Ars Technica reviews Apple’s iMac Pro: It’s MUCH faster

“Some high-end professional Mac users are frustrated, and they have been for years,” Samuel Axon writes for Ars Technica. “But things are definitely looking up… In April of last year, Apple invited press to discuss its plans for pro desktops, but it didn’t have specific products to announce at that time. This was a surprise, as Apple usually does not discuss its plans for products unless they are close to being ready for release. Some pro users’ discontent had reached a point at which assurances were needed. Two such assurances were made: Apple would overhaul the Mac Pro sometime after 2017, taking into account the mistakes it made in 2013, and it would double down on the iMac as a professional machine.”

“Apple soon announced the iMac Pro,” Axon writes. “After spending some time with the new release, I can confirm the iMac Pro is an impressive machine. It’s another step in the right direction for some of those same professionals, even though it doesn’t address every need the Mac Pro used to.”

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


Apple's all new iMac Pro with rear case removed
Apple’s all new iMac Pro with rear case removed

“Without the T2 chip, the iMac Pro looks a lot like the iMac, but with more powerful, workstation-class internals,” Axon writes. “This chip is the most innovative thing about the machine.”

“Were it not for the T2 chip, which establishes a blueprint for a more integrated, more secure, and potentially more closed-off future for the Mac, this would look like just a faster iMac. And it is. But it’s much faster, and the use of workstation components matters for a lot of potential customers,” Axon writes. “The iMac Pro will delight the faithful and win back the hearts and minds of some disgruntled pro users even as it won’t work for all of them; it’s only half of the solution. For the rest, we’ll have to wait for that promised Mac Pro revamp. That had better be good.”

Tons more, as usual, in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: For video editors, architects, SFX artists, 3D animators, musicians, game designers, scientists, etc. (you likely know if iMac Pro is for you), this is the professional Mac of their dreams and a great value to boot!

Apple’s powerful iMac Pro is ready for the enterprise – February 16, 2018
Apple’s powerful new iMac Pro is actually cheaper than the original Mac – February 7, 2018
Aerospace engineer Dr. Craig Hunter reviews Apple’s 18-core iMac Pro: A bargain at $11,199 – February 3, 2018
Apple begins shipping 18-core iMac Pro units to customers – January 31, 2018
Macworld reviews Apple’s new iMac Pro: ‘Mac Pro power in the shape of an iMac’ – January 19, 2018
Apple’s iMac Pro has a Thunderbolt 3 storage surprise for you – January 19, 2018
What if Apple’s iMac Pro had TWO Vega GPUs? – January 16, 2018
Benchmarks: 8-core and 10-core iMac Pros running pro apps – January 11, 2018
iMac Pro PCIe-based flash storage: How fast versus other Macs? – January 5, 2018
Benchmark shootout: iMac Pro with Pro Vega 56 GPU versus optional Pro Vega 64 – January 4, 2018
Apple’s low-end 8-core iMac Pro benchmarked running pro apps – December 29, 2017
Low End iMac Pro versus two Mac Pros and one iMac 5K – December 27, 2017
Extrapolating iMac Pro GPU performance using RX Vega 64 – December 14, 2017
Apple’s monstrously potent iMac Pro is for these professional computer users – December 14, 2017
How pros are already using Apple’s powerful iMac Pro – December 14, 2017
Apple’s iMac Pro, the most powerful Mac ever made, is now available starting at $4,999 – December 14, 2017
Apple’s monstrously potent iMac Pro is for these professional computer users – December 14, 2017


  1. No one argues iMac Pro isn’t fast. But calling it a “Pro” model makes a mockery of the term since this machine lacks user upgradabiliy, functionality, and adaptability that professional users want and expect.

    1. … it’s used by professionals and they say it fills the bill then who the hell are you say it isn’t pro? Just stick to the Microsoft/Dell crap you know and bugger off.

        1. Fred, you are the one telling other people what they, as pros, bloc and have to have. “If”‘s post makes perfect sense and who the hell are you to call the iMac Pro “puny” or deride “If”‘s education as inadequate without any evidence whatsoever. Only someone with personal issues would make an ad hominem attack like that in response to a sound post.

          1. Upset, aren’t you. Tsk, tsk. It’s patently obvious that neither Apple’s Mac Pro or iMac Pro can be legitimately considered “Pro” machines. If you don’t understand find a responsible adult to explain it to you. If what I have posted is too difficult for you to understand please ask a specific question.

            1. So your stupendously pathetic personality has you here bitching and whining instead of being “over there” enjoying some pro Windows or Linux machine.

              Here’s my specific question — why don’t you fuck off, find yourself some products you like and stop trolling this site?

    2. I use a 2011 iMac every day (modified only with SSD and 32GB RAM). My tasks include mundane word processing to C4D, SolidWorks, FCP X, Motion, along with the many apps from the Adobe Creative Suite. All the income to my business is derived using iMacs. I am a professional, so the computer on which I do all my work is a Pro machine. Doesn’t mean that I don’t look forward to the coming Mac Pro. I’d still be using those if Apple had stuck with separate components instead of the failed trashcan experiment. I will say that the base iMac Pro model costs less than what I spent on my Mac II FX when it was introduced.

  2. I used to think like Fred the Head, but now realize that it’s not what you put inside the computer that matters anymore. It’s what you plug into the computer. The thing that makes my 2009 Mac Pro feel dated, the thing that makes my 2013 MacPro feel dated is that they don’t have thunderbolt 3. If the connections are there then your computer can be anything you want it to be.

    1. If an ugly, inelegant, and unnecessary collection of external wires, adapters, and devices is acceptable to you then you aren’t a professional user. Third parties would be more than willing to design and manufacture those complements able is unable or unwilling to. Perhaps Apple could collaborate with others if it weren’t too difficult for Apple.

      1. True “Pros” I know have older Cheezegraters of various types and not a single one of them fails to have half a dozen wires out of them to peripherals of a wide range needed by “Pros.”

        Printers, Scanners, storage, network, keyboards, multiple monitors, USB accessories and more are typical.

        These are necessary and Pros don’t mind whether it is “elegant” or not as long as they can get the work done.

        So goodby to the term “unnecessary.”

        1. Yes. Thank you. I’m not a pro but I always had stuff plugged into my cheese grater. It was just never fast stuff. My trash can is fast and has moderately fast stuff plugged in but nothing that makes the trash can itself perform better. The promise of the iMac pro and of that kind of connectivity is that the machine itself is truly faster because of its ability to connect. I have a little owc dock on my trashcan that lets me access all my old hard drives with nary a screw removed. That’s kind of awesome. And to be able to add a graphics card simply by plugging it in. Wow

        2. That’s what happens when legacy hardware is used. You do realize that hard drives can be installed inside machines and many external devices in the 21st century are wireless.

          1. I have a 40TB RAID unit plugged into my iMac Pro. Sorry, even with the Cheesegrater I couldn’t plug that into my Mac Pro without an external cable.

            Don’t know what your definition of “Pro” is, but I certainly make my living using my iMac Pro (mostly software development). The iMac Pro is perfect for pros like me.

            Quite frankly, it’s nice not having to have another box on my desk (or under it). Having everything in the display (other than the RAID, which couldn’t be solved by your definition of a “pro” machine) works out great for pros like me.

            I have had cheese grater Mac Pros (going back to the G5). Everything I ever added to those big box Mac Pros is either built into the iMac Pro or was an external box anyway.

            Should I ever need add-in cards, an external TB to PCI box will do me just fine and I’ll *still* use up less desk space than a cheese grater and a display.

            1. Fred:
              I own a 2010 Mac Pro. It gets used every day, just not for mission critical stuff. That is now a Windows 10 PC because I have no economic/competitive choice from Apple. (3D manufacturing)

              I strongly prefer to have internal PCI slots and a healthy ecosystem of internal expansion options as well as external accessories.

              However, Fred, since you have chosen to follow the botvinnik school of debate, engaging in personal attacks, non sequitur, and ad hominem— you make it very hard for a person like me to lift a finger to offer any support for you. You need to realize that your preferences don’t represent the best option for everyone. If you can’t make your points in a civil manner, please leave.

              Apple: your desktop computer lineup has too many holes. You really need to offer more variety of modular desktop models and keep them up to date. Because you have never kept your hardware up to date and cost effective, you have lost the applications library race. Only heroic measures on your part will bring it back.

              Arguing the pros and cons of the all-in-one configuration is pointless. Apple needs to provide choice. No one configuration works for everyone.

              Anything labelled Pro needs to stay current at all times. Every year the latest chips or price cuts. How do you expect to retain pro users when Dell or HP almost always sell faster, more versatile hardware at better prices with more software and often better apps available?

              The iMac Pro is nice, now keep rolling out new Macs to show this isn’t a short term focus between Beats headphones releases. We have waited too long.

  3. these are all just stop gaps until they can just sell you a dumb screen with a keyboard and mouse and charge you for iCloud CPU/GPU time.

    having cpu’s and gpu’s in your home/business is just a waste of electricity.

  4. I would very much like to dangle my tea bags into Fred’s Head. It would be deliciously fragrant and cooling to my sacs.

    I mean, Fred is a hot head but on a heat map one can see the upper regions are blue and cold.

    Thus the cooling sensation I will feel in my sac area.



    John the Dangler of teats.

    1. You win the prize for the most brilliant fanboy post. Unfortunately, this means that you rank in the upper three percent of intelligence of human beings. On the bright side you get to keep your fanboy carrying card, you have earned it.

  5. An SSD connected through USB or even Thunderbolt can never be as fast as ATA because those drives all ARE ATA drives going through an adaptor. And Thunderbolt-anything is so expensive as to be useless for just about anyone.

    The Playstation 3 has a drive bay! Why can’t a “Pro” Mac have one?

    My external USB devices are always inexplicably disconnecting themselves. On my old G3 mac, I eventually replaced the CD, Hard Drive, Ram, and added two cards into slots. (Video digitizer and USB/Firewire card.) None of these gave me any problems. That’s what Pro means, Apple.

    1. Thunderbolt is a PCI-E interface, not an ATA interface. External thunderbolt drives are MUCH faster than SATA internal drives that max out at 6gbps. Thunderbolt 3 is 40gbps, and if you use an NVME PCI-E ssd in an enclosure over Thunderbolt 3, it will saturate that interface and move data 7x faster than the fastest SATA ssd; and because the iMac Pro has two independent Thunderbolt controllers, you can RAID two NVME drives together over that interface and get extremely fast transfer speeds. Go read Barefeats test of this exact scenario. Please know what you’re talking about before making such a silly comment.

      1. PCIE / thunderbolt isn’t faster than PCI reliably connected millimeters from the motherboard with a solid locking connector.

        An external GPU box + GPU card + 2 different wires is not cheaper than one internal GPU card + the wire your monitor uses.

        Ability to add 4 or 6 internal drives and have the Mac automatically set up and manage a RAID array without fuss used to be , and still would be if Apple bothered to keep up, vastly faster and cheaper than any cloud rental or buying an external RAID box or NAS. Which incidentally runs Windows or linux. Now Apple forces small businesses to pay a huge premium for cloud services or buy 3rd party server and networking equipment.

        As i said above, Apple isn’t giving businesses the choices they deserve.

        1. He was saying that SATA/ATA was a faster interface than thunderbolt. That is completely false, and that’s what I was correcting him on. As far as connecting things directly to the motherboard via PCI-E vs Thunderbolt, yes that would be more reliable if the drive in question has a shitty controller in it, and you’re using a non verified cable. But otherwise it’s just as reliable as long as the drivers and hardware is up to spec. The best GPU’s still can’t saturate an X16 slot so you’re really not losing performance if you use both independent controllers. I will grant you that NVME drives can be flaky if their contact points get scratched or dusty, and in that case connecting directly to the board would be better.

  6. Should the mythical, super duper MacPro actually make an appearance, I doubt that it will sell at an amount to make even a small difference in Apple’s income. This is because the adoption rate will be stifled, in part, by people’s need to replace all of the old software because it will no longer be stable and compatible with the new architecture. And that software is heavy duty and relatively costly. They will need to spring for nearly all new software since Apple will have taken years to release it. It makes delinquent Apple look as if it lost the context for its MO. The context is that the MacPro is partly there for reasons of prestige, to show Apple’s prowess and, perhaps, as a loss leader for other products.

    1. I want you to dangle your tea bags on my head John. When can we meet for a one on one session? I will even bring my PC so you can dangle your sac on its cold, heartless exterior.

    2. What gibberish.

      Every computer requires both software and hardware updates over time.

      People will spend the money to upgrade because this is why they bought the machines to begin with.

      If people can spend more than a $1,000 on a phone people can afford a real Mac Pro.

      Apple’s ineptitude, incompetence, and inadequacies are precisely why Mac Pro is in the pitiful condition it is.

  7. I, Fred the Head, want to free my second, little head, so you can all laugh in admiration.

    My second head is almost as cringey as Fergie’s rendition of our National Anthem.

    Actually, screw that. It is cringier! And stingier! My cold head aches for John’s danglers.

  8. Fred, you nasty stiff! Leave Fergie Alone! She can’t help it that she goes on stage and sings drunk! Nasty! I had respect for you Fred the Head but now I realize I was totally mistaken!

    Shame on you!

  9. It does seem odd that Apple neglected the Pro line so much. Even if people got to the point that they hardly used Macs there’s still a valuable market of people who need raw power. Apple should be courting content providers no matter how small the market because they produce the stuff people use on the other Apple products. A company might only need a handful of “Pro” products, but chances are good that if they’re using them then the rest of their machines are going to be Apple as well. It’s the thin end of a wedge.

  10. Aren’t these all silly arguments? The iMac Pro fits the bill for a certain segment of pro users. The fact that many of us are no longer plugging in as many devices now as we did in the past means is also true of some pro users.

    The other Pro segment mostly needs the ability to field replace the storage mechanism, upgrade RAM and the ability to use different graphic cards without exacting a performance penalty. The ability to use NVIDIA cards in a Pro Mac would be a boon for many users.

    1. My brother just paid ~$1K for an open-box new iMac to replace his old one. He asked me to look at it because the new one was running much slower than the old one.

      Investigating, two things came to light:

      1) His motivation to replace his hardware was because his old iMac doesn’t run High Sierra … and he thought that this was important (for his needs, it isn’t)

      2) And the reason the new one is slower is because it has that lame old 5400rpm HDD in it … whereas we had upgraded his old machine last year to have an SSD.

      To make his brand new iMac an equal performer to his old (2009) one will require pulling that 5400 drive and replacing it with an SSD. I’ve confirmed that his is one of the glue/taped shut iMac, rather than the simple magnet-held-in … and I know that invariably, I’ll be the one doing that damn job, as a birthday gift to him.

      5400 drive = Apple Customer Experience FAIL. Shame.


      Oh, and on the primary topic of this news report, some 3rd party tests have found that Apple has thermally throttled the CPU in the iMac Pro This marks the second time (in a row!) that Apple has put form factor above performance in what is a supposedly ‘Pro’ grade machine. Shame #2

  11. As a longtime MDN reader (and participant), I’ve just gotta say that this little corner of cyberspace is really changing. Almost gone is the spirit of lighthearted fun that infused even the most spirited debates. Now, reading the comments is like standing in a urine-soaked phone booth, what with all the pissing contests. Are all these new divisions been strategically sown by bots, or are people just volunteering to be nasty in their spare time?

    1. Many factors are involved: more mental illness (and unpredictable med use), increased interest in Apple, the global megacorp, from the masses (no longer a niche company for aficionados), disappearance of morality and decency as people are desensitized through degenerate mass media consumption.

    1. Why can’t hardcore whiners – like Fred the Dickhead – go elsewhere and get the machines they need.

      Incessant negativity is clearly some kind of mental disorder.

  12. I don’t know if this thing is a “bargain”.
    I’d be willing to fork out $5-6K for the base model with a few options, but this is a $12K machine when completely maxed out!
    Hardly a bargain for ANY computer these days, AND in the 21st century!
    Are the components in this iMac Pro really THAT expensive OR is Apple just selling this iMac Pro based on its brand, alone?
    Am I the only that feels that “Pro” level computers doesn’ always have to mean THE MOST EXPENSIVE?
    I could purchase a decent used car for $12K! A entire car, folks! A maxed out iMac Pro at $12K, kinda of over the top, folks!
    I own the standard iMac, 27 inch screen model, and I do professional (paid) work on a slightly lesser spec’d iMac than the base model iMac Pro (specs are pretty close).
    Everyone’s definition of a “Pro” Mac seems to be WIDELY different. Including Apple’s definition of a Pro Mac computer.

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