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27" iMac Update: 10th Gen Intel Chips, RDNA GPUs, 10Gb Networking, and more


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#1 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 10:34 AM

Apple updated the 27" iMac today. Notable updates:
  • 10th gen intel chips, up to the 10 core i9 10900 CPU
  • RDNA graphics, up to 5700XT with 16GB GDDR6
  • Double the memory capacity (up to 128GB)
  • Option for "Nano-texture" glass (Apple speak for matte display)
  • Option for 10Gb networking
  • Same 2012 design (probably saving the fresh new design for the apple silicon iMac)
SSD storage is now standard on all 21.5" and 27" iMacs (about time). RIP fusion drives. The 21.5" iMac remains unchanged otherwise.
16" MBP: i9 9880H @ 2.3 GHz || Radeon 5500M 8GB || 32 GB DDR4 || 1TB SSD
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#2 nick68k

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 03:52 PM

If the 21.5" model was updated I'd definitely be in the market.
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#3 Homy

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 10:34 AM

Compute Units        Stream Processors        Peak Engine Clock        FP32 TFLOPS        TGP            GDDR6 Memory        Memory Bandwidth        Memory Speed
Radeon Pro 5300        20                1280                    1650MHz                Up to 4.2            130W        Up to 4GB            224GB/s                14GBps
Radeon Pro 5300M        20                1280                    Up to 1250MHz        Up to 3.2            50W            Up to 4GB            192GB/s                12GBps
Radeon Pro 5500XT    24                1536                    1757MHz                Up to 5.3            130W        Up to 8GB            224GB/s                14GBps
Radeon Pro 5500M        20                1536                    Up to 1300MHz        Up to 4.0            50W            Up to 8GB            192GB/s                12GBps
Radeon Pro 5600M        40                2560                    Up to 1035MHz        Up to 5.3            50W            Up to 8GB            394GB/s                15.4GBps
Radeon Pro 5700        36                2304                    Up to 1350MHz        Up to 6.3            130W        Up to 8GB            384GB/s                12GBps
Radeon Pro 5700XT    40                2560                    Up to 1499MHz        Up to 7.6            130W        Up to 16GB            384GB/s                12GBps
Radeon Pro W5700X    40                2560                    Up to 1860MHz        Up to 9.5            250W        Up to 32GB            448GB/s                14GBps
Radeon RX 5500XT        22                1408                    Up to 1845MHz        Up to 5.2            130W        Up to 8GB            224GB/s                14GBps
Radeon RX 5700        36                2304                    Up to 1725MHz        Up to 7.95        180W        Up to 8GB            448GB/s                14GBps
Radeon RX 5700XT        40                2560                    Up to 1905MHz        Up to 9.75        225W        Up to 8GB            448GB/s                14GBps


I put together the specs for the whole AMD Pro 5000-series in MBP/iMac/Mac Pro for comparison. I also included specs for RX cards that pc users buy or you can use as eGPU with Mac. Many tests on Youtube for example show the result for RX cards which are faster than Pro cards in Macs. The specs are from AMD's website.


5300 in iMac is like 5500M in MBP in terms of TFLOPS. 5500XT is like 5600M in MBP. The more I think of it the more disappointed I feel about the GPU options in these new iMacs. I'm not even a serious gamer, but a casual gamer that plays games even with 20 fps with my iMac 2011 Radeon 6750 512MB, but as it is now the only option for us that want to buy a decent and somewhat future proof gaming Mac is to spend 3500-3800 dollars (in Sweden) on a iMac 27" with Radeon 5700/5700XT. That's a lot for me.

For God's sake Apple, Radeon 5300 is the worst card in the 5000-series. You can't even buy it in the retail stores or from AMD. You can't even now pay a bit extra to get a better GPU like 575X vs 570X. You can't even choose storage size for the first 27" model. You're stuck with 256GB. You must go all the way up to the top model to get 5500XT, the cheapest and most underpowered GPU in the 5000-series on the market which manages about 40-50 fps in 1440p TODAY. That for ca $3100!
After almost three decades of owning Macs even I’m starting to agree that Apple plays cheap and Macs are overpriced toys, at least GPU wise. I think this update is one of the worst with least options for those without a pocket full of money. Even with money I couldn’t justify $3800 to get good GPU performance. $400 extra for 5700 when it costs ca $160 extra for RX5700 in stores? $660 extra for 5700XT when RX5700XT costs ca $220 extra in stores? I know you can’t get 16GB in stores but still…

Instead of giving 5300 to iMac 21.5" they gave it to 27" and didn't do a thing with 21.5". The base 27” should start with 5500XT. There would still be several options for the other models. For example, what happened to 5600 and 5600XT? Tier 2 iMac 27” could have 5600 and the top 27” could start with 5600XT, with 5700 and 5700XT as option. Or it could be like 5500XT, 5600XT and 5700 with 5700XT as BTO, but 5300 in both cheaper models? Come on, I’m not that much of a fanboy.

My only hope now is that Apple gets its act together and at least offers decent GPUs in AS iMacs. Otherwise I don’t know what to do. PC, Xbox and PS5 is not an option. Just give me decent GPUs Apple in all your iMacs, not only the top model. Btw, don’t put your money on the 10-core i9 for gaming. Better to buy the 8-core with higher base frequency.

#4 ozzy

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 11:54 AM

Question/suggestion for you. What about getting the more powerful Mac mini (or waiting until a new one comes out), an eGPU enclosure, an external monitor, and a Radeon 5700 XT? In the US market by my estimation this would cost $2,199. $1,299 for the 6-core Mac mini (I upgraded it to 16 GB RAM), ~$300 for a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure, ~$400 for a Radeon RX 5700 XT, ~$200 for a 27" 1440p monitor. As compared to $2,999 for the new 27" iMac with 16 GB RAM and 5700 XT.

Downside is it will likely be slightly slower due to 8th Gen processor vs. 10th Gen in iMac and a ~10-20% FPS loss on the eGPU.

Upside is $800 cheaper, 1440p is much better for gaming than 5k, and longevity/upgradeability. You won't have an unusable machine for gaming in 2-3 years. You can upgrade to a new graphics card in 2-3 years for $300-400 and get much more out of it. Mac mini should last a long time (as long as Apple supports intel Macs).

For instance, if you are curious on the performance, I am still using a Vega 56 eGPU on an 8-year old 2012 Retina MBP over Thunderbolt 1. Only in the last year (Borderlands 3 and Total War: Three Kingdoms in particular) is it starting to suffer on 1440p Very High/Ultra performance as compared to my 2018 13" MBP with Thunderbolt 3. And on Windows/Bootcamp the 2012 MBP still is great. Check out this thread I made which shows performance benchmarks of an eGPU in Windows and Mac on my 2012 15" Retina MBP and 2018 13" MBP: http://www.insidemac...howtopic=48783. Pretty impressive what an 8-year old machine can do with a modern graphics card in an eGPU.

#5 mattw

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 02:25 PM

I was kinda waiting for a spec like the new 27" iMac about six months or so ago....

Now I've had more time to reflect however the fact all my 32 bit software won't be usable on one anyway means I may as well just wait for an ARM based Mac now...

My only chance to play through all my back catalogue games is looking like being a separate PC.
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#6 Ichigo27

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 05:49 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 04 August 2020 - 10:34 AM, said:

Apple updated the 27" iMac today. Notable updates:
  • 10th gen intel chips, up to the 10 core i9 10900 CPU
  • RDNA graphics, up to 5700XT with 16GB GDDR6
  • Double the memory capacity (up to 128GB)
  • Option for "Nano-texture" glass (Apple speak for matte display)
  • Option for 10Gb networking
  • Same 2012 design (probably saving the fresh new design for the apple silicon iMac)
SSD storage is now standard on all 21.5" and 27" iMacs (about time). RIP fusion drives. The 21.5" iMac remains unchanged otherwise.

So no 21.5" imac with easily upgradeable ram? Assuming deprecation of 32 bit libraries and OpenGL for games and game engines that dont support Metal 2 are present in Big Sur. And that means what, a Linux computer would be a better buy then? Regardless if its Ubuntu or PopOS?
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#7 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 06:39 PM

View PostIchigo27, on 05 August 2020 - 05:49 PM, said:

So no 21.5" imac with easily upgradeable ram? Assuming deprecation of 32 bit libraries and OpenGL for games and game engines that dont support Metal 2 are present in Big Sur. And that means what, a Linux computer would be a better buy then? Regardless if its Ubuntu or PopOS?

21.5" iMac is the same design that has been shipping for years now - so if that model had upgradeable RAM then it still is currently.

The RAM is still easily upgradeable in the 27" model.
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#8 Matt Diamond

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 07:09 PM

Quote

For instance, if you are curious on the performance, I am still using a Vega 56 eGPU on an 8-year old 2012 Retina MBP over Thunderbolt 1

I have a 2018 Mini + eGPU Vega 56 setup. I'm mostly happy with it.

Downsides:
- there was a bad eGPU-related crash-on-wake problem over the last year, for Macs with T2 chip. FINALLY fixed by Catalina 10.15.6. A Mojave fix is rumored soon.
- when a game stresses the CPUs, the Mini gets very loud and hot. Though judging from my daughter's laptop it would not be considered unusual for a Windows machine, Steve Jobs would not have approved.
- the usual arguments about what the same money could buy in the Windows world, don't bother responding to me with those, I'm not interested. :-)

Waiting for ARM may not be a bad idea. Or at least waiting for more details to come out.

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#9 Ichigo27

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 07:42 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 05 August 2020 - 06:39 PM, said:

21.5" iMac is the same design that has been shipping for years now - so if that model had upgradeable RAM then it still is currently.

The RAM is still easily upgradeable in the 27" model.

In other words, 21.5" iMacs don't have upgradable ram like models after 2011? Thats a big problem like spending more than 1300 dollars on a 27" model where then you can press a button on the back to open the compartment door in order upgrade ram bought from third party sellers like amazon. Its as expensive as it is to buy ram directly from Apples when purchasing a computer all together.

Then you have ARM contrasting AMD Ryzen CPUs. I ask this Sneaky Snake, because Windows 10 left a bad taste in my mouth. So what does mean for linux distros like PopOS in the compatibility realm? How does that work for audio and video editing programs with or without Lutris and Wine, Unity3d 2020 on ubuntu derived OS's like PopOS, and then theirs Godot?
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#10 Homy

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 09:35 PM

View Postozzy, on 05 August 2020 - 11:54 AM, said:

Question/suggestion for you. What about getting the more powerful Mac mini (or waiting until a new one comes out), an eGPU enclosure, an external monitor, and a Radeon 5700 XT? In the US market by my estimation this would cost $2,199. $1,299 for the 6-core Mac mini (I upgraded it to 16 GB RAM), ~$300 for a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure, ~$400 for a Radeon RX 5700 XT, ~$200 for a 27" 1440p monitor. As compared to $2,999 for the new 27" iMac with 16 GB RAM and 5700 XT.

Downside is it will likely be slightly slower due to 8th Gen processor vs. 10th Gen in iMac and a ~10-20% FPS loss on the eGPU.

Upside is $800 cheaper, 1440p is much better for gaming than 5k, and longevity/upgradeability. You won't have an unusable machine for gaming in 2-3 years. You can upgrade to a new graphics card in 2-3 years for $300-400 and get much more out of it. Mac mini should last a long time (as long as Apple supports intel Macs).

For instance, if you are curious on the performance, I am still using a Vega 56 eGPU on an 8-year old 2012 Retina MBP over Thunderbolt 1. Only in the last year (Borderlands 3 and Total War: Three Kingdoms in particular) is it starting to suffer on 1440p Very High/Ultra performance as compared to my 2018 13" MBP with Thunderbolt 3. And on Windows/Bootcamp the 2012 MBP still is great. Check out this thread I made which shows performance benchmarks of an eGPU in Windows and Mac on my 2012 15" Retina MBP and 2018 13" MBP: http://www.insidemac...howtopic=48783. Pretty impressive what an 8-year old machine can do with a modern graphics card in an eGPU.

If my iMac doesn't break I can manage until next year when AS iMac comes. We'll see what that means. It works fine and I still have some 32-bit games I haven't finished that I can play. :)

#11 Homy

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 09:44 PM

New iMac 27" is also quieter, suggesting better cooling or just cooler parts? 2019 16 dB, 2020 13 dB. 5500XT is actually similar to 580X. Here you can see that RX 5500XT performs the same as RX 580 in some games and a little better in other games. So not much improvement over the past three years. 5700 should be standard on the top model. You never know with Apple though. They may have clocked 5500XT in such a way that it appears to be faster than 580X.

#12 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 02:30 AM

You have to wonder if Apple are lowering the bar for GPUs on purpose, since their in house ones that we will get with AS SOCs, aren't that great in comparison. Or we will get a full Big Navi jump, and that, along with the rest of the SOC, will be such an enormous power boost that Apple we be all "5x faster GPU performance!!!" just to push the AS SOC shift. I wouldn't put it against them.

Personally I am in for a major upgrade (Writing this on my 2011 Mac mini, after my 2011 iMac GPU died for good), and I can live with the 2011 Mac Mini for macOS for a long time, and build my first Win machine, if AS SOC machines turn out to be really lousy for gaming, at Apple prices.
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#13 Tetsuya

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 03:44 PM

THere is almost nothing a non power user (who would be buying an iMac Pro or Mac Pro) does on MacOS that requires more than the Intel iGPU, much less a dGPU.  

Gaming is not something Apple takes into account, ever, so get that right off the table.  

Im not even sure why they bother letting you go with a 5700XT.  More performance for... .what?  

Theyd be better off rounding out the iMac Pro line with lower-tier models with DGPU options and just leave the consumer-facing iMacs with (at most) a 5500XT or something, keeping the costs down.  And the fact that you still cant upgrade shiz on the 21" is absurd.

#14 Homy

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 04:39 PM

View PostTetsuya, on 06 August 2020 - 03:44 PM, said:

THere is almost nothing a non power user (who would be buying an iMac Pro or Mac Pro) does on MacOS that requires more than the Intel iGPU, much less a dGPU.  

Gaming is not something Apple takes into account, ever, so get that right off the table.  

Im not even sure why they bother letting you go with a 5700XT.  More performance for... .what?  

Theyd be better off rounding out the iMac Pro line with lower-tier models with DGPU options and just leave the consumer-facing iMacs with (at most) a 5500XT or something, keeping the costs down.  And the fact that you still cant upgrade shiz on the 21" is absurd.

I think it's the first time I see such bold statement. Should we call you Mr. Retro? :) So all 3D artists, photographers and video/filmmakers that don't have pockets full of money should be happy with Intel UHD Graphics 630 and waste their time on render and export times? That in a time when more and more apps take advantage of better GPUs? Have you told Apple that they should shut down their Apple Arcade? I saw one famous tech guy was selling his Mac Pro because the new iMac 27" 5700XT outperformed his expensive Mac Pro with Vega II. We should tell him that Intel UHD Graphics 630 and a Mac Mini is better. :)

#15 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 07:22 PM

View PostTetsuya, on 06 August 2020 - 03:44 PM, said:

THere is almost nothing a non power user (who would be buying an iMac Pro or Mac Pro) does on MacOS that requires more than the Intel iGPU, much less a dGPU.  

Gaming is not something Apple takes into account, ever, so get that right off the table.  

Im not even sure why they bother letting you go with a 5700XT.  More performance for... .what?  

Theyd be better off rounding out the iMac Pro line with lower-tier models with DGPU options and just leave the consumer-facing iMacs with (at most) a 5500XT or something, keeping the costs down.  And the fact that you still cant upgrade shiz on the 21" is absurd.

By that logic they should also just limit it at 4 cores and 8GB of RAM as well.

Gaming isn't the only use for a graphics card. Many people use their Macs for editing or CAD work. For example one client of mine who prefers to work in macOS recently bought around 10x 27" iMacs with the Vega 48 graphics option since it was the best graphics available at the time. They use an app called Vectorworks that is very intensive on the GPU. This 16GB 5700XT is a significant upgrade for them when they buy another round of Macs.

They are buying the 27" iMac instead of the iMacPro/MacPro since it is thousands cheaper while offering similar graphics performance. They don't need ECC memory or a lot of CPU cores (Vectorworks seems to top out around 6 threads) - but they do need graphics.

Also, even though Macs are by no means great for gaming, it is still nice to have the ability to play games. Lots of people are just into 1 or 2 popular titles like Fortnite, WoW, or League of Legends and are perfectly happy playing on macOS so long as their Mac can run the game somewhat decently. An HD 630 isn't going to be able to do that.
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#16 Homy

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 02:11 PM

Reviews and benchmarks

iMac 3.1 6-core 5300 1080p
[media]https://youtu.be/MQMzMIeqGRo[/media]
[media]https://youtu.be/8MmtFhCYQxA[/media]
[media]https://youtu.be/J_W9c-MO5JE[/media]
[media]https://youtu.be/vInT41aA9Kk[/media]
http://www.macotakar...ntry-40130.html
[media]https://youtu.be/2YbZqHE5a_M[/media]

iMac 3.8 8-core 5500XT
[media]https://youtu.be/dtCKpCdCNOc[/media]
https://youtu.be/ivp0JroF9pM

iMac 3.6 10-core 5700XT
[media]https://youtu.be/MHD1OSIkwx0[/media]
[media]https://youtu.be/1h9U6v0Vr7w[/media]
[media]https://youtu.be/6kAvCSMkYEI[/media]
[media]https://youtu.be/48PNT7o15uU[/media]
https://www.forbes.c...g/#1fd151ab46cd
[media]https://youtu.be/iPrdaIqJYqM[/media]
https://gizmodo.com/...ouse-1844634584
[media]https://youtu.be/5mzvCPOYOrM[/media]
[media]https://youtu.be/5mzvCPOYOrM[/media]

No changes to the cooling! iMac 3.3 6-core 5300 Teardown

A musician's review

#17 Homy

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 10:55 AM

"To try and push the iMac to its limits, I opened 40 tabs in Chrome; the CPU hit was barely seven percent. I then fired up a few rounds of World of Tanks and blasted away at its highest settings without any impact. It was only when I used Handbrake to re-encode a video that the CPU was put to the test, but I still had plenty of power to spare.

On the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark (1080p, Very High settings), the iMac averaged 52.3 fps, edging past the Surface Studio 2’s score of 51 fps. On the Civilization IV benchmark, the iMac averaged 46.3 fps at 2560 x 1440, also a more than respectable score."
https://www.tomsguid...ac-27-inch-2020

#18 nick68k

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 03:19 PM

So I'm in the market for a new desktop (daily driver at home is a late 2015 21.5" Retina iMac). I'd like to get another Intel machine before the Great Extinction Event, and was originally looking to get another 21.5" iMac, because my desk space is limited (seriously) and I like the 21.5" machines. Also, I thought I'd never be able to afford a 27 incher.

Anyway, current H. Ed store prices - 21.5" 4K, 3.0 GHz 6-core 8th-gen i5, 16 Gb RAM, 1 Tb SSD, Radeon Pro 560X - $1939.00 (exc. tax).

27" 5K, 3.3 GHz 6-core 10th-gen i5, 8 Gb RAM (user expandable), 1 Tb SSD, Radeon Pro 5300 - $2079.00 (exc. tax).

For $140 I can get a considerably better desktop, which seems like a no-brainer. Yes, I'll increase the RAM at some stage, but that can wait.
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#19 Homy

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 08:29 AM

[media]https://youtu.be/4rUwReCqIGQ[/media]

#20 ozzy

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 11:39 AM

View PostHomy, on 09 August 2020 - 10:55 AM, said:

"To try and push the iMac to its limits, I opened 40 tabs in Chrome; the CPU hit was barely seven percent. I then fired up a few rounds of World of Tanks and blasted away at its highest settings without any impact. It was only when I used Handbrake to re-encode a video that the CPU was put to the test, but I still had plenty of power to spare.

On the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark (1080p, Very High settings), the iMac averaged 52.3 fps, edging past the Surface Studio 2’s score of 51 fps. On the Civilization IV benchmark, the iMac averaged 46.3 fps at 2560 x 1440, also a more than respectable score."
https://www.tomsguid...ac-27-inch-2020

This is very odd to me. I got 66.95 FPS on Rise of the Tomb Raider Very High 1080p benchmark on 10.14.4 on my 2012 Retina MBP with Vega 56 eGPU. And 69.63 FPS on Rise of the Tomb Raider Very High 1080p benchmark on 10.14.4 on my 2018 13" MBP with the same Vega 56 eGPU. I would expect the iMac with 5700 XT to be much faster than that, not slower. Granted I benchmarked 10.14 not 10.15, but still.

And can you even run Civilization IV on 10.15? I assume they meant Civilization VI? Even so, 46.3 FPS at 1440p isn't as high as I might expect. On my 2018 13" MBP with Vega 56 eGPU and 10.15.6 I got 42.9 FPS on Ultra settings and 43.1 FPS on High settings for Civilization VI at 1440p. So iMac is slightly faster, but not much. Would expect much more from a much more powerful CPU and GPU, without the Thunderbolt 3 tax.