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iMac Pro Models for Photographers

Need help deciding? Lloyd offers one-on-one consulting on choosing the best Mac and its best configuration, backup protocol, etc.

Question: is the iMac Pro faster or slower than the 2017 iMac 5K?
Answer: yes.

I cannot test an iMac Pro until one can be obtained—which looks like January at the earliest—see the two models I recommend below.

At this point in time, it is unclear if an iMac Pro will be faster or slower than the 2017 iMac 5K I am currently using.

Below, two solid choices for photographers for the Apple iMac Pro. Neither can be had before mid January. My perspective (see above posts for more details):

  • Memory of 32GB is inappropriate and inadequate in the iMac Pro; 128GB is overkill for most everyone including me—64GB is just right.
  • Internal SSD of 1TB is inappropriate and inadequate; 4TB is overkill for most users and me too, 2TB is just right.
  • 8 core or 10 core CPU are the sweet spot; few programs can use 4 cores fully, let alone 8 or 10, let alone efficiently (scalability and overhead). The 10 core is to be preferred because it has 2 more cores and its turbo boost goes to 4.5 GHz (versus 4.2 GHz for the 8 core). There might be an argument for 14 or 18 cores in very specialized cases.
  • 16GB GPU memory is totally unnecessary, so 8GB is fine.

At B&H, these two models are 8 core Mac Pro 64GB / 2TB and 10-core iMac Pro 64GB / 2TB. See all iMac Pro configurations at B&H Photo.

The 14-core configuration offers turbo boost to 4.3 GHz, and it is an interesting option possibly for programs like Zerene Stacker. Still, its base clock speed with all cores in use is only 2.5 Ghz, so that’s like an 8-core 4.2 Ghz machine only guaranteed slower: overhead increases non-linearly as more cores are used and memory and I/O contention worsens. So in my view the 8 or 10 core are most likelly the best bet. Benefits beyond that are not going to be great.

See the user comments in this same post over at diglloyd.com.

Note: prices shown are discounted by virtue of belonging to ASMP.

Apple iMac Pro: two solid choices for photographers
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