August 3, 2018 by
A year ago CEO Tim Cook reassured Apple employees and fans that the company had great desktops in the roadmap. The public accepted his words with a good pinch of salt though, because iMac and Mac Mini owners haven’t seen updates of hardware for a couple of years. The most optimistic experts were talking about an 8K stand-alone display but nobody expected the unbelievable iMac Pro.
Apple started to sense the upcoming dichotomy of the computer world: home entertainment vs.entirely professional workstations. The iMac of 2017 with a ‘Pro’ in its name is meant for professionals and is rigged as such.
This is the first ever desktop featuring the server rate CPU. The base model (we can’t really call it a ‘budget’ model since the starting price soars around US$4999) has an octa-core Intel Xeon aboard with the clock speed of up to 4.3 GHz! As usual, Apple ranges the desktop models by processor speed, storage volume and RAM volume. The two other iterations feature the 10-core, the 14-core or the 18-core correspondingly. The maxed out model is more likely to be the build-on-demand iteration of the iMac Pro and won’t be available in stores.
The formidable high performance processors are backed up with so far the greatest amount of memory ever installed in a desktop in its original form. Considering the fact that the memory in iMacs has always been the unupgradable one, Apple is very generous with it this time. It starts with 32 GB! The thirty two gigabytes of DDR4 RAM, with clock speed of 2666 MHz! Then follow the 64 GB and 128 GB models. This is a specific kind of memory called ECC RAM. ECC stands for Error Checking and Correcting. The memory is capable of finding and correcting its own errors. Such memory is also used on servers and considered to slow down a conventional PC performance. But as you already see, the iMac Pro 2018 is no ordinary desktop.
The storage starts with 1 TB of SSD and goes on up to 2 TB and 4 TB in the maxed out iteration. The good news is that the hard drive is upgradable.
While Intel supplies central processing units, it’s eternal competitor in chip-making AMD presented the video card for the iMac Pro. It’s AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 or AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64, up to 16 GB video memory. The AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 can render 86.4 GPixel per second, but the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 can process more shading units: 4,096 vs. 3,584.
No wonder that i

iMac Pro 2018

can process not just 4k, but 8k video! To emphasize the power of the new desktop Apple installed Final Cut Pro included with the computer. The iMac design remained the same, Pro or no Pro, it has the 27” 5K Retina Display on an elegantly curved stand. The color is a bit gloomy though - Space Gray. It is meant to emphasize the business-like nature of the desktop.The technical specifications of the display are the same. Resolution is 5120 × 2880, screen ratio 16:9, 60 Hertz refresh rate and P3 color gamut. The matrix is LED backlit ISP, made by Apple’s long time supplier Foxconn.
The internal hardware here is well ahead of its time, because even Samsung, the trailblazer of the OLED screen technologies cannot make an 8k display yet. So, the video card and the CPU just don’t have the job they were created for. Maybe in a couple of years the iMac Pro will be revised to get the 8k display but for now it’s handicapped with the good old 5K.
The iMac Pro 2017 is also Apple’s first ever desktop that is not going to have any copies. Usually, the Hackintoshes go cheaper than their ‘fruit’ counterparts, but now the carbon copy would cost twice or thrice as much as the iMac Pro. Again, there’s no info about the motherboard, and this part of any system is critical for the overall performance. We’ll have to wait till the iFixIt experts tear the desktop down. For now our guess is as good as anyone else's, but we think, the motherboard might be of an industrial scale as well.
As for the connectivity, there are no surprises or great breakthroughs here. The iMac Pro 2017 features four Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C type ports, four USB 3.0 ports and an SDXC Card slot with support for UHS-II as well as a headphone/digital audio output.
The machine can support 1GB to 10GB ethernet and internal 802.11a/b/g/n/ac. No always-on connectivity, no LTE support.This is where Qualcomm wins.On the other hand, the iMac Pro is obviously meant for video and XF editing, and such massive data cannot be transferred through LTE.
The Bluetooth version is standard 4.2, and the webcam is the good old FaceTime HD camera 1080p.
Obviously the new all-in-one desktop by Apple has no peers and this fact makes its debut far more exciting. We are looking forward to the first real hands-on reviews. Meanwhile, you can start getting rid of your obsolete devices and sell iMac in order to save some money.
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