iMac Pro Wish List and Speculation

Sirmausalot

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Well, I thought this would be a good companion thread to the iMac speculation wish list as it is now clear as Phil Schiller said “We’re going to begin making configurations of iMac specifically with the pro customer in mind.” Which is a bit more information than Tim Cook gave us when he said they have big plans for the desktop and the pro customer is very important. Considering the development of a new iMac Pro has to take 2+ years, think about what Apple was looking at a year or two ago in terms of chip roadmaps and more.

This means potentially

1. CPUs with more than 4 cores. Skylake X is a possibility. But will it be perceived as a step beck even though Kaby Lake doesn't offer many performance gains? (except in h265, which is a huge thing)
2. Higher end GPUs. Does this mean the Nvidia 1080 or something like it? Or more likely one of the new AMD chips?
3. A change in form factor? Is a pro machine 30" or 32" Is it higher than 5K?

Speculate on a release date. Perhaps the usual October time frame?
Think about the Mac Pro and what Pro means to Apple in terms of components (looking back at 2013). But they know they made a mistake in the the Mac Pro wasn't even reconfigurable FROM THEIR END. If they wanted to bump graphics or CPU from the original configurations, they ended up with thermal problems. That is a mistake they don't want to make again.

Remember a Pro customer is not a gaming customer. A Pro Customer, to my mind, essentially uses the Adobe Suite: Film Editing, Special Effects, Design, Layout, Illustrator. They will not add touch, but using an iPad Pro as a pencil input would seem to be a no brainer in addition to the keyboard. A specific jog wheel controller for video editors makes sense, but is unlikely.
 

Sirmausalot

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Probably isn't gonna happen but I would like a 21inch iMac with a GPU again
Intriguing. I hadn't thought of a 21" Pro Machine, but why not? There are smaller Macbook Pros and iPad Pros, so it actually fits to have Pro level computers with two screen sizes.
 

fokmik

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it is all over...imac pro is coming in August ! e3 cpu support for nvidia eGPU via TB3, up to 64 gb RAM, better ssd and probably vega gpu
[doublepost=1491499448][/doublepost]so i think the imacs and mac mini+updates for macbook pro are coming this year, and the new apple displays and mac pro next year
[doublepost=1491501575][/doublepost]i wonder if with the new imac and its tb3 support and the latest news from nividia, can we hope for a imac hooked up with an eGPU with 1080 in it?
 
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oftheheavens

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Jul 9, 2008
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I have a late 2013 27inch maxed out (well only 24GB RAM instead of 32 which I think is the max) and if they make a pro iMac that has a better stand alone GPU then my NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780m 4GB (hopefully whatever the updated version is and drop the "m") I will trade in my perfectly fine late 2013 for one.
 

Dave245

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Sep 15, 2013
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It would be great to see the Apple Pencil be able to interact with the track pad for the iMac, i would also like to see the Touch Bar on an external keyboard for the iMac. Specs wise i will wait and see what they announce, i currently have a 2012 iMac that i may decide to update or wait until there is a design change, depending on what is announced by Apple.
 

BlueTide

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Feb 6, 2007
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I think this is anti-wish list:
  • No Xeons. In practice, they don't make much of a difference other than potentially core count, but are an excuse to charge more. For the same price, I'd not care either way, though.
  • No FirePro. Same thing - no real benefits for most uses and even less so on Mac where drivers are more comprehensive anyway.
I am really, really afraid that this 'pro' focus will be an excuse to pump the price and make the machine non-competitive. So, letting myself daydream:
  • As they are now, but with more, upgradable memory. None of that ECC stuff.
  • More cores
  • Nvidia & CUDA support
  • 3D Lut in the display, so that we can calibrate it and not just profile it. And auto-calibration sensor like Eizo displays.
Yeah, I know. Not gonna happen. :)
 

hurtmemore

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Jan 9, 2017
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Anyone think it's viable to add a user-accessible PCIe SSD bay just like we have access to RAM? It's a very similar form factor, small, thin, ultra fast, plug and play, still pretty damn expensive but will become more affordable over the lifespan of these new machines - could be a good 'pro' feature to expand fast internal storage on iMac.
 

CWallace

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Aug 17, 2007
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I don't see the iMac Pro going beyond 4-cores - otherwise it starts to intrude on the new Mac Pro.

I expect the iMac Pro will fill the role that until this week was filled by the entry-level Mac Pro. So it will be a 4-core Xeon with up to 64GB of ECC RAM and whatever workstation class GPU they can (thermally) fit in it. It will have Gigabit Ethernet (this may disappear from the standard iMac) and at least 6 with perhaps 8 USB-C+TB3 ports.

I absolutely do not believe it will be the "Gaming Mac" with Skylake-X CPUs, the x299 chipset and gaming-centric GPUs. If you want top-end gaming GPUs, you're going to need to buy the new Mac Pro (and pay for a lot of stuff superfluous to a gaming rig, just as one did with MP 5,1).
 
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sublunar

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Jun 23, 2007
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Probably isn't gonna happen but I would like a 21inch iMac with a GPU again
You may get to see that wish fulfilled. Although there is a suitable Skylake R series CPU with Iris Pro 580 there's nothing on the medium to long term road map that suggests a desktop Intel CPU with Iris Pro is on the cards after Kaby Lake. This could be seemingly because the trend for people spending that much on a desktop is heading towards wanting a discrete GPU. Intel are winding down development on desktop Iris Pro for that reason.

This has already happened early with Macbook Pro where there is a mobile Skylake CPU with Iris Pro option available from Intel but Apple just went for the regular CPU, which has a higher clock speed, and added an AMD GPU for all models. It's one situation where two components add up to more performance over the single Intel solution which would appear to be heading towards a development dead end.

If the transition to a 21" 4k iMac range follows the 27" 5k iMac model (which took 2 refreshes to go all 5k) then the next iteration should see the middle SKU go 4k with possibly a price cut on the lowest model which would stay as a Thunderbolt 2 ported, 1.4Ghz hard drive poverty spec model in the same way that you can still buy a Macbook Air for now.

I think the 4k 21.5" iMac would need heavy re-engineering to allow the heat budget for an additional GPU into the equation though.

The current 4k iMac is the only place where we see the desktop class Iris Pro 6200 Broadwell CPU so it might be the case that a mild re-engineering to accommodate (heavily discounted?) Iris Pro 580 Skylake CPUs from Intel could suit Apple while they prepare a more pro iteration of the 21.5" panel for 2018.

After all, there's nothing stopping Apple from going back to a Sunflower style articulating screen with the 21.5" (unless there were fundamental problems with that well loved design). It's here where they would add GPU options into a Pro line where the 'computer' bit becomes more visible in return for adjustability by users to the angle that suits.
 

t0mat0

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Federighi:
Being able to put larger single GPUs required a different system architecture and more thermal capacity than that system was designed to accommodate. And so it became fairly difficult to adjust. At the same time, so many of our customers were moving to iMac that we saw a path to address many, many more of those that were finding themselves limited by Mac Pro through a next generation iMac… And really put a lot of our energy behind that. [But,] while that [upgraded iMac] system is going to be fantastic for a huge number of customers — we want to do more.
Reading Panzarino's piece (Techcrunch doing the transcript that Gruber then used in part) some wording by Federighi seems interesting. It may be nothing, but there's some room to it to suggest eGPU compatibility as a stop gap/improvement for the new iMac is a possibility. Now the above quote could be talking about the October 2014 and May 2015 updates, but Federighi uses the future tense - going to be fantastic.

The limitations they were talking about were in this section, not being able to have a single powerful (and thus hot) GPU. Seeing as the iMac currently is even more thermally constrained for it's GPU than the Mac Pro...

I ask him [Federighi] what Apple’s philosophy on external GPUs is.
“I think they have a place,” he says, and leaves it at that.
Should we wonder about nuance in their wording for this roundtable? From the end of the article:

Only a couple of times during the discussion do the executives ask to go off the record to clarify something. It’s surprising how animated they get at these points, and you get the sense that they are weighing every word.
 
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azentropy

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User upgradeable memory (across all models).
User upgradable internal storage (across all models).
Height adjustable. I probably would have bought a 27" Retina iMac a while ago if it didn't sit up so high. The desk I've used for 20 years is high (with a lower keyboard tray) and when I adjust my current 27" hooked up to my Mac Pro to the height that the 27" iMac would be I found it uncomfortably high.
 

neutrino23

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I don't do much video so I'm less interested in high powered graphics. We need a lot of real estate so a 27 inch or larger screen is helpful. We do a lot of calculations so a fast CPU is needed. We do calculations on up to 1024 x 1024 arrays of 1024 channel x-ray spectra. At least 1TB of solid state storage is useful. Really good graphics is needed for static grey images and camera images. We look at a lot of high resolution electron micro graphs. These are not that large (up to 2048 x 2048) but the data is probably precise to about 10 bits.
 

danielwsmithee

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Mar 12, 2005
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My wish list.

  • 8 core processor at least 3.5 GHz
  • TB3
  • User upgradeable RAM
  • User upgradeable NVME 2 slots based on standard M.2
  • No internal SATA
  • AMD RX480 or NVIDIA 1070 or equivalent.
  • Dead silent operation even at full load.
I think the Mac Pro should go back to a dual processor configuration. We went to Linux based machines to get dual 22-core processors.
 

jeanlain

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Mar 14, 2009
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What do I want for the next iMac? I'll start with what I don't want. I don't want them to remove useful stuff, as they've been doing for many Macs lately. I'd like them to keep:
-User upgradable RAM
-At least one standard USB port
-Ethernet

Now, if we could have the following, it'd be nice:
-AMD Vega GPUs on more than one particular model (because nVidia is still not an option for Apple, sadly)
-Thinner bezel
-NVMe SSDs, but that ain't going to happen.
The rest is a given (TB3, USB-C...)

I'm fine with the current screen size and resolution and I don't need no Xeon CPU.
 
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richinaus

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Oct 26, 2014
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Federighi:

Reading Panzarino's piece (Techcrunch doing the transcript that Gruber then used in part) some wording by Federighi seems interesting. It may be nothing, but there's some room to it to suggest eGPU compatibility as a stop gap/improvement for the new iMac is a possibility. Now the above quote could be talking about the October 2014 and May 2015 updates, but Federighi uses the future tense - going to be fantastic.

The limitations they were talking about were in this section, not being able to have a single powerful (and thus hot) GPU. Seeing as the iMac currently is even more thermally constrained for it's GPU than the Mac Pro...



Should we wonder about nuance in their wording for this roundtable? From the end of the article:
I was thinking the same but to use on the MacBook Pro, to also make it more useful. Would be so perfect for my use.
 
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sfwalter

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I'd be curious what sort of folks would want/need a Xeon inside of an iMac. Would it be for video editors? As a web app developer/photographer the core i7 is good for me. As most apps I use including Photoshop really don't take advantage of all the cores.

I do dabble a bit in Final Cut Pro X but I'm not editing huge 4k files.
[doublepost=1491748331][/doublepost]
My wish list.

  • 8 core processor at least 3.5 GHz
  • TB3
  • User upgradeable RAM
  • User upgradeable NVME 2 slots based on standard M.2
  • No internal SATA
  • AMD RX480 or NVIDIA 1070 or equivalent.
  • Dead silent operation even at full load.
I think the Mac Pro should go back to a dual processor configuration. We went to Linux based machines to get dual 22-core processors.
Curios what apps do you use which would require/take advantage of all those cores?
 

BlueTide

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Feb 6, 2007
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I'd be curious what sort of folks would want/need a Xeon inside of an iMac. Would it be for video editors?
Xeon, or more cores? More cores, yes please. I'd rather not wait this long for my video/animation compositions to render. Or some Lightroom exports, even if that is a less of a burning need - more of a nicety. Or that I could keep on working with something else while the tasks like that render.

Maya, After Effects, Cinema 4D, Premiere, Lightroom, Photoshop.
 

danielwsmithee

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Mar 12, 2005
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I'd be curious what sort of folks would want/need a Xeon inside of an iMac. Would it be for video editors? As a web app developer/photographer the core i7 is good for me. As most apps I use including Photoshop really don't take advantage of all the cores.

Curios what apps do you use which would require/take advantage of all those cores?
I build and execute scientific simulations. Some of the software builds from 2 up to 8 hours currently and benefit substantially from more cores.

As far as ECC we run long simulations with billions of integration steps, on Linux machines currently with ECC. A memory error in a state variable of a integrator would ruin the entire execution.

Currently our preferred approach is iMacs on desks, and Dual processor Linux machines as servers.

It is important to remember that Xeon E3 processors can be socket compatible with i7s. I expect the Xeon with ECC will be either a BTO confit or a separate configuration.

It is interesting that the iMac is rumored to be shipping in October with unannounced test processor numbers. That screams to the use of Skylake-X based i7 and Xeon configurations on the new X299 chipsets...

If true that would be well worth the wait, but may be pricey!
 

sfwalter

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Jan 6, 2004
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Xeon, or more cores? More cores, yes please. I'd rather not wait this long for my video/animation compositions to render. Or some Lightroom exports, even if that is a less of a burning need - more of a nicety. Or that I could keep on working with something else while the tasks like that render.

Maya, After Effects, Cinema 4D, Premiere, Lightroom, Photoshop.
Does Photoshop and Lightroom take advantage of multiple cores? I know Lightroom rarely uses GPU but don't know if more cores help.
 

BlueTide

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Feb 6, 2007
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Silicon Valley, CA
Does Photoshop and Lightroom take advantage of multiple cores? I know Lightroom rarely uses GPU but don't know if more cores help.
In my use, for those two apps, the bottlenecks are elsewhere. Just included them for sake of completeness. I'd still gain some benefits, but admittedly that would be rather minimal.
 
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ljonesj

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Oct 20, 2009
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I build and execute scientific simulations. Some of the software builds from 2 up to 8 hours currently and benefit substantially from more cores.

As far as ECC we run long simulations with billions of integration steps, on Linux machines currently with ECC. A memory error in a state variable of a integrator would ruin the entire execution.

Currently our preferred approach is iMacs on desks, and Dual processor Linux machines as servers.

It is important to remember that Xeon E3 processors can be socket compatible with i7s. I expect the Xeon with ECC will be either a BTO confit or a separate configuration.

It is interesting that the iMac is rumored to be shipping in October with unannounced test processor numbers. That screams to the use of Skylake-X based i7 and Xeon configurations on the new X299 chipsets...

If true that would be well worth the wait, but may be pricey!
Yeah but that's with the socket 2011 v3 i7 not the 1151 socket i7