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Phil hunt

iMac or Mac Pro

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I would like to upgrade my iMac.....to either a new iMac or a mac pro

i understand the Mac Pro is old technology against the new i7 processor that are in the latest iMacs and was talking to a tech guy today who advised me the two machines process renders and software in two different ways....but would appreciate any advice or help in choosing the right upgrade....

its the rendering I Need to speed up as I am determined to use vectorworks as my default render engine....

please accept my apologies if I haven't got the correct terminology but I hope you understand the gist of my question 

 

thanks

Edited by Phil hunt

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Mac Pro is terrible value.  The iMacs are due for an upgrade too - if you have to stay on the Mac side - I would try and wait for an iMac upgrade... Though after the MacBook Pro release - I am more convinced than ever that Mac has abandoned true pro users.

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To me everything that constrains your workflow in Vectorworks is single threaded. Rendering can now be backgrounded and can use multi-cores and both machines have quad core or between so you'll always have 3 spare cores mostly ideal.

 

From Benchmarks the iMac's tend to have better single core scores than the Mac Pro released at the same time. So for similar dollars, to me at least, the top of the line iMac expected early next year would be better than the base MacPro expected about the same time (assuming both happen).

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On 12/11/2016 at 10:01 AM, Tom Klaber said:

You want a Microsoft Surface Studio...

It is a great solution, if you can deal with Windows. I would try a Wacom tablet or an iPad Pro to check if you are really going to like this. It would be great for PDF mark up, and sketching, but for the moment, forget Vectorworks. I will often switch to a Wacom if I can feel RSI coming on, but hand shake is a real issue, and they are definitely slower than a mouse.

 

On 12/11/2016 at 1:45 AM, Tom Klaber said:

Mac Pro is terrible value.  The iMacs are due for an upgrade too - if you have to stay on the Mac side - I would try and wait for an iMac upgrade... Though after the MacBook Pro release - I am more convinced than ever that Mac has abandoned true pro users.

I agree. And in Australia, after $AU to $US conversation, our prices are 25% more than Stateside. I would wait until the March event for new iMacs.

 

The biggest changes should be updated video cards, and new USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 inputs (which I hope will mean we can run them as external monitors again - but given some of the workarounds Apple are having to do with Intel chips, I wouldn't hold out for it)

 

On 12/11/2016 at 1:45 AM, Tom Klaber said:

I am more convinced than ever that Mac has abandoned true pro users.

I think it is too early to say that Mac have abandoned the Pro market. But if they haven't announced something by WWDC next year, then I think we will know they have.

 

Architosh outlined a job posting recently by NVIDIA looking for Apple developers.

http://architosh.com/2016/09/nvidia-job-posting-for-mac-software-engineer-points-to-gpu-return-and-opencl-push-for-apple/

Apple have not used NVIDIA graphics cards for some time, and I think the pro graphics industry jumped onto CUDA. Whereas Apple made a big bet with OpenCL, but OpenCL is only starting to come on line recently.

 

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On 12/11/2016 at 9:57 AM, Matt Overton said:

To me everything that constrains your workflow in Vectorworks is single threaded. Rendering can now be backgrounded and can use multi-cores and both machines have quad core or between so you'll always have 3 spare cores mostly ideal.

 

From Benchmarks the iMac's tend to have better single core scores than the Mac Pro released at the same time. So for similar dollars, to me at least, the top of the line iMac expected early next year would be better than the base MacPro expected about the same time (assuming both happen).

 

Yes, I agree with you – certainly with older Vectorworks versions. I would have thought a 4GHz iMac is generally going to be faster than a Mac Pro. And in their latest Macs, Apple have been doing great work with their SSDs as well, so saving and auto-Backups should be really fast. Just make sure you select SSD, i7 processor upgrade, and get the best graphics card you can (i7 gives you 2 virtual cores for each core. So comparing i5 with i7, i7 should be nearly twice as fast).

 

Have a look at the various posts on Barefeats.com. Here is one to get you started…

http://barefeats.com/imac5k18.html

 

I would only look at the Mac Pro if all you are doing all day is Renderworks rendering, and you really need to the 8 or 12 cores. Also, the Mac Pro cant run the latest 5K displays yet.

 

Edited by Diamond

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5 hours ago, zoomer said:

Renderworks :)

None of the new navigation graphics?

And I had thought hidden line render now had some multi-processor support?

 

Maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part…

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3 hours ago, Diamond said:

None of the new navigation graphics?

And I had thought hidden line render now had some multi-processor support?

 

Maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part…

From this VwKB on Renderworks Hardware Dependencies, it says that Hidden Line uses Multi Cores of the CPU.

Edited by rDesign
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21 minutes ago, rDesign said:

From this VwKB on Renderworks Hardware Dependencies, it says that Hidden Line uses Multi Cores of the CPU.

Thanks for that. So I wasn't imagining it.

 

My site section VPs could certainly use some of that multi-core love! (Still rocking 2016 until the end of current project).

The navigation seems to mostly use the graphics card. With the age of the graphics card in the Mac Pros, more reasons to wait.

 

Those links are…

http://kbase.vectorworks.net/questions/1104/Renderworks+Hardware+Dependencies+

http://kbase.vectorworks.net/questions/1448/Vectorworks+2017+System+Requirements

 

 

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51 minutes ago, rDesign said:

From this VwKB on Renderworks Hardware Dependencies, it says that Hidden Line uses Multi Cores of the CPU.

 

That's new ?

 

My Activity Manager confirms this.

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20 hours ago, Diamond said:

None of the new navigation graphics?

And I had thought hidden line render now had some multi-processor support?

 

Maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part…

 

19 hours ago, rDesign said:

From this VwKB on Renderworks Hardware Dependencies, it says that Hidden Line uses Multi Cores of the CPU.

 

18 hours ago, zoomer said:

 

That's new ?

 

My Activity Manager confirms this.

 

We didn't make too very much noise about Hidden Line going multicore since one platform got the upgrade before the other. I think Windows got the upgrade in 2014 or 2015 and then Mac in 2015 or 2016. Also, a lot of the delay still remaining in Hidden Line comes from the underlying single-core math being done before it's handed off to the multicore rendering engine.

Sections being slower and single core is also due to the math being single core. I suspect the next two major areas to see multicore support will likely be Sections and Site Models, since they're two of the most obvious slowdowns due to core limits.

Navigation as of 2017 can now all be offloaded to the GPU when you have Navigation Graphics set to Best Performance (Best Compatibility dumps navigation all back onto the CPU like older versions did), but there have been issues encountered by many here that are the current engineering priority where objects seems to disappear and reappear randomly, or show up in different locations than they should which have come up in a number of posts. 

 

As for Phil's original question, I agree with the majority of the advice given above, the current Mac Pro is not good value for money for Vectorworks specifically, somewhat due to the second GPU in it that can't be utilized by Vectorworks but also in how long it has gone without a spec bump. Going from 4 cores to 8 in a newer iMac would increase rendering speed, but at the moment the iMac line is also in need of an update, so if you're sticking with Mac I would wait it out a bit and see when/if/how they refresh the rest of their hardware line now that they gave the MacBook Pro some attention.

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13 hours ago, Diamond said:

Regarding the demise of the Mac Pro market, not everyone is troubled…

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/thomas-grove-carter/one-professionals-look-at_b_12894856.html

 

It is true that most of the dissatisfaction is semantic.  The monitor "Pro" comes with some hefty expectations.  If they just called it the MacBook+ or MacBook-S - I doubt it would be getting the flack it is.  It has been true that if you use exclusively Apple products - the systems seem to outperform their paper specs.  The issue is that many pros need to use lots of non-apple software that is not so finely tuned.  

Their top of the line model starts at $2800 - and this comes with almost min specs for today's power users.  It does not seem like you are getting the power that is going to last you 3-4 years.    For the same price, you can get an EVGA with a faster processor, a Pascal 1070 with 8GB of dedicated GPU memory, 32GB memory and a butt load of useful ports - a machine that feels like it designed for professional.  


If you up the specs a little you are quickly at $3600.  For that price, you can get the new Razer Pro - which would just trounce it.  So in the end, you are not paying for a power machine - you are paying for the ecosystem and ID.  Which is fine - but professionals who are buying tools for their business - who are trying to get bang for the buck - are annoyed because this Pro machine is just slightly souped up consumer model - not designed for true power users.  

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5 minutes ago, rDesign said:

Here is a link to an interesting take on the MBP's 16GB RAM limit:

Can We Put the 16GB “Pro” Myth to Rest?

 

This is absolutely true for average computer usage, but unfortunately does not include professional usa cases where RAM is key, like CAD, Animation, Video editing and Rendering. For the average user of a Mac however, 16GB is fine. My concern comes because my users are far from the average case. (For things like Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop which are also heavy on hardware, they tend to use scratch disks/files, which take advantage of the beyond-reproach-astonishingly-fast SSD speed of the newer Mac models and do not require large RAM allotments.)

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9 minutes ago, rDesign said:

Here is a link to an interesting take on the MBP's 16GB RAM limit:

Can We Put the 16GB “Pro” Myth to Rest?

 
 
 

The real issue is not whether you can get by with 16GB of RAM today.  The question you have to ask yourself is are you going to be happy in 2 or 3 years.  If you are dropping that kind of money for a new machine - you have to be somewhat future looking - and 16GB is the absolute minimum anybody buying a new professional machine today should buy.  And people are right in being a little peeved that the absolute minimum is the only option available. 

 

Antidotally I feel like I run out of memory quite a bit on my 16GB iMac.

Edited by Tom Klaber

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What I take from this discussion is that, yes - of course - having more than 16GB RAM is better, but...

 

Since over 52% of VW's installed Mac user base are using MacBook Pros, then my feeling is that if Vw wants to respect the majority of its current Mac user base which cannot run more than 16GB, then Vw needs to be programmed as efficiently as it can regarding memory management.

 

(I realize that my comments are tangential to this thread being about Mac Pro - vs - iMac, but I thought they were topical relative to the 16GB RAM limitations discussion).

Edited by rDesign

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Oh I don't disagree at all with that, but users asked me how to make their life in Vectorworks better and the most immediate answer is to select hardware that will do the job. Also, I dislike the concept that we should focus effort on cramming Vectorworks into a tiny hardware limit on the Mac side what can fit easily into similarly priced or cheaper hardware on the Windows side.

 

If EVERYONE who made hardware was suddenly refusing to allow RAM upgrades then it would be imperative that RAM efficiency be a sole focus of ours, but looking through the lens of a company who sells to both Mac and Windows users, it can't appear any other way than Apple's design choices being the limiting factor.

 

At the end of the day, I recommend to users the hardware that best fits their needs on the day they ask me about it, and currently I have to push them towards Windows to get the best bang for their buck. I don't like having to do that, I believe people should be able to choose the OS they prefer. Windows and macOS both have distinctly different feels to them and are preferred by different personality types, regardless of the hardware. This may even be a stronger case for Apple to allow other hardware to run macOS if they aren't going to cater to all interested markets any longer in their hardware development.

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1 minute ago, rDesign said:

What I take from this discussion is that, yes - of course - having more than 16GB RAM is better, but...

 

Since over 52% of VW's installed Mac user base are using MacBook Pros, then my feeling is that if Vw wants to respect the majority of its current Mac user base which cannot run more than 16GB, then Vw needs to be programmed as efficiently as it can regarding memory management.

 

 

I don't know about that.  I think the software needs to do what the software needs to do.  Of course, it should be as efficient as possible, but I do not think VW should slow development or hobble itself just because Apple has moved away from producing equipment suitable for the industry.   

 

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I think you will find people will move on to something else to complain about. No doubt they are expensive. But between the trade-offs of portability, battery, and retina graphics, Apple thinks these provide the greatest blend of value to most people. And yes, whilst I would like to feel better by having the option of more RAM, I think the mix is generally right.

 

I am disappointed they have not updated their iMacs or Mac Pro though. If Apple had have released update iMacs and Mac Pros I think most of the negative comments would have be muted. But they are in a weird world with Intel chipsets, and what inputs those chips can provide (USB-C/Thunderbolt). In fact, everyone is. Microsofts Surface was delayed, if I remember rightly. By next year Intel will provide the low power chips they need that do have 32GB. That said, the Skylake debacle has been ongoing for a couple of years.

 

On 15/11/2016 at 3:51 AM, Tom Klaber said:

I don't know about that.  I think the software needs to do what the software needs to do.  Of course, it should be as efficient as possible, but I do not think VW should slow development or hobble itself just because Apple has moved away from producing equipment suitable for the industry.

Actually, in today's market I think you will find optimisation is everything. With CPU speeds topped out for the last 5 years, every app dev should be optimising the daylights out of everything.

  • Why have we seen much of the 3D viz industry move to video card based render? Because GPU speeds have been going up much faster than CPU. That will also top out in the not too distant future, and then all devs will be back to optimisation.
  • Why do we see so many cloud based BIM solutions? Because compute is cheaper in the cloud.

 

Each pro app is doing so much, it needs to be as efficient as possible. And if it doesn't, it will have it's lunch eaten by another who will. Have a look at Affinity Photo, and look at how much faster it is than Photoshop. And why is the iPhone so much faster on lower specs than most Android devices. Hardware specs are only part of the story.

 

 

Edited by Diamond
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