3 Replies Latest reply on Aug 26, 2015 1:39 PM by RoninEdits

    Mac Pro 6 core VS imac 5K?

    carnage Level 1

      I am looking to buy a desktop machine, and am currently torn on what to buy. From all reports I read on here, the imac seems to be the way to go, especially when I've read of several people experiencing low speeds even on 12 core machines.


      The two machines I currently have specced out :


      Mac Pro

      • Item Price:$7,819.00


      • 3.5GHz 6-core with 12MB of L3 cache
      • 64GB (4 x 16GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
      • 1TB PCIe-based flash storage
      • Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each


      (I have also looked at the 4 core, but at only a $600 difference between the 3.7ghz 4 core and the 6, I think the price jump is worth it)



      27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display


      • Item Price:$5,118.00


      • 4.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz
      • 32GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x8GB
      • 1TB Flash Storage
      • AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5



      If the prices seem off to you, they are in Canadian Dollars. Obviously the iMac comes in a lot cheaper, but with 2 less cores, half the RAM, and lighter-weight video cards.


      My primary purpose is producing motion graphics for the event industry (conferences, awards shows, band eye candy, etc.) Typical compositions are around 1920x1080 - 5040x1080, usually under 2min in length, with a lot of layers, utilizing a lot of particle and lighting effects (trapcode, Knoll etc). Not much 3D, although I do incorporate Cinema 4D projects or some Zaxwerks when 3D is required. Often jumping back and forth between Ai, Ps, and Ae, some light editing in Pr (all CC2015). My biggest time eater is RAM previews, and in large batch renders, where I do final output of an entire show, 50-100 animations, 30s-2min in length.

      I am currently doing all my work off a MacBook Pro, 2.7Ghz intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 1TB SSD, with a Cinema Display. I am on the road a lot, so having a decent mobile machine is a key requirement. I have considered just getting a new Macbook Pro, but the newer models don't offer much of a jump in performance, and I am finding myself wanting a more powerful machine on my desktop for the more heavy lifting, and using my laptop just for on site revisions. I think I can get at least another year out of the Macbook until I upgrade, possibly sooner with the cash I would save with an imac.


      And please, save me the "buy a custom windows machine" comments. Just a personal preference, even though I know I could probably get a better performance machine for less money.


      Any insight/advice would be welcome, especially in terms of performance in relation to CC2015. I am currently leaning toward the the iMac though, seems like best bang for my buck, although the bumped up RAM and extra cores of the MacPro is enticing.


        • 1. Re: Mac Pro 6 core VS imac 5K?
          RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

          here is a benchmark website, you can click on the 64-bit multi-core tab to see the mac's you are looking at. Mac Benchmarks - Geekbench Browser

          you may find your current macbook pro on there and the new one, to compare those too. if you can decide how much performance you want vs the cost, it may help you decide which way to go.


          a large part of the cost of the imac 5k is the 5k display. the non 5k imac with an i7 is a good value, but only has 16gb of memory as an option. the mac pro is expensive because its workstation grade hardware.


          for memory in the new mac pro, many order the 16gb version and replace it with a third party 64gb kit to save alot of money. having multiple programs open with large resolution projects will use alot of memory. the 32gb on the imac may work fine, but may also test the limit depending on whats being done. the 64gb on the mac pro would have alot more breathing room, but with more cores, will also use more memory to feed those cores.


          the dual gpu's in the mac pro would offer alot more performance, but only for programs and plugins that can use multiple gpu's. premiere and speedgrade can, but i don't believe other adobe programs can. you would have to check all the plugins and software you plan on using. if they don't, a single firepro d700 would still be faster than the imac r9 m295x.

          • 2. Re: Mac Pro 6 core VS imac 5K?
            carnage Level 1

            Thanks for your reply Ronin, those benchmarks were quite helpful in my considerations. One thing that really surprised me was the performance of the imac when using a single core, it actually scored higher than the 6 core mac pro in that regard. It was also surprisingly close when using multi-core. And seeing as how Ae is no longer taking advantage of multiprocessing, I don't know that I would get any use out of those extra cores. features not available in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) | After Effects region of interest


            So, I think the iMac is probably the best bet for my dollars, and I can translate the saved cash into a new laptop sooner than planned, so I get the best of both worlds.


            For other people interested that might be reading this, I also found this really helpful video : 5K Retina iMac VS 6 Core New Mac Pro ~ 4K Video Editing Comparison - Final Cut / Premiere Pro - YouTube  It deals more with performance with video editing, but the specs and benchmarks are still mostly applicable, especially to rendering, since Pr uses media encoder, and that is a big part of my Ae workflow.

            • 3. Re: Mac Pro 6 core VS imac 5K?
              RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

              AE 64-bit was always plagued with non multi-threading code, but they removed the work around (multi-processing) in order to move forward and fix AE. last i saw the folks in the AE forum were recommending using cc2014 to have a functional version. once adobe is finished fixing AE, it should finally use all cores and memory requirements may drop some. when that will be done, i dont know. so AE users may be stuck with cc2014 for a while.


              the single core benchmark is what it should be, a single 4ghz core from the 4 core imac should be faster than a single 3.6ghz or lower core. intel has been adding more cores vs while dropping clock speed in its larger core count cpu's. single core benchmarks shouldn't be of any concern in today's computers, but unfortunately there are software companies like adobe which don't code properly, leading to multi-threading issues with their software. when this happens 4 core systems outperform 6+ cores.


              i watched the video, looks like there were some multi-threading problems in fcpx for some of those tests. any benchmark or program where the imac is faster, is a sign of software multi-threading issues. the exception was the h264 tests, in which fcpx was able to use intel's quick sync. thats one feature adobe should have implemented years ago, but sill hasn't.