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5k iMac performance vs equal specs 27" iMac question

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Michael Lewis
5k iMac performance vs equal specs 27" iMac question
on Dec 21, 2014 at 2:01:54 pm
Last Edited By Michael Lewis on Dec 21, 2014 at 2:16:53 pm

I was wondering if anyone had read anything about Premiere's performance with the new 5k iMac running the AMD Radeon R9 M290X, versus the other 27inch iMacs with a GTX 780M or GTX 775M graphics cards. Or maybe you have already bought or tested out a new 5k iMac...

Obviously there will be no CUDA support with the 5k iMac because it's running an AMD card, but I haven't been able to find anything anywhere about whether or not you can turn on OpenCL rendering (which you probably can), and what kind of performance it has versus the GTX 780M running CUDA.

No doubt running the display at 5k will eat up resources, but if the resolution were set back at 2560x1600 as well as all the other hardware specs being held the same, I'm wondering what kind of performance the 5k iMac will have with Premiere when compared to a regular 2.5k iMac.

Here's how equal iMac's would break down price wise. The only hardware difference is screen resolution, video cards, and thunderbolt 1 vs thunderbolt 2 on the 5k iMac. I'm sure there are other negligible differences as well. If the performance of the cards is comparible, then the choice is obvious.

regular old 2.5K iMac
27-inch: 3.4GHz
3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 (upgrade to 3.5GHz to match 5k iMac specs +$200)
8GB (two 4GB) memory
1TB hard drive1 (upgrade to fusion drive to match 5k iMac specs +$200)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M with 2GB video memory (upgrade to GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5 +$150)
total price $2,549

27-inch: 3.5GHz with Retina 5K display
3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
8GB (two 4GB) memory
1TB Fusion Drive1
AMD Radeon R9 M290X with 2GB video memory
total price $2,499!!! CHEAPER!

I'm not sure what apple's logic is here, but if you plan on getting a 27inch iMac and upgrading it at all, you should basically just get the 5k iMac! Granted if you upgrade the 5k iMac to 4GB of GDDR5 to match the memory in the GTX 780 in the regular iMac, then it jumps ahead again in price of the regular iMac by $200. But so what? You're gettinga 5k screen!

Does anyone have links, benchmarks, videos, etc. where the 5k iMac is tested with Adobe products like Premiere and After Effects? That would be really helpful!

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Michael Lewis
Re: 5k iMac performance vs equal specs 27" iMac question
on Dec 21, 2014 at 2:21:51 pm

I've noticed two things:

The first is that when you upgrade the processor on the regular 2.5k iMacs, you get not only a faster clock speed, but you are upgrading to the core i7 processor, unlike the 5k iMac which comes standard with an i5 with the same clock speed. So the two computers are no longer as equal as I had assumed and implied in my post.

The second is that someone did a test of exactly what I was asking for, and here are the results:

Granted it doesn't have a Premiere test in there, just a test for After Effects and DaVinci Resolve, but those are the other two pieces of software I use most. Seems like the 5k iMac is the winner in most categories.

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Dennis Radeke
Re: 5k iMac performance vs equal specs 27" iMac question
on Dec 21, 2014 at 8:26:13 pm

If I were buying a Mac for myself today, it would be an iMac 5k without a doubt...

Dennis - Adobe guy

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