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iMac or MacPro ?

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Tal MoriMac or MacPro ?
by on May 19, 2015 at 12:43:37 pm
Last Edited By Tal Mor on May 19, 2015 at 1:05:15 pm

Can anyone please advise, what would be a better and more reliable setup?

iMac27 (not retina 5k)
3.5GHz Quad-core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz"
32GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x8GB
512GB Flash Storage


Mac Pro
3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5
Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each
32GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC - 4 x 8GB
512GB PCIe-based Flash Storage

Please do not refer to the price (i know that the MacPro is more expensive), and that the parameters are better on paper.
However, I understood there are certain issues with Adobe and AMD GPUs. And that some people prefer iMac and not due to budget reasons.

I would like to know which one is the configuration that I will enjoy more with regards to:

- Performance (realtime & export time)
- Compatibility (with Adobe products & other plugins such as Element, RedGiant)
- Reliability.
- General use.

Thank you very much.

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Michael SzalapskiRe: iMac or MacPro ?
by on May 19, 2015 at 2:44:50 pm

There aren't really any issues with Adobe and AMD GPU's. When Premiere Pro initially introduced the Mercury Playback Engine, it only worked with certain NVIDIA cards, but AMD cards work with it now too (you'll have to check Premiere Pro's requirements if you plan to use it to be sure the cards you're looking at work with it).

Stock After Effects barely uses the GPU at all. The only thing it really accelerates with the GPU is the ray-traced renderer. That, however, is considered obsolete, so I wouldn't worry about it. It did rely on a very specific set of NVIDIA GPU's, but again, there are some much more powerful options for 3d built into AE now.

Now, Element 3d, Red Giant's Universe, and some of the other third-party effects do use the GPU a lot. But you'll have to look at their specific requirements which are independent of AE's.

In the current version of After Effects, the clock speed of the processor is more important than the number of cores.

Since your machines are pretty identical other than the number of cores, I'd say you'd get better value for your money with the iMac.

As the AE team rebuilds the core code to improve interactivity and rendering speed in new versions (WHICH IS SUPER-EXCITING, BY THE WAY), AE's requirements may change, but for right now, those two machines would likely get pretty similar performance with stock AE. Again, you'll have to check with any third parties for which GPU solution works best.

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