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Activity Forums Apple OS X 2020 iMac versus iMac Pro configurations for editing in Premiere

  • 2020 iMac versus iMac Pro configurations for editing in Premiere

    Posted by Craig Hirshberg on October 8, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Hi folks! Been a while since I’ve posted.

    I am looking to upgrade from my current 2013 iMac, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i7, 32 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB system.

    We are shooting and editing almost exclusively 4K at this point and deliver in 1080p. Edit in Premiere Pro, Color in Resolve. Also do quite a bit of After Effects, photoshop. etc. Potential multi-cam edit (like 8 cameras) coming up as well.

    I priced out a couple versions of the new iMac and iMac Pro, making some cuts and compromises to get the costs about the same (between $6500 and $7000).

    It’s almost impossible to get an “apples to apples” comparison between these two, and I’m getting lost in the technicalities of all the cores, different processors and GPUs etc.

    My biggest concern is if I go to the iMac Pro, is the 64GB RAM a major problem? It’s $1600 more to get to 128GB. And I would need to offset that by dropping to the 10 core from 14. And possibly compromise on the graphics card as well to stay within budget range. Also, I have read that the iMac Pro is a 2017 model, so it’s likely it will get an update soon, so that’s another concern for dropping this kind of money, but if it’s a no-brainer to go iMacPro, we may go ahead, and then my junior editor can inherit it and we can buy a newer iMac Pro later. Both our systems need upgraded eventually.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble on. The specs of what I’m looking at are below. If anyone would be so kind to share their thoughts on this, I would greatly appreciate it!

    Thank you,


    27″ iMac (2020 build)

    3.6GHz 10-core 10th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz

    128GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory

    Radeon Pro 5700 XT with 16GB of GDDR6 memory
    2TB SSD storage

    27″ iMac Pro (2017 build)

    2.5GHz 14-core Intel Xeon W processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.3GHz

    64GB 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory

    Radeon Pro Vega 64X with 16GB of HBM2 memory
    1TB SSD storage

    Dennis Dean replied 3 years, 7 months ago 3 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • John Rofrano

    October 9, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    I don’t know how these will perform with your applications (I use Final Cut Pro X and Motion) but just from a hardware perspective, The iMac has slightly higher CPU capacity, 2x the memory, 2x the storage, but a less powerful GPU. I think the question for you is how much does the GPU affect the performance of the applications that you use. I’m not up on Adobe but I remember they were big NVIDIA fans and it didn’t matter how good an AMD GPU you had so that’s a question I can’t answer.

    I would get the new iMac over the older iMac Pro because the newer generation CPUs usually run more efficiently than older gens at the same clock speed (read: you can’t just compare clock speed of different generations because newer gens usually can perform more instructions per clock cycle).

    You can answer your question about 64GB of memory yourself since your current iMac has 32GB of memory, are you running out? Is memory a problem for you? I have a 2010 Mac Pro 12-core with 24GB of memory and it runs great but I don’t edit 4K. 64GB seems like plenty of memory to me. That’s a little more than 4GB per core (for 14-core) which seems adequate.

    The two systems seem pretty evenly matched on specs. Given that, I would go with newer vs 3 years older. (i.e., 2020 iMac over 2017 iMac Pro) …your mileage may vary. 😉

  • Craig Hirshberg

    October 12, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    Thank you John, good info here. I am leaning toward the newer iMac with newer CPUs as well. I think Resolve is pretty GPU intensive (someone please correct me if I’m wrong), though I need to research more about Premiere in that regard.

    Thank you again for your response!

  • Dennis Dean

    October 12, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    Craig – can’t help on your primary question but I can tell you I’m editing on a mid-2014 MacBook Pro and it slices 4K like a sharp knife through warm butter. I just have to make sure it’s an edit codec, like ProRes – or that I upgrade it to Pro. I always thought the bigger files would be harder to edit until I tried it. Works fine on my little machine!

    I’m also in the process of looking for insight into how an iMac (not Pro) will work with Catalina and Adobe, esp. Premiere Pro.

    Thanks and good luck – let me know what you find out!

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