9 Replies Latest reply on Nov 14, 2014 6:58 AM by cc_merchant

    Mac benchmarks: iMacs vs older Mac Pro towers

    jvknowles Level 1

      I've been having a great discussion in a PPro Facebook group regarding new editing systems; I have a limited budget for 3 new Macs in our company and I feel confident about purchasing a new Mac Pro (for PPro, AE, color correction and finishing work) and 2 iMacs with Thunderbolt RAIDs (just for editing with PPro).

       

      I'm curious though: when I look at the Geekbench scores for the latest Mac models there are older Mac Pros (2009 - 2013) that seem to outperform the newest iMacs in 64-bit multicore performance. The single core performance has the iMacs coming out on top (I'm only looking at the 27" retina, not the new 5K model). So which score is more indicative of performance while editing with Premiere Pro? I've heard from editors who say their new iMacs run circles around the older towers they replaced so I'm inclined to believe that a new iMac would feel faster than even the last silver Mac Pro tower (2012); but a 12-core beast with a beefy GPU has got to be a serious contender when it comes to intense multiprocessing tasks.

       

      I know that there a lot of factors that determine overall "speed" (GPU, RAM, storage speed) so it won't always be an easy 1:1 comparison with these models. I just want to make sure I'm investing in the right hardware and very curious as to how these benchmarks translate into real world Premiere Pro performance.

       

      TIA,

      JVK

        • 1. Re: Mac benchmarks: iMacs vs older Mac Pro towers
          cc_merchant Level 4

          I have a limited budget for 3 new Macs in our company

          Limited budget and Mac don't go together, just the opposite.

           

          MacPro.png

          and you only get a single CPU, not duals, lousy AMD Fire GPU's and a very mediocre rather slow Thunderbolt raid.

          For half the money you could get a much faster PC, but hey, it is only the money from your boss.

          • 2. Re: Mac benchmarks: iMacs vs older Mac Pro towers
            jvknowles Level 1

            I am the boss. And I'm not interested in running PCs in my shop, nor am I interested in having the 900th childish debate on Macs vs. PCs. What I am interested in is an answer to my question.

            • 3. Re: Mac benchmarks: iMacs vs older Mac Pro towers
              cc_merchant Level 4

              You'll have a difficult time finding a representative benchmark, due to limited number of Mac users to warrant such a benchmark.

              • 4. Re: Mac benchmarks: iMacs vs older Mac Pro towers
                ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                The reason many were seeing faster performance with the Imac's over their Mac Pro Towers had to do with the faster clock speed on the Quad Core desktop CPU's that were I7 Gen 4 Haswell versus slower I7 Gen 1 Xeons in the older Mac Pro Towers. The nMPro's have the IVY E Xeons in them which helped significantly but the video cards are AMD which don't perform nearly as well as Nvidia cards with Adobe's GPU acceleration. The Imac's up till the new 5K have Nvidia GPU's which were providing far better performance with Adobe than the AMD cards. That is why many were seeing better performance on those versus the nMPro's. Essentially the system needs enough cores/threads to ideally decode/encode the codecs and then GHz has greater effect than cores and threads with regards to GPU acceleration. The more complex the projects ie layers and FX the more cores you want. AE is primarily all CPU and ram so you really want more cores/threads and ram with that. Imacs are not good AE systems. Your plan so far is solid for a Mac lineup since the new 5K imac is really nothing more than a new shiny screen with an unfortunate AMD card. Just keep in mind the Imac's are glorified laptops. They have a desktop CPU in them but the rest is really primarily laptop hardware which means lower performance. 4K workflows will be limited on those if you get outside of Pro Res.

                 

                Eric

                ADK

                • 5. Re: Mac benchmarks: iMacs vs older Mac Pro towers
                  jvknowles Level 1

                  Thanks for the info, ECBOwen! Much appreciated, and I feel good about the iMacs overall for basic editing. I wouldn't do much AE on there, though FWIW I have had to do quote a few AE jobs on my Macbook Pro (2014) and the mobile hardware can get the job done, albeit more slowly. I do like the fact that the iMacs have NVIDIA GPUs as well.

                   

                  JVK

                  • 6. Re: Mac benchmarks: iMacs vs older Mac Pro towers
                    ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                    Work a complex AE comp especially in greater than 1080 resolution on a MacBook/Imac and then do it again on a X99 workstation. Completely different experience. You can use AE with 4GB of ram. However I wouldn't suggest doing it unless you have allot of patience.

                     

                    Eric

                    ADK

                    • 7. Re: Mac benchmarks: iMacs vs older Mac Pro towers
                      jasonvp Level 3

                      cc_merchant wrote:

                       

                      You'll have a difficult time finding a representative benchmark, due to limited number of Mac users to warrant such a benchmark.

                      Actually, it has more to do with "lazy" programming on the part of the benchmark writers.  Yeah.  Let's use .NET, Visual BASIC, or some other Windows-only tech to write a benchmark.  Um.  Right.  Good move!

                       

                      Do yourself (and the rest of the Mac users here) a favor and stay out of Mac discussions, please?

                      • 8. Re: Mac benchmarks: iMacs vs older Mac Pro towers
                        jasonvp Level 3

                        jvknowles wrote:

                         

                        I'm inclined to believe that a new iMac would feel faster than even the last silver Mac Pro tower (2012); but a 12-core beast with a beefy GPU has got to be a serious contender when it comes to intense multiprocessing tasks.

                        There's a lot involved in this comparison, such as:

                        • CPU core count and speed
                        • GPU capacity
                        • Storage speed

                        The old Mac Pros are excellent rigs, but limited to SATA2 storage speeds, and their Xeons don't have Intel's AVX available, which will speed things up a bit.  One advantage they do have is an open catalog of AMD or nVidia GPUs, assuming you can get them powered by the internal connectors.  The new Pros are AMD-only, though the advantage is that they have 2 GPUs versus 1.

                         

                        Comparatively, the new iMac with its desktop Core i7 processor will be able to push faster GHz, and it also has Intel's QuickSync tech available (hardware h.264 encoding).  So if you're doing a lot of output with h.264, you'll see a bit of a kick in the *** with those.  The limitations?  The GPUs aren't as capable as the ones in the nMP now.  And you only have access to a single GPU, where the new Pro has 2.  But, if you're not doing any work that can be off-loaded to the GPUs, it won't matter.

                         

                        As Eric mentions: AE is all CPU, all the time.  It wants cores and GHz.  It'll make your machine cry, regardless of what it is.

                        • 9. Re: Mac benchmarks: iMacs vs older Mac Pro towers
                          cc_merchant Level 4

                          Actually, it has more to do with "lazy" programming on the part of the benchmark writers.

                          That is why Adobe is not available on Linux. Adobe is just 'lazy'.

                           

                          Or does it have to do with number of users, market penetration? Windows 93%, Apple 5% and Linux 2% or something like that? Since you seem to know it all, please explain whether it is 'laziness' or something else.