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Colin Ashcroft

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 3, 2020
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Hi, I am an illustrator currently looking to buy a new desktop Mac. I want to use it with Photoshop, Zbrush, Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro X and Lightroom.

With my budget in mind as well as performance, I am undecided between an Apple refurbished base model iMac Pro and the top current iMac 27" model with the higher specs except for RAM which would be 32GB.

I would be stretching my budget to the refurbed iMac Pro and wondered if it would be worth the extra investment with performance and longlivity in mind.

Thanks in advance for any help!
 
Last edited:

barbu

macrumors 65816
Jul 8, 2013
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IMHO obviously, but I think the Pro would be the one to get. It has a much more "headroom" for expansion/future-proofing. Plus, those Adobe apps are heavily CPU-dependent as I understand it, so app performance from the Xeons in the Pro would be noticeably better for you.
 

TiggrToo

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Aug 24, 2017
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IMHO obviously, but I think the Pro would be the one to get. It has a much more "headroom" for expansion/future-proofing. Plus, those Adobe apps are heavily CPU-dependent as I understand it, so app performance from the Xeons in the Pro would be noticeably better for you.

How so? You can easily upgrade the RAM on a iMac, not so much on a Pro.
 

barbu

macrumors 65816
Jul 8, 2013
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How so? You can easily upgrade the RAM on a iMac, not so much on a Pro.

perhaps easier to do but a quick search reveals the max ram in the 2019 iMac is 128 vs 256 in the current Pro. I believe the Xeons are also socket-based so there is another upgrade route available as well. Not so in the basic iMacs (to my knowledge).
 

Juicy Box

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2014
7,510
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perhaps easier to do but a quick search reveals the max ram in the 2019 iMac is 128 vs 256 in the current Pro. I believe the Xeons are also socket-based so there is another upgrade route available as well. Not so in the basic iMacs (to my knowledge).
I am pretty sure @TiggrToo was probably mentioning that the RAM is user upgrade-able in the iMac, but not the iMac Pro. When it comes to the ability to upgrade, I would also add that the internal storage would be easier to upgrade in the iMac than the iMac Pro.\
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,144
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I think you'd do just as well with a midrange/upper-end iMac than with an iMac "Pro".

Get a 2019 Apple-refurbished model, and save some money that way, too.
 

theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
7,442
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Plus, those Adobe apps are heavily CPU-dependent as I understand it, so app performance from the Xeons in the Pro would be noticeably better for you.

Debatable - the top-end iMac has a 3.6GHz 8-core i9 which will likely beat the 3.2GHz 8-core Xeon in a sprint. The Xeon 'upgrades' have more- but slower - cores so they'll only offer better performance on workflows that can use all those cores.

OTOH, the Xeon plus the better cooling system may be able to sustain full speed for longer, and have better memory bandwidth. It may also be quieter under heavy load...

The iMac Pro also has better i/o (4x TB3/USB-C rather than 2, supports more external displays etc.) although the 10Gbps Ethernet is irrelevant unless you use networked storage and fancy upgrading all the cables, routers, switches on your network...

the top current iMac 27" model with the higher specs except for RAM which would be 32GB.

Actually, for the iMac, its usually far more economical to get the default 8GB and a 3rd party 32GB or 64GB upgrade kit. Not an option with the iMac Pro. On the flipside, don't forget the cost of getting the SSD option instead of the fusion drive on the iMac (you may want to think hard about whether you want 1TB, 2TB or could make do with 512GB + externals).

Trouble is, "Photoshop, Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro X and Lightroom" (don't know about Zbrush) is as long as a bit of string - there's nothing there that won't run on the cheapest iMac for light workloads - it all depends on what resolutions you are using, how many layers in Photoshop, what plugins, video formats and movie lengths, how many tracks/virtual instruments in Logic etc. If you're primarily a 2D illustrator and have a limited budget then even the fully-tricked-out regular iMac could be an overkill.

A useful starting point would be what you are currently using (and how often your workload is lighting up all the cores, or showing high memory pressure in Activity Monitor, whether you have an SSD...)
 

TiggrToo

macrumors 601
Aug 24, 2017
4,205
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I am pretty sure @TiggrToo was probably mentioning that the RAM is user upgrade-able in the iMac, but not the iMac Pro. When it comes to the ability to upgrade, I would also add that the internal storage would be easier to upgrade in the iMac than the iMac Pro.\

Indeed I was. The iMac has a handy dandy door that you can open to get at the Ram sockets. The iMac Pro requires a more severe opening up of the chassis to do likewise.
 
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