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Francois Levy

iMac advice for 2019

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We're getting ready for a new iMac purchase. The $200 processor upgrade seems an obvious choice (to a .2GHz quad-core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz), and of course we'll beef up the RAM. Is there a functional limit to RAM, or does 64-bit VW use as much RAM as is available? What about a drive upgrade? I don't hear good things about Fusion drives; I think for our purposes a 1TB SSD is adequate storage and real-world performance has always seemed much snappier with SSDs. Anyone have any advice on Fusion drives?

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I have had much better results with SSDs and PCIe SSDs than I did with Fusion drives, which were mostly a transitioning technology while SSD storage was so expensive, however even for Apple products it's now gotten much cheaper.

There is an upper limit on how much RAM CAN be used, but its something crazy like 128,000GB. For solely Vectorworks, I recommend 8GB at the very minimum with 16GB being comfortable. If you regularly open very large files or multiple large files at once, then going higher than 16GB is worth it. If you plan to use Vectorworks AND another heavy app like another CAD package, or photo/video editing software concurrently a lot of the time, go for higher than 16GB.

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31 minutes ago, Francois Levy said:

Anyone have any advice on Fusion drives?

 

Spinning disks are dead.

As long as you don't need to backup lots of 8k Videos.

 

I think SSDs are less sensitive, more reliable and a lot faster

of course. Fusion Drives are HDD-like slow for any file that does

not fit in the quite small SSD Cache.

I would never buy that today.

 

I would also go for a max i7,

unless you never RW Render at all.

 

As you can upgrade RAM of a (standard) iMac easily, I would not care

much now or buy RAM for Apple prices, instead on PC market or later

when needed.

 

And I would take the better GPU with more VRAM, if there are still options

for iMacs.

 

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I'm about to make the jump to a new iMac. I've been holding off since a new one is likely to be introduced soon (probably mid-October). Given that the high end MacBook Pros moved to six core processors and there's such a large gap between the top iMac and bottom iMac Pro I would expect a fair bump in the next iMac models. If you can afford to wait a little bit it might be worth it.

 

Kevin

 

 

Edited by Kevin McAllister

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also., I would recommend the best graphic card you can get on iMac, I have been using iMacs and Mac minis (which is essentially the same thing) and I always run into graphics card issue, while the processors and ram are fine the graphic card is the one that limited Mac useful life span.

 

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I would also vote for the best GPU as I said.

But at least nowadays there is the option to use an external GPU

if you run into limits in the future.

 

So, if someone prefers a mobile Macbook Pro,

I wouldn't mind much that its 580X 4GB GPU may be out of VW's

Min Specs in a future VW Version.

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1 minute ago, NickSolyom said:

Get the highest possible single core CPU speed. the 2d pan and zoom tools are still single core cpu based.

Pan and Zoom, (mostly as of 2018 but especially as of 2019,) are GPU based not CPU, so the CPU clock speed will not affect those operations even if you use the Best Compatibility performance option.

 

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Great news! I thought that wasn't the case

 

1 minute ago, Jim Wilson said:

Pan and Zoom, (mostly as of 2018 but especially as of 2019,) are GPU based not CPU, so the CPU clock speed will not affect those operations even if you use the Best Compatibility performance option.

 

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Get the maxed out CPU 4.2 GHz.

 

As a rule of thumb, ignore the turbo boost speeds that Apple markets because they thermal throttle all Mac's (including the CPU's in the iMac Pro).

 

BTW the 2018 iMac will probably be released in Oct/Nov, so it's a good time to evaluate VW 2019 and compare 2017/2018 iMacs to make an informed decision: https://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#Mac

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10 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:

As a rule of thumb, ignore the turbo boost speeds that Apple markets because they thermal throttle all Mac's (including the CPU's in the iMac Pro).

 

 

My experiences have also led me to agree with this entirely, the last Macs that I did not notice throttling on were the older, beloved "cheesegrater" Mac Pros from 2012 and prior. 

Edit: The closest modern Mac I've seen that did not suffer BADLY (but still suffered) from thermal throttle, was the iMac Pro I have here with the 8 core 3.2GHz Xeon W. It is advertised as having a turbo boost of 4.2, but it is only able to maintain 3.8 for a load under about 2 minutes before it drops to 3.6, this being with a manually overridden fan control that I have set to maximum for best possible performance. This is much less of a throttle than the other Macs in  the current range, especially the mobile options.

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10 minutes ago, Kevin McAllister said:

^ likely six cores..... since the iMac Pro starts at eight and and the new MacBook Pros have six.

 KM

 

Also hoping they solve the thermal issue and improve the GPU. Then again, I also believe Jackelopes are real and hope volumetric lighting is coming back to VW 2019.

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16 minutes ago, Jim Wilson said:

 

My experiences have also led me to agree with this entirely, the last Macs that I did not notice throttling on were the older, beloved "cheesegrater" Mac Pros from 2012 and prior. 

 

My 2012 5,1 cheesegrater felt just as fast as my 2017 iMac Pro when using VW 2017 and 2018 SP2. Same amount of spinning beach ball of death too. Sounds like that's about to change for the better though very soon. Maybe even tomorrow, right?

Edited by Mark Aceto

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1 hour ago, Jim Wilson said:

 

Edit: The closest modern Mac I've seen that did not suffer BADLY (but still suffered) from thermal throttle, was the iMac Pro I have here with the 8 core 3.2GHz Xeon W. It is advertised as having a turbo boost of 4.2, but it is only able to maintain 3.8 for a load under about 2 minutes before it drops to 3.6, this being with a manually overridden fan control that I have set to maximum for best possible performance. This is much less of a throttle than the other Macs in  the current range, especially the mobile options.

 

Apple downlocked that chipset to avoid thermal throttling. My 10-core 3.0GHz is 3.3 on a PC.

Edited by Mark Aceto
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On 9/8/2018 at 11:40 PM, zoomer said:

So, if someone prefers a mobile Macbook Pro,

I wouldn't mind much that its 580X 4GB GPU may be out of VW's

Min Specs in a future VW Version.

I recall seeing a comment by @jimw that the system requirements for Vectorworks will remain stable for the next [few] versions so that should increase the longevity of existing hardware - depending on OS compatibility and support too though. 

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