Radeon Pro 580x or Radeon Pro Vega 48?

Radeon Pro 580X or Radeon Pro Vega 48

Radeon Pro 580x or Radeon Pro Vega 48?

On the flagship new 2019 iMac computers, we are given two options for video cards.  We can choose the stock Radeon Pro 580X or the Radeon Pro Vega 48. Which one is right for you?  Let’s discuss this in more detail.

For video editors using Final Cut Pro X

If you’re using Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) you might be aware how much the GPU affects the overall performance of Final Cut. Not only does having a faster and more CPU cores help. It helps a great deal.  The GPU is as much of a factor when it comes to the FCPX editing and rendering as the CPU.  One of the things a lot of PC users don’t seem to understand is how well optimized the Apple software is optimized to work with the hardware that is provided.

Radeon Pro 580X or Radeon Pro Vega 48
Radeon Pro 580X or Radeon Pro Vega 48

The Radeon Pro 580X

The Radeon Pro 580X is a slight upgrade from the 2017 iMac computers.  If you’re considering upgrading from a top spec 2017 iMac then I wouldn’t suggest getting this configuration.  If you’re upgrading from the 2015 iMac like I am then you’d notice a considerable difference in performance from the older 2015 models.  The Radeon Pro 580X comes stock with the computer so there’s no need to spend more money on the system which is pretty great.  Having a higher performance card over the prior generation of iMac’s is a great start.

Radeon Pro Vega 48

With power comes money! This is the motto of Apple.  The more you want or need the brutally more expensive it becomes.  The Radeon Pro Vega 48 is almost 50% higher performance than the top end 2017 580x.  At this time it’s hard to tell how much better it will be than the 2019 580X but most educated guesses estimate 30-40% increased performance.

If you’re doing a lot of intensive video editing then I would personally spend the extra for the Radeon Pro Vega 48.  I would also suggest going for this card if you’re an online content creator or someone who does a lot of video editing and rendering.  If you’re a casual video editor (now and then) the Radeon Pro Vega 48 will probably be overkill.

No doubt for a lot of us price is a huge consideration.  In Australia, the video card upgrade costs a pretty penny to say the least!

With the addition of the i9 and the Radeon Pro Vega 48, you have a video editing powerhouse that will rival the base iMac pro and that will also probably outperform it in many video editing tasks.


My suggestion for mac based gamers is simple. Get a PC… no, wait.  Actually, if you’re deciding on one or the other the choice is simple.  Get the Radeon Pro Vega 48 upgrade if you can afford it.  Being these systems are totally are not upgradable you want the best future-proofing you can get.  While there are many GPU’s I would take over the Radeon Pro 580X or Radeon Pro Vega 48 for a PC just opt for a higher-spec card.

Photoshop / Lightroom Users

Just stick to the Radeon Pro 580X.  Spend the extra money on the i9 and buying more ram (or an SSD) and you’ll be in business.  You won’t need the extra horsepower that the Pro Vega 58 will offer.

I hope this article has been helpful.  Please leave your comments below and any quality information will be added to the article.  I also wrote an article about the Fusion drive versus the SSD drives for video editing.

If you’re a casual computer user and just live within Google Chrome or Safari for example then you can just order the entry-level iMac and forget upgrading anything unless you do occasional gaming.