The Mac Pro isn’t dead. Although its last true appearance was back in late 2013, the iMac has gotten so powerful that it would have nearly deemed Apple’s most cylindrical computer irrelevant had the two not been fused to make the iMac Pro.
Revealed to the public at the San Jose Convention Center during the Cupertino company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2017, the aim of the iMac Pro is to modernize the performance of the Mac Pro by conjoining it with the cosmetics of Apple’s all-in-one iMac. Whether or not the iMac Pro has lived up to its lofty promises remains unclear, as our own review of the machine is pending.
What we will say is this: powered by your choice of either 8GB or 16GB of HMB2 AMD Vega graphics combined with up to an 18-core Intel Xeon processor, not to mention a new T2 coprocessor chip, the iMac Pro is evidently the most powerful Mac ever conceived.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Apple’s most powerful all-in-one desktop PC
- When is it out? Available to buy now
- What will it cost? $4,999 (£4,899, AU$7,299)
iMac Pro release date
When Apple first confirmed that new iMacs would arrive in 2017, specific details related to its arrival were naturally scarce. It wasn’t until early December 2017 that we would finally be informed of the iMac Pro release date.
Whereas the vanilla iMac was refreshed in June of last year, the iMac Pro came out a whole six months later, on December 14, 2017.
iMac Pro price
The most affordable iMac Pro configuration can be had for a kingly sum of $4,999 (about £3,870, AU$6,680), but at that lofty price point your money will net you a hardy all-in-one that includes a 27-inch 5K Retina display, an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, AMD Radeon Vega graphics, 32GB of error-correcting code (ECC) memory and a 1TB solid-state drive (SSD).
Of course, for those who don’t need that much power the consumer-grade iMac isn’t going anywhere and costs no differently than last gen.
That’s $1,099 (£1,049, AU$1,699) to start for the 21.5-inch iMac and $1,799 ($1,749, AU$2,799) for the 27-inch model to start. The iMac Retina 4K 21.5-inch model, however, has gone from a starting price of $1,499 to $1,299 (£1,249, AU$1,899).
iMac Pro design
The iMac Pro bears an uncanny resemblance to the 27-inch iMac in nearly every regard. In fact, its height, width and stand depth are exactly the same as the non-Pro variant at 20.3 inches (51.6cm), 25.6 inches (65.0cm) and 8 inches (20.3cm), respectively.
The only noticeable outward difference then is the Space Gray finish, exclusive to the iMac Pro. What’s more, out of the box you can plan on unwrapping a matching Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Keyboard, the latter of which ships complete with a full-size numeric keypad.
While the new iMac Pro features same all-aluminum, curved shell we’ve all known and loved since its introduction with the iMac 2017, Apple claims to have shaken up its internal cooling system to be 80% more efficient. That said, it’s suggested that Apple plans to introduce a major industrial design overhaul for its all-in-one iMac brand in 2018.
This refresh could include a black finish and “more glass” in addition to the revival of the light-up Apple logo in the form of a micro-LED panel. It may even bring dynamic audio technology that adjusts the Mac’s speaker volume based on where you’re sitting relative to the display.
iMac Pro Specs
Apple was expected to put an Intel Xeon chip inside its all-in-one, but we didn’t think the iMac Pro would come with anywhere between an 8- and an 18-core Intel Xeon processor. But perhaps what we expected even less was the inclusion of Apple’s own A10 Fusion chip dedicated to triggering the ‘Hey Siri’ command, even when the machine itself is powered off.
As we mentioned before, AMD Radeon Pro Vega graphics are also on the docket. Offering up to 11 teraflops of single precision and 22 teraflops of half precision compute power, you can anticipate the choice of a Vega 56 or a Vega 64 graphics processor featuring up to 16GB of HBM2 graphics memory.
Given that the iMac Pro doubles as a monitor, all of this hardy graphics power is bolstering a 27-inch, 5,120 x 2,880 display with a 60Hz refresh rate that’s 43% brighter than previous iMac displays at 500 nits. 10-bit dithering, on the other hand, makes it possible to render a billion colors on the screen at once.
On the top-end, this is backed up by 128GB of ECC memory, 4TB worth of 3Gbps SSDs, four Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) ports and a 10GB ethernet port. In case those aren’t enough, there are two pairs of USB 3.0 Type-A ports as well, for those not prepared to convert to the #donglelife.
The regular iMacs have also seen their own fair share of upgrades including updated 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake processors. Graphics-wise, the 21.5-inch iMac features Intel Iris graphics and AMD Radeon Pro 555 or 560 graphics with up to 4GB of VRAM on the 27-inch iMac. The 27-inch 5K iMac tops out with Radeon Pro 570, 575 and 580 graphics with 8GB of VRAM.
For the sake of comparison, the 2017 iMacs were also treated to twice the standard memory capacity for both the 21.5- and 27-inch model, with 32GB and 64GB of RAM, respectively. Apple also promised it has equipped its latest Fusion Drives 50% faster SSDs and the maximum capacity has been elevated to two terabytes.
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this report