Apple iMac
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Features and capabilities of Apple iMac

Here’s a detailed list of the specs for the 2019 27-inch iMac we tested. Recall that the main characteristics of the remaining configurations can be found here.

Apple iMac 5K 27
Apple iMac 5K 27

Display

  1. Retina 5K display
  2. 27-inch (diagonal) Retina 5K display
  3. 5120‑by‑2880 resolution with support for one billion colors
  4. 500 nits brightness
  5. Wide color (P3)

Processor

  1. 3.0GHz
    3.0GHz 6‑core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz)
  2. 3.1GHz
    3.1GHz 6‑core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 4.3GHz)
    Configurable to 3.6GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 (Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz)
  3. 3.7GHz
    3.7GHz 6‑core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz)
    Configurable to 3.6GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 (Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz)

Memory

  1. 3.0GHz
    8GB (two 4GB) of 2666MHz DDR4 memory; four SO-DIMM slots, user accessible
    Configurable to 16GB or 32GB
  2. 3.1GHz
    8GB (two 4GB) of 2666MHz DDR4 memory; four SO-DIMM slots, user accessible
    Configurable to 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB
  3. 3.7GHz
    8GB (two 4GB) of 2666MHz DDR4 memory; four SO-DIMM slots, user accessible
    Configurable to 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB

Storage

  1. 3.0GHz
    1TB Fusion Drive
    Configurable to 2TB Fusion Drive or 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD
  2. 3.1GHz
    1TB Fusion Drive
    Configurable to 2TB or 3TB Fusion Drive or 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD
  3. 3.7GHz
    2TB Fusion Drive
    Configurable to 3TB Fusion Drive or 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB SSD

Graphics

  1. 3.0GHz
    Radeon Pro 570X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
  2. 3.1GHz
    Radeon Pro 575X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
  3. 3.7GHz
    Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB of GDDR5 memory
    Configurable to Radeon Pro Vega 48 with 8GB of HBM2 memory

Video Support and Camera

  1. FaceTime HD camera
  2. Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display at 1 billion colors and:
    • One 5120‑by‑2880 (5K) external display at 60Hz with support for 1 billion colors, or
    • Two 3840-by-2160 (4K UHD) external displays at 60Hz with support for 1 billion colors, or
    • Two 4096‑by‑2304 (4K) external displays at 60Hz with support for millions of colors
  3. Thunderbolt 3 digital video output
  4. Native DisplayPort output over USB‑C
  5. Thunderbolt 2, HDMI, DVI, and VGA output supported using adapters (sold separately)

Audio

  1. Stereo speakers
  2. Microphone
  3. 3.5 mm headphone jack
    • Support for Apple iPhone headset with microphone

Connections and Expansion

  1. 3.5 mm headphone jack
  2. SDXC card slot
  3. Four USB 3 ports (compatible with USB 2)
  4. Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports with support for:
    • DisplayPort
    • Thunderbolt (up to 40Gb/s)
    • USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gb/s)
    • Thunderbolt 2, HDMI, DVI, and VGA supported using adapters (sold separately)
  5. 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45 connector)
  6. Kensington lock slot

Input

  1. Magic Keyboard
    Magic Keyboard comes standard with your iMac. It’s wireless and rechargeable (so you won’t be replacing batteries), with an ultracompact, edge-to-edge design that wastes no surface space. It has a stable scissor mechanism, optimized key travel, and a low profile that provide control and comfort. And it pairs immediately with your iMac right out of the box.
  2. Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad
    You get all the functionality of Magic Keyboard, with an extended layout that makes it even easier to work and play. Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad includes document navigation controls — page up, page down, home, and end — and full-size arrow keys that are perfect for navigating pro apps, moving through spreadsheets, and playing games.
  3. Magic Mouse 2
    Magic Mouse 2 comes standard with your iMac. The design of Magic Mouse 2 lets it glide smoothly across your desk. And since it supports Multi-Touch, you can use simple gestures on its surface to do things such as swipe between web pages and scroll through documents.
  4. Magic Trackpad 2
    If you prefer using a trackpad, Magic Trackpad 2 gives you the full range of Multi-Touch gestures and introduces Force Touch to the desktop. Sensors underneath the trackpad surface detect subtle differences in the amount of pressure you apply, bringing more functionality to your fingertips and enabling a deeper connection to your content. This design, along with a low profile, makes it extremely comfortable to use.

Wireless

  1. Wi-Fi
    802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking
    IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible
  2. Bluetooth
    Bluetooth 4.2 wireless technology

Size and Weight

  1. Height: 20.3 inches (51.6 cm)
  2. Width: 25.6 inches (65.0 cm)
  3. Stand depth: 8 inches (20.3 cm)
  4. Weight: 20.8 pounds (9.42 kg)2

Electrical and Operating Requirements

  1. Line voltage: 100–240V AC
  2. Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz, single phase
  3. Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)
  4. Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
  5. Operating altitude: tested up to 10,000 feet

In the Box

  1. iMac with Retina 5K display
  2. Magic Keyboard
  3. Magic Mouse 2
  4. Power cord
  5. Lightning to USB Cable
Apple iMac

So, in terms of the processor and video card, this is the maximum possible configuration. There are more expensive options in terms of RAM and built-in storage.

The basis of the monoblock that came to us for testing is an eight-core Intel Core i9-9900K (Coffee Lake) processor. This processor has a base clock speed of 3.6 GHz and can be boosted up to 5.0 GHz in Turbo Boost mode. Its L3 cache is 16MB and has a rated maximum power of 95W. The processor has an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 graphics core, but the monoblock also has a discrete graphics card – AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48 with 8 GB of HBM2 memory.

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The all-in-one comes with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM. This volume can be increased on request – up to 64 GB. The memory in the new iMac runs at 2666 MHz.

The storage capacity of the single drive is only 512 GB in the base configuration (actual volume according to macOS is 500 GB). When ordered through the website, the volume can be increased to 2TB SSD or up to 3TB Fusion Drive. We emphasize that the options for choosing custom configurations are also available through the Russian Apple Store website.

The communication capabilities of the all-in-one are determined by the presence of Gigabit Ethernet and a wireless dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz) network adapter that complies with IEEE 802.11a / b / g / n / ac specifications. iMac has a built-in 720p webcam located above the screen.

As stated, the design and packaging of the 27-inch iMac are unchanged from the previous version (2017). It has all the same (except for replacing the Thunderbolt 2 connectors with Thunderbolt 3) that the very first iMac 5K, which, in turn, borrowed the case from the iMac 27 ″ (2012). In general, the appearance of the device has not changed for the seventh year. But on the other hand, performance is steadily growing, and this is the main thing, given that the design is already beautiful.

Performance testing

As competitors for the new iMac, we took the immediate predecessor of 2017, the iMac Pro, as well as the top 15-inch MacBook with discrete graphics. Since we tested the previous generation iMac according to the previous version of the methodology, in some tests its results will not be.

Final Cut Pro X and Compressor

At the time of testing, the current versions of these programs were 10.4 and 4.4, respectively. The operating system was macOS Mojave 10.14.4 on the 2019 iMac, macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 on the MacBook Pro 15 ″, macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 on the iMac Pro, and macOS Sierra 10.12.5 on the 2017 iMac. The results are as follows:

iMac 27″ (Early 2019)iMac 27″ (Mid 2017)iMac Pro (Late 2017)MacBook Pro 15″ (Mid 2018)
Test 1 – 4K stabilization (min: sec)8:35
15:22
10:50
12:35

Test 2 – Full HD stabilization (min: sec)10:17
11:19
9:01
12:39

Test 3 – Final Rendering via Compressor (min: sec)5:57
6:41
4:48
5:37

Test 4 – Adding Black & White Effect to 8K Video (min: sec)3:20
3:58
5:07

Test 5 – creating a proxy file from an 8K video2:28
2:30
2:40

And here is the first sensation: the new iMac, albeit not in all subtests and very insignificantly, has overtaken the iMac Pro! Considering that the video card in the iMac Pro is still faster, it is obviously a matter of the processor. And even where the novelty still lagged behind the iMac Pro, the result is still great.

Browser benchmarks: JetStream

Now the browser JavaScript benchmark JetStream version 1.1 (note that there is already JetStream 2, but the results there are not backward compatible, so, for now, we will use the previous version as a base one). The browser in all cases is Safari.

iMac 27″ (Early 2019)
iMac 27″ (Mid 2017)
iMac Pro (Late 2017)
MacBook Pro 15″ (Mid 2018)

Points (more is better)379
351
220
325

An interesting result, indicating that the server Intel Xeon in the iMac Pro in this test is less efficient than the multi-core Intel Core, so the new iMac takes the lead.

GFX Benchmark Metal

Next, we test 3D graphics, and the first is the GFX Benchmark Metal.

GFX Benchmark Metal

Below are the test results. You can also click on the screenshot and see all the details there.

iMac 27″ (Early 2019)
iMac 27″ (Mid 2017)
iMac Pro (Late 2017)
MacBook Pro 15″ (Mid 2018)

1440р Manhattan 3.1.1 Offscreen, fps
276
218316
192

Manhattan 3.1, fps
57,6
47,0
59,9
45,7

1080p Manhattan 3.1 Offscreen, fps
467
359
514
159

Manhattan, fps
60,0
68,5
59,9
57,4

1080p Manhattan Offscreen, fps
577
423
601
197

T-Rex, fps
60,0
119,5
59,9
60,0

1080p T-Rex Offscreen, fps
1104
713
1098
423

It should be noted that in 2017 there was no 60 fps limit in onscreen modes, but in the 2018 update it appeared. This explains why the 2017 iMac beats both newer all-in-ones in these subtests, which hit 60 fps. Offscreen modes are more revealing, and in them we see that the iMac Pro is still out of competition, although the 2019 iMac is getting very close.

BlackMagic Disk Speed

While the benchmarks listed above help us evaluate the performance of the CPU and GPU, BlackMagic Disk Speed is focused on testing the drive: it measures the speed of reading and writing files.

The table shows the results for all four models.

iMac 27″ (Early 2019)
iMac 27″ (Mid 2017)
iMac Pro (Late 2017)
MacBook Pro 15″ (Mid 2018)

Write / read speed, MB / s (more is better)1920 / 2800
2000 / 2200
3010 / 2490
2660 / 2700

It can be seen that the new iMac has the highest read speed, while the write speed, on the contrary, is the lowest. However, these cosmic speeds of linear operations are not very applicable in practice, and for simple work at a computer all these drives are equally comfortable.

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Games

We use the built-in Civilization VI benchmark to test performance in games. It displays two metrics: Average Frame Time and 99th Percentile.

Civilization VI benchmark

For clarity, we convert the result in milliseconds into fps (this is done by dividing 1000 by the obtained value). Before the test, all graphics settings were set to maximum.

iMac 27″ (Early 2019)
iMac Pro (Late 2017)
MacBook Pro 15″ (Mid 2018)

Civilization VI, Average Frame Time, fps
27,2
22,7
36,0

Civilization VI, 99th Percentile, fps
13,5
14,1
15,5

The results are telling, with the new iMac delivering performance comparable to, if not better than, the iMac Pro.

Screen

The iMac is equipped with a 27-inch IPS screen with a resolution of 5120 × 2880, which gives a pixel density of 218 ppi. The iMac Pro and previous iMac 27 ″ have the same parameters.

Apple iMac

The screen is covered with a glass plate with a mirror-smooth surface, and judging by the reflection of objects in it, it has a very effective anti-glare filter (coating). As a result, a high definition of the image is maintained, there is no “crystal” effect (local variation in brightness) and reflections on the screen do not interfere with the work. Most likely, there is no air gap between the glass and the matrix surface, but we do not undertake to state this categorically.

With manual brightness control, its maximum value was 515 cd / m², minimum – 4.1 cd / m². As a result, at maximum brightness even in bright daylight (taking into account what was said above about anti-glare properties), the screen remains readable, and in complete darkness, the screen brightness can be lowered to a comfortable level. There is an automatic brightness control according to the light sensor (it is located to the left of the front camera peephole). In automatic mode, when the ambient light conditions change, the screen brightness both increases and decreases. The operation of this function depends on the position of the brightness adjustment slider: the user sets the desired brightness level in the current conditions. By moving the slider in the office and in the dark, we managed to achieve an acceptable result: in an office lit with artificial light (about 550 lx) – 240 cd / m2, in complete darkness – 40 cd / m2, in a very bright environment (corresponds to lighting on a clear day outside rooms, but without direct sunlight – 20,000 lux or slightly more) – 515 cd / m². At any brightness level, there is no significant backlight modulation, so there is no screen flickering either.

This Apple iMac uses an IPS matrix. The micrographs show the typical IPS sub-pixel structure:

Apple iMac uses an IPS matrix

For comparison, you can see the gallery of photomicrographs of screens used in mobile technology.

The screen has good viewing angles without significant color shift, even with large gaze deviations from perpendicular to the screen and without tint inversion. Just for illustration, here’s a photo showing a test picture with an integrated sRGB profile on the Apple iMac screen:

Review of monoblock Apple iMac 5K 27 ″ (Early 2019)

When deviated along the diagonal, the black field is lightened weakly and acquires a red-violet tint. From a perpendicular view, the black field uniformity is very good:

The contrast (approximately in the center of the screen) is high – 1060: 1. The response time for the transition black-white-black is 17 ms (10 ms on + 7 ms off), the transition between gray tones of 25% and 75% (by the numerical value of the color) and back takes 26 ms in total. The gamma curve, plotted using 32 points with equal intervals in terms of the numerical value of the shade of gray, did not reveal any blockage in either the highlights or the shadows. The exponent of the approximating power function is 2.27, which is slightly higher than the standard value of 2.2. At the same time, the real gamma curve almost does not deviate from the power dependence:

Review of monoblock Apple iMac 5K 27 ″ (Early 2019)

These and other results were obtained, unless otherwise indicated, under the device’s native operating system without changing the original display settings and for test images without a profile or with an sRGB profile. Recall that in this case the original properties of the matrix are precisely corrected by software.

The color gamut is almost equal to sRGB:

Review of monoblock Apple iMac 5K 27 ″ (Early 2019)

The spectra show that the software correction mixes the primary colors together as needed:

Review of monoblock Apple iMac 5K 27 ″ (Early 2019)

Note that such spectra are often found in mobile and not very mobile devices from Apple and other manufacturers. Apparently, such screens use LEDs with a blue emitter and a green and red phosphor (usually a blue emitter and a yellow phosphor), which, in combination with special matrix light filters, allows obtaining a wide color gamut. Yes, and in the red phosphor, apparently, the so-called quantum dots are used. For a consumer device that does not support color management, wide color gamut is not an advantage, but a significant disadvantage, since as a result, the colors of images – drawings, photographs and films – focused on the sRGB space (and there are the vast majority of them) have unnatural saturation. This is especially noticeable on recognizable shades, such as skin tones. In this case, color management is present, so the output of images in which the sRGB profile is registered or no profile at all is recorded is performed with the coverage correction to sRGB. As a result, colors visually have natural saturation.

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Native to most modern Apple devices is Display P3, with slightly richer greens and reds than sRGB. Display P3 is based on SMPTE DCI-P3 but has a D65 white point and a gamma curve of approximately 2.2. Indeed, by supplementing the test images (JPG and PNG files) with the Display P3 profile, we got a color gamut wider than sRGB (output in Safari) and very close to DCI-P3 coverage:

Review of monoblock Apple iMac 5K 27 ″ (Early 2019)

It can be seen that in this case there is practically no cross-mixing of components, that is, this color space is very close to the original of this screen.

The gray scale balance is very good, as the color temperature is close to the standard 6500 K, and the deviation from the spectrum of the absolute black body (ΔE) is less than 10, which is considered acceptable for a consumer device. At the same time, the color temperature and ΔE vary little from shade to shade – this has a positive effect on the visual assessment of the color balance. (The darkest areas of the grayscale can be ignored, since the color balance there does not really matter, and the error in measuring color characteristics at low brightness is large.)

Let’s summarize. The all-in-one display Apple iMac has a very high maximum brightness and excellent anti-reflective properties, so it can be used without problems in bright ambient light. In complete darkness, the brightness can be lowered to a comfortable level. It is also acceptable to use a mode with automatic brightness adjustment, which works adequately. The advantages of the screen include the absence of backlight flickering, good uniformity of the black field, excellent stability of black to deviation of the gaze from the perpendicular to the screen plane and high contrast. In conjunction with support from the OS, the Apple iMac screen by default correctly displays pictures with or without a sRGB profile (they are considered to be sRGB), and displaying images with a wider gamut is possible within the Display P3 gamut. The screen has no significant drawbacks.

Comfort of use, heat and noise

We measured the noise level by loading the iMac using the GFX Benchmark Metal test, additionally running 8 copies of the yes test program and bringing the screen brightness to maximum. The measurement was carried out in a special sound-insulated and partially sound-absorbing chamber, and the sensitive microphone was positioned relative to the monoblock so as to simulate the typical position of the user’s head (50 cm from the center of the screen in the direction perpendicular to the plane of the screen). According to our measurements, the maximum noise level emitted by the monoblock reaches 36 dBA. This is a fairly high level, while sitting in front of a computer without headphones is uncomfortable. Peak consumption of the system was 290 W. The heating of the rear panel can be estimated from the picture taken with a heat camera:

The GFX Benchmark Metal test used for the load loads the CPU and GPU unevenly over time, the maximum long-term load can obviously be higher, but still at the peak the temperature of the processor cores briefly reached 100 ° C:

Considering the high noise level and the excessively high peak processor temperatures, it can be concluded that the cooling efficiency of this iMac is not very high – unlike the iMac Pro. This computer is clearly not designed for long-term operation under maximum load. And this is further evidence that the iMac still does not replace the iMac Pro, even with comparable performance in some conditions.

Conclusions

The new 27-inch iMac with Intel Core i9 and AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48 is one of Apple’s most powerful computers. Moreover, tests have shown that in comparison with the basic, but still much more expensive configuration of the iMac Pro, this option is sometimes even preferable, at least when it comes to operations with a predominant load on the CPU. Also, we have 10 reasons why need to buy iMac

The 2019 iMac configuration we tested (Intel Core i9, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD) cost 286 thousand rubles at the time of writing. In turn, the basic (that is, the minimum) configuration of the iMac Pro at the same moment was estimated at 430 thousand rubles. The difference, as we can see, is more than significant. Of course, the iMac Pro has a number of additional advantages – such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet, a much more efficient cooling system (useful under constant high load), four Thunderbolt 3 ports instead of two … But all this will be useful only in special working conditions – for example, in a video editing studio, where several employees work on one project, materials are stored on a network drive, and several monitors are connected to the monoblock. For home use or any less specific work, the new iMac is enough for the eyes.

We can assume that this year Apple will update the configuration of the iMac Pro, so, strictly speaking, comparing the new iMac with the iMac Pro released almost a year and a half ago is not entirely correct. But what is interesting here is how close the iMac line has gotten to the iMac Pro. And we can state that it is very close. Moreover, in the corporate world, to which these models are primarily oriented, it is not always possible to wait, say, six months. It happens that funds are allocated, and computers must be bought right now. In this case, it makes sense to take a closer look at the iMac – provided that the listed specific features of the iMac Pro are not needed. All other news and review products from Apple here.

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By Vinceslav

Journalist, writer. I write articles and reviews on equipment such as cars, computers, games. Worked for 6 years in the auto and auto parts business. And all my life I have been engaged in computer technology.

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