Intel Debuts New Xeon-W Chips Possibly Destined for iMac Pro

Intel today introduced its new Xeon-W workstation-class processors at the IFA trade show in Berlin, and the new chips line up nicely with the processor capabilities we’re expecting to see in the iMac Pro.

The new chips, which use an LGA2066 socket and Skylake-SP architecture, come in 8, 10, and 18 core configurations with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz, 48 PCI Express 3.0 lanes, and support for up to 512GB of DDR4–2666 ECC memory.

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Apple has said the iMac Pro will feature Intel’s Xeon processors, with 8, 10, and 18 core chips available as optional configurations with up to 42MB cache and maximum Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz.

Specifically, Apple could be planning to use the 8-core 3.7GHz Xeon W–2145, the 10-core 3.3GHz Xeon W–2155, and the 18-core 2.3GHz Xeon W–2195. Pricing on the chips starts at $1,113, but a price is not yet listed for the high-end 18-core processors.

According to Intel, the Xeon-W chips offer a 1.87x boost in performance compared to a 4-year old workstation with an Intel Xeon E5–1680 v2 Romley processor, like the 2013 8-core Mac Pro, and up to 1.38x higher performance compared to previous-generation Xeon E5–1680 v4 chips.

Intel plans to release its high-end 18-core chips in the fourth quarter of 2017, which also lines up with the target release date of the iMac Pro. The other chips may see earlier release dates.

Though Xeon-W chips do appear to work for the iMac Pro, there is still some question as to whether they’re the chips Apple plans to use. A June report from Pike’s Universum suggested Apple would use Intel’s server-grade Purley processors with an LGA3647 socket rather than the desktop-class LGA2066 socket.

That information was based on firmware files found in the macOS High Sierra beta, but it’s possible it was inaccurate. Intel announced some Purley chips in July, but that announcement did not include chips that would be appropriate for the iMac Pro.

Along with Xeon processors, the iMac Pro will include Radeon Pro Vega graphics, up to 4TB of solid state storage space, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, up to 128GB of ECC RAM, and a redesigned thermal architecture to support those components.

Rumors based on firmware findings suggest the iMac Pro could also include a Secure Enclave with an ARM coprocessor like the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, but it’s unclear at this time what that functionality will be used for as Apple has made no mention of Touch ID support.

The iMac Pro is positioned as a workstation class machine aimed at pro users with demanding workflows, and it’s priced accordingly. When it launches in December, pricing for the iMac Pro will start at $4,999.

Related Roundup: iMac Pro
Buyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Caution)

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31 months ago
I'm just waiting for that guy who thinks they can build a better PC for the same price.
Rating: 19 Votes
31 months ago
Does anyone else find it silly that they aren't marketing the Mac Pro to include a touchbar keyboard?

Also, for that amount of money, they should include 2 hdmi inputs on the back of the monitor. I can't be the only one who finds it crazy redundant to buy another monitor to occasionally play a PS3, when a perfectly good screen is already in the room. Just saying...
Rating: 6 Votes
31 months ago

I'm just waiting for that guy who thinks they can build a better PC. Try finding all equivalent components for a price lower than $4999.

I probably left some things out of that list, but I can almost guarantee that you will not be able to match the iMac Pro.

SSD speeds and sizes must match or be bigger/faster
Screen must be equal size, resolution, colour gamut support and brightness or better
CPU and GPU must perform equally as well or better for the same type of tasks
RAM must be as fast or faster and match or be bigger in size
You must include everything from equivalently performing WiFi, bluetooth and sound cards.
A mother board with thunderbolt 3 support and equally as many or more number of TB3 ports.
Motherboard must support 10Gbp ethernet.
Motherboard must support equally as fast USB ports or better and have as many or more USB ports.
Similar keyboard & mouse

True... Xeons and ECC memory aren't cheap. Apple overbuilds their "pro" workstations. They select high-priced parts.

But remember that the iMac Pro is an all-in-one... which is not the form-factor most "pros" would want anyway.

Your "rules" don't mention anything about the iMac Pro cramming a bunch of heat-generating parts inside a monitor... and that it's essentially a disposable computer. Shouldn't that count against the iMac Pro? Not unless you're handy with a heatgun to perform upgrades. :p

So even if the Hackintosh components cost more than the iMac Pro... at least you can put them in a standard PC case with adequate airflow and upgradability.

Plus with a Hackintosh you can choose the video card(s) and monitor(s) you want... and have multiple PCIe SSDs inside the computer... and other internal drives and expansion cards too. You can install anything you want. And again... you don't need to have everything crammed into an unnecessarily thin case.

Besides... the biggest reason someone builds a Hackintosh is to save money and choose the parts they want... not to spend as much as a "real" Mac with the exact same parts.

Someone can follow you your "rules" to build a Hackintosh that will be similar to the iMac Pro... but they might not get all the way. Fair point.

Then again... the iMac Pro is an all-in-one with little to no expandability. That should be taken into consideration too. :)
Rating: 5 Votes
31 months ago

So, you want to still be using that 20 year old CRT that was available in 1997? LOL. Apple leads all tech in recycling, so when you finally need to give up on an iMac, they will see that it is recycled properly, for free! I have a ten year old iMac that is running as smooth as day one and still works great in the kitchen for basic web surfing and watching videos while I cook.

What are YOU smoking? Apple is in the disposable tech business. This is why they've let their PRO business languish.
Providing long lasting high powered computers is no longer they're concern.

Rating: 5 Votes
31 months ago

Will that be the Mac that becomes self-aware?;)
Rating: 5 Votes
31 months ago

I'm just waiting for that guy who thinks they can build a better PC for the same price.

Its called a hackintosh. I build them all the time.
Rating: 5 Votes
31 months ago
AMD’s Epyc pummels Intel’s new Xeon-W workstation CPUs

I saw this earlier today and it floored me. Compared to the Xeon-W CPU's mentioned in the OP: AMD's upcoming workstation CPU's have more PCI-e lanes, more memory bandwidth, and more cores, for LESS money. WOWZA.

Could you imagine if Apple offered this as a CPU option on the iMac Pro? Phew!
Rating: 5 Votes
31 months ago
iMac PRO, here we come. Editing in half of time
Rating: 4 Votes
31 months ago
Apple should make headless Macs and displays instead of all-in-ones like iMac, which are a brutal environmental aggression when after seven years the CPU is no longer supported by new macOS versions, yet displays may last for more than 20 years.
Rating: 4 Votes
31 months ago you think the iMac 27" will in fact be faster than the iMac Pro based on transcoding alone? Is that why you've opted for a 27" iMac over an iMac Pro, or would you have waited for the iMac Pro if you weren't doing this long documentary edit?...

I think it's possible (even likely) a 2017 top-spec iMac 27 could be faster than an 8-core iMac Pro for workloads involving encoding/decoding H264 or H265 using FCPX. We don't know for sure since Apple hasn't revealed any more info on the iMac Pro.

For other video editing workloads such as ProRes, or maybe DNxHD or RAW, the iMac Pro will be considerably faster. Since Premiere Pro doesn't use Quick Sync on Macs, it would likely be a big improvement for Premiere users.

If my team used only ProRes or DNxHD acquisition or was using Premiere instead of FCPX I'd have probably waited for the iMac Pro or would have already been using a 12-core nMP D700.

I'll evaluate the iMac Pro on our H264 FCPX workload when it's available and if it's significantly faster than the 2017 iMac, I'll sell the iMac or get an iMac Pro in addition. However I don't really expect it to be much (if any) faster on this particular workload.
Rating: 3 Votes

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