Apple iMac Pro is a beast and marks Apple’s foray into Virtual Reality
Let’s face it, at its peak specifications, the iMac Pro is a monster of a desktop computer. Apple was heavily rumored to announce an update to the Macbook Pro lineup; little did we know it’ll end up being called the iMac Pro.
Apple’s Vice President of Hardware Engineering John Ternus took the stage to show off the iMac Pro. He started off by promising workstation level performance from the iMac Pro and then began throwing up some impressive spec numbers to prove his point, starting with the CPU core count. The iMac Pro will support up to 8-Core / 10-Core Intel Xeon Processors and, as if that wasn’t enough, was also announced to support 18-Core Xeon Processors, a declaration that was met with huge applause from the crowd of attendees. It features a brand new workstation class architecture with a new GPU core, high-bandwidth packaged memory and up to 11 Teraflops of computing power.
Other specifications include support for up to 128 GB of ECC memory and up to 4 TB of in-built SSD capacity operating at 3 GB/s bandwidth. It features four Thunderbolt 3 ports which can be used to power up to two 5K Displays simultaneously. The screen has 44 million pixels and supports up to 1 billion colors. It features the powerful Radeon Pro Vega GPU with support for up to 16 GB of High Bandwidth Memory 2 (HBM2) and up to 11 TeraFlops of processing power. Add to this the fact that it also supports half-precision computing and the processing power effectively doubles to 22 TeraFlops. It also provides support for up to 10 Gb Ethernet.
Apple has reworked the architecture to introduce a new thermal design that allows it to achieve workstation level performance while keeping the system cool. Apple claims that the iMac Pro provides 80% more cooling than the iMac while using a similar size.
More importantly, this will be one of the first Macs to support Virtual Reality. In fact, Apple VP John Ternus stated the entire system was designed to target heavy VR-intensive workflows. To demonstrate the VR capabilities of the iMac Pro, Visual Effects veteran John Knoll of Industrial Light & Magic (the company responsible for the visual effects of Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Transformers, The Avengers and many other blockbusters) showed up on stage to demo a Star Wars theme VR setup. The demo looked impressive with VR content creation being shown taking place on the fly.
Some of the more standout features highlighted in a single slide include:
- A camera with support for 1080p video recording
- Support for 2.6 Ghz speed DDR4 RAM
- 4x larger L2 Cache per CPU core which, translated into the multiple cores results in significant cache volume
- A new compute unit with a 2048-bit wide bus and support for up to 36 threads
- Removable stand and louder audio
While the iMac looks quite gorgeous, it’s going to set you back a hefty amount. Apple says that the iMac Pro will cost $4,999 (that’s about $5K) for the basic version with the price increasing as the specs are bumped up. It is set to be available in December this year.