After two years, Apple dropped a surprise refresh of its 4K and 5K iMacs on us. Here’s what’s new, including top-end ninth-gen Core i9 CPUs.
Like a trail of breadcrumbs leading up to its event on March 25, to its all-in-one desktops on Tuesday, following the launch of on Monday.
You can expect a noticeable performance increase from the new components, if only because of the increase in processor cores and clock speeds on the Intel chips and the move to AMD’s updated last-generation or newest Vega-architecture graphics.
The base 21.5-inch, non-Retina model remains the same, sticking with its $1,099 (£1,049, AU$1,699) price tag.
We hope that these internal upgrades don’t preclude an iMac redesign this year, though. While the good news is these enhancements come without concomitant price increases, the bad news is that the system’s design was already getting old in 2017 and some of the core features, likeand , could stand some upgrades.
IMAC 2017 VS. IMAC 2019 SPECS
|iMac 21.5-inch 4K 2017||iMac 21.5-inch 4K 2019||iMac 27-inch 5K 2017||iMac 27-inch 5K 2019|
|Starting price (USD)||$1,299||$1,299||$1,799||$1,799|
|Starting price (GBP)||not available||£1,249||£1,749||£1,749|
|Starting price (AUD)||not available||AU$1,999||AU$2,699||AU$2,799|
|Display||21.5-inch, 4,096×2,304 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio||21.5-inch, 4,096×2,304 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio||27-inch, 5,120×2,880 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio||27-inch, 5,120×2,880 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio|
|Pixel density||219 ppi||219 ppi||218 ppi||218 ppi|
|Color gamut||8-bit DCI P3 (with FRC dithering to 10 bits)||8-bit DCI P3 (with FRC dithering to 10 bits)||8-bit DCI P3 (with FRC dithering to 10 bits)||8-bit DCI P3 (with FRC dithering to 10 bits)|
|Max brightness||500 nits||500 nits||500 nits||500 nits|
|Processor options||7th-gen Intel Core i5 dual core, i7 quad core||8th-gen Intel Core i3 quad core; i5 or i7 hexacore||7th-gen Intel Core i5 dual core, i5 quad core, i7 quad core||8th-gen Intel Core i5 hexacore; 9th-gen i9 hexacore, i9 octocore|
|Graphics||2GB AMD Radeon Pro 555 or 4GB Radeon Pro 560||2GB AMD Radeon Pro 555X, 4GB Radeon Pro 560X, 4GB Radeon Pro Vega 20||4GB AMD Radeon Pro 570, 575; 8GB Radeon Pro 580||4GB DDR4 AMD Radeon Pro 570X, 575X; 8GB HBM2 580X, Radeon Pro Vega 48|
|Storage||1TB 5,400 rpm HDD, 1TB Fusion drive, 256GB to 1TB SSD; SD card slot||1TB 5,400 rpm HDD, 1TB Fusion drive, 256GB to 1TB SSD; SD card slot||Up to 3TB Fusion drive or up to 2TB SSD; SD card slot||Up to 3TB Fusion drive or up to 2TB SSD; SD card slot|
|RAM||Up to 32GB 2,400MHz||Up to 32GB 2,666MHz DDR4||Up to 64GB 2,400MHz||Up to 64GB 2,666MHz DDR4|
|Networking||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2|
|USB 3.0 Type A||4||4||4||4|
|Additional monitors supported||1x 5K, 2x 4K UHD/Retina 4K||1x 5K, 2x 4K UHD/Retina 4K||1x 5K, 2x 4K UHD/Retina 4K||1x 5K, 2x 4K UHD/Retina 4K|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, headphone jack||Stereo speakers, headphone jack||Stereo speakers, headphone jack||Stereo speakers, headphone jack|
|Camera||FaceTime HD||FaceTime HD||FaceTime HD||FaceTime HD|
Notably, there don’t seem to be any more Core i7 options for the 27-inch model, probably because the core and clock-speed increases to the Core i5 serve to move it up to that performance class, though probably not the same performance level. Given the addition of another level of processors — the Core i9s have joined i3, i5 and i7 in Intel’s CPU lineup since 2017 — something had to go to maintain the pricing structure.
The new base 5K model moves from a dual-core seventh-gen Core i5 to a quad-core eighth-gen Core i3 model, but while the new Core i3s don’t support Turbo Boost like the old i5, performance seems to be the same.
Keep in mind that iMacs tend to deliver performance roughly equivalent to similarly configured. Like many all-in-one desktop manufacturers, Apple uses a lot of laptop parts because they have the same hot-components-in-a-small-space issues.
The i9 configurations, starting at $2,299, are definitely welcome for people who want some of the power of anbut hyperventilate at the $4,999 starting price. The top iMac configuration — the 3.6GHz base/5GHz boost version with 64GB RAM, a Radeon Pro Vega 48 and 2TB SSD — will run you $5,249, which is still cheaper than a similarly configured iMac Pro at $5,999.
By opting for the iMac instead of the Pro, you sacrifice aIntel Xeon processor, some GPU processing power (the Pro starts with a Vega 56), ECC memory and the higher-bandwidth networking, but it’s nice to see some powerful intermediate price and configuration options between mainstream consumer and workstation systems.
Speaking of which, the iMac Pro didn’t get updated, but that’s not surprising — there’s nothing to upgrade at the moment, since workstation parts are on a longer update cycle than consumer ones. There aren’t any Coffee Lake (eighth-gen) versions of the Xeon W CPUs, and AMD has onlybased on its latest 7-nanometer Zen architecture.