We recently talked about some of our favorite hardware accessories to pair with Apple’s new iMac Pro all-in-one desktop. Today, we’ll discuss some of our favorite apps that provide benefits to iMac Pro users in various ways. Watch our latest edition of our Friday 5 video series for more details.
iMac Pro: The most powerful Mac ever
Having a surplus of processing cores is great for multithreaded applications, but it’s also a luxury for those who regularly use virtualization apps like VMWare Fusion and Parallels.
VMWare Fusion tends to be my go to application for creating virtualized Windows 10 instances on my Mac. It’s always performed well on lesser machines like the 5K iMac and MacBook Pro, but it usually requires a more balanced approach when assigning resources.
Four Windows 10 instances on iMac Pro
Even with the base model 8-core iMac Pro, you can be a bit more liberal with the way you assign CPU cores and RAM to your virtual Windows 10 machines. The iMac Pro makes it possible to run multiple virtual instances simultaneously without encroaching too much on macOS.
I’ve always been a fan of Bjango’s iStat Menus, the resource monitoring application that lives in the macOS menu bar. But because the iMac Pro has a wealth of available resources, I find that monitoring those resources is more engaging than before.
Monitoring CPU utilization with iStat Menus
With iStat Menus you can monitor CPU cores, clock frequency, and even enable hyper-threaded core monitoring. CPU-oriented monitoring tells just part of the story. iStat Menus lets you monitor GPU processing and memory, SSD performance, and network connectivity.
It really is the best way to keep an eye on your Mac’s vitals via a fun and highly customizable graphical interface.
The iMac Pro is an interesting specimen, although it may feature a wealth of processing cores, as you go up the line the base clock frequency is reduced. For example, the 8 core iMac Pro features a 3.2Ghz base clock, while the 18-core variant features a 2.3Ghz base clock.
Depending on the type of applications you regularly use, this could make a big difference when it comes to sustained performance. All of the machines feature health Turbo Boost frequencies, but the CPU isn’t able to maintain those speeds over long periods of time.
Monitoring CPU Frequency and other CPU-centric details
With this in mind, an app like Intel Power Gadget allows you to keep a close eye on both base clock and turbo frequencies. It also provides details on CPU temperature, utilization, and power usage. Intel Power Gadget is free, which makes it a must have app for closely monitoring and logging CPU performance. It’s also a prerequisite if you wish to monitor CPU frequency within iStat Menus.
Perhaps the most obvious entry on this list, Final Cut Pro X is largely seen as the primary beneficiary of the iMac Pro’s power. Due to its lack of Intel Quick Sync Video, the iMac Pro probably isn’t the best machine for casual editors who are looking to quickly export videos shot on an iPhone. For those of you working on bigger projects using high-bitrate high-resolution video, the iMac Pro can save you significant time with regard to general timeline navigation, rendering, and exports.
It’s also worth noting that, outside of the multi-core performance benefits, Final Cut Pro X heavily leans on the GPU as well. The Radeon Vega 56/64 GPUs can provide nice boosts for timeline playback performance.
Playing back 4K60 RAW video on the timeline
As good as Final Cut Pro X is, I still think there is a lot of room to grow when it comes to iMac Pro optimization. The app could learn a thing or two from ScreenFlow when it comes to utilizing multiple cores for common activities like exporting. I’m often surprised by how little the app takes advantage of all of the power available to it when using its built-in export options, or when using Compressor settings for export.
Another app that heavily benefits from the iMac Pro’s multicore CPU is ScreenFlow 7. As my go-to screen-capture app, I’ve definitely noticed an decrease in export times when compared to running the same app on my 5K iMac with Intel’s Core i7 processor. Exporting high-quality screen-captures can be very time-consuming, but ScreenFlow developer Telestream has done a great job of optimizing its app to scale across multiple cores.
ScreenFlow 7 taking advantage of the iMac Pro’s power
The iMac Pro is still new, which means that app developers will need more time to optimize their apps for the hardware. Yet, the apps above already provide benefits to iMac Pro users in key ways.
What are some of your favorite apps for the Mac? Sound off down below in the comments with your thoughts.