New iMac Pro Announcement – All In One Xenon and AMD Computing for the Creative – Specs and Opinion
Is it time to make the switch to Mac?
The new iMac Pro was announced at WWDC and it’s the fastest iMac yet. Of course it is, why wouldn’t it be? Dumbest thing I’ve ever wrote.
It’s configurable from 8 to 18 cores of Xenon goodness, mac of 128GB RAM, max 4TB of internal storage, and the new AMD Vega 56 or 64 GPUs . All packaged in the same iMac monitor from the previous generation.
As mentioned above, you have the choices of building with 8, 10, or 18 core Intel Xeon processors. I failed to confirm what exact processor they are planning to use. I’m just going to go out on a logical limb and assume it is the latest round of Intel goodness: Kaby Lake-X on the low end with the 8 core @ 4.3GHz base clock, and likely a Skylake-X for the big 18 core monster. (The consumer Core i9 Skylake-X 18 Core is projected to cost around $2000 and base clock has not been announced.)
Memory is configurable with 32, 64, or 128GB of DDR4 2666MHz with ECC. I’ve been doing builds for a long time and it really depends on your application, but ECC is just not necessary for most digital artists. It adds cost to the build and ECC memory is slower than non ECC. It is usually found in mission critical servers, and non-ECC modern RAM is very reliable. I’m being a nitpicker here.
The GPU – I will never be a fan of AMD GPUs solely because of the stranglehold Nvidia has on the market. I’d like to fight for the underdog but they just cannot offer the same compatibility and support as Nvdia with their near monopoly on the industry.
The iMac will use the newly announced Radeon Pro Vega cards. The Vega 56 and the Vega 64. The Vega 64 offers 22 TFLOPS of power 64 compute units, 400GB/S of memory and 16GB of stacked high bandwidth memory.
For the sake of basic comparison a Titan has a higher memory bandwidth at 480GB/S, and a lower TFLOPS at 11. But as AMD has shown time and time again, better specs don’t mean a better product. I am confident in AMD’s hardware – we just need the software companies on board.
I/O is pictured above and really only thing of note is the 10G Ethernet connector.
Overall, the iMac Pro is a solid offering and I’d say the only disappointment is the display. It’s the same non-HDR 5120×2880 retina display with P3 Colorspace support as previous generations had. They really need to offer an HDR display in the pro line (or an option to upgrade when speccing your build). HDR content is coming soon and not having one is a hinderance in the pro market from a video standpoint.
Is it Time to Make the Switch to Mac?
Is it time to make the switch to iMac? I’ve been waiting many years to say that ha ha..
Nah, not for me. These iMacs are for those who care as much about appearances as functionality. I’m a down and dirty guy, I want my machines to function and have the most powerful setup at the best price, aesthetics be damned. The iMacs look clean and elegant. Anyone who walks in the room and loves their iPhone will know the brand and be wowed as they tour your studio. So there is some value in that sense.
Interesting offering, but I’m much more excited to see what they offer later in 2018 with the new modular mac pro.