A long-awaited announcement on Mac updates finally came at the WWDC 2017 Keynote regarding Apple’s line of all-in-one iMacs as well as MacBooks. The iMacs have received significant improvements to their displays, speed and more.
4K and 5K options that exist have received upgrades that improve brightness with 500 mits that make the displays 43% brighter. For the first time, these displays will support 10 bit dithering producing up to one billion colors.
Need For Speed
The new iMacs have received faster processors. Specifically the 7 generation Intel Core “Kaby Lake” which provides higher base and turbo frequencies as well as 10-bit HEVC which is great when playing back high-quality video.
The 21.5 inch and the 27 inch iMacs are both getting a memory boost as well. The memory capacity for the 21.5 inch is now 32GB. The 27 inch iMac can go as high as 64GB of memory. This is twice the memory capacity of the earlier models.
Really Fast Storage
The new Fusion SSD drives are now standard on the 27 inch iMac. This Solid State Drive is up to 50% faster for drives up to 2TB.
An I/O Upgrade
The new iMacs are getting an I/O upgrade with two Thunderbolt 3 ports. This will allow you to connect a high-performance Raid array and a 5K display at the same time.
Next Generation Graphics
Apple has invested heavily in next-generation graphics technology not only on the software side with Metal 2 but on the hardware side as well. Mac updates for the entry level 21.5 iMac will include a boost in its GPU with Intel’s Iris Plus Graphics 640 that includes 64MB of eDRAM. This brings an 80% performance boost to graphics over the previous generation of the entry level iMac.
The next iMac in the line is the 21.5 inch iMac with the Retina 4K display. This model comes with the Radeon Pro 555 & 560 graphics GPU with up to 4GB of VRAM, This model is up to 3X faster than the previous generation.
The most popular iMac for Apple’s Pro customers is the iMac Retina 5K 27 inch. This one will receive Radeon Pro 570, 575, & 580 GPUs with up to 8GB of VRAM. It delivers up to 5.5 teraflops of graphics computing. For those who thought the Mac was not suited for VR content creation, think again.
VR Comes To Mac
The proof is in the demo at the WWDC 2017 Keynote by Industrial Light and Magic’s John Knoll. John is an Academy Award winning Visual Effects Artist and Chief Creative Officer at IL&M. He was joined by Lauren Ridge from Epic Games who stepped into the StarWars Universe in an immersive VR experience. Using Metal 2 and Epic’s Unreal Engine content can be created within the VR experience on the iMac. This graphically rich VR environment is enhanced with a cruiser and a squadron of Tie Fighters and a visit from Darth Vader. When the segment is played back it is done so at 90 frames per second. If you want to see this for yourself check out the demonstration in the WWDC 2017 Keynote about 40 minutes into the presentation. WOW.
So, in summary, these Mac updates have the best iMac displays ever, faster processors, higher memory capacity, super fast storage, Thunderbolt 3, and next generation graphics. The starting prices for these machines are $1099 for the entry level iMac 21.5 inch, $1299 for the iMac Retina 4K 21.5 inch, and $1799 for the iMac Retina 5K 27 inch. All of these iMacs are shipping now.
A new addition to the iMac family will take the top position since it is Apple’s approach to bringing workstation performance to the all-in-one design of the iMac. We were given a sneak peek of the iMac Pro and it is a bad ass computer. 5K Retina display of course, but this will be the most powerful Mac ever made. A new dual centrifugal fan cooling system with 80% more cooling capacity makes this possible. An 8 Core Xeon processor in addition to a 10 Core Xeon processor. and they are offering up to an 18 Core processor.
A new Radeon Vega Graphics architecture with a new GPU Core and high bandwidth on package memory. Will ship with unto 16GB of VRAM with over 400 GB of memory bandwidth. This configuration will provide up to 11 Teraflops of computing power or up to 22 Teraflops at half precision. computations. This kind of power is an advantage for machine learning development. This bad boy can be configured with up to 128GB of ECC memory and up to 4TB of 3GB per second SSD. Four Thunderbolt 3 ports, 10 Gb Ethernet. With additional displays, this iMac can drive up to 44 million pixels. There is a whole lot more in the monster computer that can be used for real-time 3D rendering, highly immersion VR, machine learning development, and super fast code compiling.
So what’s the value?
If you were to go out today and build one with comparable specs it would cost you about $7000. The starting configuration of the iMac Pro will cost you $4999. The iMac Pro will be available in December 2017. This is an incredible computer for pros that need speed and power. Apple has officially raised the bar.
That’s not all since the MacBook and MacBook Pro line is also getting the 7th generation Intel Core processor also known as “Kaby Lake”. They are also getting faster SSD and faster standard graphics on the MacBook Pro 15 Inch. The MacBook will start at $1299, the 13inch MacBook Pro is a better value and will also start at $1299. The MacBook Pro 13inch with Touch Bar will go for $1799 and the top of the line MacBook Pro 15-inch with Touch Bar will sell for $2399. All of these MacBooks are shipping now.
Apple has come through with some robust Mac updates to its line of computers. If you’re in the market for a new computer, now’s the time to check out these new Macs.