Video: iMac Pro vs 2013 Mac Pro (Part 3) - video editing

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in Current Mac Hardware edited April 2018
In the third installment of our series, we put our $5,000 iMac Pro to the test against one of the most popular configurations of the Mac Pro to see how much of a performance difference you can expect when editing videos in Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro.





Kicking off today's comparison, we'll take a look at how both machines perform, first using Final Cut Pro X and then with Adobe Premiere Pro.





Starting off with Bruce X, a rendering benchmark for Final Cut, the iMac Pro was just over 40% faster, even though it only has a single graphics card compared to the Mac Pro's dual graphics cards.




Next we stabilized a 20 second 4K clip and the all-in-one iMac Pro was almost 75% faster, but both machines had quick times.




Moving on to a five minute 1080p project with effects, our Mac Pro took four minutes and 41 seconds to render and encode; however, the iMac Pro was 80% faster.




Testing the same project, but with 4K files and 4K encoding, we saw an even bigger difference, with the iMac Pro being about 3.5 times faster.




Our last project was short, but it's very CPU and GPU intensive, which I thought would give the Mac Pro an advantage since its dual graphics cards have roughly 25% more raw power. In the end, the iMac Pro was still twice as fast.




As far as the actual editing experience with standard H.264 4K files, both machines didn't have an issue in Final Cut. I also rendered out our five minute 4K timeline with effects without encoding, and here we only saw a 35% difference in speed between the two machines.




This shows us that the Late 2013 Mac Pro isn't that far off when it comes to timeline performance, but if any encoding is involved, it really slows down.

I also wanted to test H.265 or HEVC. This is one of the latest compression methods that Apple and many others are using to lower file sizes while retaining the same quality.

Rendering a five minute 4K HEVC project with effects took over twice as long on the Mac Pro, and if we wanted to render and encode so we could upload it online, the iMac Pro was over 20 times faster.




This huge difference in performance comes from the iMac Pro's dedicated HEVC encoding and decoding hardware built into the Vega 56 graphics card, which the Mac Pro lacks.

If you're working with this codec that Apple implemented in iOS 11 and MacOS High Sierra, you're much better off with an iMac Pro.

To finish off the tests in Final Cut Pro X, let's take a look at 8K raw video from a RED Cinema camera.

Working in an 8K timeline, our iMac Pro could play back the demanding files with a few color corrections if we set the playback viewer to "Better Performance". Our Late 2013 Mac Pro, on the other hand, couldn't.

We rendered a five minute color corrected project out to ProRes, and the all-in-one iMac Pro finished the task in just under 17 minutes. The Mac Pro, on the other hand, took over two hours.




If we compare these results to our fully specced out 2017 iMac 5K, that Mac took even longer. This really shows how well optimized the iMac Pro is when working with high-end RAW video.




Now let's switch over to the most popular video editor, Adobe Premiere Pro.

Stabilizing 4K video, the iMac Pro came in 30% faster, but neither machine was pushed hard, since premiere warp stabilizer isn't very efficient with resources.




Taking a look at our five minute 1080p and 4K projects with effects, both resolutions rendered about 25% faster on the iMac Pro.




Testing timeline smoothness, the Mac Pro struggled at playing back the 4K project with two LUTs and film grain at full resolution, resulting in choppy footage from dropped frames.




This was surprising since even my standard 5K iMac doesn't have any issues playing this project back.

After a bit of digging, I figured out that Premiere Pro still only supports one graphics card when you're editing, and only makes use of the second one when you're exporting a project.

This was the case when I bought my personal Mac Pro shortly after it launched over four years ago -- Premiere users were disappointed at the speeds they were getting.

I would have thought the software would be updated to better support the Mac Pro, but even in 2018 one of the graphics cards is sitting idle most of the time.

Next we tested that difficult multi-stream 4K project, and here the iMac Pro was almost twice as fast.




Moving on to H.265 or HEVC, the iMac pro was roughly 30% faster, and testing out 8K RED RAW, our Mac Pro took over three times as long to render and encode.







Editing the 8K footage, our iMac Pro could play back in half resolution with one correction, or at one-quarter resolution with many corrections. The Mac Pro had to be at one-quarter resolution to play it back, and even then we did get some dropped frames.

Comparing the 8K RAW rendering and encoding times between both editing programs, the cylindrical Mac Pro performs similarly.




When looking at our iMac, it's much faster in Final Cut X, showing off how well the combination of powerful new hardware and updated software can perform.




Overall, if you're a video editor, the iMac Pro is really pulling ahead. Even in the least demanding tests using Premiere Pro, we saw a 25% speed improvement and a much improved editing experience that can save a pro hundreds or thousands of hours in the life of the machine.




If you use Final Cut or work with difficult footage, we start getting results where the iMac was twice as fast (and all the way up to over 20 times as fast), making the decision to upgrade to an iMac Pro a no brainer.




For our full review of the iMac Pro, see here -- and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more reviews, news, tips, features, as well as part four of this series.

Where to buy

If you're ready to pick up your own iMac Pro, Apple authorized resellers are knocking up to $250 off the desktops. Details can be found in our iMac Pro Price Guide.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,326member
    Unsurprising results. There are about five years of tech development difference between the two machines. I'd be interested in seeing a comparison done of a very long render time to see if throttling happens on one or both machines and which one throttles more.
  • Reply 2 of 20
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,516member
    "seconds.minutes"?
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 3 of 20
    The problem I have with this comparison is that the $5000 iMac Pro is the Base Model. No Video Professional would choose this model, much less for comparison with their current machine.

    The minimum Video Professional iMac Pro configuration is:

    - 10 core, 3.0GHz Intel Xeon W CPU with 4.5GHz turbo boost.

    - 64 GB of 2666MHz RAM

    - Radeon Pro Vega 64 GPU with 16 GB HBM2 VRAM. 

    - 2 TB SSD system drive

    - built-in 27” 5120x2880 max, 5K monitor.

    - Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad

    - Cost = $9,050.89 in 2017

    Interesting is how much faster Final Cut Pro is than Adobe Premiere. 

    The author notes "a much improved editing experience that can save a pro hundreds or thousands of hours in the life of the machine. "

    If you save 2000 hours using the new iMac Pro versus your Mac Pro, then you have just gained an entire year of vacation time if you buy and use the new iMac Pro versus your old Mac Pro. This is equivalent to gaining a YEAR of your income if you use that time to make even more money. As a professional, the new iMac Pro easily pays for itself to the point it is a FREE Mac plus vacation time. $10,000 is cheap when it gives you over a year of your income extra over its lifetime. 


    mdriftmeyer
  • Reply 4 of 20
    cpsro said:
    "seconds.minutes"?
    Mistakes were made. Apologies.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,406member
    Just imagine what the next Mac Pro will be capable of.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,058member
    4:00, so on the future Mac Pro transcript with a bunch of reporters, when they said "software that uses two GPUs didn't really materialize" or something to that effect...Their own software still wasn't doing it? Oof. I remember that from 2013, somewhat socking their own programs still aren't using both when they should. Even if the cylinder is going away, multiple GPUs through eGPUs will be around.

    Interesting that it uses AMD VCE in some places, doesn't it lose in a few areas to the regular iMac due to Quicksync in previous tests? Are those not using VCE, or is Quicksync still faster?


    cseeman
  • Reply 7 of 20
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 3,269member
    MacPro said:
    Just imagine what the next Mac Pro will be capable of.
    You would say that.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 3,269member
    I would have thought the software would be updated to better support the Mac Pro, but even in 2018 one of the graphics cards is sitting idle most of the time.
    Have you met Adobe?
    edited January 2018
  • Reply 9 of 20
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 895member
    How about comparing a similarly priced current day Windows/ Linux desktop machine?
  • Reply 10 of 20
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,230moderator
    MacPro said:
    Just imagine what the next Mac Pro will be capable of.
    The problem is, the iMac Pro's GPU is among the fastest you can buy. When you see the list of fastest GPUs:

    https://browser.geekbench.com/opencl-benchmarks
    https://hothardware.com/reviews/nvidia-titan-v-volta-gv100-gpu-review?page=5

    there's very little difference (<40%) in the top group until you get to the Titan V. The Titan V costs $3k. If Apple starts offering Nvidia options again then they could potentially make a dual Titan V option and the base machine with that GPU option would likely cost around $11k without the display. But the iMac Pro can handle a Titan V too and they didn't offer it as an option.

    In the event that Apple doesn't offer Nvidia options, all they can do is multiply the options in the iMac Pro e.g multiple Vega 64s vs one, multiple CPUs vs one. If they only go up to two of each then it will be up to twice as fast but when you see the difference that things like hardware HEVC makes >20x faster, the brute-force method of just adding more hardware pales in comparison.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    AppleInsider said:
    Testing the same project, but with 4K files and 4K encoding, we saw an even bigger difference, with the iMac Pro being about 3.5 times faster.

    Please do clarify when you say 4K files do you mean H.264 sources (H.264, AVCHD, XAVC-L, etc) or ProRes?
    And, when say encode are you encoding to H.264 or ProRes?
    Also it's not clear to me if H.264 encoding is taking advantage of AMD VCE or is it just HEVC on the iMac Pro.
    That would help immensely in evaluating the results. I'd rather not assume.

  • Reply 12 of 20
    I went from very wary of all-in-one computers to again ... no way.  

    Linus (of Linus Tech Tips - 5 million youtube subscribers) bought a low end iMac Pro, and knowing Linus he probably tinkered with it -- and broke it.  He took it to the Apple store to get it fixed and they quoted him to replace the power supply and the monitor (both of which were broken).  Linus gave the ok on the repair costs and Apple (HQ) said no to repairing the computer.  Now I know they consider that abuse, but to be fair -- both a blown power supply (line spikes) and a broken monitor are possible due to normal issues with the computer and I would think that as long as the computer is not vintage and obsolete that Apple would repair it and charge if not under warranty or it was negligence....  If it were a Mac Pro I could get a replacement for the power supply from any Apple service station and do that repair myself, if it was the monitor I would just get a new monitor... but the fact that both of these normally serviceable components would have Apple refusing to repair....  buyer beware.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 13 of 20
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,998member
    bkkcanuck said:
    I went from very wary of all-in-one computers to again ... no way.  

    Linus (of Linus Tech Tips - 5 million youtube subscribers) bought a low end iMac Pro, and knowing Linus he probably tinkered with it -- and broke it.  He took it to the Apple store to get it fixed and they quoted him to replace the power supply and the monitor (both of which were broken).  Linus gave the ok on the repair costs and Apple (HQ) said no to repairing the computer.  Now I know they consider that abuse, but to be fair -- both a blown power supply (line spikes) and a broken monitor are possible due to normal issues with the computer and I would think that as long as the computer is not vintage and obsolete that Apple would repair it and charge if not under warranty or it was negligence....  If it were a Mac Pro I could get a replacement for the power supply from any Apple service station and do that repair myself, if it was the monitor I would just get a new monitor... but the fact that both of these normally serviceable components would have Apple refusing to repair....  buyer beware.

    Assuming he took it apart and broke it, there's a huge difference between something flat out failing and someone screwing around with the insides and Apple denying a repair because of that. These are 2 totally different situations. 

    I don't see any links to what you're talking about so I don't know the context of your post. I've never heard of Apple flat out denying a repair of something, even if the customer broke it. If the customer is willing to pay for it and the computer will still function after the repair, then I fail to see why Apple would deny the repair and make the iMac a paperweight. Something isn't adding up there. Again, a link to what you posted about would be helpful. 
    dysamoriaStrangeDaysindyfxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 20
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,058member
    Marvin said:
    MacPro said:
    Just imagine what the next Mac Pro will be capable of.
    The problem is, the iMac Pro's GPU is among the fastest you can buy. When you see the list of fastest GPUs:

    https://browser.geekbench.com/opencl-benchmarks
    https://hothardware.com/reviews/nvidia-titan-v-volta-gv100-gpu-review?page=5

    there's very little difference (<40%) in the top group until you get to the Titan V. The Titan V costs $3k. If Apple starts offering Nvidia options again then they could potentially make a dual Titan V option and the base machine with that GPU option would likely cost around $11k without the display. But the iMac Pro can handle a Titan V too and they didn't offer it as an option.

    In the event that Apple doesn't offer Nvidia options, all they can do is multiply the options in the iMac Pro e.g multiple Vega 64s vs one, multiple CPUs vs one. If they only go up to two of each then it will be up to twice as fast but when you see the difference that things like hardware HEVC makes >20x faster, the brute-force method of just adding more hardware pales in comparison.


    All we got for a date was "not this year" last year, and Navi is launching August of this year. There's a chance that there's a Navi SKU that could fit in the Mac Pro but not the iMac Pro I guess, but yeah, I can see why it would be hard to distinguish with single GPUs.

    Nvidia then would be the option to court, but it would depend on someone blinking in the fight to take over the world with CUDA/OpenCL.


    Or, dark horse candidate, Apple now has a fully custom GPU for iPhones, what if they scale that way up in time for the Mac Pro and offer swappable boxes for it.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    macxpress said:
    bkkcanuck said:
    I went from very wary of all-in-one computers to again ... no way.  

    Linus (of Linus Tech Tips - 5 million youtube subscribers) bought a low end iMac Pro, and knowing Linus he probably tinkered with it -- and broke it.  He took it to the Apple store to get it fixed and they quoted him to replace the power supply and the monitor (both of which were broken).  Linus gave the ok on the repair costs and Apple (HQ) said no to repairing the computer.  Now I know they consider that abuse, but to be fair -- both a blown power supply (line spikes) and a broken monitor are possible due to normal issues with the computer and I would think that as long as the computer is not vintage and obsolete that Apple would repair it and charge if not under warranty or it was negligence....  If it were a Mac Pro I could get a replacement for the power supply from any Apple service station and do that repair myself, if it was the monitor I would just get a new monitor... but the fact that both of these normally serviceable components would have Apple refusing to repair....  buyer beware.

    Assuming he took it apart and broke it, there's a huge difference between something flat out failing and someone screwing around with the insides and Apple denying a repair because of that. These are 2 totally different situations. 

    I don't see any links to what you're talking about so I don't know the context of your post. I've never heard of Apple flat out denying a repair of something, even if the customer broke it. If the customer is willing to pay for it and the computer will still function after the repair, then I fail to see why Apple would deny the repair and make the iMac a paperweight. Something isn't adding up there. Again, a link to what you posted about would be helpful. 
    Situation is irrelevant -- it sounds like you are saying companies should treat customers vindictively if they do something that they don't like. 

    What is relevant is that it is broken in areas where a normal computer would break potentially for a customer and Apple is refusing to repair it.  After the computer was taken in Apple gave a report back of what is broken.  They provided a quote (not warranty bill, profit based maintenance) -- then they reneged on that quote and told them they will not fix it (not that they cannot fix it).  

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0A8Lq1DVvI&t=3312s

    I am in the market for a new computer, but I will have to wait until the new Mac Pro is released.  I will not ever ever buy an all in one, especially one that you have no ability to service yourself -- and the company feels free to not service it either (even if they can).
    edited January 2018
  • Reply 16 of 20
    Marvin said:
    MacPro said:
    Just imagine what the next Mac Pro will be capable of.
    The problem is, the iMac Pro's GPU is among the fastest you can buy. When you see the list of fastest GPUs:

    https://browser.geekbench.com/opencl-benchmarks
    https://hothardware.com/reviews/nvidia-titan-v-volta-gv100-gpu-review?page=5

    there's very little difference (<40%) in the top group until you get to the Titan V. The Titan V costs $3k. If Apple starts offering Nvidia options again then they could potentially make a dual Titan V option and the base machine with that GPU option would likely cost around $11k without the display. But the iMac Pro can handle a Titan V too and they didn't offer it as an option.

    In the event that Apple doesn't offer Nvidia options, all they can do is multiply the options in the iMac Pro e.g multiple Vega 64s vs one, multiple CPUs vs one. If they only go up to two of each then it will be up to twice as fast but when you see the difference that things like hardware HEVC makes >20x faster, the brute-force method of just adding more hardware pales in comparison.
    Updated Vega this year will be on 7nm with modifications that will definitely be faster, including much higher HBM2 memory capacities.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,998member
    bkkcanuck said:
    macxpress said:
    bkkcanuck said:
    I went from very wary of all-in-one computers to again ... no way.  

    Linus (of Linus Tech Tips - 5 million youtube subscribers) bought a low end iMac Pro, and knowing Linus he probably tinkered with it -- and broke it.  He took it to the Apple store to get it fixed and they quoted him to replace the power supply and the monitor (both of which were broken).  Linus gave the ok on the repair costs and Apple (HQ) said no to repairing the computer.  Now I know they consider that abuse, but to be fair -- both a blown power supply (line spikes) and a broken monitor are possible due to normal issues with the computer and I would think that as long as the computer is not vintage and obsolete that Apple would repair it and charge if not under warranty or it was negligence....  If it were a Mac Pro I could get a replacement for the power supply from any Apple service station and do that repair myself, if it was the monitor I would just get a new monitor... but the fact that both of these normally serviceable components would have Apple refusing to repair....  buyer beware.

    Assuming he took it apart and broke it, there's a huge difference between something flat out failing and someone screwing around with the insides and Apple denying a repair because of that. These are 2 totally different situations. 

    I don't see any links to what you're talking about so I don't know the context of your post. I've never heard of Apple flat out denying a repair of something, even if the customer broke it. If the customer is willing to pay for it and the computer will still function after the repair, then I fail to see why Apple would deny the repair and make the iMac a paperweight. Something isn't adding up there. Again, a link to what you posted about would be helpful. 
    Situation is irrelevant -- it sounds like you are saying companies should treat customers vindictively if they do something that they don't like. 

    What is relevant is that it is broken in areas where a normal computer would break potentially for a customer and Apple is refusing to repair it.  After the computer was taken in Apple gave a report back of what is broken.  They provided a quote (not warranty bill, profit based maintenance) -- then they reneged on that quote and told them they will not fix it (not that they cannot fix it).  

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0A8Lq1DVvI&t=3312s

    I am in the market for a new computer, but I will have to wait until the new Mac Pro is released.  I will not ever ever buy an all in one, especially one that you have no ability to service yourself -- and the company feels free to not service it either (even if they can).
    I wouldn't expect to be able to service the Mac Pro yourself either. You are with the other .00001% who want to tinker and those days are slim to none. Beyond changing RAM, possibly storage capacities, I wouldn't expect to be able to change much else. 

    Even with the old Mac Pro tower, I doubt you were able to just obtain a brand new OEM Apple Power Supply for the Mac Pro tower. I could be wrong, but it seems like a very unlikely thing for Apple to do. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 20
    cpsro said:
    "seconds.minutes"?
    Mistakes were made. Apologies.
    Will the bogus charts be updated?
  • Reply 19 of 20
    macxpress said:
    bkkcanuck said:
    macxpress said:
    bkkcanuck said:
    I went from very wary of all-in-one computers to again ... no way.  

    Linus (of Linus Tech Tips - 5 million youtube subscribers) bought a low end iMac Pro, and knowing Linus he probably tinkered with it -- and broke it.  He took it to the Apple store to get it fixed and they quoted him to replace the power supply and the monitor (both of which were broken).  Linus gave the ok on the repair costs and Apple (HQ) said no to repairing the computer.  Now I know they consider that abuse, but to be fair -- both a blown power supply (line spikes) and a broken monitor are possible due to normal issues with the computer and I would think that as long as the computer is not vintage and obsolete that Apple would repair it and charge if not under warranty or it was negligence....  If it were a Mac Pro I could get a replacement for the power supply from any Apple service station and do that repair myself, if it was the monitor I would just get a new monitor... but the fact that both of these normally serviceable components would have Apple refusing to repair....  buyer beware.

    Assuming he took it apart and broke it, there's a huge difference between something flat out failing and someone screwing around with the insides and Apple denying a repair because of that. These are 2 totally different situations. 

    I don't see any links to what you're talking about so I don't know the context of your post. I've never heard of Apple flat out denying a repair of something, even if the customer broke it. If the customer is willing to pay for it and the computer will still function after the repair, then I fail to see why Apple would deny the repair and make the iMac a paperweight. Something isn't adding up there. Again, a link to what you posted about would be helpful. 
    Situation is irrelevant -- it sounds like you are saying companies should treat customers vindictively if they do something that they don't like. 

    What is relevant is that it is broken in areas where a normal computer would break potentially for a customer and Apple is refusing to repair it.  After the computer was taken in Apple gave a report back of what is broken.  They provided a quote (not warranty bill, profit based maintenance) -- then they reneged on that quote and told them they will not fix it (not that they cannot fix it).  

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0A8Lq1DVvI&t=3312s

    I am in the market for a new computer, but I will have to wait until the new Mac Pro is released.  I will not ever ever buy an all in one, especially one that you have no ability to service yourself -- and the company feels free to not service it either (even if they can).
    I wouldn't expect to be able to service the Mac Pro yourself either. You are with the other .00001% who want to tinker and those days are slim to none. Beyond changing RAM, possibly storage capacities, I wouldn't expect to be able to change much else. 

    Even with the old Mac Pro tower, I doubt you were able to just obtain a brand new OEM Apple Power Supply for the Mac Pro tower. I could be wrong, but it seems like a very unlikely thing for Apple to do. 
    I would actually have no problems servicing my Mac Pro 2008.  Don't know about the general public, but I know enough authorized service techs that I would have no problem ordering replacement parts.  I have also ordered replacement parts from other channels in China.  After a few years you can get replacement parts through used parts market (things like power supplies etc.) that have been reclaimed.  I have on several occasions disassembled it completely and reassembled it to do servicing and cleaning.   It is a rather clean and elegant design and easy to service.  I would not feel comfortable doing that with an iMac [Pro].

    After hard drives (I have a pile of those - currently sitting at 15 dead ones), the next most common component to fail are monitors for me.  I would not have to worry about replacing the computer if the monitor failed.  I just replace the monitor.  The power supply is not very hard to source, and absolute worst case scenario if for some reason I could not get an official one -- I could take the guts of the computer out and put it in another case with a 3rd party power supply -- or just rig an external power supply. 

    Things that are easier to update on a Mac Pro, the SSD, the memory, the hard drives, the CPUs, replacing the SATA3 with SATA6 and plugging the cable into a card in a slot, the DVD drives.  I can a SAS controller.  I have upgraded the original video cards.  
    edited January 2018
  • Reply 20 of 20
    Anticipate_MAnticipate_M Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Max., how are you getting those HEVC speeds? On my IMac Pro (base unit), I do not have the 8-bit accelerated HEVC option in Compressor 4.4 or FCPX. Do you see that? (I do see hardware accelerated H.264 HD and 4K render outs which are far faster than my old 8 core nMP. But the iMac Pro seems to have zero acceleration for HEVC.)
    edited January 2018
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