Mac Pro 5,1 vs iMac retina?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by alexanderasher, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. alexanderasher macrumors member

    alexanderasher

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    Mar 13, 2014
    #1
    Okay so I'm at a bit of a dilemma. My Macbook Pro is running a bit sluggish with anything dealing with video, and photography it's also starting to show some age (the thing's nearing it's four year mark, though, it's not unusable, just noticeably slower) and I'm looking to get a desktop mac to replace it for hard work (video editing specifically since I'm starting to use After Effects more)

    I was thinking of purchasing a near maxed retina iMac (buying RAM aftermarket, of course) but I recently looked into the mid-2012 Mac Pros on ebay and saw I could purchase a 12 core 5,1 for literally half the price. So then a bit more research and I saw: oh, I can install a 980 in this. So now I'm thinking, what would be the best, 'bang for my buck' machine?

    A few specific questions I had in regards to all of this as well, is one, could I possibly get thunderbolt 2 on this? I use thunderbolt drives at the moment, so there's that need. Two, how many monitors could I link up to this machine? I typically use a cintiq with my Macbook Pro, however, I want to wallmount an old TV (I replaced it with a newer one in my living room) and keep a general newsfeed on that in my office, along with adding in either one or two extra monitors, most likely aftermarket Cinema Displays. Not sure, I just know I want them to be QHD at least if I'm not going to have a 5k display with the iMac.

    Any thoughts on the situation? This would be my first Mac Pro, however, I've used an iMac before, to clarify. I do also own a desktop PC, so I know basics about building hardware and such. I just like the workflow on MacOS more than I do on Windows.
     
  2. Squuiid, Apr 20, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016

    Squuiid macrumors 6502a

    Squuiid

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    #2
    Unless your work is single threaded CPU bound I'd go with the Mac Pro.
    The one thing you won't get is Thunderbolt however. There are some very good USB 3.0 cards that will do the job almost as well. See my signature below.

    As for video cards, I'd highly recommend waiting for NVIDIA's Pascal 1070 and 1080 cards to be released in June, as they will likely run 4K/5K displays much more reliably with HDMI 2.0 and Displayport 1.3.

    Benefits of a 2012 Mac Pro over Retina iMac:
    Monster m.2 storage options. (Amfeltec squid with SM951 AHCI)
    Latest video card options. (not slower mobile parts)
    10GbE network card options.
    Good multi-threaded CPU speeds. (12 core)
    A LOT of RAM.
     
  3. alexanderasher thread starter macrumors member

    alexanderasher

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    Mar 13, 2014
    #3
    If I'm honest, I didn't plan on purchasing this machine 'till Q4 of this year. I had plans on waiting until the iMac 5k upgrades once more either way. So yeah, I'll probably be using Pascal.

    I also just realized my need for thunderbolt would be kinda gone since I store all my video files on externals, but, if I can just hook up extra internal drives I may not need to even do that.

    The Mac Pro is looking that much more appealing...
     
  4. h9826790, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #4
    There is no thunderbolt solution in the cMP. Very unlikely can have one as well.

    Theoretically, you can pick the correct graphic card(s) depends on your need, and drive more than 10 monitors if you really need that much (never heard anyone do that, so no idea if the OS support that). And quite a lot of new single graphic card can drive 4 displays.

    The biggest advantage of the cMP is the upgrade ability. However, at this moment, basically mainly graphic card is better than the iMac. Most other PCIe card is either to catch up other computer's spec (e.g. PCIe SSD, USB3.0, SATA3, etc) or relatively uncommon for general user (RAID card, 10Gbps ethernet, capture card, etc)

    The 2nd advantage of the cMP is the cooling system. You can stress your machine 24/7 without worrying about anything. For iMac, you can go to check their forum. The CPU / GPU constantly work close to 100C doesn't sounds like a good idea to me (even though the CPU / GPU itself can survive at this temperature, this temperature may still cause pre mature failure on the surrounding components).

    And as you said, there are plenty of internal storage on the cMP. We can easily go for >20TB HDD storage. Plus >10TB SSD storage. Plus 2TB super high speed storage (~5600MB/s read write).

    For highly paralleled programme, the cMP is a good choice. However, most of the task nowaday still single thread. That means the iMac will be much faster (around 50%) on most of the task.

    The iMac should be the cheapest / easiest way to get a good 5k display.

    Anyway, you can wait until Q4, so still have plenty of time to study and decide.
     
  5. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #5
    The Mac Pro 4,1s were placed on Apple's list of "legacy" products earlier this year. That means that at any point, OS X support can end. My guess is that the 5,1s will follow in another 1-2 years. Given the prospect of having to jump through hoops to install OS X, I have begun to explore the possibilities of putting together a hackintosh. From all that I've read, the process of building and maintaining a hackintosh has been greatly refined over the years. If I'm forced to use hacks to install newer versions of OS X on a 5,1, I see no difference in doing so on more modern hardware.

    Additional benefits of going hackintosh include no longer having to worry about boot screens with after market video cards and an extremely large array of motherboards and CPUs to choose from to fit your needs and your budget.

    The iMac 5K looked very attractive to me too. However, I have a NAS with 10GbE and I would like to continue to use it. When searching for 10GbE over thunderbolt option, I saw that it would cost anywhere from about $500 and up. I couldn't justify this when my current 10GbE card only cost me $55. I see how this scenario would only repeat itself the next time I look for a thunderbolt equivalent to what can easily be done when PCI-e slots are available.
     
  6. Squuiid, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016

    Squuiid macrumors 6502a

    Squuiid

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    #6
    With all respect, I'm going to have to disagree with you pastrychef.
    2012 Mac Pro (5,1) models were sold right up until Late 2013.
    There is no way Apple will end support in OS X for them in 1 or 2 years.
    For comparison, iMacs from 2007 install El Capitan just fine on them, with no tweaks or hacking involved. Yes, they're legacy, but with an SSD in them they run absolutely fine.
    https://support.apple.com/kb/SP728?locale=en_US

    The reason support in OS X has been dropped for anything older is a true hardware limitation, 32bit processors and 32bit EFI.
     
  7. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #7
    Again, it was just a guess as to when it will be placed on their legacy list. The latest version of OS X can still be installed in the 3,1s as well which were released in 2008. That's why I said support can end at any time.
     
  8. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #8
    Apple follow the 7 years rule so far. Since the 5,1's ident is 2012 model, OSX support should last at least until 2019. That means at least 3 years time. It's good to put that into consideration, but I won't worry about it too much.
     
  9. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #9
  10. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #10
    So, it seems OSX support and hardware support are separated. Did Apple actually put the 2008 MacBook into the obsolete list back in 2013?

    My understanding is if a machine go into that list will be out of hardware support. But I didn't realise that they may stop software support before the hardware support is ended. Thanks for pointing this out.
     
  11. pastrychef, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016

    pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #11
    I don't know for certain what their formula is when deciding what continues to get support and what doesn't. From my understand, they must offer support for 5 years. After that, it's a roll of the dice...

    So, going by this, a 2012 model + 5 years = 2017 = next year...
     
  12. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #12
  13. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #13
    The best bang for your buck would be a Windows machine especially since your using Adobe products. IMHO it's somewhat pointless to buy what is essentially a 7 year old machine and upgrade it. If you had the machine already thats one thing but say $1200 for the computer itself and then $400ish in a graphics card, couple hundred more for the 951 and adapter and your at $2K wrapped into a 2009 system.

    I'll give you that it's pretty, and is fully functional but....
     
  14. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #14
    I agree with lowendlinux. At this point in the game, buying a 4,1 or 5,1 may not be the best option.
     
  15. orph macrumors 6502a

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    UK
    #15
    first id take a second look at your laptop, how much ram do you have and do you have a SSD in it?
    Ram is cheep and a SSD can be picked up at a relay good price now... (easy to install)

    Photoshop will be faster on the imac for 99% of users & Photoshop is not relay GPU limited it's all about drive speed (a SSD) cpu speed (mostly will use 2 cores) and sufficient ram.

    even if you want to buy a new desktop your laptop will be of value for when your on the move.

    also Photoshop can be slower on dual cpu configs, and thunderbolt will never work on a cmp at best you can get usb3.

    the imac looks good, has a nice display, good sound, thunderbolt, a nice cpu and depending on which one you get a good gpu.

    with the mac pro you will have to buy the unit, get some harddrives and a SSD (i never use used hard drives) a GPU a display and some speekers + maybe even some ram so the total cost must be worked out to compare.

    or if you relay want speed you can make a pc for less of than the price of the macpro that will be faster than the imac.

    the imac has less cores than the mac pro but there faster so unless you can relay saturate all 12+ cores it's probably going to be slower than the imac .

    if you are using AE then ram is what you want about 4GB per core if possible.

    (computers dont get slower, the problem tends to be things like fragmented or slow HD's or SSD's with not much spare space left so they slow down + maybe you just need a tad more ram? which laptop model do you have ? are you using adobe CC or older? what size video/stills are you working on?)
     
  16. alexanderasher thread starter macrumors member

    alexanderasher

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    Mar 13, 2014
    #16
    My biggest thing is personal preference if I'm blunt. I prefer using MacOS over Windows, I've found that Windows has done anything but increase my workflow. Not sure why, I think it's just the UI. That and I enjoy the features being in the "Apple ecosystem" provides.

    I see your point. I suppose the graphics card is what's most appealing, since I know that the one in the current retina iMac is seen as low powered with the 5k display. I don't want all my machines power going to just the display(s), so that's why I was considering the 5,1.

    I suppose with what everyone's saying the iMac is more appealing now, despite the better graphics options on the Mac Pro (currently)

    MacBook is a retina 2013, so I can't upgrade anything in it.

    Also working with Adobe CC, currently 1080p but once I get my hands on a good 4K DSLR (hoping the fabled 6DmkII fills this role) I'll be upping to that.
     
  17. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #17
    That's nice but you don't have a workflow you have personal flow..

    You're free to buy a MacPro and use the Adobe suit on it but by doing that you toss bang for the buck out the window which is fine but lets not include it in any priority list. I make a living on a cMP that was bought in 2014 because the cost of replacing SW and my HW peripherals far out weighed the cost and oldness of the cMP you don't have these limitations. The cMP will do what you want but buying it doesn't make any real sense it's just 'cause
     
  18. orph, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016

    orph macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    well from a performance look http://barefeats.com/imac5k18.html
    thats a comparison of nmp (4c/6c/8c)/cmp(6c 3.33ghz with gtx680/980ti)/imac top model i7 + top gpu. imac beats the cmp most the time, few apps are gpu dependent to the point where the cpu is not a potential bottleneck on the cmp (the gtx980ti scores are very close to the gtx680 kind of sad to see).

    the cmp will work fine but when compering you have to add up the total cost as well as performance & potential lifespan of the hardware, the imac will have a warranty, in the uk it's good (i think).

    I do like the cmp but it's kind of a hard buy in unless you relay want it or your working on a low budget, i just grabbed a single core 5.1 to replace my 3.1 but i also already have the drives/gpu in the 3.1+ displays etc which i can put in the 5.1 so the total cost of the upgrade is not to bad for me. (and if i can sell the 3.1 i may get about 1/2 what i spent on the 5.1 back maybe)

    i think the main complaint of the gpu is trying to play games at 5K resolution,if you drop the display resolution to 1920x1200 the fps will be ok on new games id gess. if you can do go to an apple shop try one out.

    edit - the display is nice to for color gamut (also has comparisons to the nmp)
    http://macperformanceguide.com/iMac5K_2015-colorGamut.html

    imac cpu comparison http://barefeats.com/imac5k16.html
    imac gpu compatison http://barefeats.com/imac5k15.html
    there's more to (and they have the nmp & cmp in a few of them)
     
  19. alexanderasher thread starter macrumors member

    alexanderasher

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    Mar 13, 2014
    #19
    I'm going to be blunt, your entire advice just seems to be "don't buy a mac" at this point, but my decision to stick with Apple is pretty final. If I wanted to switch to Windows as my main machine, I'd convert my gaming PC into a 'general' PC by upgrading the processor, sticking in an SSD, etc. I'm choosing not to because I dislike using Windows, end of story. Before you ask 'why don't I just use the PC now,' I also keep it hooked up to my livingroom TV as basically a gaming console replacement.

    Ah, thank you for that. Looking over all of it, it seems that the 5k iMac flaws people have been telling me about are... well, overblown. I don't need to play games on my retina iMac, for reason stated above, I have a PC dedicated to gaming. And since the Mac Pro 5,1 is lower powered than I had originally thought... I'll just wait to see what Q4 (or earlier) brings for the 5k iMac.
     
  20. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 22, 2012
    #20
    You are comparing a new machine with 3 years AppleCare versus an old machine with no warranty at all. Upgrading a Mac Pro if you already own one can be a cost effective exercise but buying a used machine that's already at least three years old doesn't seem a wise investment unless your workload scales very well over multiple cores. The top end Retina iMac has single stream CPU performance 20% higher than the fastest CPU that you can put in a Mac Pro 5,1 it also comes with a 5K screen.
     
  21. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #21
    Yes, the 5K iMac with i7 is a very nice computer with great specs. As I stated earlier, I seriously considered it for my next Mac to replace my 5,1. If you don't have any legacy "baggage" like I do with PCI-e cards and are comfortable with using Thunderbolt for your future expansion needs, it is indeed a very attractive computer.
     
  22. orph, Apr 22, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016

    orph macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    for games the cmp fairs slightly better but thats only once you put a gpu in it that costs about as much if not more than the cmp.
    there are times when the cmp can do well like dual ati cards + FCPX but thats not often

    this has some more info on the 2015 & 2014 imacs but do take it with a pinch of salt as macperformanceguide is not as good as it used to be (ie before he started selling lots of stuff his info seemed more impartial now it seems more geared up to sell stuff)
    http://macperformanceguide.com/topics/topic-IMac.html

    this site is also worth a look
    https://www.pugetsystems.com/all_articles.php
    seems to be good fairly factual benchmarks
    AE cc 2015 benchmarks https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-After-Effects-CC-2015-Multi-Core-Performance-714/ shows mostly that a single cpu with 6-8 cores is the most efficient but most the time it's core 1-4 that gives the biggest benefit as each core used tends to give a slower speed gain
    PP cc 2015 https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Premiere-Pro-CC-Multi-Core-Performance-698/
    lightroom cc/6 https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Lightroom-CC-6-Multi-Core-Performance-649/

    most disappointing is Photoshop https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Photoshop-CC-Multi-Core-Performance-625/ most the time past 2-3 cores being used past that the gain is so low :mad:
    (and it's been shown that Photoshop is slower on dual cpu boards, think that is still true)
    not shore where you are, apple care is always worth a look for a work computer & some shops will give extended warranty's for free (in the uk johnlewis has a 2 year one for free)
    and in the uk we have http://www.apple.com/uk/legal/statutory-warranty/ but that is covered by the shop that you buy it from (read the small print)
     

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