Apple iMac Pro 18-Core Vs. 8-Core and 10-Core: Which Is the Best Configuration for Video Editing?

With the release of the iMac Pro, there has been tons of talk and plenty of reviews and comparisons versus Window computers and even older iMacs. If you're a video editor and made up your mind to go ahead on making the purchase of a new iMac Pro but unsure which processor configuration you should choose, this is the video for you.

Coming to you from Jonathan Morrison is a comparison video that puts the iMac Pro 18-core ($13,199) up against a 10-core ($9,599) and the base configuration 8-core ($4,999) variation to see how they handle under some 3D rendering and 4K video work. There is a pretty wide price gap between the different configurations. These prices are based on the configuration changes from Morrison's listed specifications; if you opt for both the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, added software, or any additional changes will result in a different price.

18-Core Specs: 

  • 18-Core 2.3 GHz
  • AMD VEGA 64 16 GB
  • 128 GB RAM
  • 4 TB SSD

10-Core Specs: 

  • 10-Core 3.0 GHz
  • AMD VEGA 64 16 GB
  • 128 GB RAM
  • 2 TB SSD

8-Core Specs: 

  • 8-Core 3.2 GHz
  • AMD VEGA 56 8 GB
  • 32 GB RAM
  • 1 TB SSD

The iMac Pro isn't for the faint of heart with the $5,000 starting price but these units are meant for working professionals over the average consumer. If you need a computer that is more of a studio workhorse that can handle 8K video editing without much of an issue, you might be looking at one of the different configurations Apple has to offer.

With that, I liked the fact that Morrison actually did some intense testing rather than just opening Adobe Photoshop and saving a photo for comparison to test which processor may work best for you and your budget. In this video, Morrison uses RED Cine-X, Cinema 4D, Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Media Encoder, and Adobe After Effects to compare rendering time between each setup.

If you are looking at getting one of the new iMac Pros, which processor configuration are you going to get?

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While the 18 core iMac obviously wins, I wonder if it wouldn't be more efficient to buy the 8 core model and a 32 core server which does all the heavy lifting for you (one 32 core Epyc CPU is around $2000-$3500, two 16 core CPUs <$1000 each). It's not only faster but let's you also work on other stuff while things are rendering.

Leigh Miller's picture

I'll wait for an update to my late 2013 MP...if it is the same disappointment as the iMac Pro it's likely gonna be my last Apple desktop. Since these are going along a 4 year lifespan to a new launch that's plenty of time to get my monies worth.

What are you disappointed in with the iMac Pro?

Leigh Miller's picture

Just read my comments on the PRIOR two or three articles written here recently...such fanboys.

William Howell's picture

No way, not fanboys, it is the operating system!
Apple’s OS across the entire product line is better than anything in the market.
As for a all in one professional work horse, I like it, but it is a bit steep in price.

What's unique to OSX in your workflow? I've used both windows 10 and the latest version of OSX. OSX has more polish but they both run the same major software. Only difference is I can play high end video games and upgrade my computer easier with windows.

I built a rig with a i5 6500, 16gb ram, 960evo nvme ssd, gtx1070, I built it into a mini itx form factor and it looks awesome and preforms well. Also plays all the games I like well over 100fps on my 1440p monitor. The cool thing is I can upgrade it so easily, for about $184 (i5 8400) + ~$110 motherboard, so about $300 I can upgrade to a cutting edge 6 core processor. With a mac you would have to buy a whole new system.

If you're just editing large raw files (say a a7riii or medium format) you can build a PC that you can upgrade for less than $1000.

Photoshop, Lightroom, Capture One are on both windows and OSX. So is photo mechanic. The photoshop plugins i use: raya pro and portraiture are also on both platforms.

I'm a total apple fan boy too, I have more apple computers than PCs but I still use a PC as my main rig to edit photos and play games. I've been building computers since I was a little kid, no turning back now.

William Howell's picture

Hey, in Apple OSs they just mesh with each other. Now I have been a mac user since ’93 and to be frank I haven’t ever used a Windows computer.

My kids and sons-in-law use Windows and they tell me to try it, but I’m 54 and I don’t want to, not because of anything negative, its just because there’s only twenty-four hours in a day!

And I am able to practically edit my photos for free. Here is my routine: I upload to Image Capture, from there I export to a Finder folder called RAW. Then I use subfolders to organize by date and I name them. From there I export to Nikon’s free RAW converter Capture NX-D, I make global adjustment, if needed.
Ok then it is on to photoshop CS5, (I’m getting my money’s worth out of this purchase), do the heavy post.
And finally I save as TIFF and jpeg in a Finder folder called My Photoshop Stuff, in the same manner when I initially import the RAWs.

So after twenty some years of using the same OS I really know my way around it. But the main thing for me when it comes to Windows versus OSX, is the mac just seems much more polished and looks better, I can still see MS-DoS in Windows 10.

But they are both awesome systems, no doubt.