Which configuration of the iMac Pro would be more useful? (specs in comments)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by shadow_wolf_909, Jan 2, 2018.

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Which configuration would be better?

  1. Configuration 1 (Look below in the post)

    50.0%
  2. Configuration 2 (Look below in the post)

    50.0%
  1. shadow_wolf_909 macrumors newbie

    shadow_wolf_909

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2016
    #1
    Hi all,
    I've been considering getting an iMac Pro as my current one is extremely old. As of now, I'm stuck between two options. Both are the same price but I'd like opinions on which one is better. The two configs are as follow:

    Configuration 1:
    1. 3.2GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz
    2. 64GB 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory
    3. 1TB SSD
    4. Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 16GB of HBM2 memory

    Configuration 2:
    1. 3.0GHz 10-core Intel Xeon W processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
    2. 32GB 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory
    3. 1TB SSD
    4. Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 16GB of HBM2 memory

    As you can see (bolded), the main difference is the amount of cores (processor) vs. memory. Upgrading the cores (from 8 to 10) is the same price as upgrading the memory to 64GB. So, which one is better? This would be my main desktop and I don't plan on upgrading for a very long time. Also, I've heard that one could upgrade the memory separately later on down the line; that's something I'm not opposed to doing.

    Let me know of your thoughts! I'll have a poll if you'd rather just answer that. Thoughts on which one is better would be appreciated though! Thanks in advance. :)
     
  2. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
  3. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502

    SecuritySteve

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2017
    Location:
    California
    #3
    You can upgrade the RAM far more easily than the CPU in an aftermarket situation. If you are considering the possibility of a RAM upgrade with aftermarket RAM down the road, go with the 10 Core and enjoy the price/performance benefits.
     
  4. HDFan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #4
    Without knowing how you are going to be using the system (mail, safari, photoshop, final cut pro [1080p, 4K, 8K], complex simulations, single program running, multiple programs running, how much memory your programs use, etc.) it is impossible to answer.
     
  5. shadow_wolf_909 thread starter macrumors newbie

    shadow_wolf_909

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2016
    #5
    Anything and everything. :)
    On a more serious note, I plan to use safari, mail, the MS Office Suite, app development, Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro.
    I may also dabble in VR/AR in the near future - that idea is still in the works however. Perhaps simulations? I have no idea on that note though.

    EDIT: I also want to run a VM (windows obviously).
     
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #6
    To be honest I doubt it will make much difference unless you are using 8k footage etc, I would probably get the 10 core and upgrade ram later if needed.
     
  7. shadow_wolf_909 thread starter macrumors newbie

    shadow_wolf_909

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2016
    #7
    Thanks for your responses all.
    I got another question if you don't mind: is one configuration necessarily faster than the other?

    I know that the 10 core is faster than the 8 core (especially if you factor in their Turbo Boost rates) but how much of an affect does upgrading the CPU vs. memory actually have?
     
  8. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #8
    IMO it depends on the usage, and how RAM-heavy the software is, and how well the App can take advantage of having tons of cores at its disposal (something like Final Cut, Stata MP, and many Apps used with CFD can, where as something like SPSS and Stata IC cannot.) To my understanding, for VR, the GPU is generally the limiting factor.
     
  9. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #9
    Knowing nothing about the potential usage, I'd probably go for the RAM-heavy config, using the rather dubious reasoning that it's more likely that running out of RAM will crush you than running out of cores (especially going from 8 to 10). But, as ZapNZs says, it really depends on what apps you run and whether they can effectively multi-thread.

    The boosted clock in the 10-core is about the same advantage as the base rate in the 8-core, under 10%. I doubt that you would see a large difference in performance either way. If you're going to be doing a lot of work in a VM, that might also bias me slightly towards the memory instead of a minor CPU improvement. But really, you can argue it either way. Unless you are very sure about the apps you are using, and know which ones can multi-thread and to what extent, you could just flip a coin.
     
  10. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #10
    The answer to your question is, "It depends on the task." RAM is not a substitute for CPU, and CPU is not a substitute for RAM. The two complement each other, and the most economical decision will be to buy no more of either than your tasks require. Maybe you need no more than an 8-core CPU, and maybe you need no more than 32 GB RAM. If so, you can save some money by going with an even cheaper configuration. Maybe you need 10 cores and 64 GB RAM right from the git-go.

    The only way to know for sure is to measure your actual usage - see what kind of demands your current workload places on your current Mac's CPU and RAM, by running Activity Monitor continuously. A key thing is to see whether your RAM usage stays within bounds (few/no excursions into Yellow or Red on the Memory Pressure graph). In the absence of measurement, we're all just guessing.

    One of the key benefits of having more cores is faster throughput on large jobs. A 10-15% improvement in throughput is real money when the process takes hours to run (like a big video/animation render, weather sims, etc.). If the process runs in a few minutes or seconds, perhaps speed is less of the essence.

    "I do video or A/R" isn't enough to tell us whether you're running large jobs or small. If you're going to "dabble," higher performance is a luxury. If your dabbling leads you to a far more serious involvement you may just have to bite the bullet and upgrade again at a later date, when you know better just exactly what you need. If your dabbling doesn't go far, why over-pay to learn the lesson?

    You may want to check Geekbench https://browser.geekbench.com/mac-benchmarks - and be sure to look at both the Single-Core and Multi-Core scores for your current Mac as well as the new ones. You'll see that the iMac Pros top the Multi-Core results - the 10-core is perhaps 12% faster than the 8-core. However, on Single-Core the two models are much closer in performance (though the crown still goes to the 10-core).

    I have a feeling that either configuration is so far ahead of your current Mac that you're really splitting hairs between the two iMac Pros.

    As to whether to go RAM-heavy? The most common reason for packing a computer with RAM is to avoid the possibility of paging-out to disk when you run out of RAM. The speed penalty paid for a page-out is much less on a machine with Flash/SSD than it is on a machine with a spinning HDD. Further, due to RAM compression, APFS, and other features of macOS, Macs are less RAM-hungry than they used to be (and they've always tended to use RAM better than Windows).
     

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