Apple Releases First Intel Macs Since Beginning Arm Transition

27-inch iMac 2020
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple today announced its first Macs featuring Intel processors since its June WWDC stream publicly revealed the company’s plan to begin moving to its own Arm-powered Apple Silicon chips. This makes good on the company’s promise to continue releasing Intel Macs through the next two years as it transitions to Apple Silicon.

First among these new Intel-based Macs are the updated 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs, which comes with 6-core, 8-core, and 10-core 10th generation Intel processor options. The post also announced an updated 21.5 inch iMac Pro, which has options for Intel Xeon processors ranging from 10 cores to 18 cores.

The post clarifies that the new iMac’s 10-core Comet Lake option is able to reach clock speeds of up to 5 GHz. But the processor is just one of a few updates on display here, as these new Macs will also come with “AMD’s latest RDNA” graphics, a free Big Sur upgrade later this Fall and several build improvements.

“Next-generation AMD graphics” here refers to the company’s Radeon Pro XT GPUs. Apple’s boasting that these new graphics mean up to 30% faster Final Cut Pro X performance and 45% faster Total War: Three Kingdoms performance. The new iMac Pro, which uses Radeon Pro Vega GPUs, also supposedly has “graphics performance up to 22 teraflops.”

Memory capacity also ranges up to a massive 128GB on iMac and 256GB on iMac Pro. New iMacs also come equipped with SSDs across the board, with sizes ranging up to 8TB on iMac. Additional Fusion Drive options are available for iMac Pro.

Both iMac and iMac Pro also have 5k Retina displays, which tout a purported “1 billion colors” and “500 nits of brightness.” With most competing premium desktops still using 4K screens, the extra pixel density here (14.7 million pixels, according to the blog post) gives Apple an edge, at least on paper.

What’s perhaps most exciting in our new work-from-home climate is the move to a 1080p webcam as well as an updated microphone array. With the best webcams still being hard to find, this gives Apple loyalists an extra option, though it comes with the same downside all Apple products have.

That, namely, is price. The new 27-inch iMac starts at $1,799, while the new 21.5-inch iMac and iMac Pro start at $1,099 and $4,999, respectively. All are currently available to purchase direct from Apple starting today, with the price predictably spiking the more upgrades you opt for. 27-inch iMacs will ship out to customers and retail outlets starting this week, while 21.5 inch iMacs and iMac pros will begin reaching customers and retail next week.

Michelle Ehrhardt

Michelle Ehrhardt is an editor at Tom's Hardware. She's been following tech since her family got a Gateway running Windows 95, and is now on her third custom-built system. Her work has been published in publications like Paste, The Atlantic, and Kill Screen, just to name a few. She also holds a master's degree in game design from NYU.

  • nofanneeded
    Apple Gone Crazy , $500 for nano Coating ? $400 for upgrade from 8 cores to 10 cores ? $1000 for 64GB ?? REALLY
  • Andrew Fox
    Unfortunately, like the Mac Pro Stand you'll find plenty of Apple fanatics who will defend this pricing