Apple recently showcased a new prototype design of iMac at their developer’s conference WWDC 2017 that was going to be shipped later this year. The newer “iMac Pro” is aimed at those professionals who have demanding workflows and tasks assigned to them.
Why did Apple announce a newer reference design iMac Pro?
People might argue that the iMac had very good specs even back in the day, so why did Apple add so much spice to the configuration and even create a newer prototype based on its design?
The professional people particularly were disappointed with Apple failing to provide serious upgrades to their Mac lineup be it laptops or desktops. The widespread resentment was due to the fact that their workflows mostly depended on Apple’s own hardware and software. Even though Apple updated its software regularly, its hardware lineup didn’t receive that much attention.
What exactly are those demanding workflows?
The modern world of computing is currently being driven by AI, Machine Learning and different types of mixed realities such as VR(Virtual Reality), AR(Augmented Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality). The breathtaking scenes ranging from epic war scenes to the tiniest animation on screen require both patience and hardware on an epic scale. These things demand a workstation class Mac that far exceeds those in hardware department that Apple has made before.
Microsoft with their Surface lineup of devices and Google along with its Pixel devices and its recent strides in the field of Machine Learning and Cloud Computing has been putting tremendous pressure on Apple. The reference hardware design and software offerings from both these companies have too compelling for the average customer and OEMs alike. Creative professionals and artists alike have always held a special liking for Apple products since they have style, battery life and power in a different league of its own.
Apple’s Answer – The New iMac Pro:
The new iMac Pro is a reference prototype of a new workstation class Mac being designed by Apple that would be available later this year. The new iMac Pro is unlike anything that Apple has designed and manufactured before. With its industry leading design and jaw-dropping specs, it is one hell of a beast that is bound to turn heads around.
The new iMac has a bit of a bulge at the back unlike the iMac’s available until now. Apple states that this new design helps in better airflow throughout the system and hence results in overall system cooling as can be seen in the image below.
Apple products always had gorgeous displays and the iMac Pro is no exception. It comes with a 27-inch Retina 5K display with 500 nits of brightness. This translates to 14.7 million pixels that can display over a billion colors along with a DCI-P3 colour gamut helps bring life-like images.
iMac Pro’s base model comes with an 8 core Intel Xeon processor along with a 10 core and 18 core Intel Xeon variant as well. It contains 42 MB of cache memory. These processors have Hyperthreading support, i.e. 2 logical processors per physical core and Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz. All this translates to immense raw power that means the new iMac is no slouch when it comes to rendering video files, editing 4K video, real-time audio effects creation or compiling the next 5-star app without breaking a sweat.
iMac Pro comes with 32GB of 2666 MHz DDR4 memory in the base model with the option to upgrade it to a massive 128GB. Such a humongous amount of RAM means you will chew through the most demanding multi-tasking workflows with ease. One thing is for sure you will never fall short of memory again.
With up to 4TB of all flash storage in the new iMac Pro with a whopping 3GB/s throughput, secondary storage won’t bog down your system performance ever again unlike HDDs. This secondary storage setup is different than the ones Apple currently employs such as the hybrid flash-based storage where a minimum amount of faster flash memory is added to a large amount of HDD memory to improve its overall performance.
Apple has incorporated the next-gen AMD Radeon Pro Vega Graphics technology into its iMac Pro desktop. It comes with a 8/16 GB HBM2 (High Bandwidth Memory) having 400GB/s bandwidth that can handle the most demanding of tasks such as VR creation, etc. Also, the HBM2 memory is much faster than the current GDDR5X memory used in many current generation flagship graphic cards. This translates into 11 Teraflops of Single Precision Floating Point performance and 22 Teraflops of Half Precision Floating Point performance.
iMac Pro comes with a multitude of connectivity options as well something you’d expect from a workstation class iMac. It has 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports along with a UHS-II SDXC card slot as well. All this means you can connect 2 external 5K displays and the iMac would pump out a whopping 44 million pixels without breaking a sweat. Also, 2 RAID arrays can be connected at the same time to achieve data transfer rates of about 40 Gbps. The 10Gbps Ethernet also ensures that network file transfers don’t take an eternity to complete, also a first for an iMac.
It is unclear as to how many units of this product will be sold considering the starting point is $4999, yet we assume there are numerous die-hard Apple fans out there to buy this and test it just to see how it works. (Also in other news: CAN IT RUN CRYSIS?!?)