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  • New iMac has last generation Intel chips even when ARM Macs are under way.

    Posted on OscarCP Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware Questions: What hardware should I get? New iMac has last generation Intel chips even when ARM Macs are under way.

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      • #2287228 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        A new version of the iMac has been introduced by Apple and it is definitely a higher powered version of the traditional all-in-one Mac desktop:

        https://www.techradar.com/reviews/apple-imac-27-inch-2020

        According to this article:

        The iMac 27-inch (2020) is Apple’s latest entry in its iconic lineup of all-in-ones, bringing a number of impressive upgrades that will particularly appeal to people working from home – which due to the Covid-19 pandemic is a growing number of us.

        While we’d been hoping for a new iMac in 2020, Apple’s upgrade has in many ways surpassed our expectations, giving the iMac 27-inch (2020) the latest 10th generation Intel Comet Lake processors, speedy solid state drives (SSDs) across the board, powerful AMD Radeon Pro graphics cards and bags of RAM.

        There is also a new 1080p Face Time HD webcam and studio-quality microphones – great news for anyone doing a lot of video calls lately.

        You can also now configure the iMac 27-inch (2020) with a 10-core processor – a first for an iMac – up to 128GB of RAM and a nano-texture glass finish on the display, which was first introduced in Apple’s Pro Display XDR monitor. This means the higher-end iMacs are approaching serious prosumer territory – and closing the gap between the regular iMac and the iMac Pro – which also gets a bit of an update as well.

        The one negative comment is on the  lack of “an expected redesign” which, reading further, turns out to be, among other equally “transcendental” issues, that the bezels (borders) of the monitor screen are simply too think for the taste of this and just about every other commentator whose wise commentary I have found and read by now.

        But apparently nobody seems to have seen it necessary to note that this (as usual) expensive new model of iMac runs on the latest generation of Intel CISC CPU chips, at a time when Apple has announced it is going to start making all their new machines based on custom-made RISC ARM chips. This raises some questions worth pondering before opening wide both personal and company wallets to buy one or more of these new machines:

        Might it not be that, in spite of Apple’s reassurances, at least some of the advertised boost in productivity will get wiped out because of incompatibilities with the current software and, or peripherals meant to be used in  Intel-based Macs, or of the very compatibility measures? For example, Apple’s software introduced to make it possible to run applications designed for Intel machines are bound to slow down somewhat their execution, taking to some extent the shine off the reported near doubling of CPU speed possible with the last generation Intel chips used in the new iMac. And those potential incompatibilities in software and peripherals could become some really expensive inconveniences, if they materialized.

        Also: shall Apple, at its sole discretion, continue to support Intel-based machines for the usual five years after the last time they sold this new model? The answer is: “probably yes.” But, without a fully-functional crystal ball, it is hard to predict the future with more tan 50% certainty. Just a thought. The floor is now open for discussion.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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      • #2287254 Reply
        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        Might it not be that, in spite of Apple’s reassurances, at least some of the advertised boost in productivity will get wiped out because of incompatibilities with the current software and, or peripherals meant to be used in Intel-based Macs, or of the very compatibility measures? For example, Apple’s software introduced to make it possible to run applications designed for Intel machines are bound to slow down somewhat their execution, taking to some extent the shine off the reported near doubling of CPU speed possible with the last generation Intel chips used in the new iMac. And those potential incompatibilities in software and peripherals could become some really expensive inconveniences, if they materialized.

        Hm, well. Traditionally in most cases when there’s a major architectural change like that, the last models of the old architecture tend to be in demand for disproportionately long as the replacement isn’t “sufficiently market-proven” or some peripheral drivers or software just don’t get ported.

        As seen with all the various M68K Unix and M68k Mac, Power Mac, HP PA-RISC, DEC/Compaq/HP Alpha, and…

        For example, Apple’s software introduced to make it possible to run applications designed for Intel machines are bound to slow down somewhat their execution, taking to some extent the shine off the reported near doubling of CPU speed possible with the last generation Intel chips used in the new iMac.

        That’d be an incentive to buy *this* model that’ll still run the old applications with the old speed and not through translation, right?

        Also: shall Apple, at its sole discretion, continue to support Intel-based machines for the usual five years after the last time they sold this new model?

        Well yeah, that’s the major question here. How long will application updates, new versions and such be available? Five years is still a bit short for a lot of consumers.

        Oh well, should be nice hardware anyway, wonder if there’ll be open-source drivers for all the integrated peripherals… you know, for running Linux or some such on it after Apple terminates support.

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        • #2287267 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          mn- : You’ve made some good points. And when reading your comment I’ve realized the need for an explanation:

          The “five years” limit is for full OS support. Seven years, for support of any Mac’s hardware. My confusion. Sorry about that.

          As to the potential problems I’ve mentioned, if they come about will be because this iMac with an Intel CPU will have to run, in the not too distant future, a macOS and application software designed for ARM machines using a translator program known as “Rosetta” to “translate” between applications written assuming an Intel CPU and the OS meant for ARM machines. The translator might not work all that well or, at the very least, its use can slow down program execution. The next macOS version to be released later this year, called “Big Sur”, is already designed for ARM machines, so it will come with “Rosetta”. People do not have to install this OS version, but can skip it and install the next one a year later, to wait for things to get straightened up — as far as they can be straightened up, that is.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by OscarCP.
          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2287305 Reply
        Nathan Parker
        AskWoody_MVP
        • #2287324 Reply
          Alex5723
          AskWoody Plus

          New 27-inch iMac Teardown Reveals All the Internal Changes

          Another 27″ iMac review

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Alex5723.
          2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2287437 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          If “10 cores” = “20 virtual CPUs” (or, more precisely, up to 20 “threads” executed simultaneously) as in the case of Intel i7 and later processors capable of implementing multithreading, then this $4000 (starting price) machines seem to be meant for serious computing,  professional work. Most people can send and receive email, stream videos,  share babies, children and grandchildren photos and cat videos just fine with less powerful machines. Maybe people who play serious computer games will be interested, but the price might be a disincentive for them, if they can get about the same speed with cheaper Windows or Linux PCs. And although I do do some serious computing myself with my MacBook Pro ca. mid 2015, I am well-served for doing it by its 2.5 GHz, 4-core i7 CPU chip.

          That the screen is non-reflective is a bonus for users under some special sets of circumstances that most likely I never shall find myself in, so I would not care for that enough to pay extra — if I were thinking of buying this iMac (which I am not, by the way). And what is the big deal about the thickness of the monitor bezel? Sometimes the mind of computer reviewers is, quite frankly, impenetrable to me (kindly assuming there is something in there to penetrate…)

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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