Low End iMac Pro versus two Mac Pros and one iMac 5K

“In this article we highlight CPU and GPU performance of the ‘low end’ iMac Pro (with optional GPU) compared to two popular Mac Pro configurations and the fastest iMac 5K,” Rob Art Morgan writes for Bare Feats.

The systems:
• iMac Pro 8c Vega64 – AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 (16GB) GPU inside the 2017 iMac Pro 3.2GHz 8-Core Xeon W-2140B CPU
• nMP 8c D700s – AMD FirePro D700s (6GB each) GPUs installed in the 2013 Mac Pro 3.0GHz 8-Core Xeon E5-1680 v2 CPU; TB2 port connected to the LG UltraFine 5K display
• cMP 12c Vega64 – AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (8GB) GPU installed in 2010 Mac Pro 3.33GHz 12-Core Xeon X5680 with DisplayPort of GPU connected to a Dell 5K display.
• iMac 5K Pro580 – AMD Radeon Pro 580 (8GB) inside the 2017 iMac Pro 5K 4.2GHz Quad Core i7 (7700K).

“Apple did its homework when planning the iMac Pro,” Morgan writes. “It beat both beefy Mac Pros in CPU performance. And if we had not jury-rigged an RX Vega 64 in the 2010 Mac Pro tower, it would have won 3 out of the 4 GPU contests.”

Read more and see all of the benchmark results in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s certainly nothing “low end” about the entry-level iMac Pro config!

Apple’s sealed, non-upgradable iMac Pro is not as crazy as it seems – December 15, 2017
Apple tries again to sell professionals an all-in-one Mac – December 15, 2017
Apple’s monstrously potent iMac Pro is for these professional computer users – December 14, 2017
How pros are already using Apple’s powerful iMac Pro – December 14, 2017
Apple’s iMac Pro, the most powerful Mac ever made, is now available starting at $4,999 – December 14, 2017


  1. The older 12 core still pulled ahead in a few areas, but the base 8 core certainly held its own. Imagine what an iMac Pro with more cores could do (with the right software). Impressive!

  2. The 8C iMac Pro cinebench score is really good. The new machine beats the other computers in the test hands down. This 3D render test is a great real world example of what the iMac Pro can do at full speed. I can’t wait to see what the 18C iMac can do

  3. As always the lower 8-10 core models have higher overall speed for most stuff over the greater 18-22 core ones, except maybe in rendering. So you will gain advantages with the higher cores with special situations but not all. I wonder of it’s possible to have a highest speed 8-10 core machine with additional cores standing by and only used when advantageous? A split-speed core with the best of both worlds? Probably not.

    1. That’s what Turboboost is all about.

      When an application (or group of applications) use only a fraction of the cores those used cores automatically get clocked higher. As more cores get added to the mix the clock gets set lower.

      The advertised clock for an 18 core chip is with all 18 cores running with standard cooling. If only a small fraction of the cores are running then it is clocked at the max “turboboost” clock rate.

      A few of the more modern chips also take into account the thermal environment. If you set up a specialty liquid cooler for the CPU and keep it very cool (chip internals running below ~ 50 C or less) then you might even be able to get all 18 cores running at the turboboost speed.

      Clearly, Apple has not done that with the iMac Pro. Therefore, for minimally threaded apps, you will likely get the turboboost speed, and for highly threaded apps that hit all cores for long periods you will likely get the advertised minimum clock rate but the workload will be spread across the full number of cores.

  4. MDN Take almost with the exception of them beefing up the Video card, the 64 should be in All the iMac Pros, but this adds $600 to the price so Apple gets to say they have a $5000 iMac Pro when in reality its a $5,599 iMac Pro with the proper video card.

  5. The key to the new iMac Pro will be noting how well it’s thermal management system works under continued load. We know from other testing that both standard iMacs and iOS devices use firmware/software to throttle processor speed to when the circuitry gets hot. We know the iMac Pro has a new cooling system, but I haven’t seen testing yet that combines high processor/gpu demand over prolonged periods of use. If the iMac Pro can demonstrate that it maintains top spec performance at max power usage during prolonged use, then it can claim to be a truly great computer.

  6. The very fastest GPU you can put into the current iMac Pro is that Vega64. It will forever be that way unless the user wants to *really* hack it apart, which I doubt other than pure experimenters will ever happen.

    So if you’re testing against the very fastest GPU in an iMac Pro, why not test with the very fastest GPU that can go into a Mac Pro? Take the 2012 Mac Pro and add in an Nvidia GTX Titan Xp 12 GB, which is the fastest card available for placement into a 2012 Mac Pro today. (Faster cards exist, but none are currently available to go into a 2012 Mac Pro.)

    See what the comparisons are then. I’d still expect the pure CPU benchmarks to come out in favor of the iMac Pro. The 2012 Mac Pro is running a 5+ year old CPU after all. But I would expect the very GPU dependent benchmarks all to come out in favor of the 2012 Mac Pro & Nvidia Titan XP combination. And, you can put together this machine for the same cost (or lower cost, if you want to shop around) as the low end iMac Pro.

    Beyond that, in mid to late 2018 (and likely beyond that) the current iMac Pro almost certainly will be still shipping with the Vega64 while the top end card that will likely be available for the 2012 Mac Pro could easily be a variant of the Nvidia Titan V card.

    1. We’ll have to wait for the new Mac Pro to discover whether Apple will ever provide those choices in a Mac again. The iMac Pro is impressive and a decent machine, but it can never be as good as a modular Mac Pro system like we had with the cheese graters.

  7. … compared to these, but it only cost ~$2K. AND, it does everything I ask as quickly as I ask. Of course, big-screen movies run lower rates than ANY of those listed, so … again, no problem. Maybe another 5 years down the road I’ll get something this fast.

  8. Not that impressed with the new iMac Pro. After all, these an old 2010 box beefed up can hold it’s own against the latest (albeit minimal machine). Unless you absolutely need Apple software, the Apexx 4 is eating Apple’s lunch. And this has to be a concern for Apple. After all, Microsoft ignored everyone, thinking they were too big as well. And they have lost markets because of their arrogance.

  9. My iMac Pro arrived yesterday. Set it up and finally did a benchmark that was important to *me* this morning. Ran Eagle 7.7.0 (PCB Layout software) on my old Mac Book Pro (original retina unit) and the iMac Pro. A bit disappointed with the results. The iMac was a little more than twice as fast as the MBP. Note that Eagle does use multiple cores/threads (it suggested using 20 threads for the routing). I would have expected 2-3x performance just on the basis of CPU improvements alone (over the past 5 years). Should have gotten around 5x performance with the additional cores + improved CPU performance.

    Don’t know anything about the internal coding of the application (it could be terrible multithreaded code), but this is not what I was expecting for my $9,000…

    Hopefully, we’ll see some improvements with other applications.

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