iMac Pro Starts Shipping – a Beast for the Pros (from $4999 up to $13,199)

December 14th, 2017
iMac Pro Starts Shipping - a Beast for the Pros (from $4999 up to $13,199)

It’s out today! Apple has been teasing us about its first dedicated pro machine since the Mac Pro was introduced in 2010. A solid 7+ years. Let’s see what the iMac Pro holds for us pro filmmakers.

The iMac Pro grants editors to edit 8K RED video, H.264 4K drone footage, 6K 3D VR content or 50 Megapixel RAW stills, with a 200-300% increase in performance in almost every professional application. 

It really seems like after all the criticism from the professional editing community saying that Apple stopped innovating for them while only focusing on the iPhone, Apple has been listening to create this killer machine.

However, first it must be noted that that this machine is not upgradable. You can’t upgrade the hardware at all since it’s all sealed. You can’t access the motherboard or any components, which is unusual for a computer dedicated for the professional community out there. On the standard iMac it was still possible to upgrade the RAM, but not anymore – so you have to chose wisely when you order this machine. 

The performance

The iMac Pro was made for heavy duty and demanding tasks like rendering and editing high-resolution footage. Backed with 128 GM of RAM (!) sounds a bit crazy, but applications like FCPX will eat it up and use all of it without a problem, allowing editors to playback 8K raw from a RED camera and of course deliver their results much faster.

As stated by Apple: “With Xeon processors up to 18 cores, up to 22 Teraflops of graphics performance, and a brilliant 27-inch Retina 5K display, iMac Pro is the fastest, most powerful Mac ever made. iMac Pro delivers incredible compute power for real-time 3D rendering, immersive VR, intensive developer workflows, high megapixel photography, complex simulations, massive audio projects and real-time 4K and 8K video editing….Video editors can edit up to eight streams of 4K video, or edit 4.5K RED RAW video and 8K ProRes 4444 at full resolution in real time without rendering. “

On Vincent Laforest’s blog he outlines a few demanding tests of the iMac Pro, showing off the iMac Pro’s editing and grading capabilities, which prove an impressive 200-300 % speed bump. For example: FCPX rendered ProRes422 optimized media at more than twice the speed of a “normal” 2017 iMac.  In Black Magic’s DaVinci Resolve, a RED 8K Helium Full Frame footage shot at 60 fps was exported to 4K ProRes 422 footage at three times faster than the other iMac and Macbook Pro models, and this speed improvement was even more significant in RED Cine-X software. Read the full tests and comparisons on his blog

General tech specs

Display: 5K, Retina display, 27-inch (diagonal) Retina 5K display, 5120‑by‑2880 resolution with support for one billion colors, 500 nits brightness.

Processor: 8-Core, 3.2GHz Intel Xeon W, Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz 19MB cache

Configurable to:

10-Core, 3.0GHz Intel Xeon W, Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz, 23.75MB cache

14-Core, 2.5GHz Intel Xeon W, Turbo Boost up to 4.3GHz, 33.25MB cache

18-Core, 2.3GHz Intel Xeon W, Turbo Boost up to 4.3GHz, 42.75MB cache

Graphics

Vega 56, Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics processor with 8GB of HBM2 memory

Configurable to:

Vega 64, Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics processor with 16GB of HBM2 memory

Memory

32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory.

Configurable to:

64GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory

128GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory

Check Apple’s site for a full tech spec.

Design: 
The iMac Pro has a space gray case and a new thermal architecture inside.

Space Gray case

Thermal Architecture

There is no doubt that this iMac Pro came a long way comparing to the old iMac lineup and even comparing to the Mac Pro computers.

A whole new computer line.

Marques Brownless worked with the iMac Pro for a whole week, and this are his impressions:

It is important to note that the iMac Pro is a whole new computer line, not to be confused with the “normal” iMac lineup. You can see it as an hybrid of iMac and Mac Pro, or an upgraded Mac Pro into the form factor of the iMac. This is definitely not just a faster version of the iMac.

Price

As been mentioned in the title, there is a huge price range. Starting from $4999 for the “cheapest” iMac Pro all the way up to $13,427 to the most advanced model.

Final thoughts

Apple has listened to the pros, there is no doubt about it, and delivered a beautiful impressive machine that suppose to save precious time in editing, rendering and other complex tasks. It looks like it ticks all the boxes – except for the very steep price of course, and its lack of upgradability. Time will tell how it fares, but from the industry vibe we can already predict that it will find its way into many professional studios in the near future.

My colleague Ollie Kenchington who’s specialized in post production, will also put the iMac Pro through its paces in a review for cinema5D very soon. Stay tuned!

What are your thoughts of this new beast? Tell us in the comments below!

 

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Aram Khachaturyan
Aram Khachaturyan
GuestDecember 14th, 2017

Sorry false. It’s overpriced junk without any abilities for upgrade

 Eric Chamboné
Eric Chamboné
MemberDecember 15th, 2017

“Overpriced junk?”

It’s expensive yes but could you elaborate why it’s overpriced junk?

There are no cheap Mac’s that’s for sure. Yet if you want something like for example an iMac Pro and could build it yourself (including the compact design etc.) you wouldn’t end up cheap either if not paying more.

Also the RAM is post-gradable at an Apple authorised service center.

There’s definitely a market for this iMac Pro. And others might wait and get the new Mac Pro modular in 2019. So I guess it’s not eveyones favorite Mac, but to call it junk is not seeing for who these iMac Pro’s are being build.

Roberto Mettifogo
Roberto Mettifogo
MemberDecember 15th, 2017

Junk ? 18 cores XEON W Processor, 16 GB top notch AMD Vega video card, 5k P3 monitor, is it junk ?? what do you work with ? a quantum computer ?

James Bridges
James Bridges
GuestDecember 14th, 2017

I wonder how much the MacPro will cost? Second, any tests on Adobe Suite?

 Joshua Milligan
Joshua Milligan
MemberDecember 14th, 2017

It’s very, VERY pricey, but if I hadn’t of bought my 5K iMac two years ago, I’d be willing to save up for this. It should last you a long time as an editing computer. PC’s are great and can be built to spec on the cheap, but there’s just something about working on a Mac, particularly an iMac, that I love.

Marko Hila
Marko Hila
GuestDecember 14th, 2017

How about NO?

Marcus Andrew Ruiz
Marcus Andrew Ruiz
GuestDecember 14th, 2017

I’ll buy it. ☺️

Chance Hansen
Chance Hansen
GuestDecember 14th, 2017

I could build a monster computer for that price that does way more and has better capabilities and is quicker and etc. etc. etc. Apple products are sooo over priced.

James Davis
James Davis
GuestDecember 14th, 2017

What’s even funnier is these Apple fan boys are stupid enough to buy it for that price.

Melvin Chong
Melvin Chong
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

Apple is a worldwide religion. Their “Paying More For Less” doctrine surpasses many holy teachings.

Giampiero Bazzu
Giampiero Bazzu
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

They are going to pay it, sit on the river and wait

Sunny Kiri
Sunny Kiri
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

More than over priced

Robert Dean
Robert Dean
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

Yeah you could build a more powerful PC, but then you waste half your day fixing tech issues … some of us have work to do!

Saku Pihlman
Saku Pihlman
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

I got good setup with 7000€:

56 Cores with 3Ghz (clocked)
2 x GTX 1080ti
1Tb pci-e ssd
10 TB of hdd Raid 1
64GB of RAM
Also got 4K display with P3 gamut!

Really much happier for My setup ?

Funny fact also is that 5K Mac cannot produce even 4K image ;D My brother has one and we can’t get 4K out of it.

 Carmi Weinzweig
Carmi Weinzweig
MemberDecember 30th, 2017

Which 56-core CPU (or dual processor 28-core) CPU are you using?

 Carmi Weinzweig
Carmi Weinzweig
MemberDecember 30th, 2017

I also missed some of your other specs:
How many Thunderbolt 3 ports does it have?
Does it have 10Gb/s Ethernet?
Is your RAM ECC?
What are the benchmarks of your SSD (better yet, what SSD is it)?
Which 4k display do you have with P3 Gamut (model number would be great).
Which motherboard are you using?

Robi Metti
Robi Metti
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

List me all components needed to build the very same machine at a smaller price please…

 Carmi Weinzweig
Carmi Weinzweig
MemberDecember 30th, 2017

Please give up a parts list with cost for your machine that “does way more and has better capabilities”. Feel free to spec against the base $5,000 machine, the mid-tier $7,200 machine or the high-end $13,200 machine.

Clayton Moore
MemberDecember 14th, 2017

B&H sells an 18 core processor (just the processor) for $2,000. You can get a 5k (P3 color) display for around $1,300. You can get 120gB of DDR4 ram for about $1,200, a 4TB SSD is about $1,500.
The of course you have GPU graphics and and a motherboard with network and wireless and I/Os and bus speeds to run all that stuff. and enclosure and much more.

Clearly not a low end product $$ wise.

Marcos Amaral
Marcos Amaral
GuestDecember 14th, 2017

Rafael Bedoni Tom Allison

Tom Allison
Tom Allison
GuestDecember 14th, 2017

Is this real? Or just a dream????

Marcos Amaral
Marcos Amaral
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

Tom Allison a very expensive dream

Ton van Moll
Ton van Moll
GuestDecember 14th, 2017

nice but to expensive!

Dose Silveri
Dose Silveri
GuestDecember 14th, 2017

Are these still made with server components like the old Mac Pro?

James Davis
James Davis
GuestDecember 14th, 2017

Overpriced junk.

Melvin Chong
Melvin Chong
GuestDecember 14th, 2017

You can build 3 highly spec’d Hackintoshes with 5 grand. Apple is getting more delusional these days.

Robert Frank
Robert Frank
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

I’ll pass.

Richard Grehan
Richard Grehan
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

The price is ridiculous now that we know how easy and cheap it is to build a pc

David Jiménez Figueroa
David Jiménez Figueroa
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

Technology is growing at an exponentially rate that means a machine that is not capable of upgrade is not a good investment, in 2 years you will need a totally new machine!
It is one of the worst environmentally unfriendly computers Apple ever done before!
I’m not jumping into that ship again, I’m going Rebel next time! Apple totally became the evil empire, sucked into the dark side. No more fights agains the Big Brother from 1984, they became the system.
A real artist cannot buy a 5,000 computer!

Hari Har Khalsa
MemberDecember 15th, 2017

In 2 years nothing in your computer is worth saving anyway. The GPU and CPU’s have moved on and require a new motherboard that may not fit in that ugly case your tired of looking at. Your cooling tower doesn’t fit the new chip. Your memory is too slow with the wrong number of pins. So anything that fits in the now 2 year old dog will be a doggy too and you won’t want to show your friends because it won’t create the envy you want to evoke. If you want to stay close to cutting edge you have to start from scratch every few years anyway.

Richard Grehan
Richard Grehan
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

David Jiménez Figueroa exactly bro!

Robert Dean
Robert Dean
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

David Jiménez Figueroa so if I can afford one of these computers I must not be a “real artist”!?!?

Richard Grehan
Richard Grehan
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

Robert Dean defiantly not Robert you have to be a sell out ?

David Jiménez Figueroa
David Jiménez Figueroa
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

Apple officially became the Evil Empire.
People!!! Think about the exponential grow of technology!
Today you need 32Gb of RAM, in 2 years you will need minimum 64, in 4 years 128. So you have to pay for the highest spec of this computer in order to make a good investment for the years to come.
It’s just insane! Please Apple think a little bit on the Environment!!!

 Carmi Weinzweig
Carmi Weinzweig
MemberDecember 30th, 2017

Sorry, the RAM can be upgraded. In the 4 years since I purchased my Mac Pro, I have only just felt the need to upgrade the RAM from 32 GB to 64 GB. I am not sure what software you are using, but if its requirements increase at that rate, I would suggest considering alternatives.

Zac Gordon
Zac Gordon
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

Sean just have a read of the comments :P

Sean Finney
Sean Finney
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

HAHAHHAH fuck

Sean Finney
Sean Finney
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

Buy my Mac pro

Zac Gordon
Zac Gordon
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

i do need a new door stop ^^

Sean Finney
Sean Finney
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

fair call

Visual Candy
Visual Candy
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

Pro….but can’t upgrade parts….don’t think so !!!

Caliph Gamble
Caliph Gamble
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

14k? Seriously, that’s not a misprint? lol wow

Caliph Gamble
Caliph Gamble
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

Actually I bought that “trash can” and find myself using my macbook pro 80% more for what I do smfh apple you’ve lost the grip on me Salute

Clayton Moore
MemberDecember 15th, 2017

Industrial design at a premium price — no question, time will tell if these sell at these prices.

Now for some historical perspective.

Apple birthed the desktop video revolution they way they did desktop publishing. In 1999 A consumer could buy an iMac DV with fire wire and iMovie preinstalled. That was when most people in the PC world did not even know what firewire was. So for about $1,200 you had a computer AND a consumer NLE. Back then if you could get a PC With NLE it was WAY more money and was anything but plug and play. Now it seems things have turned upside down.

But its also true that most people here are vastly more computer savvy as it pertains to upgrading or building systems then the bulk of professional creatives who use the technology.
The community of creatives then help build Apple and by association the entire computer video industry could edit, but barely understood the difference between memory and HD storage, I know because I worked with many them since the beginning. You may be able to build your own system, but many cannot, and have no interest in doing so.

Benjamin Witte
Benjamin Witte
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

Worthless.

Noah Ronald
Noah Ronald
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

You must not be a pro

Benjamin Witte
Benjamin Witte
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

Now who’s trolling?

 Mark Boardman
Mark Boardman
MemberDecember 15th, 2017

Does Premiere/AE plan on supporting the Vega card?
I certainly don’t want to re-live the awful 2015 iMac Premiere debacle.

Hooman Sad
Hooman Sad
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

Siavash Kaafi dadash 100 000 kr

Praveen Mp
Praveen Mp
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

13500$ computer for processing pictures for instagram…OK

Roberto Mettifogo
Roberto Mettifogo
MemberDecember 15th, 2017

one of my customer, makes that money in a day with processed instagram pictures.. price is relative to you earnings..

Roberto Mettifogo
Roberto Mettifogo
MemberDecember 15th, 2017

Pricey yes but, many professional photographers, videomakers, film makers.. just don’t give a damn about price, they just want a machine that works, and hey iMac never crash, macos is solid as a tank. I work with both, few PCs and 2 Macs, never had to do maintenance at the mac, always working flawlessy, PC always having problems… not to mention how a nice mac on a desk makes better impressions on your customers in some cases… they want to know that you invest, it gives them trust in some way, I know it’s stupid but it is so.

What I don’t like about Vega is that they are power hungry (temperature, costs) compared to a radeon 1080 top line model and they perform about the same.

Shoiti Nishimura
Shoiti Nishimura
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

If you come to Brazil, you’ll say… $13K for an imac pro is cheap. Why? Because in Brazil is a $100k… not kidding!

Bruno Palmieri
Bruno Palmieri
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

indeed you are not kidding… absurdly over priced

Bruno Palmieri
Bruno Palmieri
GuestDecember 15th, 2017

what scares me is that there will be a lot of people paying that much for something so overpriced…

Clayton Moore
MemberDecember 15th, 2017

If the kind of performance resident in this computer is what you really need for your gig but you cannot afford it, then I understand the frustration. If Apple chooses not to move high performance into a more affordable space, because of robust sales at this price point then I understand the frustration. The question is, how much of the profit is the sexy industrial design? What if a simple but clean modular system thats supposed to be out in 2018 strikes a compromise ?

Clayton Moore
MemberDecember 15th, 2017

When the Original touch bar MacBook pro hit the market to such mixed reviews may of the Mac OS Pro users I know said that if things at Apple did not change from their current state …. they would switch platforms.

This iMac and whatever is coming in 2018 along with FCP 10.4 is Apples attempt to keep that from happening.

Adrien Delstanche
Adrien Delstanche
GuestDecember 16th, 2017

Jesus since when did computers cost as much as a car? I built my rig for barely over $1k and am able to render and edit in real time all kinds of footage. Sure it won’t edit 8k raw 60p in real time but I didn’t spend another 12k. I can only see this computer appealing to long time professionals with more money than they know what to do with who want to slightly speed up their workflow.

 Carmi Weinzweig
Carmi Weinzweig
MemberDecember 30th, 2017

Actually, high-end computers have always cost as much or more than cars. This is a machine for people with demanding workflows that need this power to accomplish them. I am glad that for what you do, you do need to consider a machine that expensive. Only specialized cases need the top configuration. Most people who need to increased power will be able to get by with either the base machine ($5,000) or one one step up: ($7,200 with 10 cores, 64GB, and the Vega 64). Comparing your consumer desktop to the highest cost configuration of the iMac Pro is a stretch. Your box is most likely comparable to a regular iMac that is priced accordingly.

Slobodan Milivojevic Bobansky
MemberDecember 17th, 2017

I don’t think it’s overpriced if you are a PRO user. It’s a very powerful machine from what I see so far!
To be honest, if I feel I will need it for my upcoming projects, I will definitely buy it.
Why?? Because I always felt that your creativity should not be limited to your hardware limitations….that’s why I always went for fastest PC’s I can buy (until MAC PRO Trashcan came out – that’s when I got converted to MAC)….

If the power of this machine will save me time on my projects, so I can focus on editing, rather than making proxies from 8K Helium files, or h264 from Phantom 4 will play and edit smoothly there is no reason why I would not spend 7-8k$ on this machine…..
Anyways, I will repay itself it in 3-4 months by dedicating some amount from the projects I am working on…

I feel that people who can’t afford to buy it will always spit on it……

James Manson
James Manson
MemberDecember 19th, 2017

“I feel that people who can’t afford to buy it will always spit on it……”

Aint that the truth. Apple make machines that work forever. I still have 2 2010 Mac Pros with updated SSD that my staff still use every day. My trashcan Mac Pro is still a 4K editing beast. Canon and Apple haters abound in these here parts. I laugh when I hear people say they can build their own machine that will be better than the Mac – so between shooting and editing everyday, where do you actually find the time to build your own machine? Ridiculous.

The new iMac is built for pros and will be happily purchased by pros – stop whining if you can’t afford it and go out and get some work.

 Kevin Almodovar
Kevin Almodovar
MemberDecember 19th, 2017

I used to be a PC guy and even built them. The headache that Windows caused when upgrading and how inefficient it was with software was a reason I switched. I remember having to reload the OS and Adobe Master Suite because upgrades never worked. It took an entire day.

I can say that in 15 years of being a PC user, I have never had a successful upgrade. Always had to reformat my drives and reload software. I have had the MacPro now for 8 years, have upgraded the OS about 4 or 5 times with no issues at all.

I bought a 2006 MacPro in 2009 and still use it today. I just recently bought a new video card and I can edit 4k with no issues.

I switched because logic states, if the same company that makes the hardware, makes the OS, then the odds of a more efficient machine are higher. Windows has to make their OS work will millions of different configurations and different manufacturers of hardware.

Time is money and I can say with a great degree of certainty that there are probably not many PC’s that are 11 years old and can still edit 4k footage. I would have gone through about 3 PC’s in that time so I don’t feel I overpaid.

To each his own. That’s my story and why I like Apple. Their machines just work. Sure they have their issues like any other piece of electronics but they are minuscule compared to the headaches I had with PC’s.

Christopher Dobey
MemberDecember 22nd, 2017

iMac Pro: $6399 vs. Custom Build with very similar specs: $6354
BUT
It would be physically impossible to fit all of these components in a small enclosure let alone on the back of your display like the iMac Pro. Not to mention the inevitable trouble shooting with a custom PC and the resale value of a custom build; there is none compared to Apple products that hold their value very well. Custom builds are fun (Hackintosh, Windows, Linux) and I’ve gone that route many times but the convenience and small form factor of being able to have your computer and display all in one package to bring on set/not take up desk space proves quite valuable.

LG 5K$1,350
1TB Samsung PRO M.2 SSD$628
Xeon W-2155 10-Core$1,612
32GB DDR4 ECC$448
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16GB GDDR5$790
1000W Platinum PSU$230
ASUS LGA 2066 Motherboard$320
10GbE Card$256
Bluetooth Microsoft mouse/keyboard$70
Thunderbolt 3 card$80
Windows 10 Pro$150
Fractal Design Define R5 Case$100
Noctua CPU Fan$70
$60/hour labor build. $180

Clayton Moore
MemberDecember 22nd, 2017

Exactly!

 Carmi Weinzweig
Carmi Weinzweig
MemberDecember 30th, 2017

You left out the cost of the OS (unless one plans to run Linux or steal Windows or MacOs) and WiFi.

The custom build also has no warranty.

 Ari Kirschenbaum
Ari Kirschenbaum
MemberJanuary 12th, 2018

Weird – I saw comparisons where the old iMac beat the iMac Pro on almost every test.

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