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Apple iMac Pro vs 27-inch iMac: What’s the difference?

We compare Apple’s new iMac Pro desktop computer with the original 27-inch iMac, to see what the difference is in terms of specs, graphics, price and other key features.

At WWDC 2017, Apple launched a whole bunch of stuff, including a new version of MacOS (nicknamed High Sierra), loads of new Apple Watch features and of course some iOS 11 loveliness.

One of the most exciting launches by far however was the new Apple iMac Pro. This is a super-powered version of the existing iMac desktop device, offering incredible specs and some real grunt.

So how does the new iMac Pro stack up to the old 27-inch iMac computer which you can buy right now from the Apple Store? Here’s our full comparison review to see which might be best for you.

Read next: Long-term MacBook Pro 2017 review

Apple iMac Pro vs iMac 27-inch: Design

While the original iMac already looks pretty damn cool, the new black metal finish (sorry, ‘space grey’) of the iMac Pro is truly drool-worthy and should have fans creaming. The matching keyboard and mouse help to keep your office coordinated, although good luck finding any of them in a dark room at night.

Apple iMac Pro vs iMac 27-inch: Performance

The all-new iMac Pro features a next-generation Intel Xeon processor boasting up to 18-cores in all, with 8-core and 10-core models also available. This is a big step up in terms of performance compared with the original 27-inch iMac, which packs a previous-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 chipset.

You get more, faster memory too as standard, with up to 16GB of on-package high-bandwidth memory (HBM2) crammed inside the iMac Pro. That’s compared to the 8GB of DDR3 memory in the current iMac, which was expandable up to 16GB or 32GB. That should help general performance and running lots of apps at once considerably.

Apple has also revealed that the iMac Pro will boast an 80 per cent increase in cooling capacity – so it’s fast but still pleasingly quiet.

Apple iMac Pro vs iMac 27-inch: GPU

Apple’s new Pro computer sports Radeon Pro Vega graphics, with a new next-generation GPU core and up to 16GB of high-bandwidth vRAM. That’s up to 11 Teraflops single precision power, or 22 Teraflops at half precision.

By comparison, the 27-inch iMac sports the older Radeon R9 M380, M390 or M395 GPU with 2 to 4GB of GDDR5 memory. Quite an impressive difference. If you’re into gaming, video editing or any other intensive visual tasks, the new iMac Pro is clearly the one to go for, for true next-gen performance.

Apple iMac Pro vs iMac 27-inch: Display

With the new iMac Pro, Apple is offering a truly gorgeous 27-inch Retina 5K display, with support for one billion colours. In other words, while the size and resolution of the screen hasn’t changed compared with the current iMac, the Pro offers outstanding visuals boasting true realism. In comparison, the current iMac can only manage ‘millions of colours’.

You also get support for up to two extra displays with the new iMac Pro, just as you have with the original Apple computer. However, you can now attach two 5K displays, rather than two 4096×2160 panels on the old iMac.

Apple iMac Pro vs iMac 27-inch: Features

You can grab an iMac Pro with up to a 4TB 3GB/s Solid State Drive (SSD), for plenty of fast storage. That’s a big jump over the older model, which offered a maximum setup of a 2TB Fusion Drive (configurable to 3GB), or up to a 1TB SSD.

Up to 128GB ECC memory is an new option too, offering twice that of a standard iMac.

The new iMac Pro comes with four Thunderbolt 3 ports (the old one only had two Thunderbolt 2), plus 10GB Ethernet if you want to rock online old-school, ten times faster than before. You also get a SD card slot, for plugging in external storage – just like on the old model.

Rounding off the iMac Pro’s specs is a 1080p FaceTime camera. That’s an improvement over the old iMac’s HD camera.

Apple iMac Pro vs iMac 27-inch: UK price and release date

The new iMac Pro will be released in the UK in December 2017, starting at $4999 US. That of course is a big jump in price over the existing 27-inch iMac, so you better get saving now for that leap in performance.


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