Radeon Pro 580x or Radeon Pro Vega 48?

Digeeedad

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Original poster
Mar 18, 2019
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Price IS an object but Radeon Pro 580x or Radeon Pro Vega 48? Going to purchase a new iMac for my film major daughter who's especially interested in video editing. iMac that I am looking at for her... 27" i9, 8gb ram (which I will upgrade myself) 1TB SSD and either the 580x or Vega 48. I was most interested in the 580x, figuring that just 2 days ago the 580 was a desired GPU and the Vega 48 would cost an additional $400. Moving to the Vega 48 might necessitate my downgrading to the 512gb SDD. Thoughts or advice definitely appreciated.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
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It depends what video software they’ll be using. FCPX utilises Metal so a better GPU would shine for that, whereas Premiere Pro is more CPU driven so you’d be better off keeping the 1TB storage as the GPU wouldn’t be as important.

It also depends on what content they’re working with and how large the files would be.

Adding additional SSD storage via external USB doesn’t cost much compared to internal upgrades either.

TL;DR: FCPX, I’d go GPU with the wallet prospect of external Flash later down the line.

PP, I’d stick with 1TB internal SSD.
 

Digeeedad

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 18, 2019
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35
So. California
It depends what video software they’ll be using. FCPX utilises Metal so a better GPU would shine for that, whereas Premiere Pro is more CPU driven so you’d be better off keeping the 1TB storage as the GPU wouldn’t be as important.

It also depends on what content they’re working with and how large the files would be.

Adding additional SSD storage via external USB doesn’t cost much compared to internal upgrades either.

TL;DR: FCPX, I’d go GPU with the wallet prospect of external Flash later down the line.

PP, I’d stick with 1TB internal SSD.
Thanks for the reply! My daughter will be using Avid Media Composer.
 
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smirking

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According to one review of a 2018 MBP Vega 20 that I saw recently, FCX is already so optimized that a faster graphics card doesn't do very much for you while editing. It did make a difference and sometimes a huge difference in exporting though.

This review isn't iMac specific, but it might be helpful nonetheless:

I'd hate to go under 1TB, but given that it's a desktop machine and there's very little performance penalty for an external SSD, I wouldn't have any issue with a 512GB SSD. If you're doing video, you're going to need external storage before long anyway.
 

bigtomato

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Feb 28, 2015
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Depends, on multiple factors. For example, what are winters like in your area?
Don't waste your money on new iMacs, thunderbolt 4 coming out this year and will make an impact on bandwidth speed. You can always buy external graphics card with Mac mini, a lot cheaper. The 4 core works wonders with video.
 
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Cashmonee

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Personally, if you can wait a month or two you should. With any new computer, it isn't a terrible idea to let others take the first run or two and uncover any issues that may be present. I would be concerned about the heat generated by the i9 and would also want to see some real world performance tests of this Vega 48 before dropping a collective $850 on those upgrades.
 

ddmcnair

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Apr 25, 2011
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Seems to me the 580 is based on Radeon and the Vega 48, well that's Vega. Metal is cool, and so are SSDs. The one thing not mentioned, and not to be overlooked, is an external storage / backup device, and a cloud account. There are so many stories of having computer equipment stolen, or disasters at the worst time. You can find videos of the 1-2-3 backup guidelines.

So if you can afford Vega, go for it, and the SSD, the 512 should be enough for on the spot, but again a good external drive could also be of some benefit.
 
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smirking

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Don't waste your money on new iMacs, thunderbolt 4 coming out this year and will make an impact on bandwidth speed.
TB4? Are you sure you're not referring to USB4 (which is basically TB3)? In any case, TB3 is plenty fast enough. It's already fast enough that there isn't much of a performance penalty for having an external drive.
 
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Digeeedad

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Original poster
Mar 18, 2019
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You can find videos of the 1-2-3 backup guidelines.
So if you can afford Vega, go for it, and the SSD, the 512 should be enough for on the spot, but again a good external drive could also be of some benefit.
Thanks for the reply! So many variables to consider! I'm a little worried about the 512 but maybe having the Vega would be worth the reduction.
 

mikehalloran

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Oct 14, 2018
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Going to purchase a new iMac for my film major daughter who's especially interested in video editing.
Film major? Get the 48.
According to one review of a 2018 MBP Vega 20 that I saw recently, FCX is already so optimized that a faster graphics card doesn't do very much for you while editing.
That's funny. Get the 48.

Students need to deliver projects on time. Faster=better. Of course, avoid fusion drives.

and the SSD, the 512 should be enough for on the spot,
How do you know what the student requires?

The SSD must be big enough to contain the system, all Apps, all active work files. Period.

If something screws up — with AV, that's always a possibility, one can always restore the entire system to an earlier state through APFS Snapshots. This takes a few minutes and does not work on external drives—with externals, you are doing Time Machine restores that can take hours with large files.

External are for storing completed projects and for Time Machine.
 
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Digeeedad

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Original poster
Mar 18, 2019
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So. California
Film major? Get the 48.
That's funny. Get the 48.

Students need to deliver projects on time. Faster=better. Of course, avoid fusion drives.

How do you know what the student requires?

The SSD must be big enough to contain the system, all Apps, all active work files. Period.

If something screws up — with AV, that's always a possibility, one can always restore the entire system to an earlier state through APFS Snapshots. This takes a few minutes and does not work on external drives—with externals, you are doing Time Machine restores that can take hours with large files.

External are for storing completed projects and for Time Machine.
Thanks for the reply Mike! As much as I hate to admit it, it looks like the 48 AND the 1TB SSD would be a great pairing!
 

smirking

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Thanks for the reply Mike! As much as I hate to admit it, it looks like the 48 AND the 1TB SSD would be a great pairing!
You might be able to get away with just 512GB though, but she'd need ample external storage to keep source video and finished projects. I don't do enough video to truly know what I'm talking about, but 512GB should be enough headroom to store all the programs she'll need, source files for a current project, edits for the current project, and scratch space for rendering.

Then again, I don't think you can EVER have too much storage when you're talking about video. Even if you get the 1TB model, I don't think that's going to be the end of the story.
 
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Digeeedad

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Then again, I don't think you can EVER have too much storage when you're talking about video. Even if you get the 1TB model, I don't think that's going to be the end of the story.
I’d guess not but it should be plenty for a while, especially if she has a external drive for storing finished projects etc. Thanks for the reply.
 

Chancha

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Mar 19, 2014
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Even an active project can sit on an external SSD, which is already plenty fast just not "internal-drive-fast".

IMO, having a big enough internal drive is much more essential for a laptop for obvious reasons. With an iMac, unless it is for public space / reception / retail where you need to show its back to look pretty, otherwise having external storages via cables is a non-issue.
 

Ploki

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Samsung X5 1TB connected via thunderbolt 3 will probably be faster than the internal drive. (2500-3000 read-write) for 50% of the price of Apple's upgrade. So you will get 1TB extra instead 512GB extra for 50% less money.

I'd say Vega 48, since it's significantly better, especially for video. it's a nobrainer

Thanks for the reply! My daughter will be using Avid Media Composer.
you need a quantum computer
[doublepost=1553168565][/doublepost]
The SSD must be big enough to contain the system, all Apps, all active work files. Period.
.
no it doesn't, not anymore at least.
I have a superfast external NVMe SSD on a Mini with 512GB internal storage. Internal storage has 400GB free, i work mostly on the external now, since i can just disconnect it and have everything on a MacBook. + if anything goes awry, you don't need to jump through hoops to recover your work.
 

adamjackson

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Jul 9, 2008
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If I had to weigh which factors were more important now that we have 40GB Thunderbolt 3 and being a very amateur film-maker myself:

  • CPU
  • then RAM
  • Then GPU
  • then Storage (so long as you go SSD)

CPU is still king in almost all tasks for me. GPU shines in Final Cut Pro when I'm trans-coding / analyzing video OR exporting. If your daughter is okay with overnight exports, then a GPU is less of an issue but the time she is physically clicking around will require a beefy CPU. Still, the i7 is adequate for this so long as she isn't working in HEVC / 4K. My 2015 Core i7 4Ghz machine w/ HEVC & 4K suffers sometimes but it's not awful.

RAM, you have that covered but at least 16GB and go 32GB if you know she'll be doing a lot of filters, color work, multi-cam, soundtrack and such.

GPU, it'll benefit you but less so than CPU. Unfortunately both CPU & GPU are locked in forever.

Storage, I. have a 3TB Fusion Drive on my current iMac. It's the only bottle-neck on my machine. I use about 1.5 Terabytes of it with a NAS in the basement. I have original Thunderbolt so haven't gotten into the plug-in SSD space now. I work on the internal drive then dump everything to the NAS when I'm done with the work. With a Thunderbolt 3 Mac, you could go 512GB SSD or even 256 just make sure everything system / application related fits on the drive then utilize a 2TB Thunderbolt 3 SSD as her working drive and it'll be very fast and work just fine. That can be a Christmas gift :)
 

Kurri

macrumors 6502
Mar 6, 2009
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I work in the film field. Obviously get what you can afford, but I would highly recommend the 512 and for the holiday or something, get external drive or drives (pegasus RAID is the brand we use and it is amazing). I have an external RAID storage that has 8TB storage. Video is HUGE. 1tb wont be enough in the long run anyways especially if she is shooting or receiving footage in 4K. Recently did an 11 min. short (on amazon prime if you want to see:) ) and I had a little over 1TB in footage alone. Shot in 4K. Get the better graphics card and less storage, just know you will have to buy more eventually. 512gb will be sufficient for a student just starting out, but again, you will have to buy more.
 

Digeeedad

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 18, 2019
42
35
So. California
If I had to weigh which factors were more important now that we have 40GB Thunderbolt 3 and being a very amateur film-maker myself:

  • CPU
  • then RAM
  • Then GPU
  • then Storage (so long as you go SSD)

CPU is still king in almost all tasks for me. GPU shines in Final Cut Pro when I'm trans-coding / analyzing video OR exporting. If your daughter is okay with overnight exports, then a GPU is less of an issue but the time she is physically clicking around will require a beefy CPU. Still, the i7 is adequate for this so long as she isn't working in HEVC / 4K. My 2015 Core i7 4Ghz machine w/ HEVC & 4K suffers sometimes but it's not awful.

RAM, you have that covered but at least 16GB and go 32GB if you know she'll be doing a lot of filters, color work, multi-cam, soundtrack and such.

GPU, it'll benefit you but less so than CPU. Unfortunately both CPU & GPU are locked in forever.

Storage, I. have a 3TB Fusion Drive on my current iMac. It's the only bottle-neck on my machine. I use about 1.5 Terabytes of it with a NAS in the basement. I have original Thunderbolt so haven't gotten into the plug-in SSD space now. I work on the internal drive then dump everything to the NAS when I'm done with the work. With a Thunderbolt 3 Mac, you could go 512GB SSD or even 256 just make sure everything system / application related fits on the drive then utilize a 2TB Thunderbolt 3 SSD as her working drive and it'll be very fast and work just fine. That can be a Christmas gift :)
Thanks much for the informative reply! Helps a lot!
[doublepost=1553178005][/doublepost]
I work in the film field. Obviously get what you can afford, but I would highly recommend the 512 and for the holiday or something, get external drive or drives (pegasus RAID is the brand we use and it is amazing). I have an external RAID storage that has 8TB storage. Video is HUGE. 1tb wont be enough in the long run anyways especially if she is shooting or receiving footage in 4K. Recently did an 11 min. short (on amazon prime if you want to see:) ) and I had a little over 1TB in footage alone. Shot in 4K. Get the better graphics card and less storage, just know you will have to buy more eventually. 512gb will be sufficient for a student just starting out, but again, you will have to buy more.
Thanks for the reply and advice! Sure... put up a link, would be great to see your film.
 

Kurri

macrumors 6502
Mar 6, 2009
386
121
Thanks much for the informative reply! Helps a lot!
[doublepost=1553178005][/doublepost]

Thanks for the reply and advice! Sure... put up a link, would be great to see your film.
https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Home-Lelia-Symington/dp/B07JK4M3NV/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=happy+home&qid=1553179192&s=instant-video&sr=1-1

You can PM me your thoughts :) I dont want to hijack your post. Let me know what you decide on and how you like the new imac once she gets it. Video editing is costly at first :) Just the bottom line tech is expensive.
 

macduke

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Jun 27, 2007
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Vega is far better architecture thanks to the included HBM2 from performance and heat management so i think since this imac is still on the same thermals...if you want a more silent machine you should go with vega and i9
Huh, I figured those would be louder. It's what I ordered, and I don't care as much about noise. Is it because it doesn't have to ramp up as much under load most of the time? Guess it depends on the work being done. I imagine a long render would get louder.
 
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