SHOOTOUT: 'late 2013' Mac Pro Quad
versus 'late 2013' iMac Quad i7
Posted Friday, April 25th, 2014 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Readers keep asking, "Do I need a 2013 Mac Pro Quad-Core or will the top 2013 iMac Quad-Core i7 perform just as well for less $$$?" We initially took a stab at this question in a December 2013 article using a mix of benchmarks. Hopefully the real-world tests below will provide additional answers.
4c nMP D300s = 'late 2013' Mac Pro 3.7GHz Quad-Core Xeon, 32GB 1866MHz DDR3 memory, 256GB PCIe flash storage, dual FirePro D300 GPUs (2G VRAM each)
4c iMac G780M = 'late 2013' iMac 3.5GHz Quad-Core i7, 32G 1600MHz DDR3 memory, 512G PCIe flash storage, single GeForce GTX 780M GPU (4G VRAM)
This is a popular, free app for transcoding video that stresses all CPU cores. We converted a 2 minute ProRes 422 clip to iPad compatible mp4. (RED graph bar means FASTEST in SECONDS.)
Using a plug-in called Noise Ninja, we removed noise from 50 raw images. (RED graph bar means FASTEST in SECONDS.)
Final Cut Pro X 10.1.1
We imported a 1080p ProRes 422 clip. We applied and rendered a Gaussian Blur. Then we applied and rendered the Aged Film effect. (RED graph bar means FASTEST in SECONDS.)
Certain filters use the GPU's OpenCL acceleration. Iris Blur is one example. (RED graph bar means FASTEST in Seconds.)
Other filters are CPU intensive. Noise Reduction is one example. (RED graph bar means FASTEST in Seconds.)
DaVinci Resolve 10.1.4
We imported the popular 117 frame Candle project set to 1920x1080. First we performed an unrendered playback with 8 blur nodes. (RED graph bar means FASTEST in FPS.)
Then we performed an unrendered playback of 1 noise reduction node. It is evident that Resolve uses the dual GPUs in the Mac Pro.
This is an OpenCL benchmark. We rendered the complex Room scene which has over 2 million triangles using all GPUs and only GPUs. (RED graph bar means FASTEST in Thousands of Samples per Second.)
Using OpenGL, it features advanced visual technologies (dynamic sky, volumetric clouds, sun shafts, DOF, ambient occlusion) while ‘flying’ over extremely detailed, seamless terrain. We selected the Extreme Preset which runs at 1600x900 with Ultra quality and 8x Anti-aliasing. (RED graph bar means FASTEST in FPS.)
We ran the built-in benchmark using the "high" quality preset at 2560x1440. (RED graph bar means FASTEST in FPS.)
We recorded a flight by a Phantom jet over a city with tall buildings, many trees, moving vehicles, and a dense cloud cover. Using chase view and medium quality at 2560x1440, we took off, climbed through the clouds, then buzzed the city. (RED graph bar means FASTEST in FPS.)
The 2013 Mac Pro Quad-Core with dual FirePro D300 GPUs beat the 2013 iMac Quad-Core i7 with the single GeForce GTX 780M GPU in 8 out of 12 of the tests featured above. However, it only 'blew away' the iMac in three GPU intensive tests -- two of which utilize the dual GPUs.
Then there is the cost. The 2013 Mac Pro 4-core we tested with D300s, 32G of RAM, and a 256G flash storage is priced on the Apple online store at $3499. That does NOT include the cost of a display, keyboard, or mouse which you may or may not already own. If you add an Apple Thunderbolt 27" display, Apple wireless keyboard, and Apple Magic Mouse, that brings the price to $4636.
A 2013 iMac similar to our test unit with 3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, 32GB of DDR3 memory, 256GB flash storage, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M GPU is priced on the Apple online store at $3149. That includes a built-in 27" LED backlit LCD display, Apple wireless keyboard, and Apple Magic Mouse.
Though the 2013 Mac Pro can cost from $350 to $1487 more than the top iMac, the advanced built-in features should be added to the equation. The 2013 Mac Pro includes dual workstation GPUs, six Thunderbolt 2.0 ports (on three separate busses), an HDMI Ultra HD port, and dual Gigabit Ethernet ports. The 2013 iMac has a single consumer GPU, two Thunderbolt 1.0 ports, no HDMI port, and one Gigabit Ethernet port. (Both Macs have four USB 3.0 ports.)
Comments? Suggestions? Email
, mad scientist.
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