Here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s iMac Pro!
At WWDC 2017, Apple announced its first new professionally oriented desktop since 2013, the iMac Pro. Using the same basic design as the rest of the iMac lineup, the iMac Pro blows past its brethren with a massive boost in power, including Intel Xeon processors, AMD’s upcoming Vega graphics chips, a 5K Retina display, and much more. It won’t be out until December, but in the meantime: Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming iMac Pro.
Why do we need an iMac Pro?
Great question. In Apple’s mind, this sits in-between for folks who want the iMac’s all-in-one design along with powerful internal hardware. Not only will it theoretically fill a hole for graphics and video professionals, but the Mac’s increased processing and graphics power will also make this the first VR-capable Mac desktop.
The iMac Pro is also Apple’s first entry into its new line of professional desktop Macs: The company is planning on releasing a Mac Pro redesign as well in 2018-2019.
Who is this for?
Currently, Apple appears to be targeting this machine toward high-end professionals who need to do 4K video editing work, software development, and virtual reality development. In addition, it’s the first desktop Mac that will be able to support VR headsets out of the box.
How is the iMac Pro different than the iMac or Mac Pro?
Apple is packing this computer full of professional-grade components: Intel Xeon Processors, AMD Vega graphics chips, more memory than an iMac’s ever seen, as well as faster storage.
In addition, if Pike’s Universum and the leaked iMac Pro’s firmware is to be believed, the computer will come with a Security Enclave Processor (SEP).
You know. Like the one that was added to the MacBook Pro’s with Touch Bar and Touch ID, but this time to (also?) support a new feature called Apple SecureBoot (for the SEP only?)…
The iMac Pro may eventually support – with a later firmware/seed update – a Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar and Touch ID – perhaps optionally – but I’m not saying Apple will. That is still a mystery. The fact that Device (ASOC) is missing in the currently available ACPI tables may hint to not.
Processors & graphics cards
While it hasn’t specified the exact models yet, Apple will offer 8-, 10-, and 18-core configurations for its Intel Xeon processors. Pike’s Universum theorizes (based on the leaked iMac firmware) that the computer may be using Purley Xeon chips, code-named “Basin Falls”:
The information on the Intel roadmap for Basin Falls, aka workstations with a single processor, points to a “Server Socket R” (the R4 socket). The top of the line Xeon’s (Platinum and Gold) use a LGA3647 (Server Socket P) and supports six memory channels. The images of the open iMac Pro on Apple’s website show “only” four memory modules. As noted by a reader in the comments.
The filenames use both “Basin Falls” and “Purley” in them and thus suggest that Apple is in fact using Purley Xeon’s, but I don’t expect Apple to use Platinum or Gold Xeon’s. The latter are destined for scalable server grade hardware with 2, 4 or 8+ processors. In short. The iMac Pro may come with a Purley Xeon, but not one with a LGA3647 socket.
Apple has opted to use AMD’s new Vega graphics architecture in the iMac Pro. By default, the iMac Pro will come with a Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics processor with 8GB of HBM2 memory. You can bump this to a Vega 64 chip with 16GB of memory if you need the extra power.
These graphics chips can deliver up to 11 teraflops of single-precision computing power or 22 teraflops of half-precision.
Storage and memory
You’ll get a 1TB solid state drive in the base configuration of the iMac Pro, with options for 2TB and 4TB. The drives will have a maximum throughput of 3GB/s.
As for the RAM, Apple will utilize DDR4 Error-correcting code (ECC) memory, in configurations of 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB and with a speed of 2666MHz.
The iMac Pro comes with four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports; there are also four USB 3 type-A ports for legacy peripherals, along with a 10Gb Ethernet port, SDXC card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. (
The iMac Pro features a 27-inch 5K Retina display with a resolution of 5120×2880. It sports 500 nits brightness and, like its less-professional siblings, the P3 wide color space.
You can also connect up to four external displays to your iMac Pro (depending on the resolution of those screens) via Thunderbolt 3. For example: You can hook up four 4K UHD (3840×2160) displays, which will operate at 60Hz; four Cinematic or True 4K (4096×2304) displays, also running at 60Hz; or two external 5K displays running at 60Hz.
What else can you tell me about the iMac Pro?
All of the power in this machine creates a lot of heat, so Apple has created an all-new thermal architecture for the iMac Pro. It features dual blowers, extra venting, and a huge heatsink array.
Are there color options?
Right now, Apple has only displayed iMac Pro in space gray, along with a matching keyboard and mouse. Other colors may show themselves as we get closer to launch.
When will these machines ship?
While Apple showed off the iMac Pro for the first time during the WWDC 2017 keynote, the machines won’t actually start shipping until December 2017. We don’t have prices for most of the configurations just yet, but Apple says that the base configuration, an 8-core processor with 32GB of RAM, 1TB or storage, and an 8GB graphics processor will come in at $4999.
If you want to know more about the iMac Pro, be sure to let us know in the comments.
Updated August 28, 2017: The iMac Pro won’t be released at Apple’s September event, but there’s still a lot to read about while we wait for December to arrive.