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iMac

27-inch model updated on August 4, 2020.

By MacRumors Staff
iMac

Apple's 2020 iMac Lineup

Apple refreshed the 27-inch iMac lineup on August 4, 2020, introducing 10th-generation Intel processors, more RAM, more SSD storage, faster AMD GPUs, and True Tone support for the display.

The 27-inch iMac update was an update to the internals and the display only and there were no major design changes to the body of the machine. The 21.5-inch iMac received no refresh, though it does now ship with an SSD by default rather than a Fusion Drive. It otherwise continues to have the same hardware introduced in March 2019.

This hands-on video walks through the 27" 5K iMac:

Both the 21.5 and 27-inch 4K and 5K iMacs continue to use the same "ultra-thin" slim-bodied design first introduced in 2012, though a new model with an updated design and Apple Silicon chip is said to be coming in 2020 or 2021.

Apple updated the display of the 27-inch model, introducing support for True Tone functionality for the first time. True Tone adjusts the white balance of the display to the lighting of the room that you're in for a more natural viewing experience.

There's also a new nano-texture glass option that was first brought to the Pro Display XDR, and which is available for the iMac for an extra $500. Nano-texture glass offers better viewing under bright lighting conditions and it adds a matte finish.

Other than True Tone and nano-texture glass, the display of the 27-inch iMac is otherwise unchanged. Both iMac models feature 500 nits brightness, 1 billion colors, and support for P3 wide color.

Inside, the 27-inch iMac is equipped with Intel's 10th-generation chips with up to 10 cores at the high end. Turbo Boost speeds can reach up to 5.0GHz for 65 percent faster CPU performance.

Apple added Radeon Pro 5000 graphics to the new 27.5-inch iMac, which is up to 55 percent faster than the GPUs in prior-generation 27-inch iMac models. The high-end Radeon Pro 5000 option supports 16GB of video memory for the first time, double the memory capacity.

The 21.5-inch iMac is equipped with Intel's 8th-generation chips with up to 6 cores, for up to 60 percent faster performance compared to the previous-generation model, along with Radeon Pro Vega graphics at the high-end.

All iMacs, 21.5 and 27-inch, come standard with SSDs, and the SSDs in the 27-inch iMac offer fast performance up to 3.4GB/s. The 27-inch machine supports up to an 8TB SSD, with far more storage space than before, while the 21.5-inch iMac offers up to 1TB SSD storage.

For extra security, the 27-inch iMac includes an Apple T2 Chip, which is an Apple-designed chip that provides on-the-fly data encryption, checks software boot security, and more.

The 27-inch iMac offers up to 128GB of fast 2666MHz RAM, double the amount that was available in the prior-generation model. The 21.5-inch iMac supports up to 32GB of fast 2666MHz RAM.

Also new in the 27-inch iMac is an improved 1080p FaceTime HD camera, which offers better quality than the 720p camera in the prior model. The 21.5-inch iMac continues to feature a 720p camera.

Apple says the new 27-inch iMacs include speakers with variable EQ with better balance, higher fidelity, and improved bass along with a studio-quality microphone array. The 21.5-inch iMac has standard stereo speakers and a microphone.

The iMac models continue to be equipped with two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, four USB-A ports, a headphone jack, an SD card slot, and a Gigabit ethernet port.

Alongside the 2019 21.5-inch iMacs and the 2020 27-inch iMacs, Apple is selling a lower-end $1,099 iMac that hasn't been updated since 2018, offering a 2K display and an older 7th-generation processor. Apple also has an iMac Pro designed for professional users, with details available in our iMac Pro roundup.

The iMac ships with an Apple Magic Keyboard that can be upgraded to a Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad for $30 and a Magic Mouse 2 that can be upgraded to a Magic Trackpad 2 for $50. Pricing on the 2020 27-inch iMac starts at $1,799, while pricing on the 2019 21.5-inch iMac starts at $1,299.

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2020 27-inch iMac Reviews

Following the launch of the iMac, multiple media sites and YouTubers shared reviews of the machine, and the feedback was largely positive.

With its upgraded 1080p webcam, updated microphone array, and speaker improvements, reviewers found the iMac to be the ideal machine for working from home.

Image via The Verge

True Tone, which tweaks the white balance of the display to match the ambient lighting of the room, was well received, and most reviewers liked the $500 nano-texture display addition, though some didn't feel that it was worth the price and worried about longterm durability.

Nano-texture vs. standard iMac image via The Verge

The 10th-generation Intel processors are blazing fast and great for content creators who need a lot of power, but there were some complaints about the lack of Touch ID and the outdated design.

For more on what reviewers thought about the new iMac, make sure to check out our review roundup.

Issues

Multiple 2020 27-inch iMac owners with a high-end machine that has a Radeon Pro 5700 XT GPU have been reporting ongoing glitching with the graphics. iMac owners are seeing a white horizontal line flicker across the display on occasion, and it's not clear if the bug is hardware or software based.

Design

Apple hasn't changed the design of the iMac since 2012, when it introduced the slim unibody design with razor thin 5mm display, aluminum stand, and aluminum border at the bottom of the machine.

All of the 2019 and 2020 iMac models use this design, with a single plug at the back for power and ports at the rear for connecting accessories. On 27-inch machines, there's also a rear hatch for accessing the RAM for upgrade purposes, which continues to be present in 2020.

The 21.5-inch iMac measures in at 17.7 inches tall and 20.8 inches wide, with a stand depth of 6.9 inches and a total weight of 12.5 pounds. The 27-inch iMac measures in at 20.3 inches tall and 25.6 inches wide, with a stand depth of 8 inches and a weight of 19.7 pounds.

All iMacs ship with a wireless Apple Magic Keyboard and an Apple Magic Mouse 2, with a Magic Trackpad 2 available as a $50 upgrade option. A wireless Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keyboard is also available for an additional $30.

iMac models configured with built-in VESA Mount Adapters for mounting the iMac on a wall are also available separately. These machines are $40 more expensive due to the additional hardware.

Display

All 4K and 5K iMac models feature displays last upgraded in 2017 with 500 nits brightness and support for 10-bit dithering and wide color gamut. These features allow the displays to accurately reproduce up to a billion colors for more a vivid, true-to-life screen.

Apple's 5K 27-inch iMac has a resolution of 5120 by 2880, while the 4K 21.5-inch iMac has a resolution of 4096 x 2304. Apple also continues to sell a low-end 21.5-inch iMac with a non-Retina 1920 x 1080 display.

True Tone

The 2020 27-inch iMac supports True Tone for the first time, allowing the ambient light sensor on the device to detect the lighting in the room you're in to adjust the display to match.

True Tone has been added to Apple's Macs for years now, but this is the first time that it's been included with an iMac display. The feature adjusts both the color and the intensity of the display to match the room's lighting, which can allow for a more paper-like viewing experience that also cuts down on eyestrain.

A lot of the time, True Tone makes the display more yellow because most room lighting tends towards warmer shades, but it is a subtle effect that can be disabled if desired.

Nano-Texture Glass

For an extra $500, the 27-inch iMac models can be customized with a nano-texture glass option, which was first introduced for the Pro Display XDR.

Nano-texture glass is designed to offer better viewing under lighting conditions like a bright room or indirect sunlight, cutting down on glare. It offers a matte finish, but unlike traditional matte finishes that use a coating on the surface to scatter light, the nano-texture glass features etching on the nanometer level, hence the name.

Apple says that nano-texture glass is designed to deliver extremely low reflectivity and glare while still offering stellar image quality and contrast.

27-Inch iMac

The 27-inch iMacs upgraded in 2020 feature 5K displays with True Tone support, 256GB or 512GB SSDs as the standard storage option with upgrades available up to 8TB, 10th-generation Intel chips, Radeon Pro graphics, and support for up to 128GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM (double the amount that was offered in the prior-generation model).

8GB of RAM is the standard in all 27-inch iMacs, so most people will likely want to upgrade this or do after-market upgrades to increase performance.

All iMac models can be upgraded with faster solid state storage, higher-end processors, and improved GPUs.

CPU and GPU

Apple's 2020 27-inch iMacs are equipped with Intel's 10th-generation 6-core, 8-core, and 10-core processors that Apple says offer significant speed improvements over the prior 8th and 9th-generation processors.

The base 27-inch iMac model comes with a 3.1GHz 6-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, while the middle tier model comes with a 3.3GHz 6-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor. The high-end model ships with a 3.8GHz 8-core 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor.

Both the middle and high-end models can be upgraded with a 3.6GHz 10-core 10th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, and the 8 and 10-core chip options offer Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz.

Apple says the 10-core CPU option offers up to 65 percent faster CPU performance compared to the prior-generation 8-core model. Many tasks are also faster:

  • Up to 65 percent more plug-ins in Logic Pro X.
  • Up to 40 percent faster 8K ProRes transcode in Final Cut Pro X.
  • Up to 35 percent faster rendering with Arnold in Autodesk Maya.
  • Up to 25 percent faster build time in Xcode.

The new iMacs feature AMD Radeon 5000 series graphics with up to 16GB VRAM. The Radeon Pro 5300 is the standard option for the entry-level and middle-tier models, while the higher-end model features a Radeon Pro 5500 XT that can be upgraded to a Radeon Pro 5700 XT.

According to Apple, the next-generation Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics offer AMD's RDNA architecture that's faster and more power efficient. Compared to the prior-generation iMac with Radeon Pro Vega 48 GPU, the new iMac offers the following improvements:

  • Up to 55 percent faster rendering in Maxon Cinema 4D ProRender.
  • Up to 50 percent faster demo fly-through in Unity Editor.
  • Up to 45 percent faster performance in "Total War: Three Kingdoms."
  • Up to 30 percent faster timeline rendering in Final Cut Pro X.

Geekbench benchmarks have suggested the entry-level 3.1GHz iMac offers 20 percent better multicore performance compared to the prior-generation 3.7GHz machine, with a single-core Geekbench score of 1090 and a multi-core score of 5688.

The higher-end 3.8GHz 8-core iMac earned a single-core score of 1141 and a multi-core score of 7006, which is 36 percent faster performance compared to the previous-generation iMac.

According to Geekbench Compute benchmarks, the Radeon Pro 5300 in the iMac is 40 percent faster than the AMD Radeon Pro 570X in the 2019 machine. It does not, however, outperform the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48 graphics.

T2 Chip

For the first time, the 2020 27-inch iMac models include an Apple-designed T2 chip, which Apple has been rolling out to the entire Mac lineup. The T2 chip offers on-the-fly data encryption for everything stored on the SSD, and it also makes sure software loaded when booting up your Mac hasn't been tampered with and is free from malware.

Apple says that the T2 chip provides the most secure storage and boot process of any computer.

SSD

The 27-inch iMacs ship with either 256 or 512GB SSDs, but can be upgrade with 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB of SSD storage. The Lower-end iMac can't be upgraded, while the middle tier can be upgraded with 1TB or 2TB of storage. The higher-end model is the only one that can be customized with 4TB or 8TB SSDs.

The 27-inch iMac's flash storage is soldered to the logic board and cannot be removed, but for 4TB and 8TB configurations, a flash storage expansion board is attached to a connector on the logic board. The 256GB, 51GBB, 1TB, and 2TB configurations do not have an expansion board and connector, and there are also no SATA connectors on the logic board to support a mechanical HDD.

According to Apple, the flash storage and logic board are paired together for hardware encryption, which can lead to data loss if the logic board is replaced. Regular backups are recommended.

Available Models

  • $1,799 - 3.1GHz 6-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz, 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD, Radeon Pro 5300 with 4GB VRAM.

  • $1,999 - 3.3GHz 6-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz, 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD, Radeon Pro 5300 with 4GB VRAM.

  • $2,299 - 3.8GHz 8-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz, 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD, Radeon Pro 5500XT with 8GB VRAM.

Build-to-Order Options

Graphics, memory, and storage can all be upgraded on the 27-inch iMac models for an additional price, as outlined below. RAM is accessible on 27-inch iMac models and can be upgraded after purchase with bundles from companies like OWC, which is worth knowing for those who want to save money on memory upgrades. All of the iMacs can be upgraded with nano-texture glass for $500.

Upgrade options for $1,799 iMac:

  • 16GB RAM - +$200
  • 32GB RAM - +$600
  • 64GB RAM - +$1,000
  • 128GB RAM - +$2,600
  • 10Gb Ethernet - +$100

Upgrade options for $1,999 iMac:

  • 3.6GHz 10-Core 10th-Gen chip - +$500
  • 16GB RAM - +$200
  • 32GB RAM - +$600
  • 64GB RAM - +$1,000
  • 128GB RAM - +$2,600
  • 1TB SSD - +$200
  • 2TB SSD - +$600
  • 10Gb Ethernet - +$100

Upgrade options for $2,299 iMac:

  • 3.6GHz 10-Core 10th-Gen chip - +$400
  • Radeon Pro 5700 - +$300
  • Radeon Pro 5700 XT - +$500
  • 16GB RAM - +$200
  • 32GB RAM - +$600
  • 64GB RAM - +$1,000
  • 128GB RAM - +$2,600
  • 1TB SSD - +$200
  • 2TB SSD - +$600
  • 4TB SSD - +$1,200
  • 8TB SSD - +$2,400
  • 10Gb Ethernet - +$100

A high-end iMac with every available upgrade (except for peripherals) is priced at $8,799.

21.5-Inch iMac

Apple offers two versions of the 21.5-inch iMac: a $1,099 model that has a slower processor and a non-Retina display that did not see 2019 upgrades, and a more expensive 2019 model that offers a faster processor and a 4K display.

The 4K 21.5-inch iMac's display has a resolution of 4096 x 2304, and like the 5K iMac, it features 500 nits brightness and wide color support for vivid, vibrant colors.

In August 2020, Apple updated the iMac lineup with SSDs as the default storage option, though standard Fusion Drives continue to be available as a purchase option. The 21.5-inch iMacs can be upgraded with up to 1TB of SSD storage.

Both the middle tier and high-end 4K iMacs can be upgraded with up to 32GB of faster 2666MHz RAM, but all models ship with 8GB RAM as the default. As with the 27-inch iMac, Thunderbolt 3 is standard in the 21.5-inch machine, with two TB3 ports available alongside a range of other ports.

CPU and GPU

The 21.5-inch iMac models use Intel's 8th-generation Coffee Lake chips, with the exception of the base model that doesn't have a 4K display. This machine was not refreshed in 2019 and continues to use an older 7th-generation Intel processor.

As for the 4K models, the middle tier machine ships with a quad-core 3.6GHz 8th-generation Core i3 chip, while the higher-end machine has a 6-core 3.0GHz 8th-generation Core i5 chip. Both models can be upgraded with a 3.2GHz 8th-generation 6-core Core i7 chip.

According to Apple, the updated 8th-generation chips in the 2019 21.5-inch iMacs offer up to 60 percent faster performance.

Gains are more modest for the 21.5-inch 4K iMac models than the 27-inch models, but are still significant in Geekbench benchmarks. Single-core performance is up 5 to 10 percent, while multi-core performance has increased by 10 to 50 percent.

Performance gains in the 2019 iMac models are due to higher frequencies and core counts as the underlying 14-nanometer architecture has not been updated.

The lower-end 4K iMac is instead equipped with a Radeon Pro 555X with 2GB VRAM, while the higher-end 4K iMac has a Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB VRAM. The higher-end model can be upgraded with faster Radeon Pro Vega 20 graphics.

The lower-end non-Retina 21.5-inch iMac does not have a discrete graphics option and uses Intel's integrated Iris Plus Graphics 640.

Available Models

  • $1,099 - 2K display, 2.3GHz 7th-Gen dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB 2133MHz RAM, 256GB SSD, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640

  • $1,299 - 4K display, 3.6GHz 8th-Gen quad-core Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD, Radeon Pro 555X w/ 2GB VRAM

  • $1,499 - 4K display, 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD, Radeon Pro 560X w/ 4GB VRAM

Build-to-Order Options

The low-end non-4K iMac can be upgraded with additional RAM, while the 4K iMacs can be upgraded with faster processors, more RAM, and better storage options. The higher-end 4K iMac can be upgraded with Radeon Pro Vega 20 graphics. All 21.5-inch iMacs now come with an SSD storage option as the standard.

Upgrade options for $1,099 non-4K iMac:

  • 16GB RAM - +$200
  • 1TB Fusion Drive - No Cost

Upgrade options for $1,299 4K iMac:

  • 3.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 processor - +$300
  • 16GB RAM - +$200
  • 32GB RAM - +$600
  • 1TB Fusion Drive - No Cost
  • 512GB SSD - +$200
  • 1TB SSD - +$400

Upgrade options for $1,499 4K iMac:

  • 3.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 processor - +$200
  • Radeon Pro Vega 20 w/ 4GB VRAM - +$350
  • 16GB RAM - +$200
  • 32GB RAM - +$600
  • 1TB Fusion Drive - No Cost
  • 512GB SSD - +$200
  • 1TB SSD - +$400

A fully upgraded top-of-the-line 4K iMac with all possible upgrades is priced at $3,049. RAM in the 4K iMac is not as easy to get to as the RAM in the 5K iMac, but it is still upgradeable post purchase.

Other iMac Features

Thunderbolt 3

All iMac models are equipped with two Thunderbolt 3 ports that are capable of driving one 5K external display at 60Hz, two 4K UHD displays at 60Hz, or two 4K displays at 60Hz.

The Thunderbolt 3 ports support DisplayPort, Thunderbolt (up to 40Gb/s), USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gb/s) and Thunderbolt 2, HDMI, DVI, and VGA using adapters.

Other Ports

All iMacs include a 3.5mm headphone jack, an SD card slot, four USB 3 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a Kensington lock slot.

Camera, Speakers and Microphone

There's a front-facing FaceTime HD camera available on all iMac models. The 27-inch iMac features a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, while the 21.5-inch iMac is equipped with a 720p FaceTime HD Camera.

An image signal processor in the 27-inch iMac offers tone mapping, exposure control, and face detection to provide a much higher quality camera experience.

All iMac models feature stereo speakers and a built-in microphone, but Apple introduced improvements in the 2020 27-inch iMac.

Apple says the T2 chip in the 27-inch iMac works with the speakers to enable variable EQ for improved balance, higher fidelity, and deeper bass. There's also a new studio-quality microphone array that lets users capture high-quality audio.

Connectivity

The iMac supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi that's backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n. The 27-inch iMac supports Bluetooth 5.0 technology, while the 21.5-inch iMac supports Bluetooth 4.2.

How to Buy

The 2019 and 2020 iMacs can be purchased from the Apple online store and from Apple retail stores.

What's Next for the iMac

Apple is working on an iMac with a refreshed design, which will be the first design change the iMac has seen since 2012. Rumors suggest the new Mac will use "iPad Pro design language" and that it will feature thinner bezels similar to the bezels on the Pro Display XDR.

The updated iMac, which could measure in at 23 or 24 inches, will likely be equipped with an Apple Silicon chip rather than an Intel chip, as the iMac is rumored to be one of the first Macs getting Apple's chips.

A 23 or 24 inch iMac would probably be the same size as the current 21.5-inch iMac physically, with the larger display enabled through smaller bezels. A new iMac with a fresh design and an Apple Silicon chip could come in either the fourth quarter of 2020 or early in 2021.

The upcoming Arm-based iMac is rumored to feature a powerful custom-designed GPU, which is codenamed "Lifuka." The GPU will be produced using TSMC's 5-nanometer manufacturing process, and it will offer better performance and will be more energy efficient than GPU's used in prior Mac models.

Best Prices
21.5-inch iMac (Mid 2017): 2.3 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB
21.5-inch iMac (Mid 2020): 2.3 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
21.5-inch Retina iMac (Early 2019): 3.0 GHz 6-Core, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB
21.5-inch Retina iMac (Early 2019): 3.6 GHz Quad-Core, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB
21.5-inch Retina iMac (Mid 2020): 3.0 GHz 6-Core, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
21.5-inch Retina iMac (Mid 2020): 3.6 GHz Quad-Core, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
27-inch Retina iMac (Early 2019): 3.0 GHz 6-Core, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB
27-inch Retina iMac (Early 2019): 3.1 GHz 6-Core, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB
27-inch Retina iMac (Early 2019): 3.7 GHz 6-Core, 8 GB RAM, 2 TB
27-inch Retina iMac (Mid 2020): 3.1 GHz 6-Core, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
27-inch Retina iMac (Mid 2020): 3.3 GHz 6-Core, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD
27-inch Retina iMac (Mid 2020): 3.8 GHz 8-Core, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD

iMac Timeline

September2020
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