Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021, 12:08 Mac: Hardware

The iMac 24" Tells A Lot About Future ARM Macs

Whether the new iMac uses the exact M1 chip from the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini or if it is a variant with a slightly higher clock rate remains to be seen in benchmark tests. Nevertheless, Apple went the route of using the tried and tested chip that has been known for months - which still scores with a significant performance advantage compared to the iMac 21.5". Without explicitly mentioning this, Apple has also outlined the path of the big iMac, which will probably be launched sometime later this year. The same applies to other Macs in the upper performance spectrum.

The M1 lacks some specs of the iMac 27"
It would have been easy to give the big iMac an M1 as well and stop selling the Intel based iMac 27" . However, Apple is obviously planning something else, as the introduction of the iMac 24" documents. In case of the big iMac, Apple still has to come up with a lot more in various areas. The iMac 27" is currently available with 128 GB RAM - and not only with those 16 GB that an M1 can handle. Depending on the benchmark, the computing power of the M1 exceeds the ten cores of the Core i9 with a clock rate of 5 GHz, but not so drastically that Apple could brag about the increases. The M1 would also need to have a few more GPU cores to offer significantly more graphics performance.

A new chip generation is required
The points mentioned are probably only possible with the next chip generation - whether it is an M1X or an M2. Apple is waiting for that architecture until a high-end iMac can say goodbye to the Intel world. According to several reports, Apple plans to give the Pro and Performance Macs up to 32 high-performance cores, the M1 currently uses 4 performance and 4 efficiency cores. Furthermore, there were several reports that Apple is preparing its own graphics card – the total number of graphics cores could increase from the current 8 to mind-blowing 128.

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M2 Macs: Fall 2021 is going to be exciting
The next Mac generation could be revealed as early as WWDC, but more likely at a fall event. Despite impressive performance, Apple still only covers the lower segment of the respective Mac lines. Besides the big iMac, a MacBook Pro 16" is still missing, for which Apple obviously doesn't wan't to rely on the M1 either. At the upper end of the pyramid is the Mac Pro - for which the maximum specs mentioned above (32 CPU cores, 128 GPU cores) should apply. In December 2020, Bloomberg said that Apple wants to finalize the switch from Intel to its own chips by late 2021 or early 2022. There are many indications that this will happen with the second M-generation.

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