WWDC 2017: One Small Step for the iMac, One Giant Leap for the iMac Pro

Subject: General Tech | June 5, 2017 - 04:13 PM |
Tagged: wwdc, imac pro, imac, apple, all-in-one

In a product-packed WWDC keynote Monday afternoon, Apple announced significant hardware updates to its all-in-one iMac desktop line. After letting the product line go without updates since late 2015, Apple is finally bringing Kaby Lake to its standard iMac models and, as rumored, will be launching a new high-end "iMac Pro" model in December.

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The now "normal" line of iMacs received a range of expected feature updates, including USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 support, and new discrete GPU options from AMD.

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The 21.5-inch 4K iMacs will be configurable with Radeon Pro 555 and 560 GPUs with up to 4GB of VRAM, while those opting for the 27-inch 5K iMac will be able to choose from the Radeon Pro 570, 575, or 580 with up to 8GB of VRAM.

The Radeon Pro 580, coupled with software and API improvements coming as part of the next version of macOS, "High Sierra" (no, seriously), was specifically called out as being ready to power a new era of VR experiences and content creation on the Mac, thanks to Apple partnerships with Valve (Steam VR), Unity, and Epic (Unreal Engine 4).

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Other new features available on the iMac include higher official RAM limits (32GB for the 21.5-inch model and 64GB for the 27-inch), faster NVMe flash storage (up to 2TB capacities), two Thunderbolt 3 ports (which will support Apple's new external GPU initiative), and improved displays (higher maximum brightness, 10-bit dithering, and greater color reproduction).

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The starting price for the new iMacs ranges from $1,099 to $1,799 and they're available for order today at Apple's website.

iMac Pro

By far the more interesting Mac-related announcement from today's keynote is the new iMac Pro. Although it shares the same basic design as its "non-Pro" counterparts, it features an improved dual fan cooling system that Apple claims is able to accommodate much higher end hardware than has previously been available in an iMac.

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This includes Xeon CPUs ranging from 8 to 18 cores, up to 128GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory, up to 4TB of flash storage that Apple rates at a speed of 3GB/s, graphics options powered by AMD's upcoming Vega platform, and, to power it all, a 500 watt power supply.

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The new iMac Pro will also include four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports (compared to just two on the non-Pro models), as well as 10Gb Ethernet (NBase-T), making it not only the most powerful iMac, but also the most powerful Mac yet, as Apple continues to let its Mac Pro line languish in the midst of future promised updates.

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The iMac Pro's hardware is already quite pricey before you factor in Apple's 5K display, design, and "Apple Tax," so those familiar with the company won't be shocked to learn that this new flagship Mac will start at $5,000 when it launches this December.

Source: Apple

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June 6, 2017 | 12:08 AM - Posted by StephanS

imac pro... $5000 for the 8 core Xeon, $7000 for the 18 core ?

It seem Apple might be temped to use EPYC for the mac pro refresh.

June 6, 2017 | 12:34 AM - Posted by ayylmaos

5K VEGA btw

June 6, 2017 | 05:35 AM - Posted by Spunjji

It would be an odd choice as it would almost certainly imply a performance regression., and price sensitivity isn't really a thing in Apple-land.

June 6, 2017 | 01:41 AM - Posted by funandjam

Apple sure loves thunderbolt, and tbh, it really is good. Wouldn't this be a pretty big reason why Apple stays with Intel since it would be a pretty big expense and headache to get TB into the same system with an AMD CPU?

June 6, 2017 | 11:20 AM - Posted by fvbounty

Plus can you upgrade....I doubt it!

June 6, 2017 | 10:32 PM - Posted by razor512

For most workstation tasks, the Intel xeon chips are a bad choice. The low base clock, and poor performance in situations where you cannot utilize every core.

They should have offered some core i7 extreme options.

June 8, 2017 | 06:25 AM - Posted by Exascale

If its a real workstation that needs ECC DRAM, a Xeon is a must. But anything Apple isnt real anyway.

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