Thursday, June 15, 2017 [Tweets] [Favorites]

The 2017 iMacs

Andrew Cunningham:

At a high level, single- and multi-core CPU performance has increased by around 40 percent since 2012, or by somewhere between 50 and 60 percent if you go back to 2011. Much of that comes from architectural improvements, but the clock-speed boosts deserve some of the credit, too.

[…]

The decision to choose AMD matters because, while its chips aren’t completely uncompetitive and offer a solid value for the price, they generally offer less performance per watt than contemporaneous GPUs from Nvidia. That’s a problem in the iMac especially, since you can’t just add cooling capacity for the sake of boosting performance.

[…]

But if you want to go with a pure SSD or increase your capacity, you’ll pay dearly: upgrading from the standard 2TB Fusion Drive in the top-end iMac to a 512GB SSD costs $200, a 1TB SSD costs $600, and a 2TB SSD costs $1,400.

If you can pay that price, though, you’re getting some of the fastest SSDs that anyone will sell you in any computer. Apple has been ahead of the curve on SSDs since it began moving away from SATA drives to PCI Express drives in 2013, long before anyone else thought to do it. The company has continued to extend its lead by adding more and more PCIe bandwidth and aggressively adopting standards like NVMe.

Apple also charges a lot for RAM, but on the 5K it’s user-replaceable (unlike on the iMac Pro), so you can add your own. Apple asks $600 to upgrade the high-end iMac 5K from 8 GB to 32 GB, but Crucial has a 32 GB kit for $260, and there are likely better deals to be found. Since there are four slots, you can keep the 8 GB and end up with 40 GB total.

Third-party external SSDs are also much cheaper if you want to add storage later, though the performance is likely worse than on the internal SSD.

Matthias Gansrigler:

Just did a quick test duplicating a 3.58 GB zip file in Finder.

#iMac: about 2 seconds

#rMBP2012: about 18 seconds

Nick Heer:

This situation feels like a repeat of the longstanding 16 GB entry-level capacity for iOS devices: it’s clearly inadequate. I don’t know what hardware Apple’s executive team uses, but I doubt any of them could honestly recommend that someone should buy an iMac today with a spinning hard drive. Solid state storage might be far too expensive to put in every iMac, but they could at least start with a Fusion Drive which, yes, would eat into margins, but it would be the right thing to do.

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