New Mc Pro vs 5K iMac

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by theMoleman, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. theMoleman macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2015
    Hi all,

    Im currently using a 1,1 Mac Pro (with various upgrades), which after 8 years, am finally looking at replacing (probably a bit later this year.

    I'm currently tossing up between a new Mac Pro and a 5K Retina iMac and was hoping to get some opinions on the two systems.

    Either way I'm looking to get a Promise Pegasus2 R4 with 4x 3TB Western Digital Red drives setup in RAID 5 for storage. This uses a Thunderbolt 2 connection, so would work with either system.

    As for the actual machine, here are the two setups I am considering:

    - 5K Retina iMac
    - 4.0GHz processor upgrade
    - 256GB SSD
    - 16GB RAM upgrade
    - 4GB GPU upgrade

    - New Mac Pro
    - Base 3.7GHZ Quad Core processors
    - 256GB SSD
    - 16GB RAM upgrade
    - Dual 3GB D500 GPU upgrade

    The Mac Pro obviously doesn't have a screen, although I'm currently using a Dell 30" monitor which I could use and look at upgrading to a 4K/5K monitor down the track.

    The Mac Pro system above is roughly $800 AUD more expensive than the iMac and I don't necessarily need 5K resolution at the moment so I'm leaning more towards the Mac Pro, but I would very much appreciate some input from you guys.

    I mainly do graphic design (Photoshop, Illustrator) and video (Premiere, After Effects) stuff, along with the obvious web browsing, iTunes, word processing and watching videos. No gaming and most likely won't bother with Windows.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Natzoo macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2014
    Not sure where i am
    It kinda depends, if you want an all in one computer get the 5k. If you want the mac pro and need the power get it. There is a reason why its called a mac pro. The call is up to you. I will go with the mac pro because you have it and I'm guessing you like it. And in the future you can upgrade it
  3. MMcCraryNJ macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2012
    It would have been more of a toss-up for me if the Retina iMac didn't run so hot and throttle down so much. That was a big factor in my decision to go with a 6-core nMP.
  4. Machines macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2015
    Fox River Valley , Illinois
    But the iMacs are thin and getting thinner and sexier . Soon, they will be the thickness of a single page of paper . Who cares if they throttle down after one second at load :/ ? (sarcasm )
  5. Machines macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2015
    Fox River Valley , Illinois
    You can upgrade the memory as high as 64GB at full speed , with the Mac Pro 6,1 (2013 ) . If you have the skill set, you can also upgrade the processor as high as a 12 Core Ivy . And that's it . Else-wise, it's an appliance . No GPU upgrades , no flash drive upgrades , no nothing else .


    Your best bet is probably a nicely upgraded cMP (Mac Pro 4,1 - 5,1) with fast storage and a pair of high end video cards for GPGPU .

    If you must go the black tube Mac Pro route , get the D700s as they are the fastest possible . You will not be able to change your GPUs after purchase and they are not upgradable at all (no off the shelf options as the cards are unique .) You might also want to consider the nMP (2013) has three year old video card technology . The D700s are basically AMD 7970 .
  6. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    I'm not sure how important the "Retina" aspect of the iMac is to your work.

    As I undersand it, the Mac Pro will top out at 4K. Plus, if you care, it's a little unclear if a future Apple Display would support it. But I'm not an expert on this so don't take my word for it. I guess my point is: make sure the Mac Pro supports your current and *future* display needs before you buy one. As others have pointed out, your options to upgrade the GPU are going to be very limited, if any.

    if you deal with any visual media I think "retina" resolution support has to be a key consideration. Depending on your workflow and preferences you might want anything from a single 4K monitor to several 5K ones.
  7. burnsranch macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2013
    I went in and looked at a new rImac to upgrade my iMac and bought a nMP base unit and a samsung ud590 display.

    My nMP was an impulse buy and if I researched it, I might have gone the other way. After using it for a while, I made the correct choice. I am a little concerned about the lack upgrade ability, but the truths was in my other motherboard based platforms, it was never really cost effective to upgrade components.

    My system is base nMP, a 20TB tb2 raid5, a 15TB usb raid5, and a 4TB raid, the d590 and another monitor.

    My main function is video, The first project was to import 13TB of raw video into FCPX. It was clear the Imac is a sports car, the nMP is a truck. When I did some simple benchmarks it was clear the project would have been difficult on an iMac platform. There was a huge performance difference in the importing of videos into the data bases. For a couple of weeks, I was running three mac's 24 hours a day, converting and importing videos. That is where the nMP outperformed the iMac.

    I was surprised at the lack of upgradability of the nMP, but I also realize I am on the front line of a different system design. If Apple makes it so I can connect two nMP via thunderbolt and have real cross functionality, I will be happy.

    With the difference between gaming and video processing becoming more distinct if the video drive driver process are included in the monitor and the develop video processing cubes, then I can just plug in what I need to my system.

    If I look at the ability to upgrade the OS, have different users on different external drives, the nMP wins the argument hands down.

    If I look at the functionality of TB compared to a physical pcie buss, the upgrade path is unlimited. There is no reason, I cannot run FCPX on one machine and be rending on another machine.
    If you build intelligent mirroring you can have a limited set of working libraries on fast ssd drives mirrored off of a raid array in real time.

    If you look at the rImac, they are using a custom chip to drive the monitor because the video card cannot drive the drive a 5K monitor. In the next generation monitor, the "timing controller" will be standard on all 5k+ monitors. In a couple of years I will probably be able to plug a 5k+ monitor into a thunderbolt port.

    I have three old dos machines. One is a test web server, the other I use to convert vhs videos. After the nMP I would never want to go back to that design. My wife is using the iMac. The amount of issues she has using a computer has dropped since switching from windows to a mac. I would not want to have to go back to using the iMac platform for my video work, but I could if I needed to.

    To be honest, I was disappointed with my nMP for a few days. It was not an out of the box barn burner. I export a lot of h.264 and the hardware acceleration was missing from the nMP. When stopped looking at it from a box point if view and looked at how my over all system had improved, I realized I had bought a work truck, not a sports car. I had moved from a single box based system to a modular system. It is far from perfect, but nMP is a little over a year old and I really hope they do not come out with a upgraded version of the nMP. I would like to see upgraded smart monitors, smart storage systems, video processing units, distributed processing across platforms.

    While gaming has been the financial driver for video, I think video processing is going to replace gaming. Look at the effect police video cameras alone will have on the industry. If you upgrade the video camera, you cannot get rid of the old technology, you have to integrate. So you buy a new video processing unit and plug it into the system.

    When I look at three thunderbolt controllers on the nMP verse one on the rImac, the potential for a huge explosion in smart monitors, the huge explosion that has to take place for video storage, the nMP is the right product.
    For my wife, the iMac is a great product.

    The more I use my nMP, the more I appreciate it. I had to shift my thinking from a box design to a modular system. If I split my my video functions into driving the monitor and video processing, I think videos processing performance is just starting, where the video driving performance in pretty mature.

    When I look at the issues with handling HD videos, it is not the processor or the video cards which is going to be the issue, it is the external storage transfer rate that will be the issue. Editing is a different issue and has been the main driver, but that will be replaced by video storage and database functionality. That is were TB control busses matter.
    They may be more important than the processor or the video cards as far as system performance goes.

    My nMP was an impulse buy, but the more I use and understand it, the more I like it.
  8. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Since you'll be doing some Premiere Pro and After Effects work, other users are having render problems using Premiere Pro on the new Mac Pro. Adobe softwares, as far as I know, unless I am mistaken, are optimized to use only one GPU. Just take note, with the new Mac Pro, the other GPU will be idle and this is part of your paid expense.

    This is a good option specially when using Adobe apps and 2D graphic design in terms of cost and how software responds to hardware. You can choose in using either AMD or Nvidia GPUs for your tasks.
  9. SuperMatt macrumors 6502a


    Mar 28, 2002
    You mentioned connecting 2 nMPs together for rendering. That is one of the advertised uses on Apple's Mac pro website.
    Connect several Mac Pro systems together with Thunderbolt cables and you have an instant network render cluster. ... OpenCL lets you tap into the parallel computing power of modern GPUs and ...

    So you should be able to do it. Maybe somebody on these forums can give you tips to get you started - I think using thunderbolt as a networking device is where you'd start.
  10. chidoc macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2010
    Similar situation

    System A (refurb)
    3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5
    32GB memory
    512GB PCIe-based flash storage
    Dual AMD FirePro D700 graphics processors with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each
    refurbished is around $4,100 I know I will still need a monitor and external storage for both systems

    System B
    4.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7,
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x8GB
    1TB Flash Storage
    AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5

    I'm a photographer and I am intending to start doing some 4K video. I was figuring that the nMP would last a longer time and would easily handle any 4K video projects I throw at it. I was wondering if the iMac would also be relatively fast at editing for 4k video?

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9 February 3, 2015