Apple iMac gets serious spec boost for 2017

The iMac Retina 5K 27-inch will have a Radeon Pro 570, 575, or 580 and up to 8GB VRAM.

One of the keys to the iMac Pro's architecture is an 80 percent improvement in cooling capacity. Featuring a new, next-generation compute core and up to 16GB of on-package high-bandwidth memory (HBM2), iMac Pro with the Vega GPU delivers up to an incredible 11 Teraflops of single-precision compute power for real-time 3D rendering and immersive, high frame rate VR. The iMac Pro can also be maxed out with 128GB of ECC memory and a 4TB SSD drive, all cooled by a new dual centrifugal fan system that hopefully won't require you to wear headphones all day long while you work. In addition, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro "architected for pro customers who need the highest-end, high-throughput system in a modular design, as well as a new high-end pro display".

Apple kicked off WWDC 2017 with an opening keynote filled with announcements and updates.

The most important change to the iMac comes in the GPU department though.

Apple said the iMac Pro is scheduled to begin shipping in December, with prices starting at US$4,999 ($6,675).

iMacs, which hadn't been updated for two years, leading people to think the desktop computer is dead for Apple, were refreshed with better displays (10-bit colour), the latest Intel processors and the ability to take larger amounts of memory: up to 32 gigabytes for the 21.5-inch model, and 64 gigabytes for the 27-inch ones.

The 21.5-inch model can be configured up to 32GB of RAM, while the 27-inch can get up to 64 GB of RAM. Ternus has attached that the SSD storage options are now up to 50% faster, and iMac gets with Thunderbolt 3.

However, it's the GPU upgrades that are the most startling for a range that's often been ill-served in this area.

Apple's new iMacs have improved screens.

The iMac Pro features a 27-inch Retina 5K display that supports 1 billion colors, confirming previous rumors that the specification will return from the 2015 edition of the iMac. We got to see a badass Star Wars VR demo on the HTC Vive from Lucasfilm, ending off with a menacing encounter with the Empire and Darth Vader. The scenario wasn't a game per se, but using the Mac to develop a VR experience complete with wave after wave of TiE fighters and a light sabre swinging Darth Vader. The low-power Y-series chips the MacBook uses see the biggest performance boost from the Kaby Lake upgrade, and Apple has also added the refined butterfly switch keyboard introduced in the MacBook Pros a year ago.

Meanwhile the 13 inch and 15 inch versions of the MacBook Pro have also been updated.

  • Arturo Norris