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The New 2019 iMac 5K for Photographers

If you’re in the market for a new Mac, the 2019 iMac 5K is an imperfect choice, but a very nice move forward: Apple 2019 iMac 5K: Two Hits with One Big Miss. The iMac Pro is bumped up slightly and for heavy duty use it might be a better choice.

I offer consulting for system decisions, configuration, backup, etc.

2019 iMac 5K

David Cwrites:

You know about eGPUs (and similar) things, right?

It seems to me having only a single thunderbolt 3 bus is a handicap if you plan to run external storage, e.g. SSDs with an eGPU. maybe the render is so fast it doesn’t matter or maybe it’s fine with one gpu because you need only one data channel? the eGPU route does seem a way around a non-replaceable graphics card, but I don’t know if using one is generic or can only be whatever specific model(s) the OS supports, i.e. whatever apple deigns to allow. the mac mini has four thunderbolt 3 ports but I am unable to find out how many buses they run on. I guess two thunderbolt 3 ports on the same bus would be slower than on two separate buses, but that also assumes a single bus isn’t fast enough two handle two thunderbolt 3 devices at full speed. ignorance on display here…

DIGLLOYD: it’s a serious handicap to have only one bus; see Understanding Thunderbolt 3 Bandwidth. The 'hit' is severe if an external 5K or 4K display is used.

An eGPU is 100% useless for Photoshop and LR unless it is driving main screen — those programs use only one GPU, the one for the main display. Think iMac 5K, iMac Pro, all laptops — for all of these, unless the built-in display is secondary, the eGPU does nothing for Photoshop and LR — they won’t use it. I’m not sure it works even if the built-in display is the secondary display.

When testing the 2018 Mac mini, I discovered this issue (Adobe states the limitation clearly, somewhere maybe). The reason I did not post any eGPU benchmarks for the Mac mini is that I had trouble getting the eGPU to drive the screen reliably. So if the screen is driven by the built-in graphics, the eGPU is 100% useless for Photoshop and Lightroom — it goes unused.

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