iMac Pro spec for Graphic & Web Design

Discussion in 'iMac' started by bobbydaz, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. bobbydaz macrumors regular

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    #1
    My 2010 6-core Mac Pro (24gb ram / 1tb ssd) has served me well for many years, but 2018 is the year to finally upgrade.

    My work consists of medium to heavy Photoshop design (1-1.5gb files with many layers etc), InDesign layouts and also Wordpress web design.

    So my thinking is the base 8-core will suffice, but is 32gb ram enough? I'm hoping this machine will last 5 years so want to future proof where I can. Would more cores and better gpu be wasted on me?
     
  2. bxs macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I strongly advise you read the information here https://macperformanceguide.com as I believe it should help you decide which iMac to get and how much to spend.
     
  3. bobbydaz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    interesting article. Look forward to seeing their test results for iMac 2017 v iMac Pro.
     
  4. tomscott1988 macrumors 6502a

    tomscott1988

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    #4
    For the work you do I would save some 3k and buy a 5k iMac with an i7
     
  5. artfossil macrumors 65816

    artfossil

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    #5
    What @tomscott1988 says. And you can order with the base RAM and add 32 GB of your own.

    It’s an amazing machine.
     
  6. baypharm macrumors 68000

    baypharm

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    Nov 15, 2007
    #6
    I agree. The 8 core imac will be overkill for your basic graphic design/web work. We were doing the same kind of work on a 2008 imac with no hiccups. In your case the imac pro would be more for bragging rights...
     
  7. alien3dx macrumors 6502a

    alien3dx

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    #7
    GPU not waste... but the more core will be less efficient because not lot of application can used max of it.. Until there was separate virtual machine per core / thread.. Then it would be goody.

    I only used 8 GB ram.. There's a problem in osx particular because we cannot manage services and removed it.. Even you pull 128 GB ram, it will be cache em all and give memory leak a chance to grab them all.. 32 GB is pure enough
     
  8. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000

    nambuccaheadsau

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    #8
    Use my iMac or graphic design, Quark Express and similar printing software and the i7, with sufficient memory will do the job and save a pocketful of bucks.
     
  9. phobos macrumors regular

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    Feb 25, 2008
    #9
    I don't necessarily disagree with the other suggestions but I think you should consider the iMac Pro if you want to be a little bit more future proof and also if you want to expand on other fields like video and 3D in the next few years.

    Since you should max out the regular iMac in terms of CPU and GPU, in order for the machine to last a longer time,
    you are quite close to the pricing of the base iMac Pro model. So I wouldn't rule out the base iMac Pro outright. For around 1400 euro more than the maxed out regular iMac you get double the processing power and a much better 16GB GPU card.

    For your needs you don't need any of those things but you will get a machine that will last you longer, and will age a little bit more gracefully than the regular iMac.

    So if you have the budget it is a better investment overall. As I mentioned before though you don't really need this power right now and for your type of work the regular iMac is perfect. I'm still working on a late 2012 iMac and it's more than enough for complex photoshop and really heavy illustrator projects. It's even good for 4k video editing and I'm also using it heavily for 3D, illustrations and animations. And it's already a 5 year old machine.

    So if you're going to buy the iMac Pro you're basically investing on future proofing yourself and not much else. But it's definitely something you should consider.

    On the other hand you can max out a regular iMac and then use the extra money you saved up, on a nice NAS or DAS along with other things that might help your day to day work.

    If you have the budget you should consider the base iMac Pro but with the added Vega 64.
    It will last you a really really long time compared to the regular iMac and your needs.

    Concerning the memory question. 32GB is enough for now but it also depends on your work. If your photoshop files have a lot of layers you might want to get more. And of course it depends on how you work. If you have only one application open at a time it might be ok for a very very long time. Once you have more than one apps though things could get messy. I have 24GB of RAM and I regularly go over that when working on big projects. It's nothing I can't solve by closing a few documents but I can easily see demands going higher the next couple of years.
     
  10. bobbydaz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    thanks for the advice. I’m swaying towards the Pro for future proofing, but as others have said the iMac i7 would more than meet my needs. It sounds ridiculous, but the Space Grey look of the pro has caught my eye. Not a good enough reason to spend £5k though! Bottom line is I would be happy with either machine for my day to day needs. I’m also lucky that my friend that works for Apple can get me 17% discount on whatever I plump for which does soften the blow! I don’t need to make a decision till tax year end in March so I will wait for more comparison reviews to appear.
     
  11. tomscott1988 macrumors 6502a

    tomscott1988

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    #11
    Even upgrading the normal iMac to an i7 is half the price of the base pro and will go toe to toe with it in everything but intense 3D motion graphics. Even so I would say the iMac pro is the wrong machine to buy for motion graphics because although it’s thermals are better it’s not ideal when the processor will be running at near 100% while your producing the graphics but also rendering them. A tower machine would be much quicker as it won’t throttle.

    A 16gb card isn’t going to aid web or graphic design work. Motion graphic and video work yes. You have to determine what you will use the machine for.

    As for future proofing... the iMac pro is more difficult to upgrade and will cost far more with ecc ram and you can’t do it yourself .

    Not far in the distant future you will be able to add external graphics cards and the 5k has tb3.

    The i7 has hyperthreading and benches higher single core and multi is like 20,000 it’s still a very powerful machine.

    For the time span of a machine 5 years the iMac will cost you less which means it will earn you more and hold its value relatively well to upgrade to a newer machine.

    Apples pro products have got to a new level of cost and you have to figure out if that money is worthwhile, you could spend the extra on advertising your business bringing in more work etc etc

    I really don’t think it’s worth it.
     
  12. kingjames1970 macrumors regular

    kingjames1970

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    #12
    Agree with you. I've only just moved into FCP X after 20 years of doing design - a lot more is expected these days and you have to be nimble/flexible/adaptable. I've ordered an iMac Pro because even though video will only be 10% of my work for now that could change and this purchase will buy a whole lot of future-proofing.

    I'm hoping that all the improvements to the internals will make even non-optimised Adobe apps sing, even the SSD is insanely fast.

    There is a lot of good advice out there mixed with some jealousy/sour grapes and general Internet bitterness and it's hard to get to the truth. My attitude has always been to buy the best you can afford or your budget allows. If you regret your purchase, you've not made the right choice. And if you don't have an urgent need, resist the urge to get the new shiny thing (something I've never managed to do - ha ha!)
     
  13. MistrSynistr macrumors 65816

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    May 15, 2014
    #14
    I do graphic design and photography, super large files, and an iMac Pro would be super duper overkill.

    If you got the $$$ though, why not.
     
  14. tomscott1988 macrumors 6502a

    tomscott1988

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    #15
    Completely agree on the premise of buying what your budget allows. Im also an advocate of making good business decisions based on ones needs.

    5k in the grand scheme of things isnt a lot especially if the machine lasts 5 years works out £80 a month which isnt far ahead of a creative cloud subscription.

    The problem is the same old issue with the iMac. Spending £5000 in a machine that has no upgradability to future proof is a little silly, especially if your needs are 10% currently. Its like saying I will spend 100% more to increase 10% of my workflow... makes very little sense from a business standpoint. If the machine is rendering 8 hours a day fair enough at 10% finish up a project and let it render in down time. If your pushing a deadling these things will be minutes not hours faster...

    If the situation changes and the project budget allows buy a better machine to do the work.

    You could say the same for buying a 2008 8 core mac pro back in the day but the software never really got to the point where it took advantage of all its power again only computational apps, video and motion graphics, most apps still rely heavily on single core apart from the above. The difference is that those full pro machines were £1750!!! Not 5k.

    No doubt these things will sing and be absolutely amazing and if you can afford it why not... but its still £5k and the i7s still produce great results and you can upgrade the ram yourself. The 5k iMac looks like a bargain now you could essentially buy two... lol or you could buy a full spec macbook pro and 5k imac meaning you can be productive in more situations.

    Apple are playing this particularly well, mac sales are down they haven't brought out a pro machine for 5 years and they have essentially made a trash can with a screen. Unlike the trash can it has no upgradability at all people have got desperate and apple knows it but there is some despiration on their part too to get people back and this isnt the product.

    I think its worth waiting to see how the new mac pro plays out, if you've been getting along fine up until now 6 months isnt going to hurt. These people will probably already have 4k or up displays to create their content, a mac pro would slide nicely into that set up.

    There could be a huge amount of sour grapes if the Mac Pro ends up being that machine. On the otherhand apple could play the same game, starting at £7k for the same spec in a different box that makes more thermal sense without a display. The conversation will then turn on its head again and the imac pro will look like great value.

    There is also the possibility that the new i7 6 cores could find their way into the 5k imac which bench quicker than the base 8 core.... that would also be a bit of egg on face from apple.

    Its still a poor time to be an mac user. Which ever way you look at it they are bending us over for mac os.
     
  15. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    Mar 10, 2009
    #16
    Paying more for a Mac doesn't necessarily future proof it. Apple's policy that covers de-support ( vintage and obsolete products ) has no aspect that says anything about price. Pay $500 or $25,000 for a Mac and it is the same policy. Your parts (and implicitly your software ) support will drop away. The only indirect quirk to higher priced Mac is the more likely (given track record over last 10 years) slower major product upgrades. Since the Vintage/Obsolete clock only starts after product is superseded, the countdown clock tends to start later than the most mainstream laptops ( Apple's main focus).
    [ I wouldn't bet on that for the iMac Pro. There is a Intel W clock bump that will likely appear in Q4 2018. So slightly faster iMac Pros with a new model number could pop up 12-15 months. ]

    You can use the 'frozen in time' (no updates , only used parts ) product past the Vintage/Obsolete tag into the future, but there is no future along service and software support.

    Unless you have an establish historical showing a track record of increasing workload demands , buying very long before you need it isn't well motivated. If have current needs then paying 10-15 % over for some headroom for unexpected workload increase is reasonable. However, paying 45-80% more isn't. Macs have relatively good resale value. If you have completely missed the boat then sell and rebuy. It wouldn't cost that much more. A mac isn't an investment. It isn't going to appreciate over time. If it is making money then it is covering the costs.


    Apple has been more than flakey about what they should do with timely Mac upgrades, but there is a decent chance Apple will make a substantive change to the 'regular' iMac 27" by mid 2018. Intel is projecting releasing some 6 core mainstream i7 solutions (along with an expanded 300 series chipset ) in April-May. (some 'gen 8' , 6 cores are already shipping so this expanded set probably won't slip very much ). There is a reason why Apple started the iMac Pro at 8 cores and $4999 , that is because the 'regular" iMac is likely moving to 6 cores on the top end some time in 2018. ( there are 6 core Intel W options that would have allow Apple to do a more affordable iMac Pro now. They purposely are skipping it and put huge gap between top end iMac 27" BTO and iMac Pro. It is extremely likely they intend to fill that with something else. )

    Given Apple's track record of late though, there is also decent chance that a 2018 iMac update will slide into October-November, so I wouldn't bet the farm it happens by mid 2018. They will fill the hole, just not in a timely fashion.


    The folks looking for the 6 core , 32GB 'sweet spot' are probably mostly going to go with that; only Apple isn't selling it yet. If you absolutely need it in March, then buy and get the best choice available and move on.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 18, 2017 ---
    If the web design involved running local client testing virtual machines ( a Windows VM to test site against windows clients , a older MacOS VM to test against a broader range of browsers running of macOS, VM running browsers from mobile OS. ) then the extra cores and RAM would make some sense. Similarly having a web server / client OS images running on one box. 2 cores and some "extra" RAM assigned to those machines would have high utility.


    Disk storage capacity isn't on the list here. Not sure if that is because it is moderate or just skipped. The iMac Pro is SSD only so the $/GB of internal storage is higher. Neither one is gong to do 4 3.5" drives like the Mac Pro so not differentiating if huge, direct attached storage is in play.
     
  16. bobbydaz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
    Lots of good detailed advice here, thanks all. My heart says Pro, but my head is telling me my money would be better spent on an i7. It would be the more sensible choice and would do everything I need it to do. I would spec up to the 1tb ssd and then add extra ram myself.
     
  17. OBirder, Dec 19, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017

    OBirder macrumors 6502

    OBirder

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    May 13, 2015
    #18
    I am in a similar situation, but I decided differently.

    I use Lightroom as the primary tool.
    I have currently a 6 year old upgradable PC with a 6 core i7 Processor and 16 GB of RAM. I have approx. 150000 RAW photos (growing) in my catalog which is on a separate SSD.

    At times I come home from a photo shooting with 1000 to 2000 images.

    Importing, rendering standard and 1:1 previews takes hours and editing of photos is slow. I

    I think the extra cores on the iMac Pro will help with the tasks. Adobe products will use MultiCore. The support will certainly increase in the future.

    I plan to run a Virtual Windows session as well.

    I had historically build my own PC. I participated in the C64 and Amiga era (the competition of Apple at the time).

    I am no longer interested to spent hours and hours to upgrade my PC and handle the problems my PC’s have giving over time. Motherboard replaced, hard drive replaced, Cooling fans replaced ... Windows is becoming slower and slower with each update ...

    So I am ok with an all in one iMac. I believe the new iMac is improved in many areas and not just what is discussed here like Procesessor, RAM, GPU, SSD.

    What has not been mentioned the improved AirFlow which first tests indicate it’s very quiet. Improved camera, audio and external connections.

    So people might be right that at this time the i7 iMac might be sufficient for what we do.

    But for the extra $1300 for a comparable machine, I am getting current technology with a great looking design. I ordered the 10 cores and I am confident I will see performance boost in rendering etc.

    In addition even if some of the components are throttled in the iMac Pro, this just means to me that this machine is made to last longer without failure compared to the i7 system. Only time will tell for sure, but I am taking the risk to see if this All In One will last 6 to 7 years without a hiccup.

    Summary:
    While in the past I was experimental. Now I am just trying to get something that will just work for the next 6 years (3 years covered with Apple Care). In addition I will enjoy it and it will look beautiful!

    Recheck your head and you may follow your heart.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  18. bobbydaz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #19
    HA now you’ve got me changing my mind again!!! In all seriousness though I’m not going to rush my decision, will give it some thought in new year. I’m not desperate to replace my old Mac Pro so another couple of months won’t make any difference. Enjoy your new Pro, look forward to hearing all about it!!
     
  19. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    Mar 10, 2009
    #20
    The problem has been with Adobe is that their LR code could do much with more than 6 cores. Their performance still has 6 cores.

    "
    • 64-bit, multiple-core processor (for best performance, up to six cores; the extra power is especially important if you use multiple or high-resolution monitors, which require more power)
    "

    https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/kb/optimize-performance-lightroom.html


    however, that may be a bit dated ( needs to catch of to the LR classic name changes too. ). It looks like 8 maybe the new 6 though in most cases. https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Lightroom-Classic-CC-is-it-faster-than-CC-2015-1065/ They will do a few more but if just through megabucks at super expensive x86 core then generally not getting much return on investment. [ the real story though is the old optimizations in LR weren't very optimized for modern machines at all. ]

    Ryzen 7 providing affordable 8 core options ( and Intel having more affordable 8 core options ), along with the mainstream Core i7 processors bumping to 6, Adobe seems to finally being taking the approach that 6 is "normal" ( the floor ) and that 8 is a new above average target to shoot at.


    It make take Adobe another 3-4 years to fully leverage those 10 cores on their mainstream actions. But if you are keeping the system much longer than 3, you'll get a bump on the tail end of service life. I just wouldn't expect it all upfront. [ another illustration if have solid data of a trend, you can perhaps buy a bit ahead of the trend. That is in contrast to just spend more because that will "future proof" in and of itself. ]
     
  20. phobos macrumors regular

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    #21
    I think it’s safe to say that people buying the iMac Pro wil use it for more than just 2-3 years. If the machine doesn’t fall apart and burn that is. Which is always an option with Apple’s quality these days.
    So even if you’re not using the machine to its full potential now, things will certainly change in the next few years.

    The only reason I would advise people against the iMac Pro is the ridiculously high cost.
    I’m going to use the 10 core iMac Pro to its full potential from the very first day but I still find ridiculous the amount of money I had to spend!

    Sometimes I wish I didn’t like OSX so much! Things would be so much easier! And cheaper.

    Going back to the topic though. As I mentioned before the iMac Pro will age much more gracefully than the current gen iMacs. At least on paper it has better cooling which will keep the CPU and the internals in a good state compared to the stress current gen iMacs go through when you push the machine to the max, silent operation which again current gen machines don’t have, better GPU for specific tasks like GPU rendering, and more power in general which will last for a longer time.


    Since you’ll be buying an all in one, better put the best thing possible in there since you won’t be able to upgrade anything after you buy it. Better to be padded rather than having to buy a new machine in two years.
     
  21. kingjames1970 macrumors regular

    kingjames1970

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    #22
    Since you’ll be buying an all in one, better put the best thing possible in there since you won’t be able to upgrade anything after you buy it. Better to be padded rather than having to buy a new machine in two years.[/QUOTE]

    And let's not forget all four of those lovely Thunderbolt 3 ports - I can see eGPUs being used to extend the life of these iMacs in a few years as well as faster external SSDs (I already use the SanDisk Extreme 900 to get speed up to 850 Mb/s) which can only get better in that time. We'll also be able to upgrade the RAM if needed as we know.
     
  22. MacGizmo macrumors 65816

    MacGizmo

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    #23
    I can't stress to you enough how big of a complete idiot you would be for spending the money for an iMac Pro when all you do is graphic design and light web development. At least, you would be if you thought you needed that iMac Pro's power to do what you do. If you just want to have the most powerful computer available, then I don't blame you and go ahead and

    Get a top-of-the-line 27" 5K iMac with an i7, and the upgraded video card. Then upgrade the RAM to 32 or 64 GB via macsales.com or whatever place you prefer. I would go with the 500GB SSD, but whatever size storage drive you go with, make sure it's a pure SSD drive and not the stupid Fusion Drive.

    The SSD drive and the upgraded video card alone will make your current Mac Pro feel like a 40-year old Commodore 64 computer.
     
  23. alien3dx macrumors 6502a

    alien3dx

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    #24
    some people open a lot of browser,photoshop , ilustrator in same time.. 16GB might enough... but it will stress up back the processor itself not matter how latest there are.. But if he can paid if why not..
     
  24. kingjames1970 macrumors regular

    kingjames1970

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    #25
    'Complete idiot' is a bit strong. Designers are often being asked to do more and more these days - from 3D to some video editing, as a freelance I've moved into these areas as I find it even gives you more control (and billing) over projects. Getting more than you need (if budgets allow) means you're not hamstrung by your current set up. Might even encourage people to develop skills if they think it won't be a chore by using a Mac without enough oomph. Also for somebody that has eeeked out a Mac Pro for seven years, this is probably the best Mac to try and do the same with.
     

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57 December 17, 2017