Apple Refreshes 27-Inch iMac With the Latest Chips, More Storage Options

Apple is refreshing the 27-inch iMac with Intel’s 10th-generation “Comet Lake”  processors, more RAM and storage options, and a better webcam (finally).

The new 27-inch iMac goes on sale today, starting at the same $1,799 price. But pay more, and you can really turn the product into a powerhouse.

For the first time, customers will be able to buy the 27-inch iMac with a 10-core CPU from Intel. The chip—which appears to be a new Core i9 Comet Lake processor—has a 3.6GHz base clock speed that can be boosted up to 5.0GHz. Otherwise, you can settle for a 6-core or 8-core processor from Intel’s Comet Lake family.

In addition, Apple has doubled the max available RAM from 64GB to 128GB. On the storage front, the company is doing away with the Fusion Drives—a hybrid HDD and SSD solution—for pure SSD memory for faster load times. Previously, the iMac’s storage was capped at 2TB, but now buyers can configure it with up to 8TB in SSD.

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For graphics, the company has upgraded the product with AMD Radeon Pro GPUs that come with GDDR6 memory. The options start with a Radeon Pro 5300 with 4GB of GDDR6 memory, which can be scaled up to a Radeon Pro 5700 XT that has 16GB of memory.

According to Apple, the new Intel and AMD silicon can increase the processing speeds for certain video-editing and audio-processing applications from 25 percent up to 65 percent compared with last year’s model.

27-inch iMac
(Credit: Apple)
The other important change has been to the 27-inch iMac’s web camera: it’s finally been bumped up to a 1080p resolution.

In terms of actual looks, the product retains the same design. However, the company claims the 5K display has been improved, thanks to the “True Tone” technology, which can automatically adjust the screen’s color temperature to match the surrounding lighting in your room. For even better viewing, buyers can get the display with Apple’s “nano-texture” glass, which will reduce glare and reflectivity.

A family looking at the new iMac
(Credit: Apple)
Of course, the added features can get pretty pricey. The base 27-inch iMac comes with an Intel Core i5 processor, a mere 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. To get at least 1TB of SSD storage, you’ll have to pay at least $2,199. Meanwhile, a fully maxed-out model will cost you $9,427.

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Apple’s other iMac models are getting a few changes too. For the more expensive iMac Pro, the company is upgrading the $4,999 base model to use a 10-core Intel Xeon W chip instead of an 8-core Xeon processor.

For the 21.5-inch iMac model, which starts at $1,099, Apple is swapping out the Fusion Drives as the default storage option for 256GB of SSD.

The refresh arrives as Apple is preparing to switch from Intel chips to ARM-based processors in the company’s Mac systems. As a result, many consumers are questioning whether now is the right time to buy a Mac product when Apple’s support for Intel chips is on the way out.

But despite the transition, the company plans on supporting macOS for Intel chips for “years to come,” according to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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