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Author Topic: iMac Pro  (Read 30767 times)

Kevin Gallagher

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2017, 06:31:06 am »

I have been speaking with my Apple rep already today.  Will most likely order one tomorrow.  Apparently, the RAM is not upgradeable thus you need to make sure you get the RAM needed when ordering.  Lots of decision on drives, processor etc.  Should be a heck of a machine.

 Hey Kev, any ideas on the # of cores or other options? It is too bad that the RAM is not end user upgradable, as for my .02, the Apple memory prices are WAY TOO HIGH!!
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Kevin Raber

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2017, 07:44:21 am »

I will be configuring it with a specialist tomorrow.  Looking at 64 g RAM, 10 core, 4TB SSD.  Stay tuned. 
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kers

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2017, 10:49:56 am »

I expect the main problem of this iMac pro will be the heat it produces.
I hope they have solved that in a more elegant way than just losing Pro-power...
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davidgp

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2017, 11:10:39 am »

I expect the main problem of this iMac pro will be the heat it produces.
I hope they have solved that in a more elegant way than just losing Pro-power...

This guy that got one from Apple quite similar to the one Kevin wants to buy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-h5Mhlt6O0 says that the machine is not noisy editing video in Final Cut... and that it is stable. I hope Apple learned the leason with the Cube design that had heating issues.

DP

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #24 on: December 13, 2017, 11:50:21 am »

and scientists (etc.) who work with huge data sets.

why'd such scientist need any apple iron to work with huge data sets, when they can simply get HPC linux cluster ( which are a commodity built for a long time ) for any budget infinitely more customizable & expandable with CPUs, GPUs, ram, storage, etc, etc than any mac can ever be
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Nick Walker

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2017, 11:54:12 am »

With my Mac Pro, if need be I can replace my Eizo monitor. I wonder what happens, say just after the three year warranty if the iMac Pro monitor fails? A case of a new iMac or is the monitor repairable/replaceable?

Dan Wells

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #26 on: December 13, 2017, 04:48:17 pm »

Unusually for an Apple system, the iMac Pro doesn't actually feature an "Apple Tax" - we'll see when the upgrade prices are released, but the base model is reasonably priced assuming you want the components Apple chose (yes, you could use Skylake-X or Threadripper instead of the Xeon for much less, which would use non-ECC RAM and make other choices that save quite a bit).

The C422 motherboards that support the Xeon W2145 are not yet widely available, but they look like they'll be $600 boards when they are.

The Xeon itself is $1115, so we're over $1700 for CPU and motherboard alone.

The RAM Apple's using is slightly faster than any ECC option at Newegg, but 32 GB of DDR4-2400 is $450, making $500 a reasonable guess for the DDR4-2666.

A 1 TB Samsung 960 Pro NVMe SSD is $625

A Radeon Vega 56 is $550.

We're right around $3500 for the big items (other than the display), without case, power supply, cooling or a couple of important features. The initial crop of C422 boards have only Gigabit Ethernet, while Apple is using 10 Gb. Thunderbolt 3 comes on an expansion card (not included above), and the expansion card only gives a single bus - not sure whether using a couple of them would work (if it's just a standard PCIe card, it would, but if it has some weird connection to the chipset, it probably wouldn't).

Adding multiple TB3 buses and 10 Gb Ethernet would be about $400.

A workstation grade case, power supply and cooling setup is probably around $500.

We're close to $4500 for a comparable machine without the display, an operating system or a unified warranty

Again, the Apple Tax exists if you'd rather have some other components - it's perfectly reasonable to say "ECC RAM doesn't matter, and forgoing it saves nearly $1000" - it does, because you could use a $600 processor that otherwise performs just like the Xeon, save about $125 on the RAM itself, and use a $400 motherboard that includes 10 Gb Ethernet... It's equally reasonable to say "a $250 GeForce or Radeon will do - I don't need that Vega, and I don't want to pay for it".

If you like Apple's component choices, they'll build the machine, throw in a 5K secondary display (assuming your primary is an Eizo or NEC) and warranty the whole thing for $500, which is a great deal - but you have to like what you get...
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Kevin Gallagher

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2017, 11:08:51 am »

 Well guys, I knew that the upgrades were not going to be inexpensive either, but to bring it up to what's called a "mid-range" version is just too much for this old cowboy, and I just LOVE to spend $$$. Oh well :(

  Kevin in CT
« Last Edit: December 14, 2017, 01:26:19 pm by Kevin Gallagher »
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Dan Wells

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2017, 12:20:27 pm »

The processors are underclocked, probably for heat considerations. The Turbo Boost mitigates some of that (they reduced the boost only 300 MHz on the 8-core, and not at all on other models).

One interesting loss is that the 8-core, which got hit by 500 MHz in base frequency, will almost certainly be slower than a stock-speed Coffee Lake i7-8700K on most tasks. The underclocked Xeon W-2145 in the base iMac Pro is 8 cores, 3.2 gHz, turbo to 4.2. The 8700K is 6 cores, 3.7 gHz, turbo to 4.7, and it's 2 generations newer in architecture (Coffee Lake versus a variant of Skylake).

Under most circumstances, you'd rather have 500 MHz on both base and turbo clocks (about 12%) on a newer processor design than 25% more cores. There are probably some applications that are so heavily multithreaded that they'd prefer the cores, but there aren't many, and the difference will be small (even perfect use of all cores, which only a benchmark can do, should leave the Xeon only about 10% faster). The Xeon also has an advantage in memory bandwidth that will help in some cases.

Most photographic applications are optimized for up to four cores, plus it's nice to have a couple of cores if you're running Mail, Safari, Word, InDesign or whatever in the background. Six cores help because of background applications, but eight are hard to use in photography right now.

Why am I focused on the 8700K? Because it's probably what's in the next (non-Pro) iMac! Unless Apple underclocks it, too, the fastest standard iMac will soon beat the 8-core iMac Pro in almost all photographic applications. Even if Adobe, Phase One and everybody else rewrite the software to use cores efficiently, the low-end iMac Pro will only be ~10% faster than a garden-variety iMac in a few months.

 If photo software starts using a ton of cores efficiently, the higher core count iMac Pros become more interesting, and the processor upgrades are not outrageously priced, given what the Xeons actually cost.

With current software, though - wait for a 6-core iMac (or even a 6-core MacBook Pro if they solve the 16 GB RAM limit) - it'll be just as fast and a lot cheaper. The exception is software that either uses the GPU really efficiently (who knows what will be in that 6-core iMac, but it might not be close to the Vega in the iMac Pro), uses cores efficiently (get a 10,14 or 18-core iMac Pro) or hits memory bandwidth REALLY hard.

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rdonson

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2017, 01:35:39 pm »

Reality check.  Which photo applications can utilize more than 4 cores?  Lr?  PS? 
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Ron

Dan Wells

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2017, 02:47:50 pm »

As far as I know, neither (except in a few filters). Final Cut does, for those who do video - and I don't know about Premiere. LR and PS simultaneously might use four each (and 128 GB of RAM is plenty to contemplate running both at once). C1 has a few more routines that use a bunch of cores than LR and PS, but it is still primarily a four-core app. I don't know of any still photography app that uses more than four cores routinely...
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luxborealis

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #31 on: December 14, 2017, 03:12:14 pm »

OMG - CAD6,299

To rich for my blood.


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DP

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #32 on: December 14, 2017, 04:01:11 pm »


A Radeon Vega 56 is $550.


that will be a desktop-grade GPU card = not underclocked one as in iMac and not soldered as in iMac ...
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rdonson

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #33 on: December 14, 2017, 04:12:06 pm »

As far as I know, neither (except in a few filters). Final Cut does, for those who do video - and I don't know about Premiere. LR and PS simultaneously might use four each (and 128 GB of RAM is plenty to contemplate running both at once). C1 has a few more routines that use a bunch of cores than LR and PS, but it is still primarily a four-core app. I don't know of any still photography app that uses more than four cores routinely...

I'm a FCP X user who just updated to 10.4.  I've seen videos and read articles with benchmarks between the 2013 Mac Pro, Latest iMac and iMac Pro with 10 cores and all I can say is that it is F-A-S-T.  Creatives with video will love this machine.  The reports are that FCP X uses all the cores. 

Unless I hit the lottery my 2017 27" iMac with i7 and 40 GB RAM will have to do.   ;)
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Ron

Christopher Sanderson

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2017, 05:08:29 pm »

...Unless I hit the lottery my 2017 27" iMac with i7 and 40 GB RAM will have to do.   ;)

Which is more than adequate for most 4K video editing. With the iMac Pro pricing this eye-watering, imagine what the real MacPro update will cost when it arrives in 2019! But at least it will be upgradable. These new iMacPros are built into a completely unmodifiable box (for now) - which makes the 'Pro' label questionable. imo

Dan Wells

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2017, 05:14:49 pm »

Good news - the RAM is socketed, and any Apple Service Provider (or, potentially, a technically inclined user) can replace it without voiding the warranty. Many iMacs over the years have had "pull the back off" RAM installations (it's running about 50/50 between pulling the back off and a convenient hatch), and MANY 3rd parties have offered upgrade services.
Assuming the 32 GB is on 4 DIMMs (likely, because 2 DIMMs would almost certainly reduce memory bandwidth), Apple's 64 GB upgrade is about the cost of 64 GB of the RAM it takes - the only way a third party upgrade would be much cheaper is if the service provider bought the 32 GB back. It's unlikely they could offer much, because there may not be much market for pulled, low-density server RAM. The logical market is other iMac Pros, but they all come with at least 32 GB, so 8 GB DIMMs won't upgrade any of them - and the RAM is very different from any other Mac (2013 Mac Pro???) or most PCs. Lots of servers use it, but IT departments probably don't buy much pulled RAM.
The 128 GB upgrade, on the other hand, makes a lot of sense for third parties. Apple's charging $2400 for what looks like about $1500 worth of RAM.
The other question is whether an iMac Pro will run at full speed with 80 GB (or 96 GB, but that's harder to get to because it doesn't use any of the stock RAM). If it can have different RAM in two of the channels, pulling two of the 8 GB DIMMs and replacing them with 32 GB DIMMs makes far more sense than putting in 4 16 Gb DIMMs. First, you get a bit of extra RAM, and secondly, you don't have to replace as much if you upgrade again (replace 2 8 GB and keep 2 32 GB instead of replacing 4 16 GB to go to 128).
Even if it takes a performance hit with mixed DIMMs (assuming it'll work at all), it's still worth looking at - the flexibility of upgrading again is worth some performance loss. There is also a 48 GB configuration mixing 8 and 16 GB DIMMs (and preserving 2 DIMM upgrades to both 64 and 96 GB) that is cheap ($350) to reach if the machine will take mixed DIMMs. Some 4 channel machines will drop back to dual channel operation to accommodate mixed memory, while others won't.
Finally, it looks relatively likely that the iMac Pro will actually take 256 GB of RAM. It has only 4 slots, but 64 GB ECC DIMMs already exist. I'm not sure they can be had fast enough for the iMac Pro (Newegg doesn't list a DDR4 2666 version), but that's going to happen reasonably soon. The chipset supports up to 512 GB (in 8 slots, so already using 64 GB DIMMs), so there is no reason apart from an artificial limit why the iMac Pro won't. Again, this is standard iMac practice - Apple lists a maximum memory capacity based on what they can procure (in their quantities) on launch day, and third parties get twice that (or occasionally 4x) into it, either by using denser memory that existed on launch day, but was too rare for Apple, or after launch by using memory released after the machine.

Dan
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Christopher Sanderson

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2017, 05:22:06 pm »

Good news - the RAM is socketed...
Good news indeed. My experience with RAM and video is that the old 'you can never have too much' idea is getting a little worn. The Apple 'Pro' apps seem remarkably efficient in their RAM usage. I have never run into a bottleneck with just 32GB - except when my SSD boot drive lacks headroom (<20% or so)

digitaldog

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2017, 06:29:28 pm »

Which is more than adequate for most 4K video editing. With the iMac Pro pricing this eye-watering, imagine what the real MacPro update will cost when it arrives in 2019! But at least it will be upgradable. These new iMacPros are built into a completely unmodifiable box (for now) - which makes the 'Pro' label questionable. imo
Yup, and stuck with that darn display! Where's the real MacPro?
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kers

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Re: iMac Pro
« Reply #38 on: December 14, 2017, 06:36:42 pm »

Yup, and stuck with that darn display! Where's the real MacPro?

I am sure it will come as soon as they think they have sold enough iMac- pro's
or
the MacPro comes much later and this is to keep the pro's happy for a while...

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BJL

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iMac Pro: what macOS software can use 8 to 18 cores?
« Reply #39 on: December 14, 2017, 06:55:08 pm »

Reality check.  Which photo applications can utilize more than 4 cores?  Lr?  PS?
A related question: what about support for 8 to 18 cores in video editing apps, which I suspect are more of a focus these days for high-end Macs than processing of "boring old-fashioned motionless images".
If I am reading correctly, Final Cut Pro X supports as many cores as the hardware offers, via Grand Central Dispatch: is that correct?
Also: to what extend is Grand Central Dispatch a useful, lazy way for software to support multiple cores?

(For my scientific computing work, this is often fairly easy: break the task down to a big collection of basic linear algebra tasks, and use suitable parallel libraries for them.)

P. S. Thanks to Dan Wells for all the details and analysis.
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