Apple makes minor updates to both iMac and iMac Pro for 2019

If their was any doubt that the upcoming Apple Event was not going to feature hardware, this pretty much confirms it, alongside the random iPad updates, that’s before we get to the fact that we’re now hearing talk of an iPod touch release tomorrow. Apple have finally updated the iMac line, and, to be honest, they’re looking fairly decent, though we will admit we were expecting better bang for the buck on the iMac, though iMac Pro has very fair updates.

One thing that will let many down, however, is the lack of any design updates whatsoever. This really is a spec bump across the board, a welcome one, obviously, but no reduction in bezels, nothing.

iMac

Get this out of the way straight away, Apple need to get rid of the base iMac. Can you believe they still sell a 1080p 21.5 inch iMac and sell it for over £1,000, it’s insane … OK, rant over, let’s have a look;

21.5 inch 4K iMac

Apple typically give the best specs to the bigger machines, and it looks like this is no different, the new 21.5 has been updated, however only to the 8th generation of Intel processors, which is a bit disappointing, but still better than before. Apple have also upgraded the offerings for Graphics, though not the Cards themselves, making the more expensive to the lower configurations.

The base £1,249 configuration looks like this;

  • 3.6GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i3 Processor
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM (up to 32GB)
  • 1TB hard drive (ouch)
  • AMD Radeon Pro 555X with 2GB GDDR5 memory

Can we just say, including a hard drive is a joke, and it is pretty disappointing to see the same Graphics offerings on all 21.5 inch iMacs, but we digress.

Apple do, however, offer the first ever 6-Core 21.5 inch iMac in the higher £1,449 configuration;

  • 3.0GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5 Processor
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM (up to 32GB)
  • 1TB Fusion Drive (…better)
  • AMD Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB GDDR5 memory
MAXED OUT OPTIONS

Should you want to take the 21.5 inch iMac as far as it can goes, here’s how you can do it for £3,114;

  • 3.2GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5 Processor
  • 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 with 4GB of HBM2 memory
  • 1TB SSD

One thing Apple did add for the iMac update was the new AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 Graphics Card. Whilst it does offer the same 4GB of Graphics memory, this is AMD’s far more advanced HBM2 memory, meaning it’s far more efficient … though it is worth mentioning this has been in the MacBook Pro for nearly a year.

27 inch 5K iMac

The 27 inch configuration goes all out on the 6-Core Intel Core i5 Processor, however with one slight difference on the highest end configuration, which slightly bothers us. All the CPU configs we mentioned for the 21.5 are 8th generation, so not the latest, the same is true for the base and mid configurations of the following 27 inch iMac, ONLY THE HIGHEST configuration has the latest 9th generation processor, and that’s a bit rich.

The base £1,749 iMac looks like this;

  • 3.0GHz 6-Core 8th Gen Core i5
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1TB Fusion Drive
  • AMD Radeon Pro 570X with 4GB of GDDR5

Blink and you won’t tell difference between the second £1,949 mid-configuration

  • 3.1GHz 6-Core 8th Gen Core i5
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1TB Fusion Drive
  • AMD Radeon Pro 575X with 4GB of GDDR5

Then, we get to this, the 27 inch iMac configuration that feels 2019, the £2,249 configuration;

  • 3.7GHz 6-Core 9th Gen Core i5
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 2TB Fusion Drive
  • AMD Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB of GDDR5
MAXED OUT OPTIONS

This is pretty much, let’s just see how high the final configuration goes, as that’s the only one seriously worth looking at;

  • 3.6GHz 8-Core 9th Gen Core i9
  • 64GB DDR4 RAM
  • AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48 with 8GB of HBM2 memory
  • 2TB SSD

The important changes come in the form of an all-new Core i9 Configuration for an extra £360, and the new Vega 48 option for £405 more.

However, it is worth noting that configuration would cost you £4,904, and for that you might as well just go for the iMac Pro, as even with the 9th generation option, it’s a fast machine than this

Summary

The iMac update really is just a spec bump, and it’s not even a spec bump we’d honestly consider enough, but it’s a spec bump none the less, and it does bring 9th generation Intel CPUs to the Mac, as well as some more Vega options.

iMac Pro “spec options”

Starting at the same base price, (though oddly £100 less in UK, at £4,899), the iMac Pro now gives you a few more options to consider, such as 32GB of 2666MHz ECC RAM (upgradable to an insane 256GB) … that’s crazy, you can get RAM larger than most peoples Storage, and some new Graphics power.

Whilst externally, and what’s included, remain exactly the same, just how far you can push this thing, just get better;

RAM

The base RAM of the iMac Pro, is already more than enough for pretty much anyone, at 32GB, that’s before you consider that it’s fast 2666Mhz DDR4 ECC RAM, but that’s the base on the iMac Pro … what’s insane is how far you can go;

  • 32GB RAM (standard)
  • 64GB RAM (+£360)
  • 128GB RAM (+£1,800)
  • 256GB RAM (+£4,680)

256GB of RAM, on a iMac Pro is overkill, no questions about it, but so are Apple’s RAM prices, as usual. We highly recommend not upgrading through Apple, especially if you’re going that far, as third party RAM modules will be available soon for considerably less.

Graphics

This is one area we are rather disappointed with Apple on. Whilst AMD’s Vega Graphics Cards are decent, it’s disappointing that Apple weren’t able to pack the new Radeon VII Graphics in to the iMac Pro, considering how much close ties Apple have with AMD. Perhaps that’s being saved for the Mac Pro, who knows, just seems a shame. Though, we will happily take an updated take on the Vega 64 as an option with more power, just would have been nice;

  • AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8GB HBM2 memory* (standard)
  • AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 16GB HBM2 memory* (+£495)
  • AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64X with 16GB HBM2 memory (+£630)

*same Graphics options as previous generation iMac Pro

Summary

The iMac Pro is available right now from Apple’s Online Store, and we think it’s a very decent upgrade. We stand by what we said about AMD Radeon VII, but suppose that is still in the early stages, and we do expect that will be in the, mythical to some, upcoming Mac Pro.

 

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