Apple has shown off the iMac Pro and space grey accessories at the recent Final Cut Pro X Creative Summit where visitors were able to get close up to an iMac Pro and take pictures. There were also showing off the new space grey wireless Magic keyboard, which has a numeric pad, which will be good news for Pro Tools users, as well as matching space grey magic trackpad and magic mouse.
Another feature is the I/O on the iMac Pro with 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, and 10GB Ethernet.
But the big item in the new iMac Pro has to do with the price...
The Cost Of The Top Of The Range iMac Pro Could Be $17,000
The iMac Pro is due to start at $4,999 based on an 8 core processor, 32GB of RAM, and a smaller Radeon Vega graphics card. That may already sound a lot, but we understand that Apple claims that if you built a PC equivalent it would cost $7,000 - and that's without the display, but there is no information available as to how they reached that figure.
However, if we take a different comparison that we know a little more about and you add all the build-to-order options to the top-of-the-range 27in standard iMac it comes out at around £4,949 which is around the same as the base model of the iMac Pro. So what about the cost of the top of the range model in the iMac Pro range.
There are four upgradable components in the new iMac Pro, the processor, RAM, Graphics Card and SSD, so let's take a look at the calculations had by ZDNet as to what a top-of-the-range iMac Pro might cost...
- Processor - Apple hasn’t specified exactly what CPU they will be using for the iMac Pro, it could be an Intel Xeon series processor or the new Intel Core i9-7980XE from the X-Core-Series of processors announced in September. ZDNet used the Xeon E5-2697 for their estimate. Even taking the cost of the 8-Core processor into consideration, could make the cost of an 18-core Xeon upgrade around $2800 but you still need to consider the Apple markup. For this, they compared what Apple charges for processor upgrades in the latest iMac with what iFixit found in its latest teardown, which shows Apple is charging 75% markup, bringing the processor upgrade price to around $4000.
- RAM - For this ZDNet compared Apple RAM pricing fro the iMac with 3rd parties like Crucial and Kingston and it looks like Apple's markup is around 80% on RAM. Even subtracting the cost of the 32GB RAM in the base model, by the time you factor in the Apple markup you are looking at the 128GB upgrade costing around $2700.
- Graphics Card - We know that Apple plans to use a Radeon Pro Vega graphics card but as they aren't available yet, although suppliers are busy making more of the GPU chips used on these cards. To come up with an estimate, ZDNet chose to use the Nvidia’s GTX Titan X with 6GB and 12GB memory to come up with a price for the graphics upgrade and once you include the Apple 80% markup, you are looking at an estimate for the Pro Vega 16GB HBM2 upgrade to be around $2,000.
- SSD - For this final upgradeable component, in the top of the range iMac Pro, ZDNet used Samsung’s M.2 flash SSDs that iFixit found in the MacBook Pro as a reference. Using the same processes and an Apple markup of 80% they calculated the price of the 4TB SSD upgrade to be around $3,600.
Adding all of this up, we start with the iMac Pro base model at $5000, the 18 core upgrade at $4000, the 128GB RAM upgrade at $2700, The Pro Vega 16GB graphics upgrade at $2000 and the 4TB SSD upgrade at $3600, brings in the top-of-the-range iMac Pro at $17,300!
What Does This Mean For Mac Pro Owners?
As a Mac Pro owner, this looks worrying as what will the price of the new modular Mac Pro due to be released in 2018 be priced at. When you consider the price I paid for my cheese-grater Mac Pro at around £2000 these prices are really scary and will change the return on investment for an Apple machine that I might choose to replace my cheesegrater for.
What Do You Think?
Do share your thoughts and observations of this in the comments below...