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Recommendations for new Mac setup optimized for 3D graphics/TwinMotion

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Our firm staff all use MacBook Pros (useful working from home in COVID-19 times), and recently purchased maxed out 16" MacBook Pros for new staff, but are finding they don't perform well in TwinMotion and heavy rendering. So we're looking to purchase a desktop machine for the office that staff can connect to remotely to utilize its graphics power. The iMac Pro and Mac Pro are more than we want to spend, so looking at the 27" iMac 5K. The attached image includes the specs I'm looking at. Question for the group... should we spend the extra $400 for the 8-core i9 processor? Or extra $400 for 64GB RAM? Or extra $450 for Radeon. Pro Vega Graphics? We can maybe swing two of those if strongly recommended, but all three is pushing it. Appreciate any advice!
Laszlo Nagy
Community Admin
Community Admin
If it is graphic performance you are after, then in order of priority I would suggest:
1. the GPU upgrade
2. the RAM upgrade

The following table shows the Vega 48 is about 50% faster than the 580X:
If you run our of RAM, that can slow your computer down to a halt. 32 GB are a lot, but 64 GB is even better if you plan on using the computer for several years.
The processor is already pretty strong, so if you are not using it for CineRender, which uses the multi-core CPU, then I would say you will be just as fine with 6 cores, it would not make that much of a difference.
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AMD Ryzen9 5900X CPU, 64 GB RAM 3600 MHz, Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB, 500 GB NVMe SSD
2x28" (2560x1440), Windows 10 PRO ENG, Ac20-Ac27
Karl Ottenstein
I agree with Laszlo - TwinMotion uses the GPU exclusively, so extra cores won't do anything for you. The GPU upgrade is the least you should do.

For the RAM upgrade - I would not purchase from Apple. I've always upgraded my Mac memory with 3rd party memory (most Macs have soldered-in memory - but the 27" iMacs / iMac Pro and the Mac Pros have always had user-accessible slots). The back of the iMac has a small cover that pops off exposing the sockets to just plug in the new memory.

Since your screenshot shows dollars, I assume your in North America. For 10 years, I've used memory from OWC / without any issues in multiple machines. Assuming that this iMac has 2 sticks of 16 to give you the 32 GB ... you just need two more sticks to bring it to 64 GB. Current price on their web site is $150 ... vs the $400 from Apple. (If they've put 4 8GB sticks in the iMac at the factory, then you'd need to replace them all with 16 GB sticks... which is $299 vs $400.)

Since you can do the memory yourself, don't even bother until you find that the 32 GB is an issue - although if you only need the 2 sticks for $150, that's kind of a no-brainer. (Open Activity Monitor and look at the memory pressure while running your largest model.)
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AC 27 USA and earlier   •   macOS Ventura 13.6.7, MacBook Pro M2 Max 12CPU/30GPU cores, 32GB
Adam Roark
Came in to suggest the RAM be last priority too since it's one of the few (if only) things that can be upgraded after the fact... maybe in a year or two you can upgrade it with budgets.
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PC: 12th Gen i9 / 64GB DDR5 RAM / RTX 4090