iMac Pro review

iMac Pro review

As its name suggests, the iMac Pro is a strong, sleek and gorgeous all-in-one PC using the recognizable iMac form element. But don't judge this book by its cover -- the iMac Pro completely demolishes the iMac 2017, and also the newest iMac 2019, as a result of the overwhelming energy and features out there.

When Apple first showed off the iMac Pro, it created a few promises, stating that it is the strongest Mac ever created, and, well, it is. The iMac Pro is an incredibly powerful system, built for creatives and professionals. And, at least before the Mac Pro 2019 arrives, that'll probably stay true.

On the other hand, the iMac Pro is not just about electricity for its own sake. This really is a finely tuned machine, packed with beefy components that may work amazing things for your workflow. The iMac Pro is quite costly, there's no way to get around that, but if you shave some time off of each one of your projects, this highly effective all-around will pay for itself right away. Time is money, after all.

Price and availability

The iMac Pro might look like your normal iMac, however it is aimed completely at professionals, using workstation-level hardware that may easily cover far more than many people need for day to day computing, and having a price tag to match. But if you are a professional photographer, game designer or builder, then you'd look at the iMac Pro as more of an investment.

iMac Pro review

So, just how much can the iMac Pro go for? Well, as you would expect from a computer directed at professionals, the iMac Pro is highly configurable, therefore there is a variety in cost when creating the fantastic iMac Pro for the requirements of you and your business, in addition to your budget.

The research model of the iMac Pro prices $4,999 (£4,899, AU$7,299). With this cost, you get a 27-inch 5K Retina display, an 8-core Intel Xeon W processor, AMD Radeon Vega 56 (8GB) graphics, 32GB of error-correcting code (ECC) memory and a 1TB solid-state drive (SSD).

It's possible to purchase an iMac using a 10-core Xeon W CPU, 16GB of high-bandwidth memory (HBM2) AMD Vega 64 graphics and a whopping 2TB SSD. That model prices $7,999 (£7,599 and AU$9,539).

The top-end iMac Pro includes an 18-core Intel Xeon W processor, 128GB of RAM, 4TB of SSD storage along with the exact same AMD Radeon Vega 64 GPU for $13,199 (£12,279, AU$20,419). Of course, that's a massive investment, but you are getting a heck of a good deal of power too.

You may even tweak all of these configurations further, for example altering the SSD dimensions, adjusting the quantity of RAM or going to get a 14-core Intel Xeon processor, which will change the final cost of the device.

The specs and high prices alone will inform you whether the iMac Pro is right for you. If spending nearly as much as a brand new car in an iMac seems extravagant, then the iMac isn't for you. If you seldom use graphic-intensive programs, and also you would not know what to do using a GPU using 8GB -- let alone 16GB of HBM2 memory, then you should probably steer clear of the iMac Pro.

But if you are already invested in the Apple ecosystem, enjoy the all round design of the iMac and you want a pro-level workstation, the iMac Pro is the sole option -- a fully kitted out Mac Mini will not reach the exact same degree of electricity. The price will be warranted if you discover yourself hanging around while your present machine renders 3D graphics or compiles code spending this type of money to drastically cut downtime is a simple market for the right buyer.

In case you're looking for a bargain on the iMac Pro, Apple has started selling refurbished iMac Pros to get a strong 15% off the list price.

iMac Pro review

Design

Together with the absolute power behind the iMac Pro, particularly compared to the normal iMac, Apple has done a little bit of magic -- maintaining the look of the all-around machine. These impressive components can be found behind the 27-inch display, resulting in an attractive, minimalist machine that looks great in any office or studio.

The fact that Apple has retained the body as slim as it's can be testament to the effort, and careful design factors, involved with the invention of the iMac Pro. At the border, the iMac Pro is only 5mm (0.2 inches) thick, which means it does not hog a lot of space in your desk. Additionally, it comes in at only 0.7kg (21.38 lbs ), so you won't break your back moving it from desk to desk.

Possessing such strong components, which need more energy and therefore produce more heat, means that a competent cooling process is required -- particularly thinking about the slimline design of the iMac Pro. Thankfully, Apple's engineers have generated an impressive heating system for the iMac Pro, with double fans that help circulate cool air more than components, while expelling hot air.

This design effectively chilled the iMac Pro through our testing, which included viewing 4K HDR articles in Final Cut Pro X, while also keeping the fans more silent. Yeah, it is going to heat up under stress, but that's the entire purpose of the cooling system, and we're amazed with how quiet it was. You do not need any distracting fan noises as you work, particularly within an all-around PC that's right in front of your face, along with the iMac Pro does an excellent job of mitigating that.

iMac Pro review

According to Apple, the heating system solution, which comprises a high-capacity heat sink and additional venting on the rear of the device, permits for nearly 75% more airflow and an 80% rise in program thermal capacity. All the while, the iMac Pro uses 67% more electricity than a 27-inch iMac.

Thus, if you are a fan of the iconic look of prior iMacs, but need a device that offers a few significant hardware to professional use, then you are going to be quite happy with the iMac Pro. One especially noticeable gap with the iMac Pro's design, compared to routine iMacs, is that it comes from a fresh colour scheme: Space Gray.

As anticipated, the Space Gray iMac is just gorgeous, and also the added Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 come from the new colour, and are just beautiful.

Of course, as fine as the human body and peripherals are, the most important element, particularly for professional photographers, video or picture editors, is the display. The 27-inch 5K display is explained by Apple as its'best ever,' using 500 nits of brightness, a rise of 43% over previous iMacs' brightness. The 5,120 x 2,880 resolution is equally as impressive here as it's on high end iMacs, which also feature this resolution, and also the increase over conventional 4K resolution implies video editors may work on 4K video at full resolution while having room for their editing programs.

It's little details like that that flip the iMac Pro into such a compelling option for professionals, and also help boost your workflow by eliminating the necessity to input and depart full-screen mode if you are on a 4K -- or lower -- track.

Because the iMac Pro is designed for professionals, colour reproduction needs to be as precise as you can. This is vital for photographers, graphics artists and video editors, among others. The screen supports the P3 wide-gamut color distance, an RGB colour space that is commonly used in digital picture production. Should you work with electronic movie, then this support will likely be hugely welcome, even although not overly surprising. Apple iMacs have supported it because 2015, as does the iMac's rival: the Surface Studio all-in-one by Microsoft.

Even though P3 is broader than sRGB, it is not quite as broad as Adobe RGB. Thus, if you are relying on Adobe RGB -- for example, if you work in publishing and printing -- then you might be disappointed with the shortage of Adobe RGB support . For a lot of people, but the P3 colour space will be absolutely nice and a large improvement over sRGB.

On the bezel over the top of the screen resides the FaceTime camera like along with other iMacs, however there are a couple significant improvements . For a start, it could capture in 1080p resolution, whereas preceding FaceTime cameras on iMacs were 720p.

The increase in resolution is immediately apparent when using the iMac Pro for video calls. Therefore, for customer meetings, or chatting to work colleagues, this boost in video quality is greatly appreciated.

The webcam also features four microphones, compared to one one on the 5K iMac. This array of microphones helps remove background noise and, because they are placed at the top of the screen (rather than in the base with preceding iMacs), it does an excellent job of sound cancelling. Of course, when you work in very noisy environment, you will still need to use a headset to get the best possible sound quality, however, these improvements are extremely welcome.

While Apple has caught flack for restricting the ports in its own professional-oriented MacBook Pro, the iMac Pro suffers no such problems, using a good array of ports that will enable you to hook many peripherals into the device.

iMac Pro review

In the bottom of the rear of the iMac Pro, you get a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack, SDXC card slot, four full-size USB 3.0 ports, four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports along with a 10Gb Ethernet, which offers incredible network rates. The four USB 3.0 ports are welcome to get elderly, heritage, peripherals and devices, whereas the Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports support Thunderbolt devices up to 40Gbps data transports, and USB 3.1 devices.

The Thunderbolt 3 ports may also be used to connect more displays, for example two 5K outside displays at 60Hz, or four 4K UHD displays at 60Hz. Basically, you're pretty much set for ports, and we are pleased to see that Apple has not skimped here.

But although the slimline all-in-one design certainly looks impressive, it will imply that this can be a workstation you will not have the ability to open up, tinker with and update components yourself. This might not be a problem for many people nevertheless, if you would like to have an easily-upgradable device for future-proofing, then that will not be a device for you.

All in all, the design of the iMac Pro is what you would expect from Apple: gorgeously created, with a few genuinely innovative features and excellent professional-focused details that go some way to justifying the steep price tag.

Magic peripherals

The iMac Pro includes the Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Magic Mouse 2 and also, optionally, the Magic Trackpad 2 -- most of that arrive from the new (to the iMac range) Space Gray colour. Aside from the new colour, these peripherals must be quite comfortable.

We're happy to get the Magic Keyboard that has a numerical keypad, as that's a handy addition for composing up amounts. While we would not clarify the typing experience about the keyboard like'magical', despite its thin keys and shallow journey, it is comfortable enough to type on. But if you will do a great deal of writing, then you may discover a more immersive computer keyboard more comfortable.

In our opinion, the Magic Mouse 2 is a great deal more successful. Though the design has not changed (besides the colour ) because its introduction at 2015, many would assert that if it is not broken, do not fix it.

The mouse feels responsive and smooth in use, and handles nicely on a number of surfaces. If you are used to using Macs, then you will feel right at home, however again, for a few tasks you will probably find it wiser to plug into a technical pointing device.

There is some thing we do think is broken up with the Magic Mouse 2, and we'd love Apple to correct: the very fact that to control it , you have to plug the Lightning cable to the base of the mouse.

iMac Pro review

Not only is that a rather inelegant way to control, but in addition, it means you can not use the Magic Mouse 2 while recharging its battery life, a baffling design choice that we are frustrated with Apple for failing to rectify.

At length, the Magic Trackpad 2 is a fantastic peripheral having an edge-to-edge surface that allows you control the iMac Pro in an identical manner to some MacBook. Used together with the mouse and keyboard, it is quite a wonderful alternative way of scrolling through files and websites, and zooming in and out of photos (among other items ).

The absence of change using these peripherals will please anybody who is a fan of them, and frighten anyone who does not like themand was hoping to get something a little more unique for the iMac Pro. The new colour makes them look fantastic, it needs to be mentioned, and the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2 paired together with the iMac Pro when they had been switched on.

Oddly, the Magic Trackpad 2 did not pair automatically -- we needed to connect it to the iMac Pro through the added Lightning cable (that comes from black) before we can use it with the iMac Pro wirelessly.

Performance

The configuration delivered to us by Apple rocks a 3.0GHz 10-core Intel Xeon-W processor, 128GB of DDR4 RAM and a Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics card with 16GB of HBM2 memory. With these specs along with the large price tag, you would expect the iMac Pro to do as a monster -- andalso, it will.

MacOS High Sierra feels incredibly smooth and snappy, as a result of the 2TB SSD from the iMac Pro, along with the desktop looked amazing on the 27-inch display. Of course, you will not be purchasing an iMac Pro simply to stare at desktop background, or mess around in the operating system.

It is the way the system performs under extreme workloads that's important, and the iMac Pro is seriously impressive.

iMac Pro review

Apple has gone to great lengths to ensure it is crystal clear that the iMac Pro is designed for professionals along with the software they rely on. In our time together with the iMac Pro, we saw how well the system deals with a number of workloads and intensive professional software, and also the way the energy behind the machine may reevaluate your workflow.

The iMac Pro's performance when working with Final Cut Pro X is a superb example. As a result of the processor and graphics card inside the iMac Pro, editing big, high-resolution video files is created considerably quicker, as you are ready to edit, add effects, timer colours, add more to scenes and then watch your changes back immediately -- even at real time.

You won't ever have to await a preview of your changes to be rendered, possibly saving you hours on each project.

This computer is capable of on-the-fly editing of 360 video, where you are able to edit the footage whilst somebody else views the modifications on a connected HTC Vive virtual reality headset. This may not be an especially common use case, but it shows the strong multitasking flexibility of the iMac Pro -- and keep in mind, the one we have examined is not even the greatest specced version.

The remarkable Xeon processor also creates the iMac Pro a video transcoding monster. We used Handbrake to flip a 10-minute-long, 4K 60-frame-per-second (FPS) file into a 1080p 30FPs file, and it just took four minutes with all the standard settings. Again, should you end up sitting around and waiting for large video files to transcode, then the iMac Pro's capability to drastically reduce those times will create its cost seem warranted.

Another good example of the way the ability of the iMac Pro will help professional workflows is using the Twin, motion program, which is geared toward architects, permitting them to make virtual representations of their projected buildings. In addition to showing the buildings at high fidelity 3D graphics, the application uses physics, weather simulation and more to show what the last building will be similar to, enabling architects to present their strategies to their clientele.

All of this is fairly rough stuff, and about the iMac Pro it conducted impressively easily.

As you can see from our standard results, this iMac Pro model is surely a bit of a monster when it comes to power. By simply comparing the benchmark results against previous year's iMac -- using the Cinebench CPU benchmark score of 2,049cb compared to the iMac's 544, also Geekbench 4 multi-core score of 37,070 compared to the iMac's 13,363, it is possible to see exactly what a massive jump in performance the iMac Pro attracts.

The iMac Pro certainly has workstation-level performance. In case you've got a range of Mac applications you will need to get work, and you also want them to run faster than ever, then you may wish to think about the iMac Pro. Otherwise, you may wish to just stick with a typical iMac with mainstream components -- along with a more reasonable cost.

iMac Pro review

General assessment

In various ways, the iMac Pro is the pinnacle of Apple's computing department -- it is easily the most effective system the company has made, and it still keeps that irresistible slimline design and build quality that iMacs are famous for.

Now, of course, as a result of the high power (and cost ) displayed here, the iMac Pro is not aimed at the general user. For day-to-day tasks, as well as casual photo or video editing, the astounding power of the machine is overkill.

If you're in need of a workstation machine that packs plenty of electricity, but you are not overly fussed about looks -- and having the ability to open up, tinker and update the machine is vital for you -- then look elsewhere.

Likewise the deficiency of Adobe RGB support may create some professional musicians think twice. However, the P3 colour space ought to be more than good enough for most users.

However if you are a part of a business that uses extremely intricate and power-consuming software, then a fantastic workstation-grade device such as the iMac Pro is a no-brainer -- particularly one that attractive. For most professionals, that signifies the iMac Pro is a dream come true, and also the high cost is simple to justify.



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