iMac shootout: 2020 27-inch iMac vs. 2019 iMac 5K

Apple on Tuesday announced a major update to its 27-inch iMac. By far the most powerful and capable iMac ever, it features faster Intel processors up to 10 cores, double the memory capacity, next-generation AMD graphics, superfast SSDs across the line with four times the storage capacity, a new nano-texture glass option for the iMac’s Retina 5K display, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, higher fidelity speakers, and studio-quality mics.

The new 27-inch iMac is the most powerful and capable iMac ever.
The new 27-inch iMac is the most powerful and capable iMac ever.

Mike Peterson for AppleInsider:

The 2020 27-inch iMac models feature incrementally updated Intel chips — so no Apple Silicon here. With that being said, there are measurable gains in performance.

Apple says the new 10th-generation Intel processors deliver up to 65% faster performance. Similarly, on the graphics front, the new AMD Radeon Pro options can bring users up to 55% better graphics performance.

Alongside the standard processor and GPU bumps, the 2020 27-inch iMac features some notable upgrades over the past iteration. Users who have been waiting to update from an older iMac may have just the reason to do so.

With that being said, the upgrades here are fairly incremental. We didn’t see a major redesign, as many users have been anticipating. Similarly, we’re in the midst of a major architecture transition to Apple Silicon.

MacDailyNews Take: If you don’t need a new iMac right now, wait a bit. Something wicked this way comes.


  1. You can wait but I don’t think an Apple iMac with ARM processor is coming out for at least another year or so. They’ll be putting out ARM Mac Books and Mac Book Pro’s first. Buy accordingly. Personally I think ARM will be great, but in another 2-3 years.

      1. Do you mind pointing us to a much faster PC with a 27-inch 5K Retina display, keyboard, and mouse for much less than $799? Does it run MacOS as well as Window? Does it offer a high degree of integration with your other Apple devices? Will it last as long as an iMac? Total cost of ownership is worth something.

          1. Yes, the iMac is $1,799 but GoeB claimed that he can buy a much faster PC AND save over $1,000. So the device we’re searching is that much faster PC with hopefully similar specs for only $799 or less.

        1. Perhaps you can, GoeB, but I seriously doubt that you can find a comparable Windows PC for $799 or less.

          Besides, you would end up with a Windows PC. If you don’t understand the value of a real Mac integrated with the extended Apple ecosystem, then go with the PC and find a Windows forum to serve as your political soapbox.

          1. OK, thanks for thoughtful rebuttal, Mel.

            I would never buy an iMac for any reason. Pro grade or no sale in my humble bodega going back to the 1980s.

            I did stray ONCE and bought a used Mini a few years ago as a backup device and server for $300 before Apple soldered the boards and locked down common user upgrades.

            My next PRO computer purchase will be heavily weighed and bang for the buck is all that counts.

            I have been using both platforms for professional work over decades and now Apple allegiance is only a charming memory. Steve is gone and Tim is a beancounter so I will make my decision based on numbers Cook can appreciate.

            Apple owner since my Lisa…

        2. Thanks all for calling me out.

          Tediously speaking, Useless would appreciate, never said I could buy a PC to replace an iMac for $1,000 less. But certainly you all are correct to assume as such.

          In a clumsy worded post as a PRO APPLE USER since the 1980s, I should have been precise and clearer referring to the latest Mac Pro.

          In that scenario my figure of $1,000 savings is probably too low…

  2. Keep in mind that a 2019 iMac CAN be upgraded to 128 GB RAM, like the 2020 iMac and also Turboboosts to 5.0GHz….so the main advantage is the extra 2 cores and the upped GPU. Preliminary stats I have seen show about a 10-15% boost overall on CPU comparing the i9 chips.

  3. This is absolutely not an “iMac shootout”.

    To use a boxing analogy, it is a “tale of the tape” that often gets presented by sportscasters during formal weigh-in of the two boxers. This is a recital of the two iMacs’ hardware and software. It says nothing about their true, real world, or even synthetic benchmark, speeds. There are no independent tests presented.

    Let’s see what the people at Bare Feats reports. I’m sure Rob-ART is already lining up some people to do true comparison testing.

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