Aerospace engineer Dr. Craig Hunter reviews Apple’s 18-core iMac Pro: A bargain at $11,199

“I closed out my 10-core iMac Pro Review back in December wondering how an 18-core model would perform, and happily, one finally showed up for testing!” Craig A. Hunter writes for Hunter Research and Technology. “As the two machines are otherwise very similar, refer back to that original review for a general overview of the iMac Pro (and background on my various benchmarks). Here, I am focusing on performance differences between the 10-core and 18-core models, as I suspect most buyers eyeing the 18-core juggernaut will be doing so for performance.”

“This new 18-core test unit has an Intel Xeon W-2195 CPU running at 2.3GHz (Turbo boost up to 4.3GHz) with a single 24.8MB L3 cache, 1MB L2 cache per core, 128GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory, a 4TB SSD, and an AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics chipset with 16GB of VRAM,” Hunter writes. “For reference, the 10-core test unit has an Intel Xeon W-2155 CPU running at 3.0GHz (Turbo boost up to 4.5GHz), a single 13.8MB L3 cache, 1MB of L2 cache per core, 128GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory, a 2TB SSD, and the same AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics chipset with 16GB of VRAM. For the purposes of my tests, the only notable difference between these two machines is the CPU.”

Apple's all new iMac Pro starts at $4999
Apple’s all new iMac Pro starts at $4999

 

“In summary, we see performance increases ranging from 27% to 79% for the 18-core iMac Pro when compared to the 10-core model,” Hunter writes. “Based on pricing from Apple’s website, it costs $1,600 more to go from a 10-core model to an 18-core model. My 10-core test unit prices out at $9,599, and a comparable 18-core unit would be $11,199, a 17% increase in cost. Those are both lofty prices for sure, but considering the performance increases we’ve seen here, the upcharge for the 18-core model is a bargain. If you’re mainly interested in performance, looking at dollars per GFLOPS is a good way to compare the two machines, and confirms that the 18-core machine is indeed a better deal.”

Much more in the full review – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: For those who need true workstation class Macs, the answer, for now, is clear.

SEE ALSO:
Apple begins shipping 18-core iMac Pro units to customers – January 31, 2018
Apple’s monstrously potent iMac Pro is for these professional computer users – December 14, 2017
Aerospace engineer Dr. Craig Hunter reviews Apple’s new iMac Pro: Strong performance, productivity, and a stunning display – December 12, 2017

31 Comments

  1. I have 19 of these iMacs Pro. They are dsaiy chained into a 72 quad power super cromputer. At that level, I have reached qrantum computing capability. I can crompute quantum outcomes of all equations, and the result of instantly faster than, say, dell or mac mini. The downside is tht apple is nown to slow down all computer when they reach a crertain age. quantrum IA may be able to solve this pzoblem.

    1. Can you show proof that Apple slows down their computers?

      I know about the iPhones issue because of the battery but this is the first time I’ve heard about the macs being slowed down.

      1. “this is the first time I’ve heard about the macs being slowed down”

        How naive can you be? There is someone who can’t spell, who is either a troll or making a joke… and you think this is a valid source of previously unknown, crucial information!!!?

        1. Thank you, it was a joke guys. Obviously the iMac cannot perform quantum computing, and obviously a scientist would not misspell every other word in his sentence, including that of his own profession.

            1. The iMac processor is almost certainly throttled based on a thermal limit to protect it. All computers have such protection built in. The key is whether or not the processor rapidly climbs to that temperature under a full load, or if the cooling system is capable of handling that load for a sustained period.

              You may recall that some devices (some Samsung phones, for instance) appeared to perform well on benchmarks because the duration was short enough to allow them to run flat out without melting. In the real world, however, they would soon throttle back significantly to mitigate the thermal load.

            2. Found it.

              It was reported on AppleInsider, in their 29 DEC 17 “Putting the iMac Pro thermals to the test”.

              Here’s the key line: “The eight-core Xeon processor has a base clock rating of 3.2GHz with a maximum turbo boost clock speed of 4.2GHz, if doing simple tasks. Under full CPU usage, like the tests we are running, the maximum turbo boost is 3.9GHz.”

              Simply put, the iMac Pro is unable to achieve its CPU Specification’s rating in ‘Turbo Boost’ mode.

              And at 3.9GHz vs 4.2GHz (Spec), that’s a 7% shortfall.

              Do note that since Turbo Boost is part of the CPU Specifications from the OEM, this isn’t ‘overclocking’.

              For adequacy in Thermal Management on Pro grade desktop Macs, Apple is now 0 for 2 … in a row.

      2. All laptops of any brand, and all Apple computers, are thermally throttled to protect the chipset.

        Before the cheesegrater Mac Pro was unceremoniously abandoned, Apple made the obvious design choice to prioritize product thickness over any other specifications (even long requested customer requests like more battery life have been totally ignored). Even their desktop Macs, with absolutely no reason in the world to be put under Ive’s knife, have been neutered by the style over substance strategy. Obviously some miniaturization is reasonable and good since new chips keep shrinking, but the iMac Pro is the only Mac in many years where Apple chose not to shrink the case. Still, the new cooling system isn’t able to keep up with 18 cores under a full load. Apple is betting that the people who buy these will use them for intermittent duty and not mind the fan blasting air out the back.

        Me, I would rather have a much bigger cooling system and put the big box under the desk where it belongs. Also, there is no way I would ever go back to using a single monitor. Since Apple refuses to make monitors that match the iMacs, a dual monitor setup becomes an ugly looking kludge. For a company that cares so much about appearances, they sure don’t have a clue how to satisfy the widely ranging needs of desktop users.

        I am not complaining about the price. I am complaining that Apple offers incomplete solutions for that top dollar.

    2. 🐂💩

      Speek Engrish!

      And no, Apple never slows down ANY computers as they reach a certain age.

      The ‘slow down’ issue is specific to older iOS devices whose batteries have reached a point where they are unable to provide necessary burst amperage for high demand apps. That issue isn’t about age. It’s about the amperage capability of batteries of whatever age.

  2. I just bought a new 27″ 5K iMac back in July for $2,700 which is an excellent machine, but darned if that dark and evil looking iMac Pro doesn’t have me lusting for it. I have absolutely no need for it, but I’m fickle like that.

  3. I can’t disagree more… I upgraded a 2012 non-retina macbook pro with 16gb ram and slammed a samsung 850 Pro 512gb SSD in place of the stock merry-go-round drive… and my Mac is blistering fast even in 2018 and running all the latest Pro Apps. Photoshop Opens in like 5 seconds… Illustrator maybe 10 seconds and same for Indesign. Final Cut Pro rocks as well for me. This machine is a workhorse and wish I could buy a dozen of them. I’m sure the new models are faster but can I rely on them like the 2012 MacBook Pro? Maybe.

      1. I just sold my 2010 Xeon cheese grater and now sit here in front of a 2011 17″ MBP that runs about half as fast. Outside of rendering and other CPU-heavy tasks there is no difference in the user experience. The AIO design of the new iMPs is puzzling to me. Why not put all that CPU horsepower in a case that allows proper cooling and access to the RAM and drives? The tortured thermals of the case design in the iMP force CPU throttling (as noted by another post) and that’s just Apple being Jonny Ive-stupid for a supposed workstation.

        I still have the two high-end monitors used with the old Mac Pro. I Apple introduces a kick-ass mini with specs similar to my old cheese grater, they may find some use again.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.