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M3Jedi77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
115
31
I work with high-res files in Lightroom & Photoshop all day long. My current iMac struggles under this weight, so I've got the following MP 7,1 on order:

3.5GHz 8‑core Intel Xeon W processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz
32GB (4x8GB) of DDR4 ECC memory (will upgrade these to at least 96GB)
Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB of GDDR5 memory
256GB SSD storage (will drop in a PCIe card with much faster NVME options)

Does anyone have an idea of if this will outperform i9 setups? Just can't bring myself to buy another unupgradable iMac. If this Mac Pro isn't up to i9 performance levels (at least with these Adobe products) I may look into Hackintoshing something much faster, though that's a scary thought.
 

Macshroomer

macrumors 65816
Dec 6, 2009
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What iMac are you using?

I am using an iMac Pro 3.0ghz 10 core, 128GB of ram with the Pro Vega 64X with 16GB of Vram and it crushes 50MP raw files all day long. That includes 24 frame stitch to DNG files for commercial clients that are in the gigabytes in final output size.

My Mac Pro and in order to make it worth it to upgrade, I would go 16 core / 192GB to 384GB third party upgrade / Pro Vega II / 4TB. I think I am waiting a few more years though, want to see what builds do best in specific areas and like I said, my current machine is doing very, very well even with video.
 
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ruslan120

macrumors 65816
Jul 12, 2009
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There are probably few benchmarks out there for the Mac Pro, but if you compare the 8 core i9 iMac with the 8 core iMac Pro CPU, it's pretty close. In a few scenarios, the i9 iMac wins. In others, with the help of the T2, the 8 core iMac Pro wins.

1576087411005.png


Just can't bring myself to buy another unupgradable iMac.

Amen. My next mac will be a Pro. Not looking forward to ditching the iMac eventually once the GPU and its two thunderbolt 3 ports are maxed out.
 
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MGrayson3

macrumors member
Jul 30, 2013
78
155
Lightroom seems to be using more than 8 cores these days. Not sure if PS has any multithreading, even with 8 cores, you may only get 8 threads.

But you are SEVERLY memory locked. Get the RAM up to 128GB, if you can, 64GB at a minimum. Increase the sizes of your PS and LR caches (and clean them out).

Both are using the GPU more each day. Some filters, and all export. So don't skimp there.

My 2018 13" MBP struggles a bit in LR with 100MP files, the older 4 core iMac5K does fine. I'm not sure if new iMac5K, next iteration of iMac Pro, or Mac Pro 7,1 will be next. Most of the built-like-a-tank features of the 7,1 are wasted on me.
 
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danwells

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2015
591
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Right now, it looks like there are no less than four Macs (not counting Hackintoshes) that perform similarly in a high-end still photography workflow.

iMac 9900K (with pure SSD storage)
iMac Pro (8 core)
MBP 16" (with upgraded RAM - I have 64 GB, and it's the right choice - I've seen it use 40+)
Probably Mac Pro (8 core).

The first three are all within 10% of each other. Unlike the 15" MBP (especially the 2018), the 16" is not terribly thermally constrained. It's at the bottom of this list, but by only 7-10%, and the portability is worth it for a lot of people (myself included).

I strongly suspect the base Mac Pro will fall right in this same performance band, which is excellent for cruising through ~50 MP RAW files - but (all with 64 GB of RAM, 2 TB PCIe SSD, 8-core CPU):

iMac 9900K with Vega 48: $3849 plus $300 for 3rd party RAM =$4149
MacBook Pro 16" with processor upgrade plus 8 GB Navi 5500M: $4299
iMac Pro with Vega 56: $5799
Mac Pro with Polaris 580x: $6799 plus $300 for 3rd party RAM $7099 (no monitor)

You really have to like towers to pay that much extra and take a GPU performance hit.

Where the Mac Pro becomes a more important consideration is when it's upgraded to perform in a way that none of the others can (huge numbers of cores, >128 GB RAM, supersize or multiple GPUs). Due to the huge cost of the 256 GB RAM upgrade on the iMac Pro, the Mac Pro becomes cheaper >128 GB, and the only option >256 GB.

Something like this offers performance no other Mac can match:

16 cores, 384 GB of RAM (3rd Party) 2 TB SSD: $8799 with the Polaris GPU plus $1000 for the RAM. The upcoming Radeon 5700 GPU will be very appealing for this kind of machine - a modern, high performance GPU for ~$1000, without going all the way up to the Vega II.

Mostly, that kind of performance and capacity is not necessary for still photography (maybe if you're doing gigapixel stitches or the like).
 
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Pro7913

Cancelled
Sep 28, 2019
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Adobe take advantage of higher clock speed and can support up to 8 cores except for few tasks such as exporting. They are well known for poor optimization.

I strongly not recommend buying Mac Pro 2019 for LR and PS uses. Because iMac 2019 is way faster. However, iMac series have a poor cooling system while Mac Pro 2019 has a huge heat sink with a huge cooling fan so it's hard to say iMac 2019 is better. Because the boost speed does not guarantee to sustain the performance especially at all cores.

But still, spending more than $6000 for LR and PS is too expansive.
 
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Macshroomer

macrumors 65816
Dec 6, 2009
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Where the Mac Pro becomes a more important consideration is when it's upgraded to perform in a way that none of the others can (huge numbers of cores, >128 GB RAM, supersize or multiple GPUs). Due to the huge cost of the 256 GB RAM upgrade on the iMac Pro, the Mac Pro becomes cheaper >128 GB, and the only option >256 GB.

Something to consider is that OWC will upgrade the RAM in an iMac Pro.

For example, I have 128GB which is really plenty for most things including huge files for things like airport and storefront displays. When you consider the $700 rebate for the 128GB then the cost to bring it to 256GB is $1,800, really not bad when one considers the opportunity cost of sticking with an otherwise great platform a little while longer.
 
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danwells

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2015
591
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Yes, in the case of existing iMac Pros for sure... If you know you're heading for huge RAM capacities, the Mac Pro is worth a look - both because of the unbelievably high RAM ceiling and the ability to upgrade it yourself.
 
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vladi

macrumors 6502a
Jan 30, 2010
670
308
Don't waste your money on new MP if you are locked to PS/LR only. You will see some performance gain but it's not worth $$$ you will be spending. PS will always work better on state of the art gaming processors than on Xeons servers with huge amount of slow cores. If you really have to go with Mac then go for less but faster desktop cores but you still will be locked out of maxed performance compared to i9 gaming processors.

Are your files for screen purposes and medium size print or are you handling 5GB+ PSBs? Are you doing some 300dpi big print format work that will bring your PC to a stall? If you do no matter how much RAM or what CPU you have this will continue to be the case. In that situation your best case scenario is proxy workflow where you can comp the image in low resolution then use original resolution in separate files to prepare them before you bring them all together to composite them.
 
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vel0city

macrumors regular
Dec 23, 2017
221
277
Photoshop on an iMac i9 or even i7 is a completely different experience to Photoshop on a 5,1 fully maxed. Hopping onto the iMac is this buttery smooth, responsive and slick experience, going back to the 5,1 can feel like swimming through bricks. It's especially noticable with a Wacom pen as you want that instantaneous response and visual feedback if you're drawing, retouching masking or painting. Like everyone else has said, Photoshop loves single core performance and doesn't really have much use for multiple cores.

I would totally recommend spending some of your spare time investigating Affinity Photo, on both Mac and iPad if you have one. This app is optimised for Metal and absolutely destroys Photoshop for performance, it feels like Affinity should be charging £600/year for this modern, highly polished program and makes Photoshop look like some relic from the early days of computing. The iPad version of Affinity Photo is just embarrassing for Adobe, it's in a different league to the truly pathetic version of Photoshop for iPad that they just apologetically dribbled out.
 
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M3Jedi77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
115
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Thanks for the detailed replies everyone. It is mostly what I suspected, that the Mac Pro isn't going to be much faster or slower (with photography) than other high end iMacs.

Comparing pricing of a Mac Pro to an iMac is pretty silly IMO. An iMac has a much shorter lifespan.

Just need to determine now whether keeping my Mac Pro order or build a more powerful Hackintosh at 1/2 the price.
 
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Pro7913

Cancelled
Sep 28, 2019
345
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It's the fact that Apple does not have a modular Mac for consumers. None of them have a proper cooling system and even Mac Pro is quite controversial.
 
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M3Jedi77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
115
31
It's the fact that Apple does not have a modular Mac for consumers. None of them have a proper cooling system and even Mac Pro is quite controversial.

Exactly. I would never buy another iMac, even though it's quite a bargain for the screen+PC. The iMac Pro seems to me like a temporary computer they threw out there while people waited for the proper Mac Tower.

I think a Mac Pro at like 1/2 the size would sell so well. Give me the Mac Pro with no RAM and no hard drive, with the latest i9, I'd be very happy.
 
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danwells

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2015
591
444
That's the xMac that Apple will never build, for three reasons (one of them is greed, but the other two aren't). They want you to buy an iMac

1.) Support: They don't want to support a million and one configurations, and they're actually right. Part of the reason Windows is less stable than MacOS is that Microsoft has to account for everybody attaching everything to various ports and slots, including low-quality equipment that costs entire system stability. iMacs guarantee them a relatively limited number of known configurations with upper-midrange and above parts.

2.) Games: Games also reduce overall system stability for two reasons. One is that overclocked, undercooled gaming hardware is less stable than highly binned workstation parts with better cooling. The second is that the same hooks games use to run far closer to the hardware than other applications are also used by malware. The malware issue is present even on individual systems that never run a game. As long as the support is there in the OS, it's useful to malware authors. Any cheap, open Mac is going to attract gamers who'll stuff the slots full of fast junk, then demand OS holes to run games, then want support.

3.) Greed: Apple is fond of Apple Taxes.
 
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thisisnotmyname

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Oct 22, 2014
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That's the xMac that Apple will never build, for three reasons (one of them is greed, but the other two aren't). They want you to buy an iMac

1.) Support: They don't want to support a million and one configurations, and they're actually right. Part of the reason Windows is less stable than MacOS is that Microsoft has to account for everybody attaching everything to various ports and slots, including low-quality equipment that costs entire system stability. iMacs guarantee them a relatively limited number of known configurations with upper-midrange and above parts.

2.) Games: Games also reduce overall system stability for two reasons. One is that overclocked, undercooled gaming hardware is less stable than highly binned workstation parts with better cooling. The second is that the same hooks games use to run far closer to the hardware than other applications are also used by malware. The malware issue is present even on individual systems that never run a game. As long as the support is there in the OS, it's useful to malware authors. Any cheap, open Mac is going to attract gamers who'll stuff the slots full of fast junk, then demand OS holes to run games, then want support.

3.) Greed: Apple is fond of Apple Taxes.

4) Analysis Paralysis of customers. Just look at how many people in this forum obsess over what the precise best combination of Apple BTO and third party add-ons will be for their specific use case. Options of Good/Better/Best make it easier to close a sale and produce fewer regrets post sale as well. MacBook Pro and iMac do that well, Mac Pro being much more open does not but most consumers are corporate and aren't nitpicking, the IT makes the decision. A mythical xMac customer would be running dozens or hundreds of permutations (including a bunch of stuff from newegg or eBay) trying to come up with their optimum solution rather than just buying something that will do the job well and getting to productive work again.
 
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Pro7913

Cancelled
Sep 28, 2019
345
102
That's the xMac that Apple will never build, for three reasons (one of them is greed, but the other two aren't). They want you to buy an iMac

1.) Support: They don't want to support a million and one configurations, and they're actually right. Part of the reason Windows is less stable than MacOS is that Microsoft has to account for everybody attaching everything to various ports and slots, including low-quality equipment that costs entire system stability. iMacs guarantee them a relatively limited number of known configurations with upper-midrange and above parts.

2.) Games: Games also reduce overall system stability for two reasons. One is that overclocked, undercooled gaming hardware is less stable than highly binned workstation parts with better cooling. The second is that the same hooks games use to run far closer to the hardware than other applications are also used by malware. The malware issue is present even on individual systems that never run a game. As long as the support is there in the OS, it's useful to malware authors. Any cheap, open Mac is going to attract gamers who'll stuff the slots full of fast junk, then demand OS holes to run games, then want support.

3.) Greed: Apple is fond of Apple Taxes.

1) Mac Pro is a great example of the first reason is wrong. Im not expecting full modularity but at least people want a modular Mac even it has a limited feature. Since Apple made Mac Pro 2019 with some modularity, I dont agree.

2) Mac can play games and that won't be an issue especially for desktop parts. There is no way to control overclocking with macOS anyway. Apple made Arcade and there are bunch of games for sell duh?

3) If they are greedy, then there is no reason for not making a modular Mac.
 
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Macshroomer

macrumors 65816
Dec 6, 2009
1,220
642
Comparing pricing of a Mac Pro to an iMac is pretty silly IMO. An iMac has a much shorter lifespan.

How do you figure that??

I know some pros who are earning six figures large and are still on 2015 iMac's and doing fine. I am starting to subcontract out a lot more video so I am directing while cameramen do the grunt work. So I pull the raw footage in and work with it with my iMac Pro, enter the reason why I am looking at a Mac Pro in a few years.

But I could stick with my iMac Pro for at least three more years, five if I did not do post on video. And finally, as a highly successful commercial and fine art shooter for the past 32 years, I think the build you are going for in the Mac Pro 7,1 is decent but not what I would get for working with high res files. But then you never did say what machine you are coming from or what your high res files consist of.

The iMac Pro seems to me like a temporary computer they threw out there while people waited for the proper Mac Tower.

Well all is not as it seems, compared to my old built 5,1 Mac Pro, I have had zero issues with the iMac Pro and the cooling is excellent, it's probably the best desktop by Apple I have ever used and I have been using Mac's since 1991.
 
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M3Jedi77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
115
31
How do you figure that??

I know some pros who are earning six figures large and are still on 2015 iMac's and doing fine. I am starting to subcontract out a lot more video so I am directing while cameramen do the grunt work. So I pull the raw footage in and work with it with my iMac Pro, enter the reason why I am looking at a Mac Pro in a few years.

My iMac: Late 2014 4GHZ i7 27" // 32GB 1600MHz DDR3 // Radeon M290x 2GB // Dell 5K as 2nd monitor. It struggles when working with large batches of high-res files, but I could push it another year or 2 honestly.

But I could stick with my iMac Pro for at least three more years, five if I did not do post on video. And finally, as a highly successful commercial and fine art shooter for the past 32 years, I think the build you are going for in the Mac Pro 7,1 is decent but not what I would get for working with high res files. But then you never did say what machine you are coming from or what your high res files consist of.

Well all is not as it seems, compared to my old built 5,1 Mac Pro, I have had zero issues with the iMac Pro and the cooling is excellent, it's probably the best desktop by Apple I have ever used and I have been using Mac's since 1991.

The iMac is a beautiful machine no doubt! For me personally - I like to tinker and would like to swap in more storage, ram, and PCIe cards when I feel like it.
 
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macdos

macrumors 6502
Oct 15, 2017
482
776
Have a look at the activity monitor. I suspect that your system starts to compress and swap while importing all those photos, and this will inevitably slow down the whole system.

The OS doesn't release cached memory when needed.

Upping the RAM is your best option, Mac Pro is not going to give you better performance for photography.

I work with high-res files in Lightroom & Photoshop all day long. My current iMac struggles under this weight, so I've got the following MP 7,1 on order:

3.5GHz 8‑core Intel Xeon W processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz
32GB (4x8GB) of DDR4 ECC memory (will upgrade these to at least 96GB)
Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB of GDDR5 memory
256GB SSD storage (will drop in a PCIe card with much faster NVME options)

Does anyone have an idea of if this will outperform i9 setups? Just can't bring myself to buy another unupgradable iMac. If this Mac Pro isn't up to i9 performance levels (at least with these Adobe products) I may look into Hackintoshing something much faster, though that's a scary thought.
 
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M3Jedi77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
115
31
Have a look at the activity monitor. I suspect that your system starts to compress and swap while importing all those photos, and this will inevitably slow down the whole system.

The OS doesn't release cached memory when needed.

Upping the RAM is your best option, Mac Pro is not going to give you better performance for photography.

My RAM is as high as it goes on this iMac.
 
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