Video: Everything you need to know about Apple's iMac Pro in under 6 minutes

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2020
In our latest video, AppleInsider goes through every new detail, feature and rumored specification related to Apple's upcoming iMac Pro.





Ever since 2008, Apple has offered the Mac Pro as their top-of-the-line performance computer. It's been 4 years since the latest cylindrical Mac Pro was released, neglected because its controversial single-fan cooling system and restricted expandability went south with pros.

Apple has already confirmed a major refresh of the Mac Pro coming in 2018, but little is known about the next-generation desktop, which will likely require users to buy a display separately. If you want one as good as the recent 5K iMacs, it's going to cost upwards of $1,300 just for the screen alone.

Now comes Apple's brand new iMac Pro, due to release in December.




With technology advancing faster than ever before, Apple is finally able to equip an all-in-one iMac with some of the best computer components available, impressing with the ability to fit it in such a small, impressive design.

The most controversial piece of the equation with the iMac Pro is the price. Starting at $5,000 for the base model, it's definitely not cheap. But you need to remember that the iMac Pro is meant for the kind of user that actually needs that level of performance for 3D animations and rendering, VR content creation and video editing.

PCGamer.com decided to see if they could build a Windows PC comparable to the iMac Pro, and it came out to just under $4,700 just for the parts alone. Consumers looking to build an alternative PC would still have to build the whole computer by themselves and risk messing something up, or pay somebody to do it for them.

We've built many computers ourselves, and the process rarely goes without issues. There can be hours of troubleshooting and many cases of components arriving completely dead. And even then, it's still a Windows PC or Linux box, and not a Mac.

With the iMac Pro, everything should work exactly as intended, right out of the box, complete with macOS. And if it doesn't, Apple includes a one year warranty with some of the best support around.

Now let's move onto what makes the iMac Pro the beast that it is.

First off, the included display is one of the best available on the market. With a 5K resolution and P3 wide-color gamut, it's truly awe-inspiring.

This the first time an iMac will get a processor with more than 4 cores. In fact, the base model comes with an 8-core Intel Xeon. You can even configure it up to an absolutely insane 18 cores, and this new Xeon line of processors can Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz.

Turbo Boost means that whenever thermal temperatures are down, the processor will actually overclock itself and push out more performance than rated.

To make sure the temperatures stay down, Apple completely redesigned the cooling system with innovative dual fans, a massive heatsink and extra venting. This results in almost 75 percent more airflow and an 80 percent increase in system thermal capacity. This lets the iMac Pro handle 500 watts of power -- 67 percent more than the previous iMac.

The iMac Pro gets a top-of-the-line Radeon Pro Vega GPU, which is over three times faster than any previous iMac GPU, with up to 11 teraflops of single precision performance and 16GB of HBM2 video memory that boasts 400GB/s data transfer speeds.

HBM2 is the latest tech in the video memory realm. It's still very expensive, and only a select few AMD video cards have adopted it.

The base iMac Pro comes with four times more RAM than the latest base iMac, and it boasts faster speeds as well. It's also special ECC RAM, which is short for error-correcting code memory, which works to stop errors and data loss. Also, for the first time ever, you can configure it up to a massive 128GB of RAM.

The base iMac Pro also comes with 1 terabyte of SSD Storage, and it's the fastest storage you can get your hands on, with 3,000MB/s speeds. For comparison, a regular SSD drive comes in at only around 500MB/s.

The previous iMac was able to get this 1-terabyte SSD, but for an extra $700 over the 1-terabyte fusion drive.

And for the first time ever, you can configure it to a 4-terabyte SSD on an iMac Pro.

Now let's talk about the ports.

The iMac Pro comes with four Thunderbolt 3 ports. That's double the amount of the previous iMac, which was able to either connect one 5K display, or two 4K displays on the side.

With the iMac Pro, you can now connect two 5K displays, or four 4K displays. You can even hook up two RAID storage systems alongside two connected 5K displays.

The iMac Pro also comes with a top-of-the-line 10-gigabit wired ethernet port, compared to the 1-gigabit ethernet port that came on previous Macs.

It also comes with an SD Card slot with UHS-II Support, which means triple the transfer speeds compared to the card slot that came in previous iMacs.

The FaceTime camera in the iMac Pro is also upgraded to 1080P Full HD, compared to 720P standard HD on previous iMacs.

The built-in stereo speakers have also been enhanced to deliver broad frequency response, rich bass and even more volume.

The iMac Pro is also getting four microphones, compared to just one on previous iMacs.

The iMac Pro marks the first iMac to come in a Space Gray color, and it includes the new Magic Keyboard with the numeric keypad, as well as your choice of either the Magic Mouse 2 or Magic Trackpad. Like the iMac itself, all come in the new Space Gray color.

Rumors have also sparked about the iMac Pro coming with a built-in A10 Fusion coprocessor. If this is true, then we can expect certain features like "Hey Siri," SecureBoot, and even potentially native iOS apps to come to the iMac Pro.

We'll be getting our hands on an iMac Pro as soon as it's available, and the first thing we'll do is compare it to our specced-out 2017 5k iMac. Make sure to hit subscribe right now so you don't miss it.

Let us know which features excite you the most about the upcoming iMac Pro in the comment section below.
watto_cobra
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    Exciting feature...

    Finally, a graphics card that I’m proud of, in a Mac....
    Only took my whole life, but they finally figured it out, caught up to windows...

    heheheh

    Captain, I’m giving her all I’ve got!
    propodGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 2 of 31
    jdwjdw Posts: 931member
    An SD card slot in a Mac labeled "Pro"... In 2017... Imagine that. :-) (I often get attacked in forums for daring to mention that the late 2016 and newer MacBook "Pros" lack this key feature, even though the 15" models have sufficient space for it.  Suffice it to say, I love my 2015 15" rMBP in part BECAUSE it has that important slot.)

    Hopefully the video card in the iMac Pro does not share the same design defect as cards of older iMacs. I've grown wearing of baking them back to life:

    edited November 2017
  • Reply 3 of 31
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,089administrator
    LordeHawk said:
    Exciting feature...

    Finally, a graphics card that I’m proud of, in a Mac....
    Only took my whole life, but they finally figured it out, caught up to windows...

    heheheh

    Captain, I’m giving her all I’ve got!
    The Rage 128 in the Blue and White G3 was state of the art, beastly hardware when it was released.
    LordeHawkStrangeDaysSoliGeorgeBMactipoowatto_cobraxzu
  • Reply 4 of 31
    jdw said:
    An SD card slot in a Mac labeled "Pro"... In 2017... Imagine that. :-) (I often get attacked in forums for daring to mention that the late 2016 and newer MacBook "Pros" lack this key feature, even though the 15" models have sufficient space for it.  Suffice it to say, I love my 2015 15" rMBP in part BECAUSE it has that important slot.)

    Hopefully the video card in the iMac Pro does not share the same design defect as cards of older iMacs. I've grown wearing of baking them back to life:

    Since when in a past couple years has Apple had issues with the graphics card in the iMac? You can't compare a 2009 iMac to today's. These are 2 totally different systems inside and out.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 31
    nchianchia Posts: 124member
    Why do you keep saying “previous” iMac?
  • Reply 6 of 31
    jdwjdw Posts: 931member
    macxpress said:
    jdw said:
    An SD card slot in a Mac labeled "Pro"... In 2017... Imagine that. :-) (I often get attacked in forums for daring to mention that the late 2016 and newer MacBook "Pros" lack this key feature, even though the 15" models have sufficient space for it.  Suffice it to say, I love my 2015 15" rMBP in part BECAUSE it has that important slot.)

    Hopefully the video card in the iMac Pro does not share the same design defect as cards of older iMacs. I've grown wearing of baking them back to life:

    Since when in a past couple years has Apple had issues with the graphics card in the iMac? You can't compare a 2009 iMac to today's. These are 2 totally different systems inside and out.
    iMac model years from 2009 to about 2013 had video card issues, especially the 2009 and 2010 models.  Things changed with the 5K iMac, and I have the second gen 5K iMac at the office, purchased new in late 2015.  So far no problems, but it's only been 2 years.  My late 2009 iMac had no issues until just after my AppleCare expired, 3 years after purchase.  So once I've crossed the 3.5 year mark with my 2015 iMac at the office, then and only then will I be willing to join you and say, "yeah, from 2015 and later, the iMac seems to have the video card problem solved."  I hope it is true because the maxed out 5K iMac I use now really is a great machine (unlike the new rMBPs which lack an SD card slot).
  • Reply 7 of 31
    One rumor (based on Apple’s firmware code) I’ve seen that is not mentioned here is that it will have a “Find my iMac Pro” GPS security feature baked in. Or something about a SIM card. See Pike’s Universum.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 31
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,988member
    If you need power now the buy this now because the new iMac Pro isn't showing up until 2019.
    xzu
  • Reply 9 of 31
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,988member
    I wonder if this will come with a touchBar / touchId keyboard or of Apple is abandoning that stupid idea.
  • Reply 10 of 31
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,029member
    LordeHawk said:
    Finally, a graphics card that I’m proud of, in a Mac....
    Only took my whole life, but they finally figured it out, caught up to windows...
    Does that mean you're plopping down $5k+ for one?

    jdw said:
    An SD card slot in a Mac labeled "Pro"... In 2017... Imagine that. :-) (I often get attacked in forums for daring to mention that the late 2016 and newer MacBook "Pros" lack this key feature, even though the 15" models have sufficient space for it.  Suffice it to say, I love my 2015 15" rMBP in part BECAUSE it has that important slot.)
    Why would you assume that the delimiter is the Pro moniker and not the form factor?

    k2kw said:
    I wonder if this will come with a touchBar / touchId keyboard or of Apple is abandoning that stupid idea.
    1) If Apple didn't detail that the keyboard would come with the T1-chip chip, Touch Bar, and Touch ID, which also means a larger battery to power the display and possibly a better than Bluetooth connection for the video graphics data transfer, why assume that it'll be a surprise next month. It could be, but I don't know of any examples where Apple has released such a massive technical achievement without any announcement. That also seems very expensive to put into an external keyboard, for the reasons previously mentioned, so I wouldn't expect it to be included.

    2) Why would Apple abandon the T-series chip, Touch ID, and best thing to ever happen to the row of PF keys? The only thing I can see being replaced is eschewing Touch ID for Face ID, which would make it viable for the iMac since it wouldn't require sending secure login data over a wireless connection, but not for the Mac mini or Mac Pro unless Apple starts making their own displays again.
    watto_cobraStrangeDays
  • Reply 11 of 31
    Q: Can the iMac Pro handle intense workloads?

    While not typical, consider a 7x24 @ high CPU task.  Larger shops can farm tasks out to Linux farms but smaller ones like mine tend to distribute loads across development machines.  The cheese-grater Mac Pros remain excellent for this purpose with good internal cooling and easy upgradability (e.g. Mercury Accelsior).  The trash-can Mac Pros offer minor improvements in some areas but can be thermally limited -- for this reason the 2010 MPs are preferred.  The claim that the new iMac Pro can handle 500W is encouraging, but I remain skeptical that this workload can be sustained for several hours much less a day or more.

    I've got my fingers crossed.  I'd much prefer to upgrade the older MPs to iMPs rather than waiting a year or more for a mythical next-gen MP.


    tipoowatto_cobraxzufastasleep
  • Reply 12 of 31
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,029member
    Q: Can the iMac Pro handle intense workloads?

    While not typical, consider a 7x24 @ high CPU task.  Larger shops can farm tasks out to Linux farms but smaller ones like mine tend to distribute loads across development machines.  The cheese-grater Mac Pros remain excellent for this purpose with good internal cooling and easy upgradability (e.g. Mercury Accelsior).  The trash-can Mac Pros offer minor improvements in some areas but can be thermally limited -- for this reason the 2010 MPs are preferred.  The claim that the new iMac Pro can handle 500W is encouraging, but I remain skeptical that this workload can be sustained for several hours much less a day or more.

    I've got my fingers crossed.  I'd much prefer to upgrade the older MPs to iMPs rather than waiting a year or more for a mythical next-gen MP.
    1) "Intense" has no real meaning except to mean extreme as compared to something else. I could make cases for the the iMac Pro and the different style Mac Pros as being the best choice for various types of work. Even with an objectively slower machine, if you can buy multiple for the same price as the iMac Pro and have then do the work in parallel without the need for a built-in display then even that becomes a win for the older tech.

    2) It sounds like you may want to wait until 2018 to see what Apple brings to the table for the next Mac Pro… assuming you can wait that long. I have no idea when Apple will announce this next Mac Pro but their history seems to suggest a WWDC announcement with a release no sooner than several months after that. Hopefully that won't be the case, and hopefully they also restort back to a more configurable design—if not a tower—but I wouldn't get your hopes up about anything.
    watto_cobraStrangeDays
  • Reply 13 of 31
    Now put an easy-access panel in the back and I'll consider it! If a new Mac Pro comes out 2018 at least it will drive down the prices of the garbage can Macs and then I'll pick up a refurb one and use a 4k TV as a monitor. I don't need the latest greatest, but it is quite irritating how Apple paints thick lines between pro and consumer and abandons anything in the middle. $5k is too much for me.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,029member
    grifmx said:
    Now put an easy-access panel in the back and I'll consider it! If a new Mac Pro comes out 2018 at least it will drive down the prices of the garbage can Macs and then I'll pick up a refurb one and use a 4k TV as a monitor. I don't need the latest greatest, but it is quite irritating how Apple paints thick lines between pro and consumer and abandons anything in the middle. $5k is too much for me.
    Easy access in what regard? The 27" iMacs already have an access bay for RAM. Do you mean for getting to other components, like the GPU and CPU? I'm not sure that will happen because of how its designed and what typically can be updated in an iMac. The hinge for the stand needs to support the weight so I'm guessing that you'll have to go in through the display for anything other than RAM.

    Do any of the current iMacs use a socketed CPU or GPU? Is there any evidence that the iMac Pro will use a socketed CPU or GPU?
    watto_cobraStrangeDays
  • Reply 15 of 31
    entropysentropys Posts: 2,823member
    General maintenance or fixing or replacing parts, Soli, is why you would want to do that. Not as important in the days of SSD, but imacs still come with HDD. And things can go wrong, like the GPU issue.  I myself have had to take out and bake the GPU of my 2011 iMac like the above video, the second GPU after the first one died and was replaced in a recall. It cost me four hours of my time because Apple has actively made it harder to get out the GPU that it needs to be. For Apple to fix it I was quoted AUD$945 plus labour.  In a six year old machine.

    The best iMac in this regard was the 2005 G5 iMac.  Take the back of the case off and everything was carefully laid out and easy to access. I replaced the HDD twice, once because it was dead, once because I wanted bigger, a ten minute job.  At that time the philosophy promoted was user servicable. I believe Jobs said something like “the inside of our case is more beautiful than the outside of our competitors” . That philosophy didn’t last long, and Jobs moved on to spruking teh thin.
    edited November 2017 xzu
  • Reply 16 of 31
    entropysentropys Posts: 2,823member
    More questions for Appleinsider to answer:
    • In addition to your speculations, could a reason for the A10 be for specialised video codec encoding, as the Xeons don’t do HEVC?
    • how much do you think a fully optioned iMac Pro with all the fruit will cost?
    • for the one or two machines that do get bought fully tricked out, will the iMac Pro be personally delivered by Tim Cook, who then takes you out to lunch?
    • Will the heat from an eighteen core monster emanating from the screen crisp your eyebrows?
    I would like to see a video of that!
    edited November 2017 xzu
  • Reply 17 of 31
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,110member
    I will say the 1 year warranty starts to  look pretty silly at this range. 2 years should be the minimum and AppleCare should extend it to 4-5 for a 5K-17K machine, imagine the top end of that range out of warranty in just 3 years...Other workstation class machines definitely do offer 5 year warranties, if this wants to seriously play in that ball field with 18 core Xeons. With brute core count things don't go out of date that fast. 


    Eagerly awaiting testing though. That's a lot of wattage crammed in there, hoping the extra cooling cancels it out and it retains the 2017 iMacs pretty good faring against throttling, unlike the 2014 ones. 

    Also wish we could get non-Pro Vega in an iMac, wonder what happens to the main line next. 
    edited November 2017 dewmexzu
  • Reply 18 of 31
    Ever since 2008, Apple has offered the Mac Pro as their top-of-the-line performance computer.
    Actually... Mac Pro 1,1 was released 2006. The 3,1 Mac Pro was available in 2008.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 31
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,137member
    Soli said:
    grifmx said:
    Now put an easy-access panel in the back and I'll consider it! If a new Mac Pro comes out 2018 at least it will drive down the prices of the garbage can Macs and then I'll pick up a refurb one and use a 4k TV as a monitor. I don't need the latest greatest, but it is quite irritating how Apple paints thick lines between pro and consumer and abandons anything in the middle. $5k is too much for me.
    Easy access in what regard? The 27" iMacs already have an access bay for RAM. Do you mean for getting to other components, like the GPU and CPU? I'm not sure that will happen because of how its designed and what typically can be updated in an iMac. The hinge for the stand needs to support the weight so I'm guessing that you'll have to go in through the display for anything other than RAM.

    Do any of the current iMacs use a socketed CPU or GPU? Is there any evidence that the iMac Pro will use a socketed CPU or GPU?
    The iMac Pro doesn't have a RAM access slot like the regular 27" iMac does. What you buy is what you get. The RAM is not soldered in, but there isn't any access slots to change it out. So, my guess is, in order to upgrade the RAM later on you'd have to drop the LCD panel down and get to it as if you were repairing it. I suspect though, that anyone who will be willing to spend $5000 on this will just get as much RAM as they can afford. 
    watto_cobraSoliStrangeDaysxzu
  • Reply 20 of 31
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,029member
    macxpress said:
    Soli said:
    grifmx said:
    Now put an easy-access panel in the back and I'll consider it! If a new Mac Pro comes out 2018 at least it will drive down the prices of the garbage can Macs and then I'll pick up a refurb one and use a 4k TV as a monitor. I don't need the latest greatest, but it is quite irritating how Apple paints thick lines between pro and consumer and abandons anything in the middle. $5k is too much for me.
    Easy access in what regard? The 27" iMacs already have an access bay for RAM. Do you mean for getting to other components, like the GPU and CPU? I'm not sure that will happen because of how its designed and what typically can be updated in an iMac. The hinge for the stand needs to support the weight so I'm guessing that you'll have to go in through the display for anything other than RAM.

    Do any of the current iMacs use a socketed CPU or GPU? Is there any evidence that the iMac Pro will use a socketed CPU or GPU?
    The iMac Pro doesn't have a RAM access slot like the regular 27" iMac does. What you buy is what you get. The RAM is not soldered in, but there isn't any access slots to change it out. So, my guess is, in order to upgrade the RAM later on you'd have to drop the LCD panel down and get to it as if you were repairing it. I suspect though, that anyone who will be willing to spend $5000 on this will just get as much RAM as they can afford. 
    Has that been confirmed or is it just a guess based on the WWDC images? I can see how  the placement of RAM with the new airflow design may have made it impossible for engineers, but I'd also think that they'd surely try to make the RAM accessible if it was at all possible.

    edit: Finally getting desktop-grade RAM for the performance, capacity, and ECC, plus the airflow is going to cause plenty of bitching despite the clear benefits. It doesn't even look like you can access it from the front of the logic board once you remove the display.

    edit 2: If that's only 2 slots then that's going to be some pricey RAM. The cheapest Crucial sells 128 GiB (2x64 GiB) server RAM for is $1500.

    edited November 2017 philboogie
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