After my post earlier today discussing the future of the Mac Pro and the potential of the iMac Pro to be adequate in many pro workflows I saw this article pop up from Barefeats pitting the latest (consumer) version of the iMac against the 2013 Trash Can Mac Pro (8-core), two 2010 12-core Mac Pros (one with dual AMD GPUs, one with a GTX 1080) and the 2017 and 2015 consumer iMacs. The 2017 iMac is fully loaded with all the factory enhancements.
What I find astonishing is how well the 2013 Trash Can holds up in these benchmarks. At the time it released there was disappointment regarding the GPU choices, but the 2013 Mac Pro is still strutting its stuff.
What is also fascinating here is how the 2010 Mac Pros perform. Despite having more CPU cores at a higher clock, faster GPUs and more RAM they’re struggling to best the 8-core Trash Can in the tests, mostly only getting ahead where CUDA is utilised. This is where you can really see how much the 2009/2010 models are being held back by their older, slower internal buses. Your CPUs may be faster, but they’re missing more advanced versions of turbo boost, better efficiency at throttling cores, significantly faster bus and RAM speeds, etc. It feels like the “Megahertz myth” all over again from the 90’s/2000’s when discussing performance between Intel, AMD and PPC CPUs – sometimes there’s more to a beefy computer than a high clock speed and the best graphics card.
The iMac 2017 is holding its own fairly well, but is obviously hampered by its essentially mobile-class GPU and quad core CPU. When the big multi-core iMac Pros drop later this year I expect they will run rings around all of the machines on display here. I am very interested to see what Da Vinci Resolve performance will be like. Barefeats have said they’re going to run some performance tests soon running the 2017 fully loaded iMac with an nVidia eGPU to see if you can have the best of both worlds – FCPX performance on AMD and Resolve/Premiere performance on nVidia with CUDA. If the boost is there it could open a heck of a lot of doors – and again, is a further potential boost for the iMac Pro.