New and shiny gear from Apple is always good looking and always sounding good on paper. We've seen lots of paid reviews on various products of theirs and lots of boring laboratory benchmarks showing soulless numbers we had to believe in. How about ditching all that and making a real-world test in workflows that demand a good amount of hardware resources? You guessed it: video processing. The guys from cinema5D got an iMac Pro and decided to see if it could get the work done better than what they already had.
I liked the approach Ollie Kenchington from cinema5D had when he did the review. He didn't run benchmarks of 29 different tests of routines he'd never practice. This makes the test "less scientific" though, but makes it real enough, so that we, as potential buyers, may know if this machine can get exactly what he purchased it for. The non-upgradeable configuration worth about $10,000 was:
- 27-inch, 10-bit, 500 nits brightness, wide color (P3), Retina 5K display (5120×2880)
- 3.0 GHz, 10-core Intel Xeon W processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.5 GHz
- 64 GB 2666 MHz DDR4 ECC memory
- 2 TB SSD
- Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 16 GB of HBM2 memory
A normal video workflow would be, at least, to scrub effortlessly back and forth through the timeline at full resolution of any non-compressed modern 4K, 6K, or 8K file format. Kenchington went a little further by trying to cut a 10-bit 50p 4K raw file from his Canon C200 to see if it would handle the process without any frame drops. He even bothered to export a current project of his on the new iMac Pro to see if it was actually better.
According to him, the machine had an impressive performance. It did not drop a single frame when working with Canon's raw file. Processing an 8K ProRes 422 HQ had a frame drop rate that hadn't been bothering him at all. The export was almost four times faster than the machines he used before. With that said, he seems happy with that purchase.
Read the full review on cinema5D.