One week with Apple’s iMac Pro: Completely sealed, non-upgradeable, and super powerful

“iMac Pro has been in the house for a week – this has been my experience so far!” Marques Brownlee writes on YouTube.

Apple’s powerful new iMac Pro launches the general public on December 14th.

Brownlee tested a 3GHz 10-core Intel Xeon W iMac Pro with 128GB DDR4 RAM, Radeon Pro Vega 16GB HBM2 memory, and a 2TB SSD. iMac Pro is a completely sealed computer, so the specs you order are the specs you’ll be using. Choose wisely, Padawans.

The all-new iMac Pro, with its 27-inch Retina 5K display, up to 18-core Xeon processors and up to 22 Teraflops of graphics computation, is the most powerful Mac Apple has ever made. Featuring a new space gray enclosure, iMac Pro packs serious performance for advanced graphics editing, virtual reality content creation and real-time 3D rendering. iMac Pro starts at $4,999.

MacDailyNews Take: For the right type of user, iMac Pro is the stuff of which dreams are made.

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      1. You can expand via Thunderbolt, so Nvidia would appear to be an option for an external upgrade. Not ideal, perhaps, but better than nothing. You can similarly expand external storage.

        If you are looking for the functionality of a cheese grater Mac Pro from circa-2012, then you will have to wait a bit longer. Hopefully, Apple will give you everything you want and more.

        1. Not even close to sufficient speed for sli or crossfire…
          Right now I’m running dual Titan Xs, it would need to at least do that.
          And when Apple does wake up, I will bet you it will be stratospherically priced, possibly still have proprietary parts requirements, etc… but I will wait before passing final judgement.

          1. They clearly want to keep this for a somewhat different market to the upcoming MacPro and additionally make sure that they get new sales as replacements further down the line to make it all worthwhile and ticking over. I guess this is the payment from the pro brigade for Apple ‘making the effort’ to give them something to play with. A touch cynical perhaps though I have to say now I have a solid state drive I have little impetus to change anything else so most designers will find this sufficient even if the price is far greater than the one I forked out.

          2. As stated in the video, the iMac Pro is very viable for someone working with Final Cut Pro or the like. It is not a one-size-fits-all tool for pros, in general.

            As far as the pricing of the Mac Pro goes, I really don’t know, and neither do you. All you have is consistent cynicism. It is possible that the new Mac Pro will fall into similar cost brackets as the iMac Pro after you eliminate the built-in 5K display, but augment the chassis, power supply, PCIe expansion slots, internal drive bays, extra ports, RAM capacity, thermal control provisions, etc. If the Mac Pro reverts to something more akin to the previous cheese grater design, but with a lot more headroom for multiple processor cores and RAM, then the base cost might start out in the same general range. The price of the maxed out Mac Pro with a couple of dozen cores (or more), 256 GB of RAM (or more), and various options for SSD and HDD storage will, no doubt, be very high. For those who need that power, it will also be worth it.

            I don’t want to bother debating comparisons with low-cost PCs or hackintoshes. When newly released, the high-end Macs tend to be reasonably priced compared to similarly spec’ed PCs in the majority of credible reviews that I have seen. I will not defend the current pricing of the trashcan Mac Pro relative to contemporary PC offerings, because it has not been updated in years. And I agree, that is inexcusable. But you need to jettison your bitterness, look ahead, and chart your course forward, whether it involves a Mac Pro or not.

            1. “The price of the maxed out Mac Pro with a couple of dozen cores (or more), 256 GB of RAM (or more), and various options for SSD and HDD storage will, no doubt, be very high. For those who need that power, it will also be worth it.”

              No question it will be high at those specs, but the likelihood is it will be “way too high” compared to what can be done with a non-Apple solution. MacOS remains the main advantage. That advantage (to me) is diminishing.

              “All you have is consistent cynicism”
              Yup! Fueled by Apple’s self-serving policies, pricing, and fans who totally fail to be critical, never mind cynical. A fan, almost by definition, protects the interest of their beloved, often over their own.

              But to be honest, I am pleasantly surprised by the objectivity of many of such fans here. Others… expactly what one would expect.

            2. Were we talking about versatility? That will be worth something to some people and nothing to others. You said “the likelihood is it will be “way too high” compared to what can be done with a non-Apple solution.” and I said the video already compared prices and found the iMac Pro was fairly priced.

            3. Versatility means different things for different people. For some it is the capability of the machine and they’ll never even consider wasting additional time and money reconfiguring or upgrading the machine because it isn’t necessary or cost effective. For others versatility means changing up the hardware configuration and that is useful. Versatility has value for some and not for others, and in different ways. You can’t make a blanket statement that the iMac Pro offers less value because the user can’t crack it open and swap in new parts. In some cases not having to upgrade it and getting many years use out of it is what has more value. I’m approaching year 9 on an iMac, still doing everything I need in my business. I’d be a fool to complain about the original purchase price.

    1. My biggest beef with the systems not being able to be upgraded is that you still pay a premium to get memory at purchase. Fine, if you will not let me upgrade it than at least sell me the upgrade at purchase for something close to cost. In the Mac mini, the jump from 8GB to 16GB is $200. If I could upgrade it, I would not spend anywhere near $200 to buy 16GB RETAIL. That way people would be more likely to get more memory (or storage or whatever) and that improves their experience.

    2. In looking at the pics on the Apple website at: (about 2/5 of the way down the page) it looks like the installed RAM is/are standard size desktop SIMM’s. I would say that if the screen were removed and would wanted to get in behind the logic board, it would be replaceable/upgradable… We’ll see… and likely a LOT of work…

  1. It is sealed only to the average user. The current iMac is sealed too – yet I was able to open it up and swap out the hard drive for an SSD. Earlier reports showed that the processor was not soldered to the system board. I’m not sure about the RAM either but it hardly makes sense to solder processors and RAM for low volume Macs.

    1. The new iMac Pro is sealed for virtually all users. Extremely few people are going to unglue the screen to replace/upgrade things. While the process to get into the 24 inch iMac is laborious to replace/upgrade RAM or hard drives, it is not impossible. Yet, it is difficult enough that extremely few do so. The same will be true for this new iMac Pro.

      Upgrading the RAM on the “standard” 27″ 5K iMac has been straightforward. There is a door for direct access to the RAM. Therefore it is inaccurate for you to say the current iMac is sealed too. Comparing 27″ 5K machines (iMac & iMac Pro) the new one is sealed. The “standard” one is not. Directly from Apple’s site for the current “standard” iMac 27″: “8GB (two 4GB) of 2400MHz DDR4 memory; four SO-DIMM slots, user accessible”. Note the “user accessible” part of that.

      1. It’s not that hard if you have an iMac repair kit and I’m sure MacFixit will have one for the iMac Pro soon enough. The trickiest thing was aligning the adhesive strips to re-attach the glass.

        It’s marvelous to behold inside of it though.

    2. I do not understand why this computer is sealed.
      —It doesn’t need to be lightweight
      —It doesn’t need to have a razor-thin profile
      —It doesn’t need to be portable
      —It has a 27 inch screen, I’m not going to be moving it around a lot

      Just give it a fairly slim profile with a door for the the RAM (like previous iMacs.
      And a slide out tray for the HD/FusionHD/SSD
      There is enough room behind that gorgeous 27″ screen to put two HD trays and no one would care if it were an extra inch thick—it’s a desktop computer!

  2. One thought, if the Ssd and ram are soldered in, this albatross edifice of s%*! Is basically Apple pretending to listen to creative professionals and, out of sheer spite, spitting in their face… if basic ram and Ssd are not upgradable, I will happily dance (a very scatological one at that) on its cube-like grave. F’ Apple. Unbelievable.

    1. Wait for the Mac Pro. That is the machine that you want.

      Other than not including a door to enable user-upgradeable RAM, there are no surprises whatsoever in the iMac Pro design. It is exactly as Apple promised. There is no “spitting in the face” of anyone. It is what it is. Buy it or don’t buy it. Wait for the Mac Pro or go Windows. The griping is overdone on this forum, and has been for years. You know what is coming – wait for it or move on.

        1. For pro photographers it’s a no brainer. Fully deductible inc AppleCare over it’s lifetime, horsepower to spare – even for the majority of videographers. SMBs too.
          I don’t need one but the business niche is huge.
          Lots of negativity from wannabe power users and entitlement weenies.

        2. If it were highly upgradable, it would have an anticipated service life of greater than five years, and it would not be fully deductible. The auditors and IRS would require it to be treated as a capital expenditure and amortized over its expected lifetime.

          Difficulty to repair is only a problem for those who do not purchase a (deductible) AppleCare policy. Professional videographers, photographers, etc. are as likely to do their own repairs as the average Ferrari owner is to do his own tuneups.

      1. Welcome to 2013, where these same lame rationalizations/appologies worked so well for the trashcan, which in comparison, is a wonder of upgradeability. In the mean time, pro’s in droves ran away from the platform. It also worked great for the cube before it. Something something about history, and something something, doomed to repeat it.

      2. Earth to fanboys: An iMac PRO that is sealed is NOT A PRO MACHINE! Yes, Apple is spitting on Pro users once again. But I do agree you know what your getting, and NOT getting upfront. I will certainly pass on this ridiculous insult to the Pro market …

  3. Tap, tap tap… Still waiting for that upgradeable “2018” Mac Pro….

    Though as Schiller explained it takes this long to make an iMac Pro and they only started maybe last March on a COMPLETELY new Mac Pro, well, 2018 starts to seem a tad optimistic.

  4. DUD. Nice throwaway gaming machine for the basement dwelling unemployed drop out.

    It will be a cold day in hell before I shell out $5k for an iMac that is glued shut and cannot easily be repaired or upgraded by the end user. Now if you are stupid enough to buy a throwaway iPhone for $1k maybe this looks like a screaming deal- kind of like the people who pay outrageous prices for designer shoes.

    Hope someone in Cupertino is lurking:
    1 Don’t glue it shut. Make it where it can be opened without special tools.
    2 Workstation form factor- not an all in one.
    3 Able to be accept standard memory, graphics & expansion cards and socketed CPUs.
    4 Great connectivity- plenty of ports.
    5 No built in display- I’ll buy my own

    Kind of like this:

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