Upgrading from 2012 iMac

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by tears2040, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. tears2040 macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2010
    Looking to buy a Mac Pro, used/refurbished is fine and this will be a system I can build up over time so at first top of the line is not a major concern and all I need is same performance of my iMac.

    Long story short, I own a 2012 iMac 3.4GHz i7 with 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX.

    I am wanting to upgrade to a Mac Pro so I can have similar or better performance + having the option to replace my graphics card which is the main reason for wanting/needing to upgrade.

    When working in Resolve I have been running out of GPU memory which led me to believe it's due to the 2GB graphics card in my system. I would like to upgrade to a Mac Pro with at least 4GB Graphics memory and at least knowing the option that I could further upgrade if possible.

    If anyone can help me out it would greatly be appreciated, as always the least expensive system that someone can point me too would be greatly appreciated. I would like to stay within the Apple Family, but if it's too expensive I might be looking at a PC and switching my editing platform from Final Cut to Premiere....

  2. thefredelement macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2012
    New York
    How much upgrading are you looking to do? You can get a Mac Pro 4,1 from 2009 and upgrade it's CPU(s), RAM, add dual Nvidia video cards, a PCI SSD controller, etc.

  3. tears2040 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2010
    Enough to where it's as fast or better than my 2012 iMac i7 3.4GHZ 2Gb graphics card.

  4. evopanop macrumors member


    Oct 6, 2004
    Inland Empire, CA
    According to PassMark, your iMac's i7-3770 benchmarks at an average score of 9374. To match / beat that, you'd have to upgrade a single-CPU 2009/2010 Mac Pro to a W3680 (Scores 9351) or a W3690 (Scores 9695). The Dual CPU Mac Pro performance, with upgraded CPUs, just goes up from there.

    The GTX 680MX benchmarks at an average of 4327. That won't be very hard to beat. You can install the latest Nvidia drivers, pick up a brand-new GTX 970 for about $300 to $350, and just use it in the Mac Pro. You won't see the boot screen without an EFI flash, but it'll work just fine once booted into the OS. A GTX 970 scores an average of 8635, and has about 3.5GB of memory.
  5. Check 6 macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2007
    How would a 5K iMac loaded with an I7, flash storage and the 295 card stack up?
  6. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    Check Barefeats.com for some recent iMac 5K vs cMP and nMP (using 5K display(limited to 4K on nMP))

    An "old" cMP can beat the pants off the iMac 5K. And when something better comes along, you can simply use the 5K display on it.

    And iMac 5K with a 295 GPU that routinely runs at 105C will have a short and soon-to-be-outdated life. And I will go out on a limb and predict that they will become famous for yellowing or darkening in the 5K display in the area over the GPU and it's cooling mechanism.

    That AMD295 is well documented on this very forum to routinely run at a constant 105C while running 3D apps. It gets there quickly and at that point the clock speeds drop like licorice in the sun to keep it at a constant 105C. This is much more heat than has been typical for a GPU.

    The GPU is less than 2 cm from the expensive, fancy 5K panel. May be 1 cm or less. Even if a fan is blowing heat out someplace, that heat will be radiated directly to the panel. As time goes on, this will add up on the plastic components in the 5K panel.

    Apple bet on a loser when they went with AMD for nMP and iMac 5K.

    Nvidia is by far and away the leader in performance, especially when low power usage and low heat production are required. Instead, AMD is now known for high heat and large power requirements to match 3/4 of Nvidia's performance.

    They quit long ago from trying to compete with Nvidia's best stuff. They now shoot for the 2nd best Nvidia stuff, or lower. "We're Number Two, We're Number Two !"

    Apple's 2 highest performing computers, totally limited by their need to get a "deal" from AMD. Well, at least they passed the GPU savings on to the customer.
  7. dor macrumors member


    Mar 14, 2015
    The new 5K Retina iMac won't be a goor deal for you. When I checked if I should replace my 2012 iMac (same specs as yours) to the new Retina one, I saw that it's weaker.

    The new Mac Pro - I'm not 100% sure about it. Pretty good if you do a lot of Final Cut work.

    I think the best way to go is 2010 or "2012" Mac Pro and add your own video card of choice. There are a lot of threads here about adding an "unsupported" video card to the old Mac Pro.

    AMD is just... Meh.
  8. evopanop macrumors member


    Oct 6, 2004
    Inland Empire, CA
    Agreed with the above. The Retina 5k iMac's GPU is a joke. It barely benchmarks higher than the GTX 680MX. Its top-spec R9 M295X has an average score of 4956, and has to drive a LOT more pixels on its display. The R9 M290X only scores 2547, which is a complete joke.

    Really, the only thing that can at least somewhat keep up with an upgraded cMP is a nMP, and the nMP is usually a LOT more money.

    Edit: If you decide you don't want to spend the $300 - $350 for a GTX 970, you could always save a little bit of money, and get a GTX 960 for about $200. They score about 6000, according to PassMark. Still a fair amount higher than your current GPU, and the GPU in the 5k iMac.

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7 March 12, 2015