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Apple Finally Updates iMac with New Intel Processors, Nearly Two Years Later

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Six and a half years after Apple first introduced the slim-bodied iMac, the company today announced updated versions that continue to reuse the same industrial design, but with internal improvements, including Intel eighth- and ninth-generation Core-series CPUs, and faster memory.

“Customers are going to love the huge boost in iMac performance. With up to 8-core processors and powerful Vega graphics, the iMac lineup is stronger than ever,” said Tom Boger, Apple’s senior director of Mac Product Marketing. “With its stunning Retina display, amazing design, twice the performance, and macOS Mojave that our customers love, iMac is by far the best desktop in the world.”

The old iMacs had seventh-generation Intel processors, but these models have eight-generation processors—and in a couple of cases, the very latest ninth-generation processors. Apple has upgraded processor cores across the board so that most models have six cores and there’s even an option for eight.

The $1699 CAD 21.5-inch 4K iMac is a 3.6GHz quad-core Core i3, and the $1949 model brings six-core power to the smaller iMac with a 3.0Ghz Core i5. The 4K iMac’s top-of-the-line processor configuration is a 3.2GHz six-core Core i7. While standard graphics configurations on these models are the Radeon Pro 555X and 560X, the high-end model can be configured with a Radeon Pro Vega 20.

The 2.3GHz i5 model can be upgraded with a 1TB Fusion Drive or a 256GB SSD. The mid-tier model has the same option along with a 512GB or 1TB SSD and the highest-tier option has 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB SSD options. Base model graphics options remain the same, though the 3.0GHz i5 model’s graphics can be swapped for a Radeon Pro Vega 20 card with 4GB of VRAM, which is new.

On the 27-inch 5K iMac, six-core processors have replaced four-core models as the default. Base processors for these are a 3.0 GHz six-core eighth-generation i5 ($2399 CAD model), 3.16GHz six-core eighth-generation i5 ($2649 CAD model), and 3.7Ghz six-core ninth-generation i5 ($3079 CAD model). The 5K iMac can also be configured with a 3.6Ghz eight-core ninth-generation Core i9 processor.


The options for memory start at 8GB of 2666MHz DDR4, and all three models can be upgraded to 16 or 32GB of memory, with the 3.1GHz and 3.7GHz models having a 64GB option, too. Storage options include a 1TB Fusion Drive for the 3.0GHz and 3.1GHz models and a 2TB Fusion Drive in the 3.7GHz model. Those are upgradable to a 2TB Fusion Drive, or 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSDs in the low and mid-tier models. The highest-tier 27-inch iMac can be upgraded to a 3TB Fusion Drive or 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB SSD.

Before today’s update, the 27-inch iMac came with a Radeon Pro 570 graphics card with 4GB of VRAM, a Radeon Pro 575 with 4GB of VRAM, or a Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB of VRAM. Today refresh adds the option of a Radeon Pro Vega 48 card with 8GB of VRAM to the 3.7GHz iMac model.

With these updates, the new iMacs have now closed a bit of the gap between the highest-end iMac and the lowest-end iMac Pro. While you’ll need to pay extra in configurable options, the highest-end eight-core iMac should creep close to iMac Pro territory in terms of processor and graphics performance.

Click here to check out the new iMac line up on Apple.ca.

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