Late 2015 iMac 5k or Mac Pro

Discussion in 'iMac' started by LoftyHammond, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. LoftyHammond macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2014
    A while back (a year or so), I asked the Mac Pro forum on wether it was worth buying a Mac Pro at the time. From the responses I received, I decided to hold off on my purchase till an update came...but then the 5k iMac came into existence. After I saw the 2014 5k in person, I fell in love with the display but was still concerned with the heat throttling.

    I do a lot of video rendering in FCPX, photo editing in Lightroom, as well as some 3D work with Cinema4k and Maya. I also write A LOT, for my website, school, and business. My main machine is a mid-spec 2012 rMBP, and as you may have guess, I am very familiar with CPU throttling due to heat.

    The Mac Pro is appealing to me mainly because of the power, cooling system, and small form factor. This computer will be living in my bedroom, so noise is something that I am looking into. I've lost way too much sleep because the fans from my rMBP running while rendering over night.

    The iMac is appealing to me mainly because of the display, value (when compared to the Mac Pro), and all in one form factor. I'm mainly concerned with wether it will have enough power to handle my workload for a couple of years and wether the heat will be an issue.

    If I were to get a Mac Pro, I'd get the 6-core with a 512gb ssd.

    If I were to get an iMac, I'd get the top spec with i7, 2tb-3tb fusion drive, and possibly the m395x.

    Ram I will upgrade myself to 24gb or so.

    So, I'm on the fence on wether to get a new iMac 5k or wether to wait till early 2016 and hope for a Mac Pro update.

    Any input would be appreciated.

  2. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    I do lots of video editing in FCPX on my top-spec 2013 iMac 27. I also have a top-spec 2015 MBP I use for less intensive editing in the field. In general the iMac 27 is relatively quiet but for sustained rendering/exporting you can hear the fans. The MBP is louder and the fans spin more often for the same work.

    The top-spec 2015 retina iMac is about 20% faster than my 2013 model, so I will probably upgrade. About 14% of this improvement is going from 3.5Ghz to 4Ghz and about 6% from instructions per clock improvements in the Skylake CPU.

    I'd estimate a top-spec 2015 rImac would be from 50% faster to twice as fast as your current 2012 rMBP (depending on the CPU in your rMBP).

    As we move forward with 4k, H.265 will be more common. The improved Quick Sync in Skylake has H.265 and VP9 capability which greatly improves encode/decode for those codecs. Currently the nMP does have not have Quick Sync since Xeon (with few exceptions) doesn't have this.

    There is hope that future Xeons would have Quick Sync but I think only those built on Skylake would have the H.265 and VP9 enhancements. This is a big problem in Intel's CPU lineup which creates knock-on problems for vendors like Apple trying to make workstation-class machines oriented for video editing.

    My top-spec iMac 27 generally does OK but for editing most video codecs but for multicam H.264 4k I have to use proxies to get decent performance.
  3. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007
    For editing, I chose the iMac because of the screen, power and the rest. (but if you do get it, get the 512SSD and not the fusion drive) and the 395x is a must. It is optimized, I understand for working with Final Cut X (I use Premiere)

    That said, your other issues about heat and noise -- that means you may want the Mac Pro. I've heard mixed things about the iMac in terms of those issues and no one knows about this version re: heat and noise -- especially with Skylake. But if the past is any guide, there will be some of both to contend with.

    You could make use of Apples no questions 14 day return period after putting the iMac to a stress test. But I would guess, that if you do the kind of renders and outputs I do, the fans will crank up -- but with the new hardware, render times and output times should go down!

  4. LoftyHammond thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2014

    Thanks for the information!
  5. LoftyHammond thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2014
    Thanks for the reply!

    Heat and noise are a concern for me. Hoping the 2015 5K runs a little cooler than the last gen.
    As far as storage, as much as I'd like to get a 512ssd I'd prefer a larger onboard storage. I work with big files and hate transferring back and forth between drives. Might get a 1tb ssd if possible.
  6. colodane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2012
    I'm in a very similar situation and considering both options. My 2011 machine is working fine, so I can afford to wait a few months to see what comes out in the Mac Pro. For me the advantages for the Pro would be: Cooler, Quieter, More reliable (reduced thermal stress) and ability to pair with a 24 inch 4K monitor which I prefer to either 21.5 or 27. So will just need to wait and see what happens.
  7. LoftyHammond thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2014
    Exactly, I don't mind waiting for a updated Mac Pro...but if I can get something that can suit my needs now for less, then why not.
  8. PhillipJ macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2014
    I got my late 2015 iMac 5k full specced with 512 flash in december. I've been rendering some movies in FCPX, adobe premiere and avid. The FCPX was with 4k video. It makes some noise but not something notable, and it did it fast aswell!
    You just need to consider the choice of taking a fusion drive, because it will make more noise with the harddrive in it.
    In my case I picked 512 flash for my working station, and when I'm done working on a project it'll just end on my NAS server.
  9. MBHockey macrumors 68040


    Oct 4, 2003
    New York
  10. Seed101 macrumors 6502


    Nov 11, 2015
    If you need to sleep in the same room whilst rendering then go with the Mac Pro.

    I recently bought a 27" iMac (512 ssd, 32gb ram, 395x) and use a bit of C4D amongst other apps.
    I've just done a 1920_1080, 75 frame/15 minute render in C4D (abstract shape, bit of subsurface scattering...) whilst reading this and although it ran very cool, the noise from the fan was high and constant.

    The iMac is a great all-round machine IMO, and the screen is a big plus...but if you're doing hours of rendering and don't want some kind of render farm, go Mac Pro
  11. Daisy81 Suspended


    Dec 29, 2015
    That is a excellent question but it also tough to answer.

    In terms of fan noise the iMac fans do spin up when doing things like editing videos and playing games.

    The screen on the Retina iMac is amazing.

    Cinema4K and Maya is not going to benefit from the Mac Pro outside of rendering. They don't make use of the second cpu or the extra cores while doing the actual modeling. In that regard the iMac would be better.

    When it comes to rendering and handling the heat the Mac Pro would be better. It also is better for Final Cut Pro.

    I think you would be happier with the Mac Pro. Even though while 3D modeling parts of it are idle they will be useful during your other tasks.

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