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Latest Review


Apple iMac 2020 Review: The Last Intel Core iMac?

Without a glance at the official website, you may not know where the new iMac will change in 2020.

At least in appearance, it is indeed basically the same as the design of previous years, with the familiar thick frame, large chin, and a semi-curved back cover.

If we start from 2012, the iMac has not changed its design style for eight years. During this period, the iPhone has evolved from 5 to 11, the iPad has moved from the black side to the full screen, and even the Mac Pro has changed from the “trash can”. Become a “grater”.

Many friends who are on the sidelines don’t understand, even if it’s an enduring design, should it be replaced?

▲ In early August 2020, Apple updated the 27-inch iMac

However, as a device placed in a home study or office, I still have a slightly higher tolerance for the appearance of the iMac. Those who really need to buy it are probably not looking at the design, but will pay more attention to the time efficiency improvement it brings.

Considering that Apple’s self-developed chips will land at the end of the year, this new iMac may also be the last wave of products designed in the Intel era.

  • The appearance has not changed, but the new nano-textured glass is really easy to use

Since it is the reuse of old molds, the appearance of the new iMac will not be introduced in detail. Although the old design is not ugly, this thick frame is indeed uninteresting after a long time.

The same is true for the back interface, there are still 4 standard USB-A interfaces, two USB-C based on Thunderbolt 3, a Gigabit Ethernet port (optional 10Gb), a UHS-II SDXC card slot, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

iMac Pro will have two more Thunderbolt 3 ports than 27-inch iMac

Of course, there are still changes in details. This time the iMac screen supports the original color display technology, which can automatically match the ambient color temperature to provide a more comfortable browsing experience. Its main function is to protect the eyes, but as far as I know, some people don’t like the “warmer” tone of the original color.

Another upgrade point I like more is the Nano-texture glass panel, which can greatly reduce the reflection of the iMac screen without affecting the image quality and contrast.

The contrast between nano-textured glass and ordinary matt screen, the reflection phenomenon is greatly reduced

This is also the first time Apple has introduced nano-textured glass on the iMac product line. Before that, you can only enjoy similar technology on Apple’s top display Pro Display XDR.

In terms of touch, the screen of nano-textured glass is a bit similar to a mobile phone screen with an atomized film, but it is not a coating, but a nano-level etching process, which realizes the divergence of light.

To be honest, a large-screen all-in-one machine like iMac, as long as you put it next to the window, or in an environment with more complex light sources, it is easy to leave white light spots on the screen and the reflection of the lamp tube. Sometimes you have to adjust the angle of the screen back and forth to avoid the light source.

But after adding nano-textured glass, no matter if you are looking straight or squinting from other angles, you will no longer see the specular reflection. Not only does the work save worry, it also greatly improves the immersion of the entire screen, which can be said to be very Thoughtful design.

In the future, when the cost of nano-textured glass is further reduced, maybe Apple will introduce similar technology to other computers such as MacBook.

  • Integrate T2 chip, standard solid-state drive for all series

The configuration of the new iMac is basically a regular upgrade, including a 5K resolution P3 display, the 10th generation Intel Core processor, a new generation of Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics cards, etc., which are divided into three configuration positions: high, middle and low, and they also retain The DIY upgrade part of the memory stick.

The 27-inch iMac we got started this time is equipped with a ten-core i9-10910 processor, a Radeon Pro 5700XT with 16GB of video memory, 32GB of DDR4 memory, and a 1TB solid state drive.

Here are some commonly used softwares to run the test data again. Compared with last year’s i9 top version, the new iMac has no significant changes in the CPU part. The difference is mainly in the multi-core part. After all, it is 8 cores to 10 cores, which still brings about a 20% increase in multi-threading.

Radeon Pro 5000 series GPU is dedicated to Mac, the top iMac graphics card is Radeon Pro 5700 XT, with 16GB of video memory, while the commercially available RX 5700 XT is only 8GB

The GPU upgrade is quite impressive. In the default mode of Unigine Heaven, the new iMac has a score increase of about 55%, and the average frame rate has also increased from 68fps to 107fps.

According to the official data provided by Apple, this year’s new iMac has a speed increase of about 50-55% in Maxon Cinema 4D rendering and Unity Editor scene demonstration. It is mainly due to the new Radeon Pro 5000 series GPU.

It is faster and saves time running professional software, which is basically the main axis of the new iMac every year.

After switching to solid state drives, the read and write speed of iMac has been significantly improved

What’s more friendly is that this time iMac finally catches up with the times, abandoning the outdated Fusion hybrid hard drive, all systems come standard with solid state, which greatly improves the read and write performance of the system, and users can also have less entanglement when buying.

From the Blackmagic Disk test, it can also be seen that after switching to a 1TB solid state drive, the average write speed of the new iMac will be about three times higher than that of a 1TB hybrid hard drive, and the read speed will also be about twice as high.

To some extent, the T2 chip can be regarded as an advance “training” done by Apple abandoning the Intel camp and switching to a custom processor. It has already developed from the initial security protection to a “co-processor” positioning similar to the M series, step by step it has received many key permissions into Apple’s own hands.

The only problem is capacity. This entry-level iMac is only equipped with a 256GB solid state drive, which is faster, but the space is much lower than the previous 1TB hybrid hard drive. If you don’t want to add money, you can only rely on an external hard drive to solve it.

There is also the WIFI part. The new iMac is still 802.11ac and does not support WiFi 6. It is a pity that the Bluetooth specification has been upgraded from 4.2 to 5.0.

In addition, the new iMac also supports a studio-grade three-microphone array similar to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which mainly improves the quality of video calls, audio content recording and playback.

Another important change is the introduction of the T2 chip, which also means that this security chip developed by Apple has completed the coverage of all Mac computers.

Many people think that the T-series chip on the Mac is only related to security. For example, its built-in AES encryption engine can protect SSD hard disk data from being stolen, and the design of the isolation zone can prevent rogue software from stealing cameras and microphones.

However, from the perspective of rights management, the status of the T2 chip in the Mac is not lower than that of the CPU/GPU. As for the integrated ISP controller, the audio and video experience of the iMac, and even HEVC video transcoding will also bring a lot of work benefit.

The first is the camera part. This time the new iMac upgrades the front FaceTime camera to 1080p (previous generation or 720p). While the resolution is greatly improved, it also supports the optimization of exposure and white balance during video chat, mainly due to the T2 chip. .

If you often want to hold video conferences, the built-in camera of iMac is definitely enough. Of course, I personally would prefer to have a face recognition verification system similar to Face ID instead of having to type the keyboard every time.

The new iMac supports “Hey, Siri” calls

Secondly, the built-in audio controller of the T2 chip can make the iMac speakers get better balance and fidelity, as well as the “Hey, Siri” voice wake-up function.

To some extent, the T2 chip can be regarded as an advance “training” done by Apple abandoning the Intel camp and switching to a custom processor. It has already developed from the initial security protection to a “co-processor” positioning similar to the M series, step by step it has received many key permissions into Apple’s own hands.

It is foreseeable that when the Mac is equipped with its own processor in the future, the T series chips will definitely have a deeper linkage with the CPU and GPU. Many of the functions we see on the iPhone and iPad should also be implemented at that time. .

  • Buy now? Or continue to wait for the next time?

Overall, this year’s 27-inch new iMac is more like a technology decentralization of the Pro product line. After all, the T2 chip, 1080p camera, or nano-textured glass that originally existed on the iMac Pro, or the nano-textured glass that only existed on the Pro Display XDR, are now transplanted to the iMac.

Not to mention the microphone array, original color display and other technologies, even the iMac Pro itself is greedy.

However, for users who want to start any new Mac this year, there is a problem that cannot be avoided anyway: Am I waiting for Apple’s custom chip Mac? Do I buy a Mac with Intel chips now?

But in my opinion, at least for the 27-inch iMac, friends who have replacement needs this year can still start with confidence and boldness. There are two reasons:

First, considering that the ARM architecture pays more attention to the balance of performance and power consumption, it is currently more suitable for use on thin and light products such as 13-inch MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, rather than high-performance devices such as iMac.

This is not only a low-risk test, but also a responsibility to professional users.

Second, the replacement cycle of an iMac is about 1-2 years. Just as Apple has said, it takes two years to transform the architecture. This means that if you want to buy this “Apple Core iMac”, you will have to wait until after 2022 at least.

  • The “full screen iMac” concept map made by designer Daniel Bautista supports Face ID and the base can also be charged wirelessly.

In the process of architecture transfer, maybe we can actually see a next-generation iMac with an “Apple core”, ultra-narrow bezel, and a new mold. But you can’t guarantee that this ARM version of iMac can be used in software. Compatibility and stability are better than the Intel version.

If your workflow is relatively fixed, and you usually use a large number of professional software such as video rendering and 3D modeling, the Intel chip-based iMac is still the safest choice at this stage, and there is no pressure to stick to it for two or three years.

And if you are just a home user, and you only need internet access and light office work, you can wait for the 21.5-inch model that may be updated in the future (maybe the first ARM version iMac), or buy a Mac mini and the external display.

Hope we can see the arrival of a full-screen iMac as soon as possible.

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