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27-inch iMac Receives Significant Update, Other iMacs Get a Nod

Time for a new iMac! For me, I mean. My 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display from 2014 has been limping along since its internal SSD failed (see “Six Lessons Learned from Dealing with an iMac’s Dead SSD,” 27 April 2020). Although the Samsung T5 external SSD itself has been working fine once everything is up and running, the iMac starts up and shuts down slowly, Wi-Fi doesn’t become available for several minutes after startup, my Apple Watch works only sporadically for unlocking the Mac even though it always works for approving app authentication requests, and I’ve seen some kernel panics. It’s not dead, but it’s not a happy Mac.

So Apple’s announcement of a significant update to the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display comes at a welcome time. While there are no industrial design changes, it’s not a half-hearted speed bump update. Along with faster 10th-generation Intel processors, twice the memory capacity, newer AMD graphics chips, and larger SSD options, the new iMac boasts a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, better speakers, and a three-microphone array. Plus, for those afflicted with glare problems, a nano-texture glass option provides a matte finish.

New 27-inch iMac showing a FaceTime call

Simultaneously, Apple tweaked the configurations of the 21.5-inch iMac, finally removing the option for a performance-draining hard drive, and the iMac Pro, dropping the 8-core model and making the 10-core model the base config.

Faster CPUs, More Memory, Updated Graphics, More Storage, and T2

When it comes to chips, the new 27-inch iMacs feature 10th-generation Intel Core i5, i7, and i9 processors. In the low-end model, there’s a 3.1 GHz 6-core i5. That configuration isn’t upgradable. The mid-range iMac includes a 3.3 GHz 6-core i5 and can be upgraded to a 3.6 GHz 10-core i9 for $500. The top-of-the-line model starts with a 3.8 GHz 8-core i7 and lets you jump to the 3.6 GHz 10-core i9 for $400.

All 27-inch iMac models start with 8 GB of RAM in the form of two 4 GB DIMMs, with two more user-accessible DIMM slots available. You can upgrade to 16 GB ($200), 32 GB ($600), 64 GB ($1000) or, for the first time in the iMac line, 128 GB ($2600). Frankly, there’s no good reason I can see to buy RAM from Apple, given that it’s so much cheaper from third-parties and so easily upgraded by merely popping off a panel on the back. To give you an idea, OWC sells 32 GB of RAM for $135, 64 GB for $310, or 128 GB for $600.

Graphics processing will also improve significantly, thanks to a next-generation AMD Radeon Pro 5300 with 4 GB of memory in the low-end and mid-range models. The high-end model starts with a Radeon Pro 5500 XT with 8 GB of RAM, and you can upgrade to a Radeon Pro 5700 with 8 GB for $300 or a Radeon Pro 5700 XT with 16 GB for $500.

In terms of storage, Apple has dropped the Fusion Drive entirely from the 27-inch iMac. Slightly perturbingly, the company limits your storage options based on which model you choose. The low-end model is locked at 256 GB of storage, which isn’t very much. The mid-range model starts with 512 GB, which feels like a reasonable minimum these days, and lets you expand to 1 TB ($200) or 2 TB ($600). And the high-end model takes the iMac into new and eye-wateringly expensive territory, again starting at 512 GB and offering the same 1 TB and 2 TB upgrades, but then adding 4 TB ($1200) and 8 TB ($2400) options.

Like the iMac Pro, the 27-inch iMac now sports Apple’s T2 security chip, which provides on-the-fly data encryption for everything stored on the SSD and verifies that the operating system hasn’t been tampered with during boot. Of course, it also makes certain kinds of troubleshooting and hardware repair much more difficult or even impossible. In addition, the T2 chip features an image signal processor that promises to improve video and offers variable EQ for better audio. Speaking of which…

Better Audio, Video, and Networking

For some people, the big news with this new iMac is the option to swap the glass face of the Retina 5K display for a nano-texture glass. First introduced on Apple’s insanely expensive Pro Display XDR, the nano-texture glass option provides a matte finish that offers better viewing in bright rooms or indirect sunlight without requiring an add-on coating. If glare is a major problem for you, the nano-texture glass option may be worth the $500 additional cost.

The Retina display also now supports Apple’s True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts the color temperature of the display to match the ambient lighting in the room. It’s relatively minor, but welcome.

Also welcome in this era of non-stop videoconferencing will be the 1080p FaceTime HD camera, backed by the T2 chip’s image signal processor. Although Apple doesn’t specify the resolution on the FaceTime HD camera used in previous models, I believe it was 720p. Previously, the iMac Pro was the only Mac with a 1080p webcam.

Resolution isn’t the entire story with video quality, and I’ll be curious to see how well the iMac’s new camera and image signal processor deal with low-light situations. We recently had two outdoor Zoom calls, one using a 10.5-inch iPad Pro’s 1080p front-facing camera and the other using a 2012 MacBook Air’s 720p FaceTime HD camera. The iPad Pro handled the light fading throughout the evening far better than the MacBook Air.

Apple says the iMac has higher-fidelity speakers, although it’s hard to know how much of that is better speaker hardware and how much comes from the T2 chip doing more processing on the audio output.

Previously, the iMac had just a single microphone, but it now boasts a three-mic array with a high signal-to-noise ratio and directional beamforming. And of course, thanks to the T2 chip, the new iMac has support for “Hey Siri.”

Ports remain almost the same with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, an SDXC card slot, four USB-A ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, and a Kensington lock slot. New in this update is a $100 option for 10 Gigabit Ethernet. 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 are standard.

Pricing and Availability

As previously noted, it’s important to start with the appropriate model of the 27-inch iMac, depending on what options you might want.

  • The low-end model starts at $1799 and offers only upgrades to RAM, the nano-texture glass, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet.
  • The mid-range model starts at $1999 and doesn’t provide the top two storage options or let you choose among Radeon Pro graphics chips.
  • The high-end model, which lets you access all the options, starts at $2299.

These prices are the same as the iMac’s last revision, making the new models a generally good deal.

Apple’s online store shows quick delivery dates for the three stock configurations, but as soon as you make any configuration changes, those dates jump by about three weeks.

Onward to Apple Silicon

It’s impossible to know what variables will cause Apple to update certain Mac models with Intel chips instead of taking them to the new custom chips that the company is developing. However, the release of this iMac model does suggest that the first Mac with Apple silicon will be a laptop or a Mac mini. It wouldn’t make much sense to update the 27-inch iMac with 10th-generation Intel chips in August and revise it again with new Apple silicon within a few months.

I’ll be ordering one of these iMacs as soon as I can figure out the best combination of CPU and GPU for my needs. None of my work is performance-intensive, but I run many apps at once and hit RAM pretty hard. Typically, I buy a beefier model than is absolutely necessary because I expect a Mac to last for around 5 years—I got almost 6 years from my current iMac—but given the switch to Apple silicon, it will probably make sense to replace it sooner.

While I had planned to replace my 2012 MacBook Air with the new 2020 model, I shelved those plans when it became clear I wouldn’t be traveling in the foreseeable future. With luck, the first Mac with Apple silicon will be a laptop in the MacBook Air mode, letting me dip my toes into Apple’s new chips and get a snazzy new travel machine.

21.5-inch iMac: Ding, Dong, the Internal Hard Drive Is Dead!

Although Apple didn’t update the 21.5-inch iMac in any way, the company made one small adjustment to its configuration that will save effort for consultants and heartache for consumers. That’s right, Apple has finally replaced the universally reviled 5400-rpm hard drive that came in the low-end 21.5-inch iMac with an SSD. No longer will consultants have to warn people not to buy it, and no longer will those who do be saddled with substandard performance.

This move makes SSDs standard across the 21.5-inch iMac line, and in fact, across the entire Mac line. That’s not to say that the Fusion Drive, which combines a 1 TB hard drive with a small 32 GB SSD, is entirely gone, but it’s now solely a no-fee alternative to the standard 256 GB SSD. I’m not a fan of the Fusion Drive either, because problems with either half render the entire thing unusable, and it’s difficult to replace (plus, see “iMac 1 TB Fusion Drives Have Smaller SSDs,” 7 August 2017). Stick with an internal SSD and add an external drive if you need more space. You’ll need one for backups anyway.

iMac Pro Base Configuration Gets More Cores

In an even less interesting change, Apple dropped the 8-core Intel Xeon W processor from the iMac Pro’s configurations, making the 10-core Xeon W the base-level processor. That means you get a little more performance for your money, but it’s sad that Apple hasn’t paid any other attention to the iMac Pro since its December 2017 launch. Its 14-core and 18-core configurations likely still provide more performance than the 27-inch iMac’s new 10-core configuration, but the gap is undoubtedly narrowing and may no longer be worth the extra several thousand dollars.

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Comments About 27-inch iMac Receives Significant Update, Other iMacs Get a Nod

Notable Replies

  1. I don’t suppose that the RAM is user upgradeable 5 years from now when I might need 32 GBs (and the price of RAM has dropped).

  2. According to Apple’s published specs, the RAM is user accessible.

  3. I’m not clear where you are coming from… Today, I can buy RAM to upgrade my 5-year old iMac from OWC or Data Memory Systems at very reasonable prices. The sites are easy to use (they list available options by Mac Model and year). Of course, swapping memory on a 27-inch iMac is one of the customizable options that a user can perform without assistance or specialized tools.

    Since the 2020 iMacs use the same memory as the 2019, I can check the prices on those sites for upgrades to the new iMac. Frankly, it doesn’t make sense to buy anything more than the minimal memory configuration from Apple. For 70% of the upgrade price from the base 8GB to 16GB, I can upgrade to 32GB using components from either of these these two vendors.

    Note: while I was writing this entry, the entries for the 2020 iMacs showed up on the OWC site and confirmed that the specs haven’t changed from 2019.

  4. This is the big deal. It’s easy on your 27" iMac. On other models (like the 21.5" iMac), a RAM upgrade requires a nearly-complete teardown, because you need to remove the motherboard in order to access the sockets.

    For most people, this is going to mean paying Apple or a third-party repair shop to do the installation. Yes, you can do it yourself, but it’s difficult to do without breaking something.

  5. But the topic IS the 27" iMac. Unlike almost every other Mac, it has had and continues to have user-accessible memory.

  6. Yep, we’re all in extreme agreement here!

    I’m very close to placing my order. I think I’m going to get a separate 32 GB elsewhere so I end up with 40 GB total. That ought to hold me for a while, and if I don’t get the RAM as quickly as the iMac, I’ll have a few days to see how functional it really is with 8 GB.

  7. Adam, I’m very interested in what you decide to get; I’m also trying to decide the “best combination of CPU and GPU for my needs” and I also run a lot of apps, plus I do some gaming. Thanks!

  8. I’m leaning toward the 3.8 GHz 8-core i7, which is the base model of the high-end configuration. 1 TB of storage, 8 GB of RAM (with another 32 GB acquired elsewhere), and the standard Radeon Pro 5500 XT.

    My rationale for this is that I want a lot of performance—hence the i7—but since I don’t do heavy graphics work or other CPU-intensive processing that would likely take advantage of multiple cores, the 10-core i9 and the beefier Radeon Pro graphics chips are unlikely to be worth the cost.

    No nano-texture glass either—glare isn’t a problem for me. And 10 Gigabit Ethernet would be overkill.

    $2500 total from Apple, which feels like an entirely reasonable price for such a powerful Mac.

  9. Thanks, Adam. I’m leaning towards upgrading the graphics chip for gaming longevity. I’m trying to hold off until reviewers get their hands on these, but it’s hard; I haven’t bought an iMac since 2013.

  10. It wouldn’t make much sense to update the 27-inch iMac with 10th-generation Intel chips in August and revise it again with new Apple silicon within a few months.

    I wouldn’t be so sure. I remember buying an iMac G5 iSight which was succeeded by an otherwise identical Intel iMac within a few months. To be specific, it was released in October 2005 and replaced by the Intel model in January 2006.

    Similarly the Late (October) 2009 Mac mini I bought was replaced with a completely new design in June 2010.

    Your luck may be better. ;-)

  11. I’m following a path close to Adam’s. I first need to do some preparation as my 3.25 TB currently holds 2.5TB of data. However, most of that is in media files (recorded music and video accessible via iTunes). So, I am currently off-loading my Music folder to an external drive and will repoint the Music and TV apps to that location. So, I will have a bit over 1TB of data and am looking at the 2 TB SSD option. My heaviest duty work is doing video conversion into .mp4 files readable usable by the Apple TV app, so I am looking at a combination of the I7 processor and the AMD 5700 graphics processor. I’m hoping to see benchmarks before I order. Finally, I’ll be going with the plain, non-etched screen as I don’t have a glare problem. My issue is that there is window just tone side of my computer that, when the sun is low, requires me to wear a baseball cap to view the screen. Given that nothing else in my house supports more than 1Gb Ethernet, I’ll stick with that, too.

  12. Monday was the date on my calendar to upgrade to a new iMac, Apple 11-inch iPad Pro Wi‑Fi 128GB, 2nd gen. pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio for iPad thanks to the SBA’s EIDL loan. Thankfully, I didn’t get around to pulling the trigger on all that new hardware as I had planned. So…I just took the leap on the mid-range 27K i5 with the 1TB SSD upgrade and 32GB of RAM ordered from OWC. No nano textured glass. Same as Adam, glare’s a non-issue. Oh, and non need for 10 gigabit enet.

    For once, my procrastination was rewarded! :grin:

  13. First benchmarks are out for the low-end 27". Improvements are modest, primarily multi-core scores, similar to what we say on MBPs when they were updated with 10th-gen Intel Core.

  14. I am one of those consultants who could not possibly be more delighted by this long overdue shift to SSD standard in all configurations. It was standard in no configurations, including the top iMac 27", until two days ago!

    And correct about the Fusion drive – but the 1 TB model has especially been a joke since 2015, when they started using 24 (and later 32) GB SSD’s rather than the 128 GB SSD in the 2 TB and 3 TB models. And the only place this is documented is in the online store checkout, if you happen to click “How much storage do I need?” It’s not in the tech specs.

  15. Thanks for the information. This looks like what I need, as I don’t do a lot of graphics, but am looking for much faster processing than my 2015 iMac 27".

  16. Raw processing power as in CPU performance will not be dramatically better (see benchmarks above), but user perceived speed is likely to be substantially improved if for example your previous iMac ran off a hard disk or was hobbled by limited RAM.

    I recently replaced a 2013 Core i7 MBP with a 2020 Core i7 MBP. The raw CPU performance didn’t even double, in spite of the 7 years between the two. But the I/O and memory bandwidth is far superior. If the old MBP had still had a HDD it would have been a night-and-day difference. And good news for you, desktop gains should be slightly better than on the mobile side going to 10th-gen.

  17. This Nano screen option is actually the most interesting thing, IMO.

    But at the price, for many it’s a luxury rather than a simple add-on. Wonder if they’ll upgrade other machines with this? I’d likely get it if I liked all-in-one desktops (prefer MBPs for portability and Mac Mini’s w/ separate LG 5K3K for noise away from me (tinnitus) – though an Apple 5K Nano Display would sell gazillions! [never gonna happen, BTW]).

    10GbE is worth it if you use local NAS-type connections that you could make use of (Thunderbolt 3 DAS is obviously WAY better though)…or are lucky enough in the US to live in the handful of places with 10GbE ISP connection (see Youtube SnazzyLabs latest video!).

    So much good, so much meh. :expressionless:

  18. Anybody can subscribe to 10G service, and even faster speeds. But you’re going to pay a lot of money for that connection (especially if it requires the company running fiber to your location) since those are usually only leased by businesses, not individual consumers.

    The big deal about Verizon and others offering gigabit service isn’t the speed, but the fact that they are offering it for a price normal people are willing to pay.

  19. This might be the last iMac I can ever use at work. I am a Mac user who wound up getting a job as a Windows programmer. I run Visual Studio under Parallels but everything else I use is Mac software. Notepad++ is a sorry substitute for BBEdit.

  20. I am extremely happy to be wrong and find out that the new 27” iMac has user-upgradeable RAM. Wish the same was true for the hard drive.

  21. Welcome 2020 27-inch iMac. As previously resolved, I needed it sooner, so I will be happy without the T2 chip and next-gen graphics.

    However, I went for broke and purchased the 2019 version with the high-end CPU and optional GPU, along with 128 GB RAM (twice what Apple was offering, and at a lower cost than their 64 GB RAM configuration) from OWC. Unlike @ace, I have crushing graphics needs right now with video production. The New One produced its first 30 minute program last weekend and rendering time on the longest version of it went from ~90 minutes to < 10 minutes. (The Old One was my late-2012 27 inch machine, which is now happily residing on my spouse’s desk and still available to me on the network.)

    @doughogg should feel confident purchasing the minimum RAM configuration and dropping in his own boards. It’s a 10 minute operation if you’re being deliberate about it.

    I am happy with my purchase, and okay with having missed a new version of iMac by a month. I still have the option to drop down to Mojave with this one, and hope that the next Mac OS iteration straightens out the weird stuff with bifurcation. I suspect it is the reason that Compressor has been turning out videos with missing media placeholders, which FCPro renders in full.

    Thanks for the report, Adam!

  22. That’s an attractive configuration that I might use to replace my 2013 iMac 27" home computer. I’ve maxed out the memory on this one but it still labors to process my recorded lectures and video and just about anything else. The thing is, if I go with your configuration, I’m going to want to hold onto it for at least five years, and that will put me a couple of years behind Apple Silicon iMacs. I have a huge investment in software for the current machine and I’m wondering if future upgrades for the software will continue to support Intel. Maybe choosing a less expense configuration from among the new iMacs and upgrade to Apple Silicon earlier? Plus I run Windows in Fusion.

  23. I’m sitting here pondering the configuration I need/want for the new iMac, at 81 years old I still believe that for cars and computers you can never have too much power so I’m leaning toward the 27in (which it is replacing) with the 10 core i9 processor and 64GB of third party memory.
    I don’t need the powerful Radeon processor or the fancy glass, delivery is a couple of weeks so lots of anticipation, in the natural and established order of things my wife will get this 27in with its new screen (courtesy Apple) and Fusion drive, her 21.5in will go to charity.

  24. I’m also on a 2014 27". All ‘so-far-so-good’ 'til two weeks back SmartReporter popped up a red flag on the HHD. I was too busy to respond and two days later it was proven correct and it died. My friendly Mac specialist fitted a 2TB Barracuda (€68!) and I’m back up again with Time Machine. However, looking ahead I would anticipate giving myself a present of the new 27" in '21, but one major reservation - if Apple’s only config is SSD, can it be swapped out for an ‘old school’ spinning Barracuda? Adam didn’t mention this…

  25. No, there’s no more SATA connection or mount for a disk left. The SSD is now soldered to the board (as on the MBP). The 4TB and 8TB CTO options are socketed, but using a proprietary Apple connector.

    I’m OK removing spinning disk options, but a slotted SSD (and ideally accessible, without disassembling the entire enchilada) would have really made sense. On a desktop (unlike a MBP where you could argue every mm counts) this is such an annoying development. Heck, even the RAM is slotted and remains user-accessible.

  26. Last week, I bought 4 TB and 8TB HDDs and moved my music and video files (about 1.4TB total) to the 4TB drive. I then set up the 8 TB drive with 4 partitions to handle Carbon Copy Clone backups of the boot and media drives (as well as a 2nd clone of my laptop)). This brought the storage used on the 3TB Fusion drive on my 2015 iMac to just over 1TB. So I can now be comfortable with 2TB of internal storage on a new iMac.

    Yesterday, I bit the bullet and ordered a new 27" iMac with the I7 processor, 2TB SSD, minimal RAM and the middle graphics processor option. Apple gave me an early September date. I then ordered 32GB of RAM from OWC which should arrive in the next week.

  27. Appreciate the clarification Simon. Been using Mac since we paid €6737 for a IIfx – I still cringe – but at the time there were no other options for our move to digital recording. We’d generally laud Apple for design and usability – with their definite exception of no micro SD in their iPhones and worse, excluding us from easy access to iMac drives. As Adam alluded to – we Apple users are pretty handy at troubleshooting and keeping our Macs
    going, but this one has always and will continue to baffle. Zero marks on that one Apple.

  28. That’s similar to what I ordered last week. I too got the i7 and minimal RAM, but I went just for 1 TB of SSD and the Radeon Pro 5500 XT, rather than the 5700, since I just don’t do graphics or machine learning stuff that is likely to tax the GPU. I also ordered 32 GB from OWC. When I ordered, Apple was predicting ship dates at the end of the month, but just this morning I got the tracking info and it just left Shanghai and is slated for delivery on August 18th. Nice that Apple underpromises and overdelivers.

  29. I figure it’s anybodys guess as to when we may see a truly new iMac 27. The “new” 2020 version’s RAM will definitely be user upgradable. What bothers me most is the eye-watering price range for SSD’s.
    My current setup includes a 3TB fusion drive which I was quite happy with. I’m wondering if I should order the smallest SSD and upgrade with a large external SSD. How about that? Will there be a speed issue or any other trouble lurking?

  30. Thanks iFixit and Adam for giving us this brill feature. My takaway: " With display and Zoom-accessories accoutrements dispatched, we turn to the guts. Surprise, surprise: looks like Apple has filled that vacant hard drive space with … nothing! The huge 3.5” desktop drive that used to occupy the spot above the power supply may have been past its prime, but we appreciated how easy it was to find replacements and procure [upgrades]. Since the space isn’t being used, *we can only hope Apple left the SATA headers in place on the back of the logic board. Fingers crossed that upgrades are still viable—we’ll find out for sure once the board is out." You know sometimes when we say: “no brainer”…it’s an assumption that others ‘get it’, unfortunately sometimes Apple doesn’t…

  31. That makes sense to me, and I think you’ll get better performance than with the Fusion Drive.

    I’m not a major user of drive space and have lived with 512 GB in my 2014 iMac fairly happily. When my SSD died and I had to switch to booting from an external SSD, I moved to 1 TB and put my Photos library back on the boot drive. So with the new iMac, I went to 1 TB internal. Most of what I have beyond that is archival information and can stay on an occasionally accessed hard drive.

  32. I have the 1TB SSD on my new machine which has just been superseded. I’m using Dropbox to offload little used files, but you could use iCloud or a similar scheme as long as you trust it. I only have about 350GB stored on the internal drive, which I think represents system and app files along with music and photos.

    I have a thunderbolt RAID that is configured with 4 spinning 2TB disks and is set up for Level5 RAID, resulting in 6TB storage. The enclosure is a Thunderbolt 2 interface which was purchased in the spring for my old iMac. It handles all my video files and is fast enough for my purposes.

    The USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 option feels, to me, like having another internal drive. It’s certainly less expensive than one of Apple’s higher-capacity SSDs, and it can be fitted with SSDs itself rather than spinners.

  33. Mine now shows as already shipping from Shanghai with an estimated delivery date moved from Sept 1-Sept 9 to August 20.

    Interestingly, some cables on the same ordered that are being shipped via UPS from Southern California to Northern California show a delivery date of August 13 on the Apple site and August 14 on the UPS site. Detailed tracking on the UPS site shows they haven’t left the Southern California UPS depot. During the spring, UPS had a terrible record clearing deliveries> I had one Costco item that showed no movement for a week. Thinking it was lost, I contacted Costco and they sent me a replacement, only for the original shipment to arrive the next day.

    At least the computer is being sent via FedEx.

  34. And my iMac just arrived a day earlier than the previous estimate. So we have to take those delivery dates with a grain of salt, but in a good way. :-)

  35. But is it worth it when it will be replaced by an AS version in about 6 months?

  36. Yes, for various reasons that have been stated elsewhere. The initial Apple silicon models are likely to lack some features that we’ve come to take for granted on Intel-based models. To me the biggest jolt will be easy-ish Windows virtualization that was available from multiple vendors and from Apple itself. Having run versions of that operation in emulation under Virtual PC on some of the last PowerPC Macs, I can tell you it was a treat (speed and performance-wise, anyway :neutral_face:) to have an actual Intel chip in the system and to see Windows work better (again, speed and performance-wise) on my Mac than it did on a typical Windows box.

    I’ll be able to continue doing that with my current iMac until I’m past the point of needing it any more. It’s totally worth it vs. installing a Windows machine and a KVM setup as I had to do at one of my work settings.

  37. True, but there are those of us who don’t need Windows so that isn’t part of the equation. Other than Windows (or Linux) capability, what other features of MacOS running on an Intel chip won’t be in MacOS running on AS?

    BTW, it sounds like you might be better off investing in an iMac Pro rather than a run-of-the-mill 27" iMac.

  38. Yes, I agree not everyone needs Windows. You asked what are the considerations, and that’s one of them. :slight_smile:

    I did consider an iMac Pro. Being able to get the same CPU and GPU as in the Pro version in a design that was 2 years younger, and equip it with massive RAM for about $1,000 less than the base price of the Pro, was a huge consideration. I might be missing a couple of the Pro’s features, but I believe I got the lion’s share of its advantages.

  39. Actually when I went back and did a better comparison, the only iMac Pro features you probably missed were the 2 extra Tbolt 3 ports and the Space Gray finish. Wouldn’t be surprised that finish accounts for at least $2000 of the iMac Pro price!

  40. I received my iMac last Wednesday and upgraded from my 2015 iMac on Friday. The upgrade proceeded smoothly with the migration from an HDD clone of my old boot drive.

    There was one surprise improvement. For previous desktops, I have always found the native sound inferior to the sound from the Bose Computer Music Monitors that I had gotten via reward program from my employer about 2008 or so. However, to my (perhaps tin) ears, the native sound from the new iMac sounded just as rich. So I was able to gain a little desktop space and get rid of a mess of cables from my desk.

  41. Alan, I’ve been impressed with my 2019 iMac’s internal speakers too. You might enjoy what Boom 3D can do with them too, really expands the dynamic range of the music played through them.

    I’ve been using Glory by David Crosby as a test song, Apple’s speaker design team are quite a force I think.

  42. Interesting! I just tested too (with my canonical album of Dire Straits’ “Brothers in Arms” and while the iMac speakers are decent, they don’t compare well to the Altec Lansing speakers with subwoofer that I’ve been using for a decade or more.

  43. Are there 24" soundbars that would work with a 27" iMac?

  44. It’s not a soundbar, and it’s not cheap, but I’ve been using a set of Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speakers on my Mac for many years (originally purchased for use with a 2002-era PowerMac). They sound incredible and I am very pleased to see that they’re still being made 20 years later.

  45. This feels like an easier argument. The screen on the iMac will be so much bigger and better, and the performance so much greater, that everything will feel a lot faster until you become accustomed to it. Then you really won’t like going back to the old laptop. :slight_smile:

    A much tougher argument is that anyone should upgrade from an older 27-inch Retina iMac to the latest model. There are some performance enhancements, of course, but they may not be noticeable, and there are some connectivity improvements, but overall, I don’t think I’d recommend such an upgrade unless the old Mac was feeling slow or flaky (for me, the latter was true).

  46. Adam this is not related to the Mojave issue but I wanted to get your input to an issue I am experiencing with my new iMac 27in I know you have the same model. I am experiencing regular restarts which I have just started to log 9/29 10/2 10/7. I checked the apple support site and it seems this is a common issue for many users, each time I send the report to Apple they must have thousands by now. The first line always contains the word panic, I wonder if any of our erudite colleagues would like a shot at explaining this phenomenon, I’ll be happy to upload the report if required. Restarting is perfect and I have no other problems.

  47. Sounds like you’re getting kernel panics—sorry! Have you updated to the most recent version of Catalina? I’m not seeing any such issues with mine, but I do see some suggestion that the problem might be related to the Radeon Pro 5700 XT graphics card. Do you have that? I don’t—I stuck with the 5500 XT.

  48. As one who got his iMac in late August (with the Radeon Pro 5700 (not XT) card), I think that I saw one kernel panic. However, I haven’t seen any since doing the latest operating system upgrades.

  49. Thanks Adam I also stuck with the 5500 yes I do have the latest version only difference I can think of is I replaced 8GB of Apple memory with 2 x 32GB of Kingston DDR4 2666 Retina 5K 27inch. KCP 426SD8/32 but I noticed in the about this Mac panel this Your Mac contains 4 memory slots, each of which accepts a 2667 MHz DDR4 memory module. Have I screwed up I was assured the memory was correct.

  50. I replaced the 2 8GB Apple Memory with 2 16GB OWC Memory. Note that Apple recommends that you should try to equalize memory between channels, which, in practice, means using alternate slots rather than adjacent slots for 2 identically sized memory cards. I directly replaced the Apple cards so that I am in slots 2 and 4. See item 9 in the Installing Memory section of this.

    If you look at the memory tab in ‘About This Mac’ the 2 occupied slots should show up as next to each other rather than one above the other.

  51. I did that as before in the previous Mac I simply can’t think what it could be. I’ve contacted Kingston for their comments. Thanks for responding.

  52. Thanks Conrad I am checking with the supplier.

  53. I’m comforted that you had only one I have had many I am now logging them should be due one in next day or so. Kingston supplier is prepared to replace the memory but suggested I reinstall the Apple memory and see if I have the same problem. Am I right in thinking that this can only be a hardware problem (fingers crossed)? I had Kingston in my previous Mac and no problem for 7 years and still going strong.

  54. Having read your post again I checked and I had put my memory dimms into 1 and 3 so I have changed them to 2 and 4. Let’s see

  55. Would someone confirm or deny that Office for Mac 2016 (or at least Excel) will run on the new iMac? I have been assured by The One Who Knows Me Best that I will consider Office 365 a significant step on the path of making the user interface more annoying at each new edition of Office. Thanks.

    On somewhat different topic, am I correct that Office for Mac 2016 has no chance of running on a new Mac with an Apple M1 chip? Thanks again.

  56. I would assume you will be able to run Office 2016 through Rosetta 2 on an M1 Mac.

  57. Latest iMac with 3,6 GHz 10‑Core Intel Core i9 or latest Macbook Air with Apple M1? Which one should I take if I have a fixed amount of money? (The Macbook decision would of course include all peripherals like display, hub etc.)

  58. If one of the choices is a ten core Intel, I’d wait (if you are able) to see if Apple releases a more powerful M1 with more cores and more thunderbolt ports next spring. These new computers are replacing Intel machines on the low end of the line.

  59. @ddmiller makes a good point. You’re comparing a fairly beefy and mature desktop Mac to brand new product and what is bound to become the lowest end AS Mac. So I’d agree with him that you should wait if you can.

    For the sake of continuing this thread though I’ll act as if you cannot wait and need to make that decision now. I take it from your last comment that buying a large high-quality display and a serious TB3 dock are a given. In that case I indeed would not hesitate to get a portable Mac. That way you get a svelte Mac you can take anywhere you want, but when you get back to the desk, you hook it up to a single cable to turn it into a full desktop Mac with large screen, good peripherals, etc. I’ll mention I definitely am biased. This is how I choose my main work Mac.

    I have to admit I never got the appeal of the iMac. Sure it’s nice to look at and it’s got a beautiful screen and usually presents good value (high-end MBP plus good display plus TB dock is not cheap), but this idea that you have to throw out a perfectly good screen whenever you want to upgrade your CPU I always found jarring. I never liked the idea that although it’s a desktop, you can’t really service anything yourself (so no swapping disks for example). I could never stand the fact that iMacs (like Apple’s Cinema Displays) offers insufficient adjustability: who buys a beautifully designed Mac to then stack it up on old coffee stained phone books? If the iMac were substantially cheaper or offered much more horsepower I guess I’d get it, but the one iMac that does offer that is the iMac Pro and that’s by no means inexpensive.

    The M1 is no slouch. There is some justified concern about the tight thermal envelop of the MBA and possible throttling of its M1 due to the fanless design. Early benchmarks do not underscore that concern, but proper testing remains to settle that issue. If indeed that would be a serious issue for you, you could always spend an extra $250 to get the M1 13" MBP. It’s very similar to the MBA but it has a fan.

  60. This remark was especially valuable since I was not giving it too much thought before.

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