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Apple Showcases New iMac Pro Workstation at WWDC
By Jef Cozza
Posted: June 6, 2017 10:48am PDT

For customers with slightly less workload-heavy needs, the standard iMac desktop is also getting a boost. The entire line is moving to the Kaby Lake architecture, with higher memory capacities of 32 and 64GB. For GPUs, the 21-inch iMac model will move to the Radeon Pro 555 and 560, while the 27-inch version will get the 570, 575, or 580 models.

Much of the focus at Apple's 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference running from June 5-9 in San Jose seems to be on the software and mobile device sides. But there has still been some big news for fans of the company’s iMac and MacBook lines.

One significant addition to the Apple family is the new iMac Pro, an all-in-one behemoth set to start shipping in December that the company is aiming specifically at enterprise users running enormous workloads. The new machines come in configurations of 8-, 10-, or 18-core Xeon processors, with a memory cache of up to 42 MB.

The New Graphics Workhorse

The Pro seems to be designed specifically with virtual reality (VR) and heavy graphics rendering workloads in mind, much of which will be powered by the new Radeon Pro Vega GPU. Apple said the Radeon Pro Vega GPU will offer high frame rates in VR, real-time 3D rendering, and video effects production. The new GPU can fetch data at speeds of up to 400 Gbps, while being able to perform up to 11 teraflops, according to the company.

To handle all of that, users will be able to order the iMac Pro with as much as 128 GB of memory, and an all-flash storage drive of up to 4 TB to help content creators manipulate and store large 4K and HD projects. It also provides up to 3 Gbps of throughput to help load large files and launch apps quickly.

To supplement the internal hardware, it also comes with plenty of I/O ports to allow users to take advantage of all that compute power to run multiple HD displays. That includes four Thunderbolt 3 ports, allowing users to connect up to two separate 5K monitors while connecting two RAIDs. A 10 GB Ethernet connection, meanwhile, will help speed up file sharing between the network and other desktops.

MacBooks Get Boost

The screen itself is also pretty impressive, spanning 27 inches and 14.7 million pixels, with support for more than a billion colors. The company said the screen is also 43 percent brighter than its previous models. Internal thermal management also got an upgrade, allowing the desktop to handle up to 500 watts, 67 percent more than previous models. All that power will set you back, however. The lowest-level configuration will start at $4999, the company said.

For customers with slightly less workload-heavy needs, the standard iMac desktop is also getting a boost. The entire line is moving to the Kaby Lake architecture, with higher memory capacities of 32 GB and 64 GB. For GPUs, the 21-inch iMac model will move to the Radeon Pro 555 and 560, while the 27-inch version will get the 570, 575, or 580 models.

The company also offered a price drop, with the lowest level 4K iMac available starting at $1299. That's the same price the new 13-inch MacBook Pro will be starting at, too. The MacBooks are likewise getting an upgrade to Kaby Lake, and will also get new SSDs that are 50 percent faster than the previous generation, the company said. The new MacBook Air models will also get a bump in processor speed.

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