Friday, 15 December 2017 01:26

Apple launches iMac Pro, 'the most powerful Mac ever'

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iMac Pro. Launching today, It's the most powerful Mac in the world, to be beaten presumably only by a forthcoming Mac Pro due next year, but until then, iMac Pro is it.

Apple has finally released its iMac Pro, billed as "an entirely new product line designed for pro users who love the all-in-one-design of iMac and require workstation-class performance."

Promising Xeon processors up to 18 cores (with that most powerful model reportedly not available until early 2018), "up to 22 Teraflops of graphics performance, and a brilliant 27-inch Retina 5K display," Apple tells us its iMac Pro is "the fastest, most powerful Mac ever made."

Plenty of initial reviews out there have confirmed what Apple claimsL: that "iMac Pro delivers incredible compute power for real-time 3D rendering, immersive VR, intensive developer workflows, high megapixel photography, complex simulations, massive audio projects and real-time 4K and 8K video editing."

John Ternus, Apple’s VP of Hardware Engineering said: "iMac Pro combines the incredible design of the iMac with the most powerful workstation architecture we’ve ever built.

“iMac is the most popular desktop for our pro users due to its amazing display and elegant design, so we completely re-engineered it to deliver performance far beyond what anyone thought possible in an all-in-one.”

"Workstation-Class Performance in an iMac Design"

Apple says that "with next-generation processors, a stunning Retina 5K display, the most powerful graphics ever in a Mac, super-fast storage and advanced I/O, iMac Pro is designed to handle the most demanding pro workflows and is the first all-in-one built from the ground up to deliver true workstation-class performance."

It features an "all-new thermal architecture," and thus can deliver "up to 80% more cooling capacity in the same amazingly quiet, thin and seamless aluminium and glass enclosure customers know and love."

Proudly boasting that it is Still just 5mm at its edge, Apple says "iMac Pro comes in a stunning new space grey finish with a matching Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse and optional Magic Trackpad, and features the best Mac display ever, with 500 nits of brightness, a P3 wide colour gamut and support for over 1 billion colours, delivering an even more vivid and true-to-life viewing experience."

And that's not all - "iMac Pro also comes with four microphones with beamforming technology, a new 1080p FaceTime HD camera with enhanced low-light performance, and new speakers that are up to 50% louder."

Then there's "The Most Advanced Graphics Ever in a Mac"

We're told that, "featuring a next-generation compute core and up to 16GB of on-package high-bandwidth memory (HBM2), iMac Pro with the Vega GPU delivers up to an amazing 11 Teraflops of single-precision compute power for real-time 3D rendering and high frame rate VR. And for half-precision computation, ideal for machine learning, iMac Pro delivers up to an incredible 22 Teraflops of performance."

iMac Pro also "supports up to 4TB of SSD and up to 128GB of ECC memory, and with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, can connect up to two high-performance RAID arrays and two 5K displays at the same time."

And, "for the first time ever on a Mac, iMac Pro features 10Gb Ethernet for up to 10 times faster networking."

"Delivering Power to the Pro"

Apple says "iMac Pro takes Mac performance to a whole new level, even when compared to our fastest quad-core iMac."

Here are some examples: 

  • 3D designers can visualise huge 3D models and render scenes up to 3.4 times faster.
  • Developers can run multiple virtual machines and test environments, and compile code up to 2.4 times faster.
  • Scientists and researchers can manipulate massive data sets and complex simulations, visualising data up to 5 times faster.
  • Photographers can work with enormous files and perform image processing up to 4.1 times faster.
  • Music producers can bounce (export) massive multi-track projects up to 4.6 times faster and use up to 12.4 times as many real-time plug-ins.
  • Video editors can edit up to eight streams of 4K video, or edit 4.5K RED RAW video and 8K ProRes 4444 at full resolution in real time without rendering. The iMac Pro can also export HEVC video 3 times faster.

Then we get to "A New Level of Integration and Security"

Apple advises that "iMac Pro brings a new level of integration and security to the Mac with the T2 chip, Apple’s second-generation custom Mac silicon.

"By designing and integrating several new controllers — such as the System Management Controller, image signal processor, audio controller and SSD controller — T2 delivers new capabilities to the Mac like enhanced imaging processing for the FaceTime HD camera.

"T2 also enables a new level of security by including a secure enclave coprocessor that provides the foundation for new encrypted storage and secure boot capabilities. Dedicated AES hardware encrypts data on the SSD without affecting performance, while secure boot ensures that only trusted software loads at startup."

Now, as mentioned in my introductory paragraph, Apple notes that in addition to the new iMac Pro, it is "working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest performance, high-throughput system in a modular, upgradeable design, as well as a new high-end pro display."

That forthcoming Mac Pro will arrive sometime in 2018.

So, what about "Pricing and Availability"

Apple says "iMac Pro is available from 14 December 2017, starting at RRP A$7299 inc. GST."

More details can be found here

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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