iMac Pro, Mac Pro 5,1 screen and keyboard on a table

iMac Vs Mac Pro Series: A Buyer’s Guide

So, by now, you’ve seen the results of our in-house testing for graphics cards price vs performance, as well as processor and storage comparisons, after we pitted the iMac Pro and the Mac Pro against each other.
To tidy up the series and give you, the user, something conclusive to take away, we’ve pieced together a handy buyer’s guide. It covers off all of the essentials that professional users are seeking when it comes to buying a new machine, whether that’s through “buy Apple refurbished” or with “Mac upgrades” in mind.

Just to recap, our buyer’s guide and price vs performance comparison refer to posts regarding the testing. Here are some of the main details to remember: 

What Did Our Tests Involve? 

Apple and a spectrum of colours

The Test Systems:


iMac Pro 1,1 (2018)  

3.2Ghz 8 Core
AMD Vega 64
1TB Flash SSD

Mac Pro 5,1 (2012)

3.46Ghz 12 Core

Below are the GPU units that were involved in our testing: 


  • AMD RX570
  • AMD RX580
  • AMD Vega64
  • Nvidia 1070
  • Nvidia 1080Ti
  • Nvidia 1080
  • Nvidia Titan X (P)
  • Nvidia 980Ti
  • Nvidia Titan Xp
  • Nvidia Titan X (M)
  • iMac Pro Vega64

We’ve broken down the guide into two price vs performance tables; the first to highlight performance when Final Cut is included and the second without. We felt this gives you the best outlook on what GPUs will work best for you and your needs when it comes to effective performance.

Including Final Cut

  1. AMD Vega64

The AMD Vega64 displayed absolutely astonishing performance and only fell slightly behind the iMac Pro’s GPU. When you take into consideration the price point of the Vega64, it definitely destroys a Final Cut Pro workflow.

  1. AMD RX580

The RX850 provides users with a great mid-range card option that’s also 16% faster than the RX570, and you get that much more performance for a mere £100 more. If it’s within your budget, then there’s simply no better option!

  1. AMD RX570

We’ve got the best entry level card on offer right here; The AMD RX570 is unquestionably the highest performance at its price point. Kudos!

  1. Nvidia 1080Ti

The 1080Ti is quite simply a far superior all round card. The only reason why you would choose this over the Vega is if you’re  looking to use other professional applications in addition to Final Cut Pro X, then this Nvidia option is well worth your consideration.

  1. Nvidia 1070

Similarly to the 1080Ti, if you use applications other than Final Cut then Nvidia’s 1070 is a great mid-range card. What’s more, it’s only 4% slower than the 1080 on average in pro apps. This means that you could spend budget elsewhere, which is a wonderful thing, right?

Excluding Final Cut Results (for users not using Final Cut)

  1. Nvidia 1080Ti

With its absolutely outstanding performance, there’s good reason why it’s Nvidia’s flagship model. It was a close first place as the price vs performance on the 1080Ti is about mid-table.

  1. Nvidia 1070

This card pops up as a phenomenal mid-range GPU that is also great value for money. The 1070 is happily our second-best card for price vs performance.

  1. AMD RX570

No questions – this card had to come third. Its performance can be a little bit lacklustre in certain applications, but as far as the price vs performance testing goes, is just incredible!

  1. AMD RX580

Take on board what we’ve just said about the RX570; now, if you happen to have the additional £100, it’s worth getting your hands on that bump up in performance that the RX570 brings. If your applications are more geared towards OpenCL, this is your best alternative to the formidable Nvidia 1070.

  1. Nvidia Titan Xp

Titan by name, Titan by nature! For users looking to get the absolute most out of their machine, the Titan Xp is it. We must admit that this card didn’t come out with great results in price vs performance. However, for a user who needs the best, you can run up to three of these with an expander chassis.
Finally, we’re going to give an impartial outlook on why you should buy either a Mac Pro 5,1 or an iMac Pro. It’s up to you to see what suits you best and go from there.
Here’s a lowdown on the complete benchmarking results:
Davinci GPU chart Geekbench GPU chart Luxmark GPU chart Unigine GPU chart two Unigine GPU chart

Why would you buy a Mac Pro 5,1 over an iMac Pro?

To start with, your workflow is graphics card-based rather than processor-based. Applications such as Davinci Resolve perform far better on the 5,1 due to a much higher GPU performance available.
If you think you might like to expand your system in the future, then the Mac Pro 5,1 is the one for you. Upgrading the processor and graphics card in the Mac Pro 5,1 at any time is possible, as well as adding additional HDDs and Flash SSDs.
Lastly, if you don’t have a cool £5000+ to spend, then you should be looking towards the Mac Pro 5,1. It can be configured to fit most users and budgets, and the beauty is that it can also be geared to your exact needs. As you can see from the results, the iMac Pro came in stone cold last when comparing price vs performance.

Why would you buy an iMac Pro over a Mac Pro 5,1?

One of the standout reasons why you’d choose an iMac Pro over a Mac Pro 5,1 is if your workflow would suit the iMac Pro all-in-one solution.
Another pretty solid reason for electing the iMac Pro is if the applications you use prefer a very high-performance processor. This is something that the iMac Pro can provide users and won’t hide away when you need it most!
If you need any more guidance on what system would suit you best, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Create Pro and we can help you to get the best system for you and your requirements.

If you would like to see the full results you can download them here!

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