New Mac Pro vs current iMac (not pro)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by macman4789, May 23, 2018.

  1. macman4789 macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2007

    With the potential new Mac Pro being potentially at least 12 months I wondered if I could get your opinions on the difference in performance between the current high end 5K 27" i7 4.2Ghz iMac with 16Gb RAM and 8GB video memory card vs a new current Mac Pro 6 or 8 core spec.

    Would there be a huge difference in performance day to day? Photography editing? Video editing? The usual uses for computers.

    Due to the Mac Pro being so dated, I wondered whether those more knowledgeable could confirm whether the current iMac generation has caught up with its performance.

  2. bsbeamer macrumors 68000

    Sep 19, 2012
    What is your budget?
    What prices are you seeing for both options?
    Do you have a (4K/5K) monitor for the MacPro?

    If you're sticking with macOS, personally would look for a used unit to buy 8-12 months of time to make a decision, or at least wait until WWDC in less than two weeks. I would not buy a new MacPro6,1 unless there was a specific need for some kind of Thunderbolt connectivity for a specific situation or a client demand justified the purchase for using through EOY 2018 (about 6-7 months). Even then, I would weigh the options against a new MacBookPro model as well.

    I often hit a RAM wall with my video work on lower spec'd machines. Working on an upgraded 5,1 with 128GB RAM, dual 3.46 processors (12 core), GTX 1080 FE (8GB), plenty of SSDs, USB3, etc. My work is mostly Adobe (AE/Premiere) motion graphics, animation, compositing and editing... but use the full Adobe suite often.
  3. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    I've done professional video editing in FCPX on both 12-core D700 nMP and 2017 top-spec iMac. In general the iMac is faster. For some things the iMac is much faster -- due to Quick Sync it's about 2x faster than the top Mac Pro at encoding to 1080p or 4k H264. It's over 3x faster at transcoding from 4k H264 to ProRes proxy, which is a very frequent workflow nowadays.

    At a few GPU-intensive tasks like Neat Video the 12-core D700 Mac Pro is a little faster. Likewise it's a little faster at Digital Anarchy de-flickering. For other common FCPX effects such as stabilization, sharpen, aged film, and add noise, the iMac is faster if the source material is H264, if it's ProRes the nMP was a little faster.

    Premiere Pro started using Quick Sync for encoding on Mac as of the 2018 version but not for decoding. Performance of timeline scrubbing and overall responsiveness is not improved but at least it exports to H264 a lot faster.

    I would never use a 6 or 8 core nMP instead of a 2017 top-spec iMac -- the nMP is just too slow. The nMP is quieter but that doesn't make up for the overall slower performance, at least in FCPX video editing. Now that Premiere uses Quick Sync the iMac would also be much faster at exporting to H264 than the nMP.
  4. macman4789 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2007
    Thanks for your replies. It seems such a shame and pretty bad on Apple's part that they have let what was once their flagship 'Pro' computer, get leapfrogged in performance by their more consumer grade desktop computer.

    You make a good point with the Quick Sync compatibility as well as that can make a significant difference. Having listened to your replies it seems pointless but to wait until WWDC but also to spend so much an such an outdated design/machine.
  5. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    If you need a machine now I highly recommend the 2017 i7 iMac 27. It is very good and very fast, esp. on H264 if using FCPX. There are various deals available on the Apple refurbished site but the 1TB models are more rare. I wouldn't get one with a 1TB Fusion Drive. If 512GB SSD is enough those are $2459:

    Under high sustained loads (esp if using Premiere Pro) you'll hear the fans. With FCPX less so but you'll still periodically hear them, The 2017 i5 iMac 27 is still pretty fast but is a lot quieter.

    However the iMac will probably be tweaked or maybe redesigned later this year. If Apple uses the i7-8700K that would give it six cores.

    The iMac Pro is now available on the Apple refurbished site. It has a totally revamped cooling system and is much quieter, the Vega64 GPU is considerably faster than the Radeon Pro 580 in the iMac, but for H264 video editing it's really no faster than the top 2017 iMac. If you acquire and edit only in ProRes or RED RAW, the iMP is a lot faster:

    iMac Pro deals:

    What counts is whether the machine gets the job done, not whether it's labeled as "Pro" or "Consumer". I've edited very large documentaries (230 terabytes of 4k H264) on the 2017 iMac and it works quite well.
  6. macman4789 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2007
    Thank you for your response. From your experience of using both machines, it seems the 2017 i7 iMac is a very capable machine and competes with if not betters the Mac Pro. I just seem reluctant to buy one with over 12 months technology in it. I'm obviously wanting to it to last and am concerned how well it will cope over the next 3-5 years.

    Would you be confident it will?
  7. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    The 2017 iMac is a good machine and it's very fast at editing H264 using FCPX. However the iMac will probably be updated later this year. What that will bring, nobody knows for certain. It might have an i7-8700K 6-core CPU, and the GPU would probably get at least a small upgrade. We don't know any specific details.

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