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Andrew Reid

Reasons to get a Mac Pro 2013... in 2018

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new_mac_pro_open_cards_hero.jpg

Above is how the design should have looked. It was maligned constantly for being a trashcan. It is anything but...

  • Multiple displays - can have 3x 4K displays on the desk. iMac / iMac Pro cannot.
  • In fact it can run 6x 5K displays daisychained! (Ok yes that's overkill)
  • Quieter than a PC and much smaller than 99% of them as well
  • Hackintosh often needs wired mouse and keyboard (bluetooth lags) and LAN connection (wifi problems), even if everything else works perfectly
  • Thunderbolt compatible for external graphics card and RAID drives. Thunderbolt on Hackintosh is again a reliability issue and on PC it doesn't even work as it's a Mac standard.
  • Liberates your PC from work desk, so you can use it for gaming, which is something it is actually good at
  • High multicore performance - still right up there in 2018
  • MacOS upgrades don't break things (risky on Hackintosh)
  • You avoid 5K retina display scaling issues in Premiere and can watch 4K material at 1:1 on a 4K display - or even Cinema 4K display (4096 x 2160)
  • Can upgrade CPU, SSD, RAM (unlike iMac where you can only upgrade RAM and rest is locked in or very difficult to change)
  • Mid-range 6 core / dual D500 model is now £1800 in UK (second hand), quad core / D300 sometimes even less (£1200)
  • Bullet proof reliable and long-life pro components
  • Workstation grade ECC RAM (error checking)
  • Internal SSD (a lot of iMacs still fusion drive - WTF Apple!)
  • Tiny and semi-portable (for a desktop)

There are a few drawbacks of course, as this is a 4 years old computer. It's not as fast as the latest iMac 2017 for single core performance or single GPU performance. If the software only uses one CPU core or one GPU you're not going to see a performance benefit from the Mac Pro and it will even be slightly slower. The Mac Pro doesn't have Intel Quick Sync for hardware acceleration of H.264 encoding so EditReady might take a hit - but encoding to ProRes instead of H.264 might be ok? Will have to test that. New iMac Pro smokes it in performance in every way but it is bonkers expensive and you won't see a huge performance benefit in everyday apps like Adobe stuff because Adobe are lazy fuckwits who don't optimise their software for years and years. FCPX runs great on either system, as it is designed for newer architecture. Dual D500 not as fast for gaming as a single GTX 970 in a PC which won't break the bank but then that is what a PC is for and a Mac Pro is not. Can't think of any other downsides. Shall I bite?

PS - Can you use it without the trashcan casing attached? I plan to mod it and make see-through enclosure.

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Andrew, I just... where do I start? There are many many reasons why people shouldn’t be on a Mac Pro. The GPUs suck. Limited to thunderbolt 2. CPUs are old as fuck compared to new Kaby’s with h.265 acceleration. DDR3 not 4...

For reference, I’ve got a 6 core 3.33 2010 Mac Pro collecting dust while I’m running my 2017 maxed out iMac (costs the same as lowest spec Trash Can Pro) connected to a Dell 4K. I upgraded the shit out of the 2010, including an Nvidia GTX 980ti and I still love using the iMac more. That should tell you something cause that’s one hell of a GPU. Plus, because of thunderbolt 3 I plan to run an eGPU enclosure (high Sierra native compatibility) at some point and it’s something like 90% efficient. 

In FCPX I’m playing back 4K HEVC with effects like it’s h264. That’s only possible with Kaby Lake. Even on the maxed 2015 iMac at work this isn’t even close to possible because they’re only skylake.

I’m pretty sure only the RAM is upgradeable in the trash can, FWIW.

TLDR: the maxed 2017 iMac non-Pro is one hell of a machine and I’d recommend it over any other Mac

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Ethan, it's not that the iMac 2017 5K isn't a great machine, very fast and capable, superb value for money with brilliant P3 display...

It's that people unfairly malign the trashcan, and don't actually have hands-on experience.

You yourself are criticising it based on your experience with a completely different 2010 model.

These guys did a benchmark you should see...

http://barefeats.com/imac5K_vs_pros.html

Even with a GTX 1080 Ti the 2010 Mac Pro is too CPU limited in Adobe software, although it is quick with CUDA acceleration in Resolve.

The 2013 on the other-hand...

Way faster in Resolve and Premiere than maxed out iMac 5K 2017...

So I don't get the hate.

im5kpro_candle.png

GTX 1080 Ti doesn't help 2010 Mac Pro in Premiere... CPU limited...

im5kpro_pprend.png

So yeah, don't understand the hate, especially as I am talking about getting a used Mac Pro 2013 for same price as mid-range 2017 iMac.

Geekbench is one thing. What about Resolve? That is what I use it for! Not CineBench, etc.!

The YouTubers, mostly clueless, keep saying the 5K 2017 iMac is a screamer, blah blah blah.

So how do you explain the above charts?

45 minutes ago, EthanAlexander said:

The GPUs suck.

Nope. They don't.

Maybe for Battlefield One.

Not for video editing.

Quote

Limited to thunderbolt 2.

How is that limited? Can hook up 6 displays!

Acts as MiniDP

Sends 4096 x 2160 at 60p to my LG!

You want USB C on a desktop workstation or something?!!? That is what Thunderbolt 3 is... USB C, basically.

iMac 2017 is USB 3 and USB C, so good luck having 3 displays on your desk in pro confirmation.

Quote

CPUs are old as fuck compared to new Kaby’s with h.265 acceleration. DDR3 not 4...

C'mon.

Real world baby.

I am not editing H.265 enough to make use of the latest Intel hardware acceleration.

I do my editing in H.264 and ProRes.

Intel's progress over last 3-4 years has hardly been what you'd call 'dramatic'!

Quote

For reference, I’ve got a 6 core 3.33 2010 Mac Pro collecting dust

2010!?

2013 is the subject of the topic. So why even mention the 2010 version?!

Quote

while I’m running my 2017 maxed out iMac (costs the same as lowest spec Trash Can Pro) connected to a Dell 4K.

I'm not saying the iMac isn't a consideration, it's great value for money and very quick.

However I already have a Cinema 4K display I need to make use of.

I want to be able to easily swap out the internal drive and have a 2TB SSD inside without disassembly / warranty void of iMac.

And as for performance, look again at those iMac 5K 2017 vs Mac Pro 2013 charts above.

Quote

In FCPX I’m playing back 4K HEVC with effects like it’s h264. That’s only possible with Kaby Lake. Even on the maxed 2015 iMac at work this isn’t even close to possible because they’re only skylake.

What camera are you using to shoot so much HEVC? Samsung NX1?

I just transcode when I use the NX1. No big deal.

Quote

I’m pretty sure only the RAM is upgradeable in the trash can, FWIW.

This is wrong I am afraid. The SSD drive slots in and out within seconds like a stick of RAM.

CPU is user upgradable unlike on an iMac (although tricky to get to).

As for graphics, those are upgradable via external enclosure...

But do you need to?

You got RED 8K raw to edit without proxies? :)

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53 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

How is that limited? Can hook up 6 displays!

Acts as MiniDP

Sends 4096 x 2160 at 60p to my LG!

You want USB C on a desktop workstation or something?!!? That is what Thunderbolt 3 is... USB C, basically.

iMac 2017 is USB 3 and USB C, so good luck having 3 displays on your desk in pro confirmation.

I think you may not realize that 2017 iMacs are Thunderbolt 3, and thunderbolt 3 is by far and away better when running something like an eGPU, which makes the iMac much more upgradeable and future-proof than a trash can. And no, TB3 is not basically USBC - USBC is just a connection interface. I encourage you to do some research on the incredible difference between TB3 and both TB2 and USB 3/3.1.

And yes, I can have the native 5K display running along with two C4K displays running at 60Hz. That's 3 pro displays ;) 

5a75e02f4cdb5_ScreenShot2018-02-03at10_15_20AM.thumb.png.ce99d0bfce0d31c72d9c004dd95122c6.png

53 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

As for graphics, those are upgradable via external enclosure...

Like I said, TB3 is something like 90% efficient with today's GPUs, unlike TB2, so this is a major disadvantage of the trash can over a new iMac. 

53 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Way faster in Resolve and Premiere than maxed out iMac 5K 2017...

Geekbench is one thing. What about Resolve? That is what I use it for! Not CineBench, etc.!

If you're wanting a Mac for Premiere then this discussion is not very useful. Windows is by far and away better value for money and infinitely upgradeable. I incorrectly assumed you wanted a Mac to run FCPX, because there's literally no reason to buy a Mac only to use Adobe unless your one objective in life is to throw away money. But hey, it is a trash can so I guess you should go for it! :lol:  (EDIT: Just so you know, I'm a diehard apple fanboy)

53 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

2010!?

2013 is the subject of the topic. So why even mention the 2010 version?!

I just mentioned this because I've upgraded it as much as possible, and there's just no competing with newer architecture. Within two years this will be 100% the same case with the trash can.

 

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well it seems you made up your mind. you were given the answers to why not, but thats not a concern for you. 

And it`s a longterm investment too! After you`re done with it as a computer it will work as a...well you know what as well :)

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33 minutes ago, jagnje said:

well it seems you made up your mind. you were given the answers to why not, but thats not a concern for you. 

And it`s a longterm investment too! After you`re done with it as a computer it will work as a...well you know what as well :)

Choice of computer is personal. For example, I would not recommend a Mac Pro over an iMac to somebody who wants to play Forza 7 in Bootcamp.

The GPU (580 Pro) on the top spec 2017 iMac is a beast for gaming.

However if your software is utilising the TWO GPUs on the Mac Pro, and you picked up a D700 spec Mac Pro cheap, it's a good buy. Trashcan or not.

I have not decided yet between the 2017 iMac and Mac Pro, I have not already made up my mind actually. That is why I started the thread. Am I allowed to do that sir, on my own site!? You ok with that? ;)

Then there is the form factor. Mac Pro, you can put in a camera case and go to another country, hook it up there to a screen. Much less easy to do that with an iMac, you can't get it in carry-on for a start. So as I say.... Computer choice is personal. Whoever recommends same option for everyone is an idiot.

46 minutes ago, EthanAlexander said:

If you're wanting a Mac for Premiere then this discussion is not very useful. Windows is by far and away better value for money and infinitely upgradeable. I incorrectly assumed you wanted a Mac to run FCPX, because there's literally no reason to buy a Mac only to use Adobe unless your one objective in life is to throw away money. But hey, it is a trash can so I guess you should go for it! :lol:  (EDIT: Just so you know, I'm a diehard apple fanboy)

This is just ridiculous.

Are you saying every Adobe user should be on Windows?

Like I say, Mac OS is as personal a choice as the type rig you edit on. I have Mac-only apps and dislike the user experience in tacky Windows.

So buying a Mac for Premiere and the 100 other things you do on a main rig, is not about 'throwing away money'.

You mean that you can spend less money on a Windows machine and run Premiere great on it. Well done. Statement of the obvious award 2018.

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@Andrew Reid Very interesting post sir! Until recently I was considering building a custom specced Ryzen machine for 1400 until a financial obligation (student loan) presented itself first. Lol I’ll probably be upgrading my computer later in the year. As much as I’d like to get good specs, I LOVE Apple OS. I edit H264 only so I’m sir even this would be better than my old and dying 2012 MacBook Pro Retina i7. Something I’ll throw in my favorites folder for sure

 

edit: also graphics card prices are out the wazoo so that 1400 build is now like 1800

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Slight shift in the topic, but has anyone noticed their Macbook Pro slow down after the Intel Meltdown security update was issued? Mine is having a bit of a moment since the update especially doing basic tasks like web browsing! Seems laggy and unresponsive, so might have to see what's going on with it.

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If you are using Adobe with Mac and you don't mind the size, then the Mac Pro 2010 might be a better deal:

5a7624b7a4791_ScreenShot2018-02-03at3_06_40PM.png.bd78dcd633836297df61d13babe5bf27.png

Much easier & cheaper to upgrade, and you can have very fast pci-e drives as well. I have a USB 3.1 card for fast external storage. 

A hackintosh is a good solution as well for adobe programs, but if you are working with FCPX then an iMac or Macbook pro should be your only choice. 

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8 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

...I do my editing in H.264 and ProRes....if your software is utilising the TWO GPUs on the Mac Pro, and you picked up a D700 spec Mac Pro cheap, it's a good buy. Trashcan or not...

 

As a documentary editor with 200 terabytes of archival 4k H264 material, I've extensively tested the 12-core D700 nMP vs a top-spec 2017 iMac 27. In FCPX the iMac is about 2x faster at importing and creating ProRes proxies and 2x faster at exporting to 4k or 1080p H264. There is a major and generally unreported performance increase between the 2015 and 2017 iMac 27 on H264 material in FCPX. I don't know why the 2017 model is so much faster; maybe it's the Kaby Lake Quick Sync. This is mostly 4k 8-bit 4:2:0 material; I haven't tested 10-bit 4:2:2 or HEVC. Obviously performance in Premiere or Resolve may be different.

On ProRes it's a different story. If you do ProRes acquisition and have an end-to-end ProRes workflow, the nMP is pretty fast, at least from my tests. However if you acquire H264 then transcode to ProRes for editing, the 12-core D700 nMP transcodes only 1/2 as fast as the 2017 iMac (using FCPX).

That said the nMP is very quiet, whereas the iMac fans spin up under sustained load. The nMP has lots of ports and multiple Thunderbolt 2 controllers feeding those ports. However I have multiple 32TB Thunderbolt 2 arrays simultaneously on my 2017 iMac and they work OK. Regarding acoustic noise, these spinning Thunderbolt RAID arrays also make noise, so the iMac fan noise under load is just one more thing. But I can understand people who don't like the noise.

What about compute-intensive plugins such as Neat Video, Imagenomic Portraiture and Digital Anarchy Flicker Free? I tested all those and the nMP wasn't much faster than the 2017 iMac.

Based on this, if you're using FCPX I'd definitely recommend the 2017 iMac over even a good deal 12-core nMP -- unless you have an all-ProRes workflow. If you are using Resolve and Premiere those are each unique workloads, even when processing the same material. They each must be evaluated separately, and performance results in one NLE don't necessarily apply to another.

I've also done preliminary FCPX performance testing on both 8-core and 10-core iMac Pros. The iMac Pro is much faster than the nMP, especially on H264, because FCPX is apparently calling the UVD/VCE transcoding hardware on the Vega GPU. However even the 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro isn't vastly faster on H264 than the 2017 top-spec iMac. I'm still testing it, but on complex real-world H264 timelines with lots of edits and many effects, the iMac Pro rendering and encoding performance to H264 is only about 15-20% faster than the 2017 iMac. That's not much improvement for an $8,000 computer. On some specific effects such as sharpen and aged film, the iMac Pro is about 2x faster whether the codec is ProRes or H264. The iMac Pro remains very quiet under heavy load, more like the nMP.

In your situation I'd be tempted to either get a top-spec 2017 iMac or that $4000 deal on the base-model iMac Pro or wait for the modular Mac Pro. However Resolve and Premiere are both cross-platform so you also have the option of going Windows which gives you many hardware choices -- a blessing and a curse.

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Nice info thanks @joema

I think the fans spin up on the 2017 iMac with the i7... it's a hot and power hungry chip (4.2ghz 7700k version)

The i5 3.8ghz has nearly the same performance and runs much cooler on half the power, so the fans stay low and silent.

A lot of what we do is hardware accelerated so quicksync and openCL performance clearly matter more than clocking CPU 10% higher.

So in the end I went for iMac 2017 with i5 3.8ghz and the 580 Pro 8GB, and plan to upgrade the DDR4 to 40GB.

Mac Pro 2013 remains a nice bargain I think... if you already have high-end displays, perhaps even 3 of them, plus you find a good deal on the MP... say for £1500 in the UK, which I have seen them go for repeatably

By the way the top spec Firepro D700 version had overheating issues with that GPU...and rendering artefacts on many machines in video editing software, but I believe Apple fixed it in later Mac Pros.

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On 2018-02-03 at 2:14 PM, Andrew Reid said:

Quieter than a PC

Is this in reference to sound or looks? Either way I respectfully disagree :grin:

On 2018-02-03 at 2:14 PM, Andrew Reid said:

Can you use it without the trashcan casing attached?

It wont power up without the casing on. Surely there's a switch or something, but I'm sure you can modify it to work.

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On 3. 2. 2018 at 6:04 PM, Andrew Reid said:

Choice of computer is personal. For example, I would not recommend a Mac Pro over an iMac to somebody who wants to play Forza 7 in Bootcamp.

The GPU (580 Pro) on the top spec 2017 iMac is a beast for gaming.

However if your software is utilising the TWO GPUs on the Mac Pro, and you picked up a D700 spec Mac Pro cheap, it's a good buy. Trashcan or not.

I have not decided yet between the 2017 iMac and Mac Pro, I have not already made up my mind actually. That is why I started the thread. Am I allowed to do that sir, on my own site!? You ok with that? ;)

Then there is the form factor. Mac Pro, you can put in a camera case and go to another country, hook it up there to a screen. Much less easy to do that with an iMac, you can't get it in carry-on for a start. So as I say.... Computer choice is personal. Whoever recommends same option for everyone is an idiot.

This is just ridiculous.

Are you saying every Adobe user should be on Windows?

Like I say, Mac OS is as personal a choice as the type rig you edit on. I have Mac-only apps and dislike the user experience in tacky Windows.

So buying a Mac for Premiere and the 100 other things you do on a main rig, is not about 'throwing away money'.

You mean that you can spend less money on a Windows machine and run Premiere great on it. Well done. Statement of the obvious award 2018.

Ofcourse you are allowed, it is your site after all :)

But as you keep saying, it`s a personal choice. You asked a question,were given an answer, probably a biased and personal one, which you were not pleased with. Go figure.

I hate sub fs7 sony cams...

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I have one 12 core Mac Pro. Multicore performance looks really great on the benchmarks but rarely does it get used to it's potential by software, at least within the Adobe ecosystem. Especially with After Effects renders these days

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11 minutes ago, silvertonesx24 said:

I have one 12 core Mac Pro. Multicore performance looks really great on the benchmarks but rarely does it get used to it's potential by software, at least within the Adobe ecosystem. Especially with After Effects renders these days

It's a shame. Adobe are a shame, rather. Not Apple's problem! They did a superb job of the Mac Pro hardware. Next one going to be a stunning piece of kit.

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1 hour ago, silvertonesx24 said:

I have one 12 core Mac Pro. Multicore performance looks really great on the benchmarks but rarely does it get used to it's potential by software, at least within the Adobe ecosystem. Especially with After Effects renders these days

I have the 6 core and feel the same way. I love it for the most part, but After Effects has always been less than stellar.

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I don´t care about the technical mumbo jumbo of this post.... But from a regular (surfing, photo editing, video editing, some gaming) users point of view... I just want to say...... WHY IS MY MACBOOK PRO 2013 FASTER IN 2018 THAN IT WAS WHEN I BOUGHT IT IN 2013???????????? I´m quite serious! It doesn´t make any sense does it! My only explanation is that Apple are KILLER at creating MacOS that utilizes hardware!

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22 hours ago, Gibcast said:

I don´t care about the technical mumbo jumbo of this post.... But from a regular (surfing, photo editing, video editing, some gaming) users point of view... I just want to say...... WHY IS MY MACBOOK PRO 2013 FASTER IN 2018 THAN IT WAS WHEN I BOUGHT IT IN 2013???????????? I´m quite serious! It doesn´t make any sense does it! My only explanation is that Apple are KILLER at creating MacOS that utilizes hardware!

Maybe since You have gotten older and slowed down it just seems faster even though it isn't! Or maybe Apple crippled it back then and feels sorry now for doing it, and gives you now what you should have had then. Endless possibilities. ?

I think what really happened is like what happened with the older iPhones. They crippled them with newer software updates, got sued by owners, and the feds forced them to make them back to what they were, faster. I don't really think Apple is going to do many favors to anyone to be honest unless they have to. And hey I have a bunch of apple stuff myself. Now FCPX is more efficient, that be true.

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Here are a couple of tests comparing Mac Pro, Imac Pro and a PC workstation for Davinci Resolve....

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/DaVinci-Resolve-14-iMac-Pro-Mac-Pro-vs-PC-Workstation-1154/

And Premiere Pro....

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Premiere-Pro-CC-2018-iMac-Pro-Mac-Pro-vs-PC-Workstation-1142/

While they might be fair tests for iMac V. Mac Pro, it is worth bearing in mind that the company doing the tests sells PC workstations.

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