this. The tricky thing is it's not just a hardware issue but how the software uses it. Currently Premiere Pro is much faster on HEVC on Macs than FCPX, but in most other cases Premiere is a lot slower.

    Currently in FCPX, 10-bit HEVC is very slow on both 2017 iMac Pro and my 2017 i7 iMac. 8-bit HEVC is a lot faster. I'd estimate rendering to 10-bit HEVC in Premiere is about 6x faster than FCPX right now. Likewise DaVinci Resolve 16 on the iMP is fast on rendering 8-bit HEVC but super-slow on 10-bit HEVC. Maybe the next versions of FCPX and Resolve might fix that.

    The i9-9900KF in the iMac is Intel's "Coffee Lake Refresh" (9th generation), so it has some hardware mitigations for Spectre/Meltdown. The Skylake Xeon in the iMP is 7th generation.
     
  5. xWhiplash thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #6
    So I’m still getting mixed information. I heard that the T2 compared to the i9 will speed up HEVC by 2 or 3 times so the iMac Pro would be the best option.

    I use FCPX, so the 2019 iMac is better than the pro?
     
  6. Prof. macrumors 601

    Prof.

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    #7
    I had the same question when purchasing my 2019 27" iMac. Do I buy it now that it's been refreshed internally, or wait long into the unforeseeable future and buy when they come out with a newly redesigned iMac?

    Well, I thought to myself what could they do with an all-new iMac? They could make the screen edge to edge? OLED? FaceID? ApplePay built in?

    The current 27" is massive, almost too big. So If they went edge to edge, but kept it 27", the physical size of the iMac would be smaller... I don't necessarily care about that. But what if they made it 30"? Well then the price would increase, being more of a turn off for me. FaceID? Cool, but I feel like unlocking with AppleWatch is just as fast. And I kind of like typing in my password when I don't have my Watch on. /Shrug. What about ApplePay? I don't buy stuff online all that often to get super excited about Pay being built into the iMac keyboard.

    At the end of the day, I wanted an iMac for nursing school that starts this fall - it's also my first ever Mac desktop. I decided that the current gen iMac is perfect for me, and unless Apple do something so totally insanely awesome with the design refresh, I don't think I'll be that upset. The overall iMac design has stayed the same for decades.
     
  7. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

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    #8
    Unfortunately I don't have an i9 model to test. I just ran some basic 4k HEVC playback and exporting tests for both 8-bit and 10bit on both my 2017 10-Core Vega64 iMac Pro and top-spec 2017 i7 iMac 27 in FCPX 10.4.6 and macOS 10.14.5.

    In general both iMP and iMac were OK on 4k HEVC playback for both 8-bit and 10-bit media. The iMac was a little smoother in playback, refresh rate, and time lag on JKL input, but not much difference. That is probably Quick Sync vs the T2. 10-bit media playback in FCPX was slightly slower than 8-bit on both machines, but not much difference.

    On HEVC export there was a big difference. On 8-bit 4k HEVC export, the iMP was about 2x faster than the iMac. However on 10-bit 4k HEVC export, they were both unusably slow. Even exporting a 20 sec clip takes a long, long time if to 10-bit HEVC -- on either machine.
     
  8. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Not according to Apple. FCPx is one of the apps they use to show off the advantages of the iMac Pro. The more cores, the better.
    https://www.apple.com/imac-pro/

    The base model is $4,249 and is always available at the Refurb Store. Lots of BTO options in stock at the moment for a nice price savings. . The link is down at the moment but should be back up soon.
    https://www.apple.com/shop/refurbished/mac
    The Refurb Store is often Apple's way of lowering the price without actually lowering the price. Ok, sometimes an actual return/refurb shows up but that's not what most of these are. The warranty is identical and can be extended to 3 years with AppleCare @ $169.
     
  9. xWhiplash, Jun 14, 2019 at 11:08 AM
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019 at 11:39 AM

    xWhiplash thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #10
    More cores the better. What about the i9 iMac that is >$1,000 cheaper? Compared to the base iMac Pro?

    All things being equal, will the T2 chip make such a massive difference where I should choose the base iMac Pro vs similar specced i9 iMac? Any other reasons to choose the iMac Pro base instead?
     
  10. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #11
    What about it? Apple claims that the iMP is the more suitable machine till the Mac Pro arrives in Sept.

    The i9 is not $1,000 cheaper if you upgrade the RAM to 32GB, go with the 1TB SSD and Vega 48. The difference is $406 if using OWC RAM; it's $10 if Apple RAM. I'm comparing the base iMP in the Refurb Store.

    The iMP still has a quad memory controller and the SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration, much better cooling and the Vega 56 GPU. None of these are available in the i9 at any price.

    If a hobbyist, go ahead. If time saved - money earned and FCP is the app, look at the iMac Pro.
     
  11. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

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    #12
    In my tests the iMac Pro was over 2x faster than my top-spec 2017 iMac at 8-bit HEVC exporting in FCPX. Max Yuryev tested the iMP vs the i9 iMac, and got about the same results. In my tests and in Max's tests, playback was OK on both iMP and iMac:



    In my tests and Max's tests, 10-bit HEVC exporting was quite slow on both iMP and i7/i9 iMac.

    You stated HEVC was a priority for you. If you mean 8-bit HEVC exporting, the iMac Pro currently has a significant advantage in FCPX. If you mean editing 8-bit or 10-bit HEVC material, they both do OK.
     
  12. xWhiplash, Jun 14, 2019 at 1:27 PM
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019 at 1:37 PM

    xWhiplash thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #13
    2019 i9 iMac with 1TB SSD and 8 GB RAM (will upgrade with third party RAM) is $3,000 for me. Base iMac Pro starts at $4,700. iMac Pro is >$1,000 difference even with more RAM ordered. Is the T2 worth that difference?

    I’m not concerned with the internal GPU as I can get an eGPU later.

    Even if I did add the Vega 48, price would be $3,480. Still $1,000 difference.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 14, 2019 at 1:36 PM ---
    So let me explain a little more. I produce instructional videos for game development so I record the screen (other topics and Let’s Play style gameplay recordings too). This is typically in h264 format and VERY large raw recording. I like to convert these to HEVC with lower bit rate for file size reasons. I also do light editing by cutting out pauses, adjust audio levels, throw in titles and more. I then use Compressor to make the h265 version.

    In the past, this has been a 1:1 ratio which severely irritates me even with my 2017 iMac. Where a 2 hour recording takes compressor 2 hours.
     
  13. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Did you not read my post or just not pay attention?

    Correction. In the Refurb Store, the base iMac Pro is $4,249 so I was off $10. These are new machines
    https://www.apple.com/shop/product/...e631fa2a6ed2c355ff55fc9904b7a48dc2dc8b5603b53

    BTW, sometimes resellers have these for $3,999 but I’ve not seen that deal since late March when OWC, B&H, Adorama and MicroCenter all had it.. If anyone posts that again, please do everyone a favor and include a current link.

    Have you priced eGPU?

    If you do this for money, you want the iMac Pro.

    BTW, to be clear, I have no dog in this and don’t care what you buy. You have been given lots of good advice but keep insisting that the i9 is a) just as good and b) it’s $1K less. Neither are true.

    I’m outta here.
     
  14. xWhiplash, Jun 14, 2019 at 6:02 PM
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019 at 6:30 PM

    xWhiplash thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #15
    Why the attitude? Uh I did read it. You said it wasn’t $1,000 difference and I showed you it was. In fact, it is $1,700 difference. So I don’t think 32GB of RAM is more than $700 from Newegg....I don’t care about the Vega in the pro as I can get an eGPU a year later if I need it.

    How is it not $1,000 difference? Even on sale for $4,000 it’s still $ 4,000 - $3,000 = $1,000

    Geez why can there never be a decent conversation on this site?

    And BTW, I have seen benchmarks that the i9 processor beats the base iMac pro Xeon (Max’s video even shows the i9 smoking the Xeon in a lot of tests). Even in Max’s video he said you can save up to $3,000 and get better performance in some cases with the iMac vs the iMac pro.
     
  15. xWhiplash thread starter macrumors 68000

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  16. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a

    SecuritySteve

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    #17
    Personally I would go for it. I doubt we're going to see an iMac Pro update for a year, minimum. Even then the roadmap looks like it might be two years away.

    Edit: Additionally if you don't care about the Vega in the iMac Pro, why do you care about the Navi? eGPU it if you can offload using whatever application you use.
     
  17. xWhiplash, Jun 17, 2019 at 1:57 PM
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019 at 2:05 PM

    xWhiplash thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #18
    Well that should bump up that horrible 580 in the iMac right? It’s just not clear what I need. Does HEVC video encoding need more GPU power? I am extremely confused and getting mixed information that i9 is better than the Xeon and it would save >$1,000. But how much better is the iMac Pro cooling? Worth the hefty price difference?

    Plus, I’ll spend $4,700 for 2017 processors when apparently from reports and videos, the i9 smokes it?
     
  18. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    The iMac Pro cooling is incredibly better. It should be valued as such in your mental calculation.

    Specific instruction sets aside, which I understand there are some weird transcoding issues that the i9 supports that the Xeon does not, the Xeon should be better for longer and larger workloads whereas the i9 will be better for short bursts of workloads. That is just the nature of Xeon vs Core-i processors.

    As one very wise reader put it in this forum, "don't save money on machines that make you money."
     
  19. xWhiplash thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #20
    The i9 has QuickSync which the Xeon doesn’t. Does that help converting h264 to h265? Or is the Xeon still superior?
     
  20. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a

    SecuritySteve

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    #21
    In a static environment, the i9 would be better at that task. However, the iMac Pro has something the iMac does not: a T2 coprocessor. That coprocessor includes the h.264 instruction set and is offloaded to. This makes the iMac Pro better than the iMac for that task.
     
  21. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #22
    The issue with the buyers guide is there's no track record to base the next update. We have no idea when Apple will choose to update the iMac Pro.

    Since the Mac Pro is coming out this fall, I'm sure apple will not want to take away any thunder from that roll out, so we may not see anything this year
     
  22. xWhiplash thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #23
    Is there an issue getting 2017 processors? Will it still last 5+ years?
     
  23. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a

    SecuritySteve

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    #24
    Unless you're looking for core count, I believe these processors will last until 2023, approximately. Of course, no one knows for sure what the future holds. But if you need the machine now, the iMac Pro is better than the iMac.
     
  24. xWhiplash thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #25
    Thanks everyone, I think I will go with the iMac Pro even though benchmarks show the i9 winning. I think the better cooling and T2 will be great.
     

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