Late 2016 iMac - what's probable

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Plughugger, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. Plughugger macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    Hi guys - a long-time lurker in this forum.

    I've been holding off with buying a new iMac for two years but I expect that will change later in the year. Currently I'm running a modest 27 inch 3.1 GHz i5 from 2011 and it have served me well. Last summer the graphics card broke down, but Apple fixed it without any cost for me.

    My main reasons why not to buy the newer retina iMacs have been my dreadful experience with the iPad 3 - beautiful display but not powerful processor that can drive the damn thing. I've been a bit cautious and let the graphics chips catch up.

    While the graphics cards in the newer iMacs seem to be powerful enough to drive a 27 inch retina without too much problems - the prospect of of getting an iMac with Thunderbolt 3 is extremely attractive. I work as a sound designer - and I wouldn't be too surprised if Thunderbolt 3 will spawn a new generation of high-end sound cards with possibilities of near-zero latencies.

    What technologies would you think would be the most probable a late 2016 iMac would contain?

  2. Born2bwild macrumors member


    Mar 18, 2012
    Hi, I am also waiting for the iMac 2016 update, so I'm in a similar situation...

    I've been researching clues for a bit over the past week, and what I found out is this:

    - Some people are not quite sure if the updated iMac will be released in 2016, rumors are very sparse at this moment
    - We know that Apple has been updating the iMac regularly in the past 5 years at around Q3,Q4... so that gives us some hope for an update

    As for features:
    - Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 (USB C) seems to be a given
    - DDR4 RAM is also very likely
    - AMD Polaris 10 GPUs seem to be completely on track for a timely release before September
    - Intel Kaby Lake is rumored to be delayed til early 2017, so that is probably out in a 2016 update
    - Intel is supposedly coming up with ultra fast Optane SSDs. These are due in early 2017 based on rumors
    - Some people are talking about a redesign, but I personally think that is highly unlikely

    Other info of some value?
    - Some Intel Skylake chips were released with updated Iris Pro Graphics in May (2016), but these will be geared for the 21 inch
  3. sperdynamite macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2011
    I personally think the GPU update this fall is a little optimistic. Maybe USB-C and TB3, maybe cheaper drive options. Personally I got tired of playing the what's-nex-game, and got the current machine in a spec configuration that makes sense to me. Whether a newer machine will run Overwatch at a higher frame rate is NBD to me. They're unlikely to do a major CPU upgrade for a while, and for most applications my machine just screams.
  4. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Most probable are USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.

    Less probable is an AMD Polaris GPU and DDR4.

    Least probable is Kaby Lake-S as those do not ship until mid-December.
  5. iMcLovin macrumors 68000


    Feb 11, 2009
    Why is AMD polaris GPU update optimistic? If apple released a new retina iMac this fall without either geforce MX 1080 or AMD polaris I would personally be baffled. Geforce 1080 is allready out and available and is way beyond what the iMac can offer.
  6. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    If Apple needs to totally re-design the mainboard to support USB-3 / TB3 / DDR-4 then that improves the chance of Polaris. If they can add some or all three without an MB update, then unless Polaris is socket-compatible with R9 I can't see them going all new mainboard.

    As such, we might not even see a Late 2016 update. Apple could wait until Early or Mid 2017 and get Kaby Lake and Polaris in both the 5K and 4K along with USB-C, TB3, DDR-4 and maybe even DisplayPort 1.4 (which would support a 5K Thunderbolt display update).
  7. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    I would imagine the next iMac is up for a redesign too.....
  8. Appleaker macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2016
    A redesign is due this year but there is a small possibility that it will be delayed until next year (probably March). This is unknown due to the lack of details however it may make sense due to the Kaby Lake and Optane releases.

    A GPU refresh is not unlikely, if anything it is more likely due to the release of the high-end polaris mobile cards (which are the ones that actually use the new architecture). Although the R9 400 mobile series is a mix of rebrands and Polaris cards, they wouldn't stick to the current cards when the next gen is available.

    Thunderbolt 3 is a given although I am not sure whether replacing all the USB A ports with USB C ports is part of the redesign (as it will be with the new MacBook Pros).

    If it is to be released by the end of the year, we will see Skylake again as Kaby Lake doesn't ship until December 2016. While I would love to see Optane being used, it will be released during a similar time frame as Kaby Lake. Since the first Optane SSDs are said to be 16GB they would likely be used for booting the OS only.

    I think DDR4 is possibly the most uncertain as Apple has not yet put it into a Mac and may reserve it for Mac Pros only for 2016. However, if we see a redesign it is very likely we'll see DDR4.

    In conclusion: Skylake, R9 m400 cards, new design, DDR4 - no Optane
    Smaller changes include Bluetooth 5 and new storage options.

    21.5" will get more 4K models and the new Iris Pro 580 graphics should help with performance.
  9. thingstoponder macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2014
    1080? Ha.

    Apple would not put a 600 dollar GPU in an iMac. They're done with Nvidia for now anyways. People need to get over this fantasy that Apple is going to build a gaming machine.

    My prediction is new CPUs and new AMD chips. Then next year they'll do the rumored x86 AMD made APU.
  10. Novus John macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2015
    I'm pretty sure we will see the new Polaris AMD GPUs in this year's iMacs. The midrange (~200$) consumer cards should appear on the market by the end of this month, and their performance/watt is perfect for the iMacs.

    Maybe TB3/Kaby Lake/DDR4. TB3 can run two 4K displays at 60Hz, so it's not a bad idea, given that the iMac lineup is considered to be semi-pro. However, for this to happen Apple would have to redesign the mainboard, so I somehow doubt it would happen this year. At best we will only see TB3.

    First gen. Optanes are intended for HPC and database uses only, so don't expect to see them in any macs for at least a few years.
  11. scoobeesnac macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2014
    If Intel are starting mass production of the processors in Oct - it would be nice to align with a new iMac. #wishful
  12. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    It will probably have marginally more performance and some different ports.
  13. mcc macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2007
    When Apple announced that OS X would be renamed macOS at the 2016 WWDC, they indicated that support for my Mac Pro (Early 2008--MacPro3,1) would not be included in macOS Sierra when it is released this year. When I ordered my Mac Pro in January 2008, it was relatively easy to justify the purchase due to being employed and the nature of my work. I am now retired and in my Seventies making it difficult to justify the expense of purchasing another Mac Pro class system.

    The 27" iMac that has had a recent processor upgrade seems like a reasonable choice as a replacement for my ancient Mac Pro. The major problem with the iMac is that it only supports a single internal disk drive and none with adequate capacity for my needs. I could configure the iMac with a 1TB flash memory/SSD and use it as a System Volume and purchase an external drive to use as a User Volume.

    Unfortunately, we're at an inflection point in bus technology. Will Apple be releasing a new 27" iMac around the time that macOS is released that supports Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 technologies?

    Does anyone have a good crystal?
  14. iMcLovin macrumors 68000


    Feb 11, 2009
    If Apple does not release a new iMac by late summer/fall, a machine with some serious GPU power at least I will buy my first PC this fall as the first since a long time ago. I love the iMac. But since Im doing a lot of rendering, 3d modeling and After Effects work I want my machine to be powerful. And, now that apple has discontinued the Apple Display, not updated the Mac Pro for 3 years and the iMac is one of the most powerful machines they can deliver Im starting to feel that Apple has completely abandoned the Pro Market. I think the iMac looks beautiful, dont get me wrong, but thats pretty much all the arguments I have left (and thats even though I own a Retina iMac maxed out BTO myself). if you pay the amount for a PC as you pay for the maxed out iMac, about 4.000 which I paid, I can get a monster machine now! From what I put together, a 128gb ram DDR4 2400MHz, a top notch 32" 4K monitor, GTX 1080, 8 Core CPU 3.2GHz i7, 1tb SSD. So we are talking one extremely powerful machine. All the arguments people are always giving (and myself too) about if you include the monitor in the iMac , the price isnt actually that bad, .... just doesn't make sense anymore. And honestly for me working with windows isnt a huge dealbreaker. Of course I think OSX is a better than Windows 10 - but not by miles. But with the completely unpredictable release dates of apple hardware and being late to the game almost every time with new hardware, Apple is starting to feel less appealing to me. I mean nobody in their right mind would buy the top priced Mac Pro today, the two GPU's perform less than a GTX 1080 together and you must pay so much for so little!
    If Apple would take the pro market more serious, their BTO should always be up to date with new hardware. I mean they build your machine after you order it anyway. They could at least do that! I understand the secrecy to hyped consumer gadgets, but I dont understand secrecy to the pro market. its not like Im sticking to apple because of surprises when it comes to my working machine.

    So, I have my money ready to get a top of the line iMac this fall, if apple is offering (and Ill gladly pay 4-5000 for it, if it is a proper product). If nothing shows up, and they keep selling outdated ****** hardware for stupid prices, and all we see is a snooze-worthy iPhone 7 this fall...I've decided to stop using Apple as a work/pro product and simply stick with their "toys" for now. Sadly pro machines and OSX was what made me jump to apple in the first place, and now what probably will make me stop being an apple evangelist. Ive always said to friends that asks that they should try apple and Ive converted a lot of people. But today, only non-nerds, parents and oldies who only gonna use the machine for facebook and browsing and text based programs should buy an apple, nobody that needs a proper machine for heavy lifting should consider Apple imo - too costly.

    Sorry, had to get this off my chest.
  15. OldCorpse macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2005
    compost heap
    I'm in the same boat. I have a late 2009 27" iMac that was top of the line at the time (I actually bought it new in early 2010). But, gradually, it's starting to show its limitations. Connectivity is in the dark ages: FireWire800 and USB 2.0. It has a spinning hard drive (which I had to have replaced under AppleCare 4 times), no SSD. The screen has burn-in areas. It feels like the graphics card is starting to crap out, maybe the hdd also, (again! seriously, Seagate makes the works cr@p). It's sloooow, with spinning beachball most of the time, slow, slow, slow app launching. All kinds of wonky behavior. The time is getting near when I'll need a new iMac. I can wait for whatever comes out this fall, but I'm not sure I'll manage to stretch it to next year. But I'd like to have at least USB C, so I'm not left behind on connectivity again.

    The other thing which I'd dearly like, but given up hope on... don't know if this is a hardware or OS issue, but when I have external hard drives connected to the iMac (which I always do), any time I'm trying to save something, the stupid thing has to wake up all the external drives first... which can take like 2 minutes (I have 8 of them) - and it's not like I'm saving on external drives necessarily, I'm just trying to save on my home drive.

    I'm also slowly thinking about giving up on Apple. You get so much more with PCs... although I kinda hate Windows, what with the constant overhead of guarding against viruses, malware and all kinds of garbage. I'd say Linux, except I need top level pro apps (for video editing) and Linux is severely lacking there. Depressing.
  16. iMcLovin macrumors 68000


    Feb 11, 2009
    I think thats a myth we OSX users tell ourselves. The days with constant warnings, automatic updates and reboots starting without you accepting it or viruses and malware - thats not something you experience with windows 10 anymore. I also work in Windows 10 every day in addition to OSX. I still admit OSX is better, but not by a mileage. You dont need a virus program anymore, theres an integrated one from Microsoft which works fine. I have never experienced any warnings or virus infection since getting Windows 10, everything happens in the background. Updates are being asked to update when you shut down, and Microsoft has downloaded it in the background for you. So in general its smooth sailing, with some minor hickups now and then (and OSX isnt flawless either, stuff happens there as well). But, Windows isnt as pretty and a lot of programs looks a lot more "homemade". I dont know if its apple developers being more aware of design consistency or if UI and design sdk's in Windows are nonexistent, nonetheless it feels more gritty and dirty because of this. Windows 10 itself though looks pretty decent overall. But entering areas like System Preferences etc gives you an headache compared to OSX, its not made to be used by average users.
  17. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I've never understood the justification for that logic. I can build a house cheaper than I can have one built for me.

    But if we compare Apple to other manufacturers (because that's fair right?) how much is the machine you are talking about? Dell (Alienware) Area 51 gets kind of close 10 core i7, 512 Gb SSD + 4tb HDD, 32 Gb ram (configurable to 64 Gb), GTX keyboard, no mouse, no monitor, no speakers.... 4,799.99

    And it looks like something out of a nightmare to boot.

    Definitely better off building your own rig than buying that or a Mac Pro.

    While I'm comparing to Dell and you are talking out of date take a look at their all in one computers. Best model has an i7-4790s which is Haswell, 2tb 7200 HDD + 64gb mSATA SSD (not sure if that is some sort of Fusion but mSATA?), 1440p monitor (albeit touchscreen), GT 750M GPU for 2,699.99

    The specs are literally and considerably worse than my near 3 year old iMac for a higher price than I paid nearly 3 years ago. You can find it for about the same price I paid for my iMac on Amazon....not exactly confidence inspiring when it comes to in store service and warranty.

    It must be rough being Apple using PCIe SSDs, 5k displays, Skylake processors, relatively speaking high end mobile GPUs with their custom TCON, etc then be criticized for using old tech. Personally I think they do a fairly decent job as fast as tech moves.
  18. Malus120 macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2002
    I think the problem is the same as it's always been. As much technical and design innovation as Apple does, there will always be a large cross section of prosumer, semi-pro, and pro users for whom the mythical xMac (mini tower with upgradability) is what would best meet their needs.

    Unfortunately, Apple has demonstrated time and time again that this is not a machine they are interested in making (probably because it would hurt sales of more profitable macs, and be hard to offer any differentiation over a standard PC box)

    I personally think this hurts the Mac platform as:
    1. Users are left trying to slot their needs into Macs that weren't designed to meet them.
    2. This leads some users to eventually become frustrated and go Windows or hackintosh.
    3. This prevents a lot of people from switching who otherwise might because you have to pay so much just to get a decent GPU on a Mac.

    That said there is hope!
    A. For all the bitching on this forum people have short memories. iMacs have been increasing in power relative to the rest of the lineup since around 2009-2011, before that the idea of an iMac competing with any Mac Pro/Powermac was a joke. I think that with 14/16nm GPUs this trend will continue.
    B. Thunderbolt 3 is shaping up to be the connector we all hoped the original thunderbolt would be. Once it starts showing up in macs, people will be free to pair their Mac with whatever GPU they want.
  19. iMcLovin macrumors 68000


    Feb 11, 2009

    I never said I would be buying an Alienware Dell. That would be like paying a lot of money for "bad" design.
    The problem for me is that I'm stuck between two chairs. On one hand I care about design and as a home office I want my machine to fit into my house. Only Apple computers does that. If I would have bought a PC I would have bought it for the power only and I would have hid the machine as hard as possible.

    But, because I'm doing a lot of stuff that requires a lot from the machine, I do notice the amount of cores in the CPU and the speed of the GPU. If I have 8 cores instead of 4, rendering time is doubled. and a GTX 1080 or AMD polaris would greatly improve the FPS in my 3d software viewports or when working in the Unreal Engine. With the iMac I get a overall great experience in everything around these things, but with a power PC I would get a lesser user experience in the general sense but working in these softwares which I use every day would be greatly improved.

    Im not talking about building the machine myself, I would order the hardware I like, and a company would put the machine together and I would just click the power on button and everything is ready for me when I receive it.

    When it comes to price that is not really the issue, the issue is lack of options from Apple. There is no way for me to get a really powerful Mac. Even the nMP isnt powerful, not in the right sense. You can get a lot of cores, but they have low ghz per core (so on softwares using less cores, like adobe applications the experience would be worse) and to be honest the nMP 3 years old, the prices apple have simply doesnt make any sense anymore.
    If apple would offer an imac with AMD polaris 64 gb of ram (or 128) I would be happy for now - but they dont and you dont know if they will be doing so in the near future. I can gladly pay 8.000 usd for an iMac if I would get a FAST machine that also looks great and with OSX.

    And, currently comparing hardware in a maxed out iMac its annoying to see what I can get if apple were on par with whats coming in the hardware market.
    if I pay 4.500 for a ugly PC box, I can get
    GTX 1080 (comparing that with the AMD M395X, you get more than double the GPU speeds)
    128GB of DDR 4 ram 2400mhz (instead of 32gb of 1867mhz DDR3 - thats quite a difference!)
    8 Core CPU 3.2GHz i7 (compared to quad core iMac)

    the rest of course if fairly similar. 1tb of slightly faster SSD (but apple is delivering fast enough SSD) the screen I would get something like the 32" Samsung U32D97Q with 3840x2160. In this area it would be a downgrade, except for the size. (I would personally love though if Apple made a 32" iMac with desktop internals.)

    All in all such a PC would not look great but it would be a powerhouse compared to the maxed out iMac. But as I said I love Apples hardware and design choices, but I hate that they are slow catching up. -and seemingly currently not caring about the Pro Market at all - and I need a powerful machine to work efficiently.

    If, like you said, you dont see the logic in my reasoning, then I think you dont need or know the advantages of the hardware I need. Maybe the work you do have no impact with a couple extra cores or not the way it does for me?
  20. Lankyman macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2011
    I am in a similar situation to yourself though you do have a few years on me. :) I know waiting is a frustrating game but it is the wisest decision. Just because Apple will no longer support your Pro doesn't mean it will suddenly stop working.

    My iMac (mid-20011) with SSD and HDD combo has some good life left in it yet. However, I'm not minded to upgrade to Sierra for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a 'wait and see' policy is best.
  21. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    You got me at "dad design". Boy isn't that the truth. It pains me to say but it's like the iMessage portion of WWDC, just trying to hard.

    As far needing the hardware, well you need/want what you need/want.

    For me as far as video editing goes my expectations are grounded, moving from a 970 to a 1080 (which will eventually happen) I don't expect to see much/any improvement. The majority of benefits from the 1080 are strictly based around gaming (Simultaneous multi-projection, Ansel, Fast Sync, oodles of stuff for VR gaming, etc) which will be the reason I purchase one once I determine where AMD is going. Apple knows this, that's why the machine seems lopsided, questionable graphics with a fast CPU (albeit only 4 core in this case). Newer Macs are utilizing integrated graphics now that they are up to par for 4K video editing although still plenty of room for improvement.

    Regardless there is no place in the iMac line for a 1080, there is way too much cost associated with gaming built into the 1080 to put it into any Mac. Now the 480 on the other hand seems more realistic. Mid tier chip, looks like it will blaze through editing, low cost's almost too perfect. I'll definitely be buying a new iMac if it ships with a 480 variant.
  22. Lankyman macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2011
    Although I own an iMac I really don't get all this 'it has to be a Mac' 'it has to fit in my house' angst. You can get some really nice cases for Windows machines now if that floats your boat.

    At the end of the day do you want a piece of art or a tool to assist you in doing a job? Windows 10 is every bit as good as OS X now and with the hardware configurations with a Windows box I would have thought it's a no brainer. If you are completely hung up on aesthetics and perception then you could hide a Windows box completely and just have a monitor and keyboard on your desk - there are plenty of decent ones around.

    Tim Cook isn't sat there worrying about making a machine for iMcLovin so why should you be bothered about trying a different product? Loyalty should work both ways and if it doesn't then I act in my own best interests.
  23. iMcLovin macrumors 68000


    Feb 11, 2009
    thanks, that pretty much sums up what I'm trying to say. You would have to put on blinders not to admit to this fact. I'm sure even Apple has to use more and more PC's internally when they are developing commercials and renderers these days.

    The fact that they have the conscience to sell the outdated Mac Pro for their full price, is baffling - its not a Pro machine anymore, its only the tagline telling you its a Pro. But at least they had the decency to tell the market that the apple thunderbolt display is out of production. They should sell the remaining screens they have at half the price imo.
  24. Truefan31 macrumors 68040


    Aug 25, 2012
    I was amazed how much better it performed in tests than the pro.

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