Apple has announced that sales of its previously announced iMac Pro all-in-one workstations will start on Thursday, December 14. On that day, the company is expected to make its new systems available at least in some retail locations as well as through its website. Initially, Apple is expected to release iMac Pro workstations with eight- and ten-core processors, whereas the higher-end models featuring CPUs with up to 18 cores will hit the market in early 2018.

Apple’s iMac Pro AIO workstations are aimed at professional users with demanding workloads, such as video editing, 3D animation, scientific research, software development, and other. To a large degree, the iMac Pro addresses the same crowd as the Mac Pro introduced four years ago (and never updated since then) and offers them to buy a 27” AIO featuring modern multi-core CPUs, up-to-date GPUs, loads of RAM, plenty of solid-state storage and advanced connectivity that includes four Thunderbolt 3 ports and one 10 GbE header. The company is still working on an all new desktop computer that will replace the Mac Pro sometimes in 2018, but for a while the new iMac Pro will be Apple’s most powerful PCs.

The Apple iMac Pro comes in aluminum space gray chassis and is outfitted with a 27” display panel with a 5120x2880 resolution, up to 500 nits brightness that supports the DCI-P3 color gamut and 10-bit spatial and temporal dithering (no word on HDR10 support though). Since many professional workloads require more than one monitors, Apple proposes to use two out of four Thunderbolt 3 ports to connect two additional 5K displays (such as LG’s UltraFine 5K launched a year ago).

Inside, the iMac Pro more resembles a high-end desktop rather than a AIO machine. The system is based on Intel’s Xeon W processors with eight, ten, 14 or 18 cores and up to 42 MB of L2+L3 cache. The 14-core iMac Pro was not a part of Apple’s original announcement, but a blogger was told by Apple that the fourth iMac Pro SKU would be available as well. Apple does not disclose exact CPU models that it intends to use with the iMac Pro, but it looks like we are dealing with off-the-shelf Xeon W CPUs with up to 140 W TDP.

By default, an entry-level iMac Pro is to be equipped with 32 GB of DDR4-2666 ECC memory, but it is expandable to 64 GB or even 128 GB, if needed. As for storage, 1 TB SSD is the default option, but the iMac Pro can be equipped with 2 TB or 4 TB SSDs as well. All the drives use the NVMe protocol, a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface and up to 3 GB/s peak sequential read speed. While it looks like Apple is going to use standard memory modules, the iMac Pro does not seem to be user-upgradeable, unlike regular iMacs.

For graphics, Apple picked up AMD’s latest Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8 GB of HBM2 for prêt-à-porter SKUs and the Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 16 GB of HBM2 for build-to-order configurations and, perhaps, for machines that feature an 18-core CPU and 128 GB of RAM. Both Radeon Pro graphics adapters will not come as cards, but will be soldered to iMac Pro’s motherboard, based on one picture supplied by Apple. The company does not disclose frequencies of the bespoke Radeon Pro Vega GPUs it uses, but says that their maximum FP32 compute performance is 11 TFLOPS (which points to around 1340 MHz clock-rate for the Vega 64) and their peak memory bandwidth is 400 GB/s (indicating about 1600 MT/s memory speed), which is slower when compared to the Radeon RX Vega cards for desktops. The main reasons why Apple downlocks its GPUs are of course power consumption and heat dissipation. The company says that Mac Pro’s cooling system can cope with up to 500 W of heat, so it cannot use a 140 W CPU and a 295 W GPU in order to avoid overheating.

Moving on to connectivity. The iMac Pro will feature an 802.11ac Wi-Fi with Bluetooth 4.2 module (there is no word on the 802.11ac wave2 support, so it could be the same Broadcom controller used inside the latest MacBook Pro laptops), a 10 GbE connector (no word on the controller or its developer), four USB 3.0 Type-A headers, one SDXC card slot, a 3.5-mm audio jack and four Thunderbolt 3 ports to connect additional displays, RAID storage and other peripherals that demand high bandwidth. The Mac Pro also has integrated 1080p webcam, stereo speakers, an array of microphones and so on. Some rumours say that the iMac Pro will feature voice-activated “Siri” assistant and for this reason integrate a recent A-series SoC, but Apple yet has to confirm this.

Apple iMac Pro Brief Specifications
  iMac Pro 27"
Display 27" with 5120 × 2880 resolution
500 cd/m² brightness
DCI-P3 support
10-bit spatial and temporal dithering
CPU Intel Xeon W
8C/16T
3.2/4.2 GHz
8 MB L2
11 MB L3
Intel Xeon
W-2150B

10C/20T
3.0/4.5 GHz
10 MB L2
13.75 MB L3
Intel Xeon
W-2175?

14C/28T
2.5/4.3 GHz
14 MB L2
19.25 MB L3
Intel Xeon W
18C/36T
2.3/4.3 GHz
18 MB L2
24.75 MB L3
PCH C422
Graphics AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8 GB HBM2
or Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 16 GB HBM2
Memory 32 GB DDR4-2666 with ECC
Configurable to 64 GB or 128 GB DDR4-2666 with ECC
Storage 1 TB SSD (NVMe, PCIe 3.0 x4)
Configurable to 2 TB SSD or 4 TB SSD
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi + BT 4.2
Ethernet 10 GbE
Display Outputs 4 × Thunderbolt 3
Audio Stereo speakers
Integrated microphones
1 × audio out
USB 4 × USB 3.0 Type-A (5 Gbps)
4 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (via TB3)
Other I/O FHD webcam
SDXC card reader
Dimensions Width 65 cm | 25.6"
Height 51.6 cm | 20.3"
Depth 20.3 cm | 8"
PSU ~ 500 W (to be confirmed)
OS Apple MacOS High Sierra

The iMac Pro will ship with space grey wireless Magic Keyboard with a numeric keypad as well a choice between the Magic Mouse 2 or Magic Trackpad 2. We do not know the official price just yet or details about support and warranty, but there are unofficial indications that the cheapest iMac Pro will sell for $4999.

Related Reading:

Sources: Apple, MacRumours, Marques Brownlee

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  • ddrіver - Friday, December 15, 2017 - link

    Those Youtubers bring more customers and promotion for the product than AT will anytime soon. AT is almost exclusively targeted at US with basically 0 presence in Europe or Asia, while vloggers have a worldwide reach.
    And the vast majority of AT traffic comes from searches, people looking for a review long after the novelty of the product is gone. If promotion is what you're after a website like AT is the last place to do it.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - link

    The breakout slide from the 'stuff we didn't have time to show' thing they do said dual SSD modules, wonder what that's about. Just for the 4TB, 2+2? RAID or simple spillover? Reply
  • lilmoe - Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - link

    Yay for disposable workstations! Reply
  • lmcd - Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - link

    If the A-series SoC is confirmed, it could be in order to drive a potential proprietary keyboard with a similar touch sensor top row like the MacBook Pro (forgetting the name of it but that thing). Reply
  • nedjinski - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - link

    at over $13,000 I think I would be inclined to look elsewhere - but maybe it can cook, clean, and do my yard work too? otherwise it's just more overpriced apple shenanigans that, of course, is cool now but will soon be relegated to the designer boneyard just like all their previous miracles. Reply
  • Glaurung - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - link

    "otherwise it's just more overpriced apple shenanigans"

    $5000 seems pretty reasonable considering what's inside.

    The components of the base system add up to $4,300, and that's without the AIO case, the wireless keyboard and mouse, the OS, or any warranty:

    8 core Xeon W, $1100.
    Xeon system Board, $550
    1 TB PCIe SSD, $625.
    Radeon Vega 56: $400
    32gb ecc ram: $440
    5k 27" monitor: $1200
    Reply
  • Glaurung - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - link

    As usual, Apple adds some hefty margins for ram, CPU, and GPU upgrades, but the storage upgrade options are really quite reasonable. Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - link

    "While it looks like Apple is going to use standard memory modules, the iMac Pro does not seem to be user-upgradeable, unlike regular iMacs."

    This is not completely true [use of "standard" memory modules]. People inside Apple have claimed that
    - many DIMMs on the market are somewhat out of spec
    - this matters when you are trying your utmost to run the machine at lowest power and lowest fan noise, because you rely on the DIMM specs to calibrate how low you can go.

    Assuming this to be true, it's possible that they have a reason (you decide whether it's a "good" reason or not) for not allowing in 3rd party DIMMs simply because to do so would be to require the machines to burn a few percent more power and/or to run the fan a few percent faster to cover the unknown quality of those DIMMs.

    Now this won't calm down the crowd that insist everything does is a conspiracy, but may clarify the issue for the more rational readers.

    I can't attest to the full truth of this, but I can say that in my experience
    - one laptop to which I added third party RAM, I then needed to add a menuling that drove the fan faster than the OS wanted to drive it, because otherwise the machine was on the edge of crashing from overheating if I ran an extended period of heavy duty computation
    - when I added what was supposedly 1600MHz DDR3 to my iMac 27", the mac downgraded the previous 1600MHz memory speed to 1333.

    Both of these suggest some truth to Apple workers' claims about the dodginess of 3rd party RAM.

    (And yes, I would be the first to agree that having a hardware team that is working so hard to ensure that the HW is bulletproof at the same time that the SW team is doing their best to ensure that the OS and graphics stacks crash at least once a day [certainly on older macs] is very depressing. All true, but orthogonal to issues of what the hardware is and why it is that way.)
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - link

    "The company says that Mac Pro’s cooling system can cope with up to 500 W of heat, so it cannot use a 140 W CPU and a 295 W GPU in order to avoid overheating."

    OK, to add to the above. One problem Apple has (again, not trying to make excuses here, trying to explain the situation) is that Apple gets the reputation failure when sub-components go bad, not the sub-component manufacturer. So you can ask why does Apple not provide a 600W cooling system and run the GPU at full power?

    Apple would not say so in public, but they may well believe that AMD's claims that it is OK to run the GPU at 300W are simply BS. The graphics card in a large number of iMacs of around the 2007 vintage went bad after about five years because of the heat they produced. AMD may be more or less correct in saying that the part can run for 5 years at 300W, while Apple can ALSO be more or less correct in feeling that, regardless of warranty issues, they want people to feel that Macs (especially EXPENSIVE macs) last as long as they are used, and it's bad for the brand reputation if there are a large number of stories in five or six years about how so many iMac Pros are dying because their graphics cards are going bad.
    Reply
  • SaolDan - Friday, December 15, 2017 - link

    (no word on the controller or its deve11111111111111111110loper) Reply

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