5K 60Hz Shootout: iMac 5K vs. Mac Pro ‘tube’ and ‘tower’

“OS X 10.10.3 has added 60Hz support for the Dell UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K Monitor at 5120×2880 when dual mDP-to-DP cables are connected to dual Thunderbolt 2.0 ports on the 2014 iMac 5K and 2013 Mac Pro ‘tube,'” rob-ART morgan reports for Bare Feats. “So here’s another OpenGL ‘shootout’ that includes the 2010 Mac Pro tower sporting top NVIDIA GPUs with two or more DisplayPort 1.2 ports.”

“The Dell UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K Monitor is now the ‘constant companion’ of our 2013 Mac Pro ‘turbo tube,'” morgan reports. “The iMac with 5K Retina display sitting next to it can no longer taunt it. The two Macs have equally amazing displays. Though we tested at the full 5120×2880, most of the time both displays are set to the scaled 2560×1440 with HiDPI ‘Retina’ mode in effect.”

“The Mac Pro tower continues to benefit from the efforts by NVIDIA engineering to provide downloadable drivers with each revision of OS 10.10.xx” morgan reports. “The ‘Maxwell’ class of GPU is able to run the Dell 5K display’s full potential.”

Check out all of the benchmark results in the full article here.


  1. Uh oh. This is bad for Apple. It’s latest Mac Pro gets smoked by an old model. By dropping the modular tower, Apple shot itself (and its customers) in the foot.
    This is a clear argument for modular-style computers with replaceable subsystems. Due to their upgradability, those Mac Pro towers live on. Coffee can Mac Pro owners are stuck.
    Bring back a Mac Pro tower!

      1. It also has to do with the “tube” Mac Pro (2013) not being updated as frequently. They are testing 2013 technology against newer generations of CPUs and GPUs. But its also a fair comparison as the Mac Pro with 2 Pro AMD 700 GPUs is the current model.

        So who knows, maybe this year the Mac Pro will be the fastest Mac ever again.

    1. Your certainly giving up a lot by sticking with a old Mac Pro tower. Your losing the great mobility the unit has, not having 6 thunderbolt ports, no USB 3.0, and the wifi is a generation old. Get rid of all this just to have a 5k screen? I understand the swapping out of components and such, but your not gaining much momentum. Don’t forget the reason apple ties itself with video card companies is so it can focus on making a video card that utilizes the whole OS X. The Mac Pro I use is fully specced out and I use it for video editing, motion graphics, rendering, and, 3d animation. Now of course I can take it to the limit, but it’s the best response I have had out of any system I have ever touched.

      1. All systems have trade-offs somewhere.

        So while a nMP is a bit more portable in principle, in practice, it becomes more hardware widgets to try to carry (& not drop) when you add the external TB 4 hard drive array needed to reproduce what could be fit into the old Mac Pro’s tower case.

        Simlarly, USB3 is available on a aftermarket PCIe card.

        And just how many extra TB ports does one really need when there’s all those internal bays, PCIe card slots? And for WiFi when there’s already two Gigabit Ethernet snaps?

        Finally, my “read” on how well Apple ties themselves to the Video card companies is manfested in how many different cards get qualified to run OS X (with support)…the reality is that Apple has fallen behind, especially once the product has shipped and better stuff comes along.

        1. Every Mac pro tower I have seen had external hard drives connected to it, due to wanting to have raid drives. So, yeah, sometimes with the new MP, you have to carry around a raid….but so did a lot of people using the old MP. Every station I have used has at least 3 things popping out of their old MP. As for your video card statement, it is very true that Apple waits a while to update their video card….they wait so long to where people complain about it falling behind. I don’t know what to tell you on that…other than that what is the performance gain in your workflow that needs that extra 25% a new video card would give you, that a new one in the year after which will give you 50% increase in performance? I know people want the best of the best…but when it comes to hardware/software functioning together, apple has it worked out really well and I don’t think it would do much to increase your workflow….but maybe i am being too one-sided.

      2. My “old Mac Pro tower” has USB 3.0. I simply bought an inexpensive plug-in card. The USB 3.0 works when using OS X or Windows.
        You have just reinforced my point that modular-style computers are the best. Why has Apple abandoned them?

    2. I loaded a 3 GB card into my older Mac Pro. Cost $100+ for card . second time I upgraded it.

      I just bought another cheese grater Mac Pro (2010-12 model) for 600. It has 1 TB drive and 1 GB card. I will load another 4 GB card into it for 200-300. total cost about 900. I can soup up the RAM to 48 GB, extra drives cost less than $80 per TB.
      (of course the vid cards they using in the tests are way more expensive and powerful which i can load if I wanted to ) I can even upgrade the CPU processors.
      I can run two or even three monitors.

      my setup is a good deal for certain kinds of work.

      (NOTE I specified ‘certain kinds of work’ to stop the flamers from attacking me saying that high end macs are useless , those guys who think that Macs are just for twitter and Facebook… ).

      in comparison the new 21 inch iMac $1100 tops out at 8 GB RAM max and integrated graphics and standard 500 GB drive.
      The (great) new Mac Pro unfortunately is $3000 (with a fast but small 250 GB drive), the cards are of course killers. The nice Retina iMac is 2500.

      I have argued for a mid tower Mac which should cost around 1200 – 1500 , have single 4 core processor, stock 2 GB card upgradable and stock 16 GB RAM upgradable . A mid tower will fill the gap between the headless mac lineup between $500 mini and the $3000 pro.
      ( for apple to save money they can use a box shape and drop the extra internal drive bays and extra PCI slots that old Mac Pros had and use thunderbolt instead).

      (someone argued with me that the correct gap filler in the headless mac lineup is the $2500 Macbook Pro, a LAPTOP with 2 GB card Max and 16 GB RAM max… ??)

      ( I wrote the above in a rush , if I made mistakes on specs sorry but I think I got most of it right)

      1. note : I’m not beating up on the new cylinder Mac Pro, I am just pointing out there is a missing Mid Tower unit

        My buying and upgrading older cheese grater is not that they are ‘better’ than cylinder MPs but as an alternative for the mid price range (eg. instead of an the 1100 iMac with it’s fixed 8 GB ram).

    3. You might be dangerous if you knew what you were talking about. the internal video cards in the mac pro 2013 are replaceable and are on daughter cards.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.