But if it does not, here is the risk to Apple: The rumored 2018 six-core i7 iMac will probably use the i7-8700K which is six-cores and has a 4.7Ghz boost clock -- and Quick Sync. If by that time Apple has not figured out how to enable hardware acceleration for H264 on the iMac Pro, the inevitable benchmarks comparing the 2018 top-spec iMac with the iMac Pro on H264 will not be pretty.
For what it's worth, I just built a i7-8700K (6core/3.7ghz) based Hackintosh with Radeon 580 graphics.
In my limited tests, I'm seeing kind of what Max is seeing with the iMac Pro - it seems to be using very little of it's available horsepower when exporting etc (judging by Activity Monitor at least). Maybe that will change when/if there's iMacs with the same processor... but wonder what the reason is for the iMac Pros?
Speculation is fun, but that's all it is. No one knows what Apple has in mind, honestly. Not something I'd base today's business decision on.
If you edit vacation video in HD, get a MacBook Air.
If you edit feature length projects in 4K+, get the iMac Pro configure for that.
I've got a 10-core, Vega 64 iMP and am already several days into editing my weekly TV shows and infomercials on it. All H.264 stuff, lots of graphics from Motion and such. I upgraded from an 8-core, D700, late 2013 MP. I'm super-mega impressed. It is already saving me time (which translates to more dollars per hour of work). VERY happy with my purchase.
Hackintosh, if that's your thing, rock on man. I don't have the time to deal with them. I have deadlines that forbid me from playing with the guts of my hardware weekly.
Now if the Motion development team would just get on the stick and get Motion optimized properly... but that's a discussion for another thread...
The problem I see in the choice is buying for today vs buying for the future.
Right now the iMac handles H.264 better than the iMac Pro.
The question is how fast with H.265 come into the professional market.
Currently if you're working in 4K and Sony's XAVC-L it would seem an iMac may be the better choice...
until you need to deliver more HEVC... until more camera manufactures start using HEVC variants to record in professional cameras.
If you consider a 3-5 year life span, today's iMac might be not be all that great for an increasing H.265 workflow in 24 months. The problem is compounded if Apple is not quick to revise hardware internals.
So two years from now you sell your iMac but the iMac Pro you buy in early 2020 might still be the late 2017 iMac Pro at the same price you would have paid for it today. Of course Apple could surprise us and offer CPU and GPU updated models. Then it's easy to simply jump when the need is there knowing they'll offer the best current technology at the time of purchase.
BTW if you're coming from a late 2013 Mac Pro, odds are both the iMac and iMac Pro handle H.264 better. The iMac Pro may be a better long term purchase since you'll also be ready for HEVC and whatever more demanding camera codecs come as well.
The problem I see in the choice is buying for today vs buying for the future.
You are of course correct, but it has always been like this no matter what kind of hardware you use on no matter what platform. Technology has always evolved, and today it evolves even faster than ever before. OTOH there is a bigger gap between new emerging technologies and the wide adoption of them.
Today, making purchase decisions is much easier because cost of operation is so much lower than 10 years ago and editing hard- and software have become commodities. Heck, I remember the linear days when I ran two post houses and I had to make long-term decisions about multiple systems that cost about 1000 x more each than anything you buy today. And that's not even very long ago.
Today you base your purchase decisions on what you currently make money with and you change whenever you feel it's needed. If you run a good business you will write off anything you buy in the first months of operation. So you can make a decent profit off your purchases for another year (or more) and when you feel you really need to upgrade for whatever reason, you can easily sell your stuff at a good price and get new gear. If you don't have the workload that allows you to do this, you probably won't need to always have the latest technology. Furthermore, Macs have a great reselling value.
So I wouldn't worry too much about buying for the future. It's a lot easier today than it has ever been.
The 2017 iMac model handles H.264 better than the 2017 iMac Pro? Across the board?
You're right, we don't really know that. Vincent Laforet posted some H264 transcoding numbers on a 10-core Vega 64 iMP and Max Yuryev posted some H264 encoding numbers on an 8-core Vega 56 iMP which looked slower than a top-spec 2017 iMac 27. But currently the 3rd party test data on this is very limited, and these tests are not definitive.
- Transcode 24 min 16 sec of DJI Phantom 4 Pro 4k/23.98 H264 content to to proxy in "under 8 min" on an iMac Pro
- Transcode that same material to 4k ProRes 422 in 7 min 56 sec on a iMP
- Transcode that same material to 4k ProRes 422 in 15 min 47 sec on a 2015 i7 iMac
I tested transcoding the same amount of Phantom 4 Pro 4k H264 content on my 2017 iMac 27 using FCPX 10.3.4, and it took:
- 5 min 51 sec to generate proxies from 24 min 20 sec of DJI Phantom 4 Pro 4k/29.97 H264: IOW 27% faster than Laforet's results on a 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro
- 15 min 21 sec to generate 4k ProRes 422 from 24 min 20 sec of DJI Phantom 4 Pro 4k/29.97 H264: IOW roughly 1/2 the speed of the 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro
So comparing Laforet's numbers to mine using similar material, his 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro was about 2x faster than my top-spec 2017 iMac 27 at transcoding 4k H264 to 4k ProRes.
Max Yuryev is a good tester and focuses on real-world issues. However the results to date are limited and his tests (as Ronny said) were on an 8-core Vega 56 iMP. Comparing Vincent Laforet's numbers to mine (however limited) indicate the 10-core Vega 64 iMP might be 2x faster at transcoding 4k H264 to ProRes than the super-speedy 2017 iMac.
Also, in the post production workflow there are other constraints besides transcoding perfromance. E.g, CPU and GPU performance on compute-intensive effects. Once the H264 content is transcoded to proxy (which is 1080p ProRes for 4k originals) FCPX is using a mostly ProRes workflow, anyway.
I have personally tested transcoding perfomance from 4k H264 to both proxy and 4k ProRes on the 12-core D700 nMP vs the top-spec 2017 iMac 27, and the iMac is about 2x faster than the nMP. If Laforet's and my numbers are accurate, the 10-core Vega 64 iMP may be 2x faster than the 2017 iMac, which would be about 4x faster than a 12-core D700 nMP at this task.
However this is very limited data and more tests are needed.
Let's also remember that not all H.264 is created equal. Every camera has it's own flavor and small tweaks. So absolute values are not really possible. You'd have to test H.264 from every camera made.
I tested with Red R3D files, simply to push the Macs to their limits. I also tested with H.264 transcodes I have to do daily./weekly for actual TV shows I edit. So I have "pushing the limits' testing, and "real world broadcast work" testing.
I've been editing TV shows the past few days in the iMac Pro and have been very impressed. This is work going out to broadcast stations, my actual workflow. So regardless of what theoretical findings anyone else comes up with, I have solid proof it will make my actual work, which pays my bills, faster and easier and smoother.
Except for Motion, which is very inconsistent on an iMP... but that's another thread...
It blocks so little it doesn't matter. The air vents on the specified compatible models have air vents all along the bottom from one end to the other. So there's plenty to work with. Looking at it now, I'd guess it would take 7 or 8 of these to block up the entire vent system on the bottom of the iMac Pro.
Plus, you attach it directly below the rear facing ports, so there's blockage to that area of the vent by design anyway.
...A smart design anyhow!
Better than any of those boxes, 'flying around' on the desk. And no DuctTape involved LOL
While I see people wanting USB ports on the front, in real life I'm not sure how that would work -- it is right above the keyboard, esp. on an iMP.
If you have typical bus-powered USB 3 portable drives -- which usually have short cables -- the drive would be laying on the keyboard. If you put on longer cables you'd have to bend them backwards and put the drive behind the iMac anyway. For long-term usage, e.g. USB-C/TB3 RAID array, you'd normally plug that in from behind.
The SD card would be nice -- assuming it supports UHS-II. A frequent problem for these add-on hubs is they don't fully support the full Apple spec. I have several docks and hubs for my 2016 MacBook Pro and *none* of them support the full DC current an iMac or MBP USB-A port will provide, thus portable drives which work on the computer will not necessarily work on the hub.
So whether it's a failure to support the Apple spec for USB-A DC current or a failure to support the full bandwidth of a UHS-II SD card slot, these manufacturers typically cut corners. They often produce a product that superficially looks good but their engineers did not do the hard work of providing full functionality.
I'm using it, it works, it is fantastic. The only drives I attach are small portable drives I use on the road. The back of an iMac is not always easy to get to. Mine is between other audio and video monitors, and is a royal PITA to have to turn it around to get to the ports just to plug in a portable drive for 5 minutes, or plug in a cable to connect my phone, tablet, charge trackpad, etc.
And I've never had a computer sitting so close and on top of my keyboard that it would be "on top" of it or in the way in any manner.
Nice theoreticals, but I'm actually using it, I know two others using this (or similar) devices, and we all love them. And it does not in FACT bother the temperature of the iMac Pro, according to iStat data I'm reading.
I'm using it, it works, it is fantastic....The back of an iMac is not always easy to get to. ...just to plug in a cable to connect my... tablet.... etc....
That's great if it works for you, just pointing out for users with that wide iMac Pro keyboard in the traditional position, it may explain why Apple didn't put ports on the front.
I also get tired of reaching behind my iMac but for all my Thunderbolt arrays I must do this anyway.
Many of these hubs (including the popular HyperDrive of which I have two) will power a single USB portable drive but when two drives are plugged in and seeking it exceeds the current limit and the entire hub will go off line. However it varies based on the drive brand and power consumption: www.hypershop.com/products/hyperdrive-hu...-13-and-15-2016-2017
Re charging an iPad, lots of hubs will not charge one at all or charge it slower because they don't adhere to Apple's USB 2.4A current profile. If this one will charge an iPad at full rate, that's great.
The full keyboard is wider, not deeper, and no cable to clutter things up. I've worked with hundreds of iMac users as a trainer and consultant for years and none ever lacked space between the iMac and the keyboard.