$20,000 Mac Pro vs $3,000 PC
The new Mac Pro is EXPENSIVE. But is it worth it? How does it stack up against custom built PC’s with an Intel i9 9900K or with a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti?
Only one way to find out… SPEED TESTS!
Meet the Desktops
Our “Ryzen” 3900x build with its 2080 Ti graphics card is aimed toward multitasking and content creation, but is also extremely valuable for gaming. If you watch the original build video we made, we had a GTX 980, but it wasn’t cutting it for 4K to 8K rendering.
Approx. cost: $3,100.
Our Intel build has most of the same uses as the Ryzen build. Lots of Adobe Suite and multitasking, another build that could be used for gaming as the Radeon VII is still a great card. But its 16GB of fast HBM2 memory is particularly suited for content creation.
Approx. cost: $2,700
Mac Pro 2019
The 2019 Mac Pro has multiple variants and build types that (unlike the 2013 version) allows for a multitude of upgrades. It’s safe to say Apple is really leaning toward the Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C input types over the typical USB 3 inputs you see on most PCs. It’s fitted with a 16-Core Xeon W at 3.2 GHz, 96 gigs of 2933 Mhz DDR4, and a Radeon Pro Vega II Duo 32GB. That’s two cards in one with a total of 64 gigs of video memory.
Approx. (discounted) cost: $15,517
X570 Aorus Xtreme motherboard with 3 PCIe 4.0 slots, 6 SATA3 connectors, and a slew of USB 3 and USB-C inputs.
8-core, i9 9900k, 64 gigs of DDR4 3200. ASRock z390 Taichi motherboard with 3 PCI 3.0 slots, 6 SATA3 connectors, 7 USB 3.1 ports and 1 USB-C port.
Mac Pro (our build type):
8 PCIe card slots with 2 being taken up by the double-wide monster Radeon Vega Pro II Duo, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 8 thunderbolt 3 ports, and up to 8TB of internal SSD storage.
The Filmmaker’s Comparison
Waiting on a hefty export sucks. Especially during our busy season when Adam and Fitz have 6 or 7 projects on their plate. So, having a desktop that can quickly process a large amount of 8K RED and 4K Canon Raw footage is critical. We wanted to see which computer build would export data the fastest on both Adobe Premiere and DaVinci Resolve (the two editing softwares most used in our studio). The results fascinated us:
It’s pretty clear that the Ryzen build exports significantly faster than both the Intel and Mac Pro desktops when using Premiere. Open CL performed much faster in the Premiere test than Metal, which we were not expecting! We also discovered that DaVinci’s export time blows Premiere out of the water on all three build options. It’s crazy to see the difference in media playback speed and GPU utilization when comparing Davinci and Premiere, but we can save that conversation for another time.
The Benchmarking Comparison
While an editing software comparison is a great measurement for how well-equipped a computer handles intense workloads, it doesn’t fully push the components to their limits. And we wanted to test each computer at its max potential. So, with the help of two free benchmarking softwares (Geekbench and Cinebench) we measured the true power of each build.
Our scores on Geekbench didn’t surprise us. The i9 edged out the others with a single core score of 1321. However, it fell behind when utilizing multiple cores compared to the Ryzen build and 2019 Mac Pro. The Xeon W, while clocked lower than the Ryzen 9, has 4 additional cores to work with. The Xeon E5 in the 2013 Mac model shows its age here as well. It is also worth noting that Geekbench is only capable of using one GPU at a time, so the results from the computers with dual GPUs such as the two Mac Pro models should essentially be doubled for accuracy’s sake.
We now move to the compute test, which is essentially testing your system’s capabilities for gaming and image processing. It supports all API’s and so ran multiple tests when possible.
The Vega II Duo with a combined 64GBs of VRAM reigned supreme here, but the 2080 Ti and CUDA once again shows significant promise for being only one card and significantly less expensive. The Radeon VII in the Intel build couldn’t really hang. To put this GPU test into perspective, the difference between one FirePro D700 inside the 2013 Mac Pro and the Radeon VII is the same as the difference between the 2080 Ti and 2 Radeon Pro Vega’s using Metal, give or take a few points.
Considering that Apple is charging $5,600 to upgrade to a Radeon Pro Vega 2 Duo and a 2080 Ti is priced at $1,200… we think the new Mac Pro is in fact, a scam. Well, at least as far as wanting the fastest desktop goes. Despite the user-friendliness (is that a word?) of Apple products… the speed and price point of the 2080 Ti takes the cake.
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