Mere weeks after announcing a slew of software upgrades — including to the Mac — Apple is today introducing its new 27-inch iMac. And while not a total redesign, this announcement goes beyond tinkering with the software.
First and foremost, Apple has essentially Turbo Boosted the processor on this latest iMac, which is now powered by the latest 6-, 8- or 10-core 10th Gen Intel processors. Basically, that means that the iMac won’t buckle under pressure, no matter how intense your workload. That’s thanks to the fact that the 6-core CPU is Intel’s i5, while the 8-core gets boosted to an i7 and 10-core to an i9. And no matter your core choice, the 27-inch iMac is paired with 8GB of RAM standard, and all the processors can Turbo Boost.
Here are the new standard configurations, which come with a Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Keyboard 2 in the box:
- 27-Inch iMac: 3.1GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300 GPU With 4GB of RAM ($1,799; bhphotovideo.com or expercom.com)
- 27-Inch iMac: 3.3GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300 GPU With 4GB of RAM ($1,999; bhphotovideo.com or expercom.com)
- 27-Inch iMac: 3.8GHz 8-Core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and an AMD Radeon Pro 5500 XT GPU With 8GB of RAM ($2,299; bhphotovideo.com or expercom.com)
It’s a notable upgrade, as it’s the first time a 10-core CPU has been an option for a 27-inch iMac. And if you really want to blow benchmarks away, you can pair a 10-core Intel Core i9 with 128GB of RAM. That’s a long runway for video editing, a mountain of code and really endless tasks. Yes, it’s overkill for most, but if you want an iMac that can handle intense tasks, the 27-inch fits the bill.
Apple has combined those powerful CPU options with a refresh of the visuals. The AMD Radeon GPUs are here to power the visual, including the 5K 27-inch display. All configurations of the 27-inch iMac feature the Radeon Pro 5000 series GPU, just different models. The Radeon Pro should be able to handle video editing, photo editing, gaming and even intense graphical projects. AMD also doesn’t leave the GPU hanging on its own and pairs it with dedicated RAM. In fact, the base $1,799 configuration gets the Radeon Pro 5300 with 4GB of RAM. The theme here today seems to be upgradability, and you can boost the graphics with up to 16GB of dedicated RAM.
No matter the configuration you choose, an SSD or solid-state drive will be inside your 27-inch iMac. These deliver fast read and write speeds at up to 3.4GB per second. What does that mean? Well, you can quickly open files or applications, copy the information over from an external drive and even save 4K movie files. It’s a fast experience all around that compliments the CPU and GPU to get tasks done faster. The $1,799 base 27-inch features 256GB of internal storage, but you can upgrade to a massive 8TB. That is double the maximum capacity of the previous-gen 27-inch, and that upgrade costs a pretty penny at over $2,000. If you need that much storage, we’d suggest looking at an external drive.
A better display
The newest iMac comes with a 27-inch Retina 5K display with built-in True Tone technology. The latter will adjust the color temperature based on the room it’s in through sensors in the iMac. It’s a 5120 X 2880 resolution, which will be vibrant and detail-packed, ultimately leading to a more immersive experience for the user.
If you’re a creative, the 27-inch display packs support for the P3 wide color standard, gets super bright with 500 nites and contains 14.7 million pixels. This way you can edit in the industry standard of P3 and see a wide range of colors depicted in your work. And for $500, you can opt for a nano-texture glass (the same featured on Apple’s Pro Display XDR), which is an etching in the glass itself for low reflections and less glare while not sacrificing the display.
No more 720p webcam
Alongside a vibrant and large display, the 27-inch iMac is the first mac (laptop or desktop) to move beyond a 720p FaceTime HD camera. Yes, Apple is finally boosting it to 1080p resolution — so say goodbye to blurry FaceTime sessions. The webcam will work in tandem with the Image Signal Processor inside the T2 Security Chip for face detection and to properly capture the face. It all should add up to clear visuals, with Apple paying close attention to tone mapping, exposure control and face detection.
The speakers also get a boost from the T2 chip, alongside a new studio-quality microphone array for higher audio quality.
A good time to get a Mac
We’re eager to put the new 27-inch iMac to the test. But if you’re already sold, it’s available for order right now. The base $1,799 27-inch iMac features a 6-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300 with 4GB of RAM. You can of course choose to upgrade the internals, or opt for Apple’s $1,999 or $2,299 configurations.
And you might be wondering if now is a good time to upgrade to a new iMac after Apple announced the transition to Apple Silicon processors from Intel back at its annual developer’s conference. For starters, macOS Big Sur will support both Intel-powered and Apple Silicon-powered Macs. Apple aims to ship its first Silicon offerings by the year’s end. But we think for the masses, these upgrades to the 27-inch iMac deliver valuable speed improvements and are configured quite nicely. And as we said in our guide, early adopters might jump for Silicon, but it’s also a good time to take a step back and wait for possible kinks to be found.
This likely isn’t the most enticing update if you have the previous-gen iMac, but those in the market for an Apple all-in-one will find this pretty nice. SSDs, a better webcam and more processing power to get your tasks down are all welcomed. We’re eager to go hands-on, and we’ll report back when we do.
Updates to the 21.5-inch iMac and iMac Pro
Alongside the larger updates to the 27-inch iMac, Apple is rounding out the iMac line with some nice touches. The 21.5-inch iMac standard configurations now come with SSDs across the board. This should improve reliability along with task times. The high-end and space gray iMac Pro now come with a 10-core Intel Xeon processor standard, which should enable Pro workflows in a jiffy. A friendly reminder that the iMac Pro’s graphic performance can hit up to 22 teraflops with the right internals and it maxes out at 256GB of RAM.
The upgraded 21.5-inch iMac and iMac Pro are available for order now with shipments starting next week.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailers’ listed price at the time of publication.