iMac 'Semi-Pro' versus Mac Pros
Posted November 25th, 2015 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
The 'late 2015' 27" iMac 5K has reached a level of performance such that owners of Mac Pro towers are considering it as more affordable upgrade than the Mac Pro cylinder. Does the latest iMac 5K running pro apps keep pace with the 'big dogs'?
nMP 8c D700 = 'late 2013' Mac Pro 3.0GHz 8-Core Xeon; FirePro D700*2 (6G GDDR5 each); 32G RAM; 512G Apple (XP941) Flash
nMP 6c D500 = 'late 2013' Mac Pro 3.5GHz 6-Core Xeon; FirePro D500*2 (4G GDDR5 each); 16G RAM; 512G Apple (XP941) Flash
nMP 4c D300 = 'late 2013' Mac Pro 3.7GHz 4-Core Xeon; FirePro D300*2 (2G GDDR5 each); 16G RAM; 512G Apple (XP941) Flash
cMP 6c 980 Ti oc = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz 6-Core Xeon; GeForce GTX 980 Ti Overclocked GPU (6G GDDR5); 24G RAM; 512G SM951 M.2 Flash on x4 PCIe card
cMP 6c 680 = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz 6-Core Xeon; GeForce GTX 680 "Mac Edition" GPU (2G GDDR5); 24G RAM; 512G SM951 M.2 Flash on x4 PCIe card
iMac5K M395X = 'late 2015' iMac Retina 5K 4.0GHz Quad-Core i7; Radeon R9 M395X GPU (4G GDDR5); 16G RAM; 1TB (XP951) flash storage
(RED graph bar means FASTEST)
Adobe After Effects CC 2014 rendering TotalBenchmark project with Multiprocessing enabled in Performance Preferences. (CC 2015 does not support Multiprocessing option.)
Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015 exports a complex project to Blu-ray format.
Apple Final Cut Pro X renders the Gaussian Blur effect on a 1080p clip.
Apple Final Cut Pro X renders the Aged Film effect on a 1080p clip.
Adobe Lightroom 2015 exports 50 raw images as full-size JPEG to the fast flash storage.
Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 11.3 performs a playback of a 4K UHD R3D clip.
Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 11.3 delivers a 228 frame 4K UHD clip to Pro Res 4444XQ forcing sizing and debayer resolution to highest quality.
Maxon Cinema 4D R16 loads an 1100 frame animation and plays it back in full screen mode at 2560x1440.
(RED graph bar means FASTEST)
Turns out that the top 2015 iMac 5K can compete with most of the 'big dogs' running most of the real world apps we featured.
Plus the top iMac 5K configuration featured here is a bargain at $3359 when compared to the Mac Pro alternatives. For example, consider the cost of the 4-core Mac Pro cylinder configured with 16G of RAM and 1TB flash storage at $3609. And that price does NOT include a 5K display. So to fully match the iMac 5K, you will need a Dell Ultrasharp 27 Ultra HD 5K Monitor which adds at least $1640 (BHPhoto discount) bringing the total to $5249.
And even if you already expensed or depreciated your Mac Pro tower and want to just upgrade it, you will spend at least $2715 to add an SM951 512G PCIe M.2 flash storage, PCIe M.2 board, high-end NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti GPU, and discounted Dell 5K display.
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