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2019 Mac Pro: Focus Stacking with Helicon Focus, 28 X 45-Megapixel Nikon D850 TIF

2019 Mac Pro

MPG tested the $9399 Apple 2019 Mac Pro with 384GB OWC memory vs the top-end $3849 2019 iMac 5K 3.6 GHz Intel Core i9 8-core / Vega 48 with 128GB OWC memory. The memory difference is not a factor in this test.

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Tests were run using the GPU and using CPU cores with the GPU disabled.

The AMD Radeon 580X GPU in the 2019 Mac Pro is an out of date video card that badly lags the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48 iu the 2019 iMac 5K.

Also the 580X is utilized at most about 75%, the same marginal GPU utilization issue seen with Capture One 20. This is true running the internal built-in stacking benchmark in Helicon Focus—GPU utilization tops out at 75% or so. Whereas the iMac 5K AMD Radeon Vega 48 gets used at 100%. Which explains in part why the iMac 5K GPU trounces the Mac Pro GPU here. See the performance analysis that follows.

The AMD Radeon 580X GPU on the Mac Pro barely edges out the 16 CPU cores, a remarkably poor performance for a GPU—on the iMac 5K, the GPU wins by a much larger margin.

* The AMD Radeon Pro 580X is an outdated GPU that has no place in a Mac Pro. It underperforms the AMD Radeon Pro Vega II in the 2019 iMac 5K in every GPU-intensive test. Shame on Apple for shipping an outdated underperforming base GPU in their flagship Mac which starts at a base price more than 50% higher than the 2019 iMac 5K!

2019 Mac Pro: stack 28 frames from 45-megapixel Nikon D850 with Helicon Focus

Performance Analysis — GPU Usage

Five repeated stacking operations were done; these are the five groups seen below. GPU usage of the AMD Radeon Pro 580X in the Mac Pro averages at best 75%, and it’s probably close to 50%.

Compare to the 100% utilization of the AMD Radeon Vega 48 GPU in the 2019 iMac 5K.

This discrepancy explains why the iMac 5K beats out the Mac Pro when the GPU is used—the Mac Pro GPU is being only partially utilized.

AMD Radeon Pro 580X GPU usage in Helicon Focus, 2019 Mac Pro
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48 GPU usage in Helicon Focus, 2019 iMac 5K
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