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iMac Pro and ARCHICAD

Daniel Kovacs
Graphisoft Alumni
Graphisoft Alumni
Apple released its high-end desktop computer called the iMac Pro originally on December 14, 2017. New upgrade options added in March 2019. This model offers a significant performance boost over the standard line of iMacs. In this article we collected GRAPHISOFT product insights to help you identifying the key areas where an iMac Pro can deliver significant benefits for you.

In general

The most important improvements from our perspective are the better processors, bigger amounts of RAM and improved Graphics cards. These improvements make iMac Pro a good choice if you:
  • work on Large Scale Projects (more memory, faster processing)
  • render a lot with cineRender or Cinema4D (faster processing on more threads, more memory)
  • Multi-task a lot, with multiple instances of ARCHICAD running at the same time (faster processing on more threads, more memory)
You can find more details about what benefits each component offers you below.

Processor (CPU)

The iMac Pro comes with 4 different Intel Xeon CPU configurations: 8-cores (3.2 GHz), 10-cores (3.0 GHz), 14-cores (2.5 GHz), 18-cores (2.3 GHz). ARCHICAD uses the CPU for most operations (like Processing Elements, Generating 2D Views, Rendering). The higher number of processing cores (compared to the 4 cores of the current 5K iMac model) offers significantly higher processing power which allows faster 3D conversions and rendering, but the lower clock speed might bottleneck this performance gain in some single-core calculations. The more processing cores also allow for more efficient multitasking and background processing. Below you can see 2 examples of how the new iMac Pros stack up against the older Macs when opening 3D Views and rendering them in a big commercial project (4 146 703 polygons, 5.27 GB).

Memory (RAM)

The iMac Pro comes with/supports 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB of RAM. Having a lot of RAM is crucial for large projects. Bigger projects can easily consume gigabytes of RAM, especially if many Views are open simultaneously. Rendering can also use a significant amount of RAM. When rendering using the Cinerender Engine, the 3D model can be loaded into the RAM exclusively for the use of the engine. If you regularly render big projects with high polygon numbers, a lot of lights and grass, gigabytes can be consumed pretty rapidly. Rendering fly-throughs can multiply this. Having a lot of RAM also allows you to multi-task easier, and to have multiple projects open at the same time without significant slow-downs.

Video Card (GPU)

The iMac Pro offers Radeon Pro Vega 56/64/64X Graphics cards with 8GB/16GB VRAM respectively. These GPUs rank in the Top 10 list of best performing video cards at the time of writing this article (according to several benchmarking websites). The video card is mostly used when orbiting around the 3D model in the OpenGL 3D View, so big models with a high polygon count can speed up with these video cards. You can find out more about the supported Graphics cards here.

Storage (SSD)

Nowadays having an SSD in a computer instead of an HDD is standard, but the SSD in the iMac Pro offers even faster reading and writing than previous mac computers. This means ARCHICAD will open faster, and opening projects placed on the SSD (eg. when updating Hotlinks) will also be faster. The autosave feature also regularly saves project information on the Storage as well, so working in ARCHICAD can be faster in general. You can read more about SSDs and ARCHICAD here.

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