The Intel 8-Core i9 3.6GHz processor is now the top CPU option for the iMac 27". It's the first time an 8-core CPU has been offered for the iMac. Plus faster 2666MHz DDR4 memory has been included.
Does this new CPU option bring the iMac 27" closer to the performance of the iMac Pro? Below are the best Geekbench CPU scores we recorded in our lab.
2019 iMac 27-inch with 3.6GHz 8-core Core i9: 34024 Multi-Core score
2017 iMac Pro with 3.2GHz 8-core Xeon W-2140B: 34127 Multi-Core score
NEW GPU OPTION
The top GPU option is now the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48. Plus the Pro 580 GPU is now deemed the Pro 580X. How much faster is the Pro Vega 48? TechPowerUp has published some low level metrics that give us a clue.
Pro 580X versus Pro Vega 48
Memory Bandwidth: 217 vs 402 GB/s or 85% faster
Pixel Rate: 38.40 vs 83.20 GPixels/s or 118% faster
Texture Rate: 172.8 vs 249.6 GTexels/s or 44% faster
32 bit Floating Point: 5.530 vs 7.987 TFLOPS or 44% faster
Shading Units: 2304 vs 3072 or 33% more
Compute Units: 36 vs 48 or 32% more
Depending on how the metrics translate to real world GPU intense actions, the Pro Vega 48 should be 32% to 118% faster than the Pro 580X.
ADDENDUM: The Geekbench GPU Compute scores below for the Pro Vega 48 and Pro Vega 64 were measured in our lab. The other scores were taken from the Geekbench Browser website.
2019 iMac 27-inch, Pro 580X = 129057
2019 iMac 27-inch, Pro Vega 48 = 139365
2017 iMac Pro, Pro Vega 56 = 162638
2017 iMac Pro, Pro Vega 64 = 172309
2019 iMac 27-inch, Pro 580X = 116880
2019 iMac 27-inch, Pro Vega 48 = 139283
2017 iMac Pro, Pro Vega 56 = 159551
2017 iMac Pro, Pro Vega 64 = 175049
Whether those gains are worth the $450 premium is for you to decide. If you are considering the top iMac 5K model (Core i9 CPU) with 32GB of RAM and 1TB SSD, the optional Pro Vega 48 would only add 12% to the overall cost ($3799 USD versus $4249 USD).
IS THE BEST NEW IMAC 5K A BARGAIN COMPARED TO THE ENTRY LEVEL IMAC PRO?
The iMac 27Ó with 8-core Core i9 CPU, 32GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and Pro Vega 48 GPU is priced at $4249 USD.
The iMac Pro with 8-core Xeon W-2140B CPU, 32GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and Pro Vega 56 GPU is priced at $4999 USD.
Is the iMac Pro worth $750 more? Maybe.
Keep in mind that with the iMac Pro you are getting a Xeon processor, ECC memory, four TB3 ports Ñ each pair on separate controllers (versus two ports on one controller), 10Gb Ethernet (versus 1Gb Ethernet). Other superior specs include support for 4 external 4K displays (versus 2), 1080p FaceTime (versus 720p), four microphones (versus one).
The memory is user serviceable on the iMac. Upgrading memory in the iMac Pro requires an appointment with an Apple Authorized Service Provider.
NOTE: As of April 17th, we were able run and post a series of benchmarks comparing the 2019 iMac 27-inch with Core-i9 CPU and Pro Vega 48 GPU to the 2017 iMac Pro with 8-core Xeon CPU and Pro Vega 64 GPU.
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