iMac Pro What is the best iMac Pro Configuration for a Graphic Designer

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Anto38x, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. Anto38x macrumors regular


    Aug 19, 2006
    Cork, Ireland
    I'm an old school graphic designer and I'm looking to upgrade to the new iMac Pro as I just feel it delivers on all my current and possible future needs. I have always been a MacPro user, but I just feel as the world has moved on, primarily with video and more specifically 4K video editing production, the specs of the MacPro will actually far exceed my needs... and even though I have always purchased a MacPro for its expandability... realistically all I have ever done in reality with all my MacPro's was to manually update the RAM myself... I never updated the startup drive or the video card... ever... so I feel I could wait for the new MacPro but I know in my heart and soul that it will far exceed my needs and that the cost along with a new standalone monitor will be crazy money.

    So if I was to go with the new iMac Pro... what would be the configuration you would recommend.

    I currently have a MacPro 12 Core (Mid 2010) with a 512GB SSD drive (only OS and app on that drive) plus 64GB RAM plus an ATI Radeon HD 5870 with 1 GB RAM. I also have QTY 3 x 3TB Internal Drives. I use a Firewire 800 enabled Drobo S for all my backup... that has QTY 5 x 3TB Drives. I also use a 27" Apple Cinema LED Display (not Thunderbolt Version).

    My gut configuration preference would be for:-
    • 3.0GHz 10-core Intel Xeon W processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
    • 64GB 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory
    • 1TB SSD
    • Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 16GB of HBM2 memory
    • Magic Mouse 2 + Magic Trackpad 2 - Space Grey
    • Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad - British - Space Grey
    • AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac
    The main key production apps that I use on a daily basis are:-
    • Chrome
    • Airmail
    • Adobe Photoshop
    • Adobe Bridge
    • Adobe Lightroom
    • Adobe Illustrator
    • Adobe Acrobat
    • Quark Xpress 2017
    • Parallels
    My graphic design involves logo design, brochure design, PowerPoint design, large format print design, large format signage design, some light video editing with 1080p footage from Family Holidays etc.

    Is anyone in a similar professional production situation to me and what did you go with or what configuration are you thinking of running with. I have never had to worry about this before with the modular MacPro just having these upgradable elements.... but as this iMac Pro is more of a fixed unit, I just wanna be sure I purchase a new system that not only does me for the next 1-3 years.... but possibly the next 7-8 years just as my current MacPro workhorse has done for me... as being 23 years in business for myself... that MacPro (2010) was the best decision and purchase I ever made.

    Any comment or suggestions most welcome...
  2. pajako macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2017
    I bought exactly your config. With 2tb ssd, and am prettig much in the same league. Talking about gut-feeling...
    --- Post Merged, Jan 15, 2018 ---
    Oh yeah: with the exception I am using InDesign: I would-be suggestie you try that put sometime:)
  3. Anto38x thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 19, 2006
    Cork, Ireland
    Thanks pajako

    I was thinking about the 2TB SSD, but it really pushes up the pricing and I have had a 512GB SSD on my MacPro since 2010 and I always have about 200GB free at all times... so I'm thinking 1TB would be a welcome upgrade.

    I have used InDesign before... but I have been a Quark user since it was the industry leader back in the 90s... just too hard to move over to InDesign... but Quark has been innovating over the past 5 years or more and all the new features add up to a really solid DTP tool now... :)
  4. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    Mac Performance Guide did extensive testing of the 8 and 10-core iMac Pro vs the top-spec 2017 iMac on Photoshop and other professional photo-processing tasks. It's not graphic design but there is some overlap, and it's a closer fit than video editing benchmarks.

    In general he found the regular 2017 iMac was very competitive and a lot cheaper. Not because the iMac Pro is slow but because Adobe's software doesn't fully harness 8 or 10 cores:

    If you spend most of your time in Quark Xpress, you'd need to evaluate if any element of your workflow is slow, and whether it's CPU, GPU or I/O-bound. If much of the time-consuming work is largely single-threaded, it might ironically run faster on a top-spec i7 iMac.

    The Vega 64 GPU in the iMac Pro is about 10x faster than your Radeon HD 5870, so that's a big improvement -- provided your software can use that. OTOH even the Radeon Pro 580 in the regular iMac is about 6x or 7x faster than the HD 5870.

    At sustained high CPU loads the iMac Pro is quieter than the iMac.
  5. torana355 macrumors 68040

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Very good post, I would agree an iMac Pro is overkill for Graphic designers in most cases.
  6. bxs, Jan 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018

    bxs macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Your iMac Pro configuration is very sensible IMO for your workload. As you've been a long time fan/user of the MacPro system I would think you will be far more satisfied/happy with the iMac Pro vs. the high-end iMac even with the added cost. Happiness is important as well as being able to get your work done. Go for the iMac Pro and avoid any future angst if you were to get the high-end iMac.

    The iMac Pro WILL last you easily for 7 yrs. The 8 core and 10 core models will easily out run today's top end iMac above 4 core usage.

    Plus, over 7 yrs your type of work will likely change and favor the likes of the iMac Pro.
  7. pajako macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2017
    Maybe I should give QXP a try then, but I made the transition to ID at the time QXP really was lagging behind and InDesign was going to be the next big thing.
    I would settle for the 1TB if it wasn't for my MBPro having 2TB too, so to make an easy transition I decided to go for the 2TB.
    As for performance I can agree with previous posters: the IMac Pro is probably overkill for us right now. I can only hope that Adobe is quickly making use of this kind of raw power in future updates.
    Which gets me to the other important aspect of wanting an iMac Pro: it's just a very nice piece of equipment. And I am for sure I will enjoy it for quite some time, at least until the next big thing is announced:)
  8. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    And if they do eventually update the software toward the new iMac? Hard to say. They can
    be very stubborn with such things. I know a lot of people who'd love to see Photoshop
    & Lightroom suddenly jump off the desk with new speed ;)
  9. radiohead1075, Jan 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018

    radiohead1075 macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2008
    Just like you, I’m a graphic designer and I’ve always had a “pro desktop” (Power Macs, Mac Pro’s, etc), never an iMac ... until now. I still use a Mac Pro (2013) at work, and for the money ... I dislike the lack of upgradability among other things. The iMac Pro has all the internals of a pro machine, but again lacked the upgradability ... and for the type of design work you do, it’s honestly overkill IMO. If you did more video work, then the pro becomes more enticing. I do some video editing on my work computer, but not at home so went with the below:

    - 2017 27” iMac
    - Radeon 580
    - i7
    - 1TB SSD
    - 40GB RAM (added 32gb on my own)

    Picked it up earlier this month and so far I love it. I have yet to hear the fans cranking up, something I was somewhat concerned about after reading peoples reviews/complaints of the i7. And the screen is amazing.

    Just my two cents ...
  10. BlueTide macrumors regular


    Feb 6, 2007
    Your existing Mac Pro ought to be fine - not sure why you'd be updating. Only major thing for the listed apps might be the display. If it's the GPU, just put a new one in. For the work you describe, iMac ought to be just fine too, and with the saved money you can get another in a few years if you need to.
  11. physics dude, Jan 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018

    physics dude macrumors newbie

    physics dude

    Jun 2, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    I went with your configuration (except ordered my own mouse). My main usage:
    After Effects
    Element 3D (AE plug-in)
    Film & Commercial Video editing debating on moving from Premiere Pro to Davinci Resolve.
    Python coding
    Plus your basic everyday stuff.

    Been blown away so far. I still have about 10 days to change my mind and order the iMac.
  12. richinaus macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2014
    I tend to agree. I use Adobe apps a lot on the same iMac you have and no issues. I also use it for 3D design and rendering and has been solid so far although I certainly can get the fans blasting with some real time rendering.

    Maybe the OP should get an iMac to test and see if it is good enough, as I think they will find it will be good for their work.
  13. pajako macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2017
    I doubt if the point 'the iMac or the Mac Pro you are using is good enough for the work you do' is an answer someone is looking at the iMac Pro wants to hear.
    The iMac Pro is just a very enticing package and if you can afford it you just want one and you would be saying to yourself the iMac is going to be obsolete soon, the spacegray is a nice color, the Pro is more future proof, Adobe might just be releasing updates to make use of all the cores etcetera etcetera.
    In that perspective the main reason to buy a Pro is: do you want one and can you afford it, and justify it becomes of less importance.
  14. kingjames1970 macrumors regular


    Mar 18, 2008
    Hampshire, UK
    Agree with you. And not everything boils down to pure grunt being needed 'all the time' - being able to drive two additional 5K monitors, extra USB C etc. And that nagging doubt that you didn't buy the best machine you could afford.

    Yesterday I opened a Photoshop file on my iMP to see if the resolution was good enough for a project I'm working on. It opened immediately so I assumed it wasn't, until I checked and is was massive. You can't buy that little moment of joy! (Well actually you can and it's the same spec as the OP!)
  15. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    I would go 8 core and the vega 64 with as much ssd space as you want with the 64gb RAM you already specified seems like that will be overkill for years to come to be honest.
  16. Georgio macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2008
    Essex, UK
    I'm a graphic designer and use everything you do apart from Quark which I consigned to the bin back in the 90's. We've gone through various Macs over the years with the latest being bog standard 27" iMacs.
    Your MacPro is more than enough for what you need maybe upgrade the storage to a 1TB SSD but I honestly wouldn't bother with the iMac Pro just yet.
    Wait until the MacPro is knackered then look and see what's about, so probably another couple of years.
  17. Anto38x, Jan 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018

    Anto38x thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 19, 2006
    Cork, Ireland
    Very sensible advice Georgio.... I may just do that... my machine is in perfect working order and still delivering production wise... it's just that the new iMacPro would have a beautiful 5K monitor which I would appreciate and benefit from and I just did a Geekbench 4 test on my MacPro and for the Single Core performance I got a score of 2524, while the iMac Pro base level 8 Core version gets 5,019... so unless I'm reading that wrong... that could be double the speeds... which is... very tempting!!!! :)
  18. Georgio macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2008
    Essex, UK
    It's your money and if it's burning a hole then go for it, but personally I wouldn't be an early adopter at least for a couple of years.
    You will notice a small difference at first, nothing like double, but much like a new car you'll soon adapt and forget.
  19. alien3dx macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2017
    this is my base line
    But i would said, your old one much better .
  20. pajako macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2017
    I think I can add one nice comparison to this discussion: I can buy a car, lets say a Pontiac Grand Prix 2001, for €1000 and drive it from A to B.
    But I could also buy a Lexus and drive the same trip. They both take me there.
  21. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    ...but even expensive computers don't come with nice leather seats and air conditioning.

    Oh, wait: :)

    ...on the other hand, fast cars don't get you where you're going any quicker if its 55mph limits and nose-to-tail traffic all the way.
  22. h9826790 macrumors G5


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    That estimation is a bit too extreme. The desktop RX Vega 64 is about 550% faster then the HD5870. And that's the desktop Vega 64 (has less thermal and power limitation than the iMac Pro's Vega 64)
    Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 23.06.53.jpg

    The RX580 is about 280% faster than the 5870 (again, that's the less limiting desktop version)
    Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 23.07.49.jpg

    In fact, the 5870 is a 2.72 TFLOPS GPU, RX580 is a 6.175 TFLOPS GPU (2.27x HD5870), Vega 64 is a 13.353 TFLOP GPU (4.9x 5870). And the iMac Pro's Vega 64 is a 11TFLOPS GPU (4x 5870)
  23. Anto38x, Jan 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018

    Anto38x thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 19, 2006
    Cork, Ireland
    I hear you.... you are a rock of sense... I don't really have the cash... I would be investing, as in I would be paying off my investment over the next 5 years... I only just bought a maxed out MacBook Pro 2017 with Touch Bar.... just been so long since I updated my daily workhorse machine and the reviews for this new iMac Pro are very positive... just felt my main machine needed an update and I have checked locally and no one is capable of doing graphics card or processor upgrades for me on my MacPro 2010.... so buying a new machine really is my only option.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 16, 2018 ---
    Really great technical info h9826790... and it really put into sharp contrast the gains with the new the new graphics cards. Thank you so much for your input.
  24. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2017
    I'm not sure it matters for your comparison of the TFLOP performance, but the Vega 64 in that picture is the non-frontier edition, which is not used in the iMac Pro.
  25. Anto38x thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 19, 2006
    Cork, Ireland
    WOW!!!!! Security Steve... that is a beast of an iMac Pro you have there.... are you very much into Video Editing...? That was my original spec... but as I researched more and more... people said less and less cores were required for my sort of workflow needs... I purchased my 12 Core MacPro in 2010... now I think I over did it then also... but still it's the best workhorse machine I have ever purchased in my 23 years of being in the graphic design business for myself.

    Enjoy your beast of a machine.... I'm green with envy here!! :)

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34 January 15, 2018