What do you get in a seven-grand desktop computer? We take a closer look at the new high-end Mac.
Apple’s new iMac Pro is finally available, but if you want one, be prepared to spend big. The entry-level iMac Pro with its 8-core Xeon processor, 32GB RAM, 1TB storage, 8GB Vega graphics card and 27-inch 5K display will set you back $7,299.
Who needs a seven-grand desktop computer, you might ask? Well, Apple's answer to that is professionals who really need the best possible performance. The press release boasts that 3D designers will be able to render models and scenes up to 3.4 times faster than with their previous best quad-core iMac. Similarly, developers will apparently be able to compile code up to 2.4 times as fast, while scientists can visualise data via simulations up to five times faster.
As well as design and other professional work, the new iMac is pitched as an ideal machine for virtual reality, which is now supported by Metal 2, the new version of the low-level graphics API in macOS High Sierra.
These are big claims and need to be fully tested, but we were pretty impressed when first set our eyes on the high-end machine and tried out the new iMac range in June.
The entry-level iMac Pro includes:
- 3.2GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon W processor
- 32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory
- 1TB PCIe-based NVMe solid state drive
- AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics with 8GB of HBM2 memory
- 27in Retina display with 5120 x 2880-pixel resolution and support for 1 billion colours
- Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, four additional USB 3 ports, 10GB Ethernet port and SDXC card slot
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity
- Magic Keyboard with numeric keypad, and Magic Mouse 2
- 1080p FaceTime HD camera.
However, $7,299 is a big ask – and that price can go up steeply if you want to bump up the specs:
- 3.0GHz 10-Core Xeon W processor adds $1,280, 2.5GHz 14-Core Xeon W adds $2,560 or 2.3GHz 18-Core Xeon W adds $3,840.
- 64GB of memory adds $1,280, or 128GB adds $3,840.
- Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics with 16GB of memory adds $960.
- A 2TB SSD adds $1,280, or 4TB SSD adds $4,480.
In particular, the storage for the entry-level model seems a datagraph light on at this price, and opting for an upgrade to 2TB jacks the total price up to $8,579.
Will it be money well spent for design professionals, developers and others who need a high-performance machine with all the mod cons? We’ll let you know once we’ve benchmarked and fully tested the iMac Pro.