Apple refreshes iMac: 6--8 core options, better graphics

The 21.5-inch iMac now has a 6-core, eighth-generation Intel CPU option—up from a maximum of four cores before. The 27-inch now has six cores as the standard configuration, with an optional upgrade to a 3.6GHz, 9th-gen, 8-core Intel Core i9 CPU that Apple claims will double performance over the previous 27-inch iMac. The base 27-inch model has a 3GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 CPU, with intermediate configurations at 3.1GHz and 3.7GHz (both Core i5).

The big news is arguably that both sizes now offer high-end, workstation-class Vega-graphics options for the first time. Apple added a similar upgrade option to the 15-inch MacBook Pro late last year.

In this case, the 21.6-inch iMac has an option for the 20-compute-unit version of Vega with 4GB of HBM2 video memory. That’s the same as the top-end 15-inch MacBook Pro option.

The 27-inch iMac can now be configured with the Radeon Pro Vega 48 with 8GB of HBM2. For reference, the much pricier iMac Pro has Vega 56 and Vega 64 options. Apple claims the Vega 48 will net a 50-percent performance improvement over the Radeon Pro 580, the previous top configuration.



Great! Just in time for my 40th anniversary Apple computer purchase this summer!

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Only caveat is it still has fusion drive as the stock option.

Interesting. The spec bump is welcome (the iMac was last reved in mid-2017), but it probably means we won’t be seeing a redesign incorporating the T2 chip and an iMac Pro style cooling setup anytime soon.

If you’re looking at buying one of these, I’m with @rebornrock, get the SSD option. I got the 1tb SSD on my 2017 and while it was spendy I do not regret it one bit.


The new 24" one comes with a regular hard drive as a default option!!

I purchased the 3Tb Fusion Drive option with my 27" iMac last year (I think it was a $300 option) and while I like its capaciousness I do sometimes wish I had an internal SSD. However, Apple only offers a 2Tb internal SSD option in the most expensive iMac, which starts at $2300, and they charge $1100 for that option. Not worth it for me.

I’m currently eyeing a Samsung external 2Tb SSD with USB 3.1 for $410 (a year ago it was over $700). Granted, it’s slower than an internal drive, but these externals are pretty damn speedy under USB 3.1, so given the current pricing I’m not sure I’d recommend a large internal Apple SSD.

Jason Snell has an interview with iMac product manager Colleen Novielli on the latest Upgrade. I’m only partway through it so far. Between this and Phil Schiller on ATP last week Apple seemed to be engaging more with the podcast community.


New iMac Pro options too: up to 256gb of RAM and a new Radeon Pro Vega 64X graphics card. They also dropped the price of some existing built-to-order upgrade options.

My company purchased for me a couple of those 2TB Samsung T5 SSDs. Very small and reliable devices that I use for Time Machine and Clone destinations. Highly recommended.

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A regular hard drive is a bit of a shame, but personally I’m glad there’s a Fusion drive option. My experience before was that it’s fine for normal tasks, for basic usage and it’s what I’d recommend to family members so they can store everything in one place with no hassle.

Personally, I’d pick a biggish SSD and external storage for media, but since there’s an option for that, there’s no issue.

Does anyone know the size of the SSDs in the 2019 Fusion Drives? If they were increased from 128 to around 256, I think they’d be ideal for a very large number of users (I’m pretending 32GB doesn’t exist!)

Based on the “How much storage is right for you?” link on the Customize page for the new iMacs, it’s still 32GB of SSD on the 1TB fusion drive models and 128GB on the 2 and 3TB models.

Thanks. Not being for sale yet in Thailand, I couldn’t get to that page and didn’t think to look at the US site.

Apple doesn’t talk about those specs; for that info wait for the inevitable teardown the day they’re released.

I suspect that the shrinking a few years back of the SSD component of the Fusion Drive came after Apple analyzed the Mac analytics for a few million machines and found that 128Gb was sufficient for most people most of the time. I’ve found the Fusion Drive to usually be pretty fast, except when launching rarely used apps. A couple of weeks ago I restarted from an external HD and was shocked by the overall slowdown in… everything.

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No FaceID/TouchID/T2… :cry:

I was hoping they would add that; now I’m in doubt whether I should wait longer…

Since we just got the spec bump, I doubt we’ll be getting an iMac redesign this year (and maybe not next year either). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see a fundamental redesign of the iMac until they’re ready to make the swithc to ARM.

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This is great news as I feel I need to get a new iMac before macOS 10.15 comes out. I may have to stick with Mojave for some time as I’ve got lots of 32-bit apps with no known path forward, and I might as well do it with a Mac that will be supported longer than the one I’m using now (1st gen 27" Retina iMac, 2014). Anxious to see benchmarks – will the new base model perform like the top-of-the-line 2014 I’m using now?

For drives, I’m tempted to go with a 512GB SSD plus an external 1TB ssd taped to the back. I’m currently sitting at nearly 1TB with my 1TB+128GB Fusion setup. But I probably need to move stuff off to my server.

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My fear as well…

Maybe wait for WWDC and see what the Mac Pro will be like?

(Especially its starting price…)

Well :poop:. I would have gotten 64GB for $400, but not for $800.

Yup. Rene Ritchie of iMore addressed this (and pretty much agreed) in his latest Vector podcast/videocast.

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I was shocked to see all base models had a classic HDD or a Fusion drive. I was even more shocked to see that the base 21 inch doesn’t have Retina!

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