Replace cMP 5,1 with 2019 iMac i9?

whosthis

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 21, 2008
85
21
Hey,

I've been thinking heavily about changing my main machine, and wondered what your thoughts are on this.

Current setup: cMP 5,1 with 12 Cores (2,93), 64 GB, RX 580, SSD via PCI, USB 3 card. Running Mojave. Screen is a 4k 32" Eizo.

Usage: Software development, some graphics editing (not so much into video at the moment), some research work (not often, but then I appreciate lots of RAM and lots of CPU power).

The past has been mostly good with this machine, although the graphics cards upgrades (original -> GF 680 -> RX 580) wasn't that great, and setting up multiple working monitors was a pain at times. Fumbling around with the drives (a couple of SSDs over the years) always gave a boost, but then I appreciate an "it just works" style of living. :-D

Speedwise it still isn't too bad, although I guess the rather poor single core performance really starts to show up, and the lacking AVX instructions make a good part of it. A recent eye-opener was compiling some files (non-parallel) on a 12 inch MB, which was 55 secs compared to 1 min 25 on the cMP. So I feel the sluggishness that starts to creep in would probably be blast away with new hardware (well, for a while).

From what I have read over the past days (or weeks), the 2019 i9 iMac *should* fit me rather nicely and worry-free. I am a bit hesitant because as of today it seems to be the last Mac without T2, so probably the first to miss some new features. As for the screen, I'd say the 5k is even to my 4k (non-glossy). before the 32" 4k, I had a "low-res" 30 inch display - basically about the same size as the iMac 27, but 16:10 instead - The increase in sharpness was the selling point, but I do actually feel that the screen is a bit "too wide". Odd?

The upcoming Catalina upgrade is of course a somewhat strong incentive to make the change rather sooner than later.

Money wise, using the cMP for another year is probably as expensive as making the switch now, give or take a couple of dollars.

Usually I'm not a big fan of AIO, for I have upgraded things in the past, and the inconvenience when something breaks (had an iMac to be exchanged some years ago, the replacement later had some screen problems although still usable) etc.

So I'm probably looking into a maxed-out iMac here (obviously 3rd party RAM) - the price reduction for the SSD today really helped. Which makes it pretty convenient (not sure what I should ever want to upgrade later), but you can't just put the drive into another machine if something fails.

I *think* this configuration should take me easily 5-7 years down the road (I don't mind the bezel, lol).

With better graphics the mini might have been an option, and I don't think the eGPU thing is completely hassle-free, starting with swapping inputs from eGPU to Mac and back etc, running fans, more boxes on the table... and maxed out it is not so much of a good deal anymore in comparison.

Sorry for being very long-worded and ... hmm ... chatty today, but I'd really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks :)
 

Aiwi

macrumors member
Oct 21, 2010
35
23
I just took a similar step. I still have my cMP 5,1 6 Core (3,46), RTX 2070, NVME SSD, USB 3, albeit running Windows 10 (I guess it will take forever for nvidia/apple to release drivers). I ended up buying a second hand 2017 5K iMac (non-pro) for about 1200USD.

I previously only had a nice but low resolution 1440p 27" IPS monitor. So for me the monitor part was a big aspect of it.

Before dismissing the T2 completely, have a quick look at its pro's too. Because it could be a good thing to have if you need to encode video. https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/04/09/apples-t2-chip-makes-a-giant-difference-in-video-encoding-for-most-users

I noted a price similarity between the 2019 i9 iMac and the 2017 iMac Pro when opting for the vega 48, i9 and 1TB SSD. Then the iMac Pro with it's better thermals, IO and GPU did start becoming the sensible choice..

Regardless if you buy an iMac or not, please keep the cMP! It'll never be replaced. Just less used. It has a place in our hearts :)

The iMac is really nice to use. If you go for the i9, it ought to be much faster than the cMP in CPU and storage workloads too. GPU not so much.
 
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SecuritySteve

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2017
743
858
California
Assuming you don't want to wait for the 2019 Mac Pro this September, you might be able to get away with the iMac Pro or iMac for your usage. I just worry that after being used to the upgrade path of a tower, you will feel limited by an AIO. I speak from experience, as I unfortunately needed a pro machine in 2017 ... so here I am with my iMP.

Oh well, I'm sure when I'm due for an upgrade in 2022 there will be a new sleek Mac Pro waiting for me :)
 
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whosthis

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 21, 2008
85
21
Thank you both for your kind answers.

Before dismissing the T2 completely, have a quick look at its pro's too. Because it could be a good thing to have if you need to encode video.
Indeed something to consider. And who knows what applications will come up for that chip in the future. Currently it wouldn't help my workflow.

I noted a price similarity between the 2019 i9 iMac and the 2017 iMac Pro when opting for the vega 48, i9 and 1TB SSD. Then the iMac Pro with it's better thermals, IO and GPU did start becoming the sensible choice.
At the moment, I think a iMP refurb would still be 1.5 - 2k on top. Still with less memory - and the virtually non-upgradeability here (for reasonable prices) hurts. I most probably *could* live happily with 64GB, but do I want to? Not so sure! :rolleyes:

Regardless if you buy an iMac or not, please keep the cMP! It'll never be replaced. Just less used. It has a place in our hearts :)
I am afraid I run out of space here. That being said, I think I do still have a Centris 610 somewhere on the attic. :confused: And lots of iOS devices unused in the drawer because they were "just too good" to give away. Well, complete waste of resources as it turned out, and I (at least try to) learn for the future.

The iMac is really nice to use. If you go for the i9, it ought to be much faster than the cMP in CPU and storage workloads too. GPU not so much.
That's what I think, too. GPU is ok for me. Getting a Mini on the other hand would make me feel to spend lots of money on a downgrade.

Assuming you don't want to wait for the 2019 Mac Pro this September, you might be able to get away with the iMac Pro or iMac for your usage. I just worry that after being used to the upgrade path of a tower, you will feel limited by an AIO. I speak from experience, as I unfortunately needed a pro machine in 2017 ... so here I am with my iMP.
Well, it's not *exactly* about the waiting time. ;) I do understand that I'm not the target group for that machine $$$. It helps with the decision though: it does show that Intel CPUs should be supported for quite a long time in the future - no matter how that ARM thing works out.

My electronics were rarely on the energy saving side for the past 25 years or so. Sometimes I do feel a bit stupid though to heat up the room with that MP when the 10W MacBook just fits the bill for ordinary work.

Somehow I love the AIO idea on notebooks.

It's probably a mental thing for me: buy a "consumer grade" machine. OUCH! :rolleyes: And then occasionally throwing some heavy computing stuff onto it - wait the i9 cannot be designed to handle THAT? :D

Oh well, I'm sure when I'm due for an upgrade in 2022 there will be a new sleek Mac Pro waiting for me :)
:cool:
 

tomscott1988

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2009
617
481
UK
I made the same step but I had the hex. Faster in almost every respect main pain is having to spend £600 on a thunderbolt raid enclosure for my drives. Otherwise no regrets.
 
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