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27-inch iMac 2020 model review. There is no change in design, but a real model change (Masaichi Honda)-Engadget Japan version

A new 27-inch iMac with Comet Lake, Intel's 10th generation Core processor, has been released.

Regarding the iMac, it was repeatedly expected that there will be a full model change "using a new design with a narrow bezel instead of using only SSD for storage" from this year, but when you open the lid it looks Was the same as before.

The iMac became the current style in 2012. The 5K display was adopted in 2014, and since then, the appearance has been basically unchanged. Although it is a design that is sufficiently novel over time, it is about to narrow down the frame of the screen or to eliminate the area under the screen where the Apple logo is inserted There is a change in design among readers who were imagining Some people may be disappointed that there was no such thing.

However, although the appearance has not changed, the new 27-inch iMac has been a major update that can be said to be a full model change. Of course, the CPU and GPU are the latest and performance is improved, but the built-in camera, speaker, microphone etc. are greatly refined by incorporating the T2 chip. In addition, the Nano-texture glass option used in Pro Display XDR is now selectable, and it is a product that comprehensively covers the technologies that Apple provides for the latest Mac.

In the future, Apple has announced that it will switch the processor of the Mac from Intel to its own product, in other words, this product may be the last iMac that Windows operates in a virtual environment (or Boot Camp) Is high. By the way, Intel Core i9 processor with up to 10 cores and 128GB of memory, which is twice as large as the conventional one, can be installed. In other words, this product is a valuable update for a computer that runs macOS / Windows / Linux at the same time.

Related article:

Announced new 27-inch iMac. 10th generation Core processor adopted, SSD standard equipment

27-inch iMac (2020) specifications compared with the old model. Improving performance while maintaining the appearance

Although the appearance is the same, the T2 is installed and the basic physical strength is greatly improved.

As for the CPU and GPU to be installed, there are machines with equivalent specifications in Windows, so there is no novelty in itself. The iMac is equipped with a 6 to 8 core processor in a standard configuration and can be expanded to a maximum of 10 cores. In addition, GPU can select Radeon Pro 5000 series adopting AMD's Navi architecture from 4 grades (Spec of Radeon Pro for iMac isAMD pageCan be listed at).

One thing to keep in mind when purchasing is that the low-end model cannot change the CPU, and the mid-range model cannot upgrade the GPU among the three models provided as standard configurations. Radeon Pro 5700XT (16GB GDDR6) or Radeon Pro 5700 (8GB GDDR6) or Radeon Pro 5700XT (16GB GDDR6) can be selected only for the upper model equipped with Radeon Pro 5500XT as standard. Which GPU to choose depends on the purpose and budget, but it is surmised that the default GPU is sufficient if you do not handle high-definition 3D graphics (the top Radeon Pro 5700XT for testing machines) Was installed). Please consider based on the benchmark results described later, but the performance of Radeon Pro 5500XT is almost the same in specifications as Radeon Pro 5600M, which is prepared as an option for 16-inch MacBook Pro.

However, the reason why the new iMac can be said to be a full model change is not due to the upgrade of CPU and GPU. It was largely updated to a system that uses an SSD controller and security chip called Apple T2. The T2 chip not only acts as a high speed SSD controller, but also intervenes between various inputs and outputs. The entire Intel system is configured as if it were under the control of the T2 chip, and can benefit from the various built-in functions. Initially, features such as high-speed SSD controller + encryption and H.264 video compression accelerator were featured, but currently, speaker sound quality and phase correction, multi-mic sound processing, built-in camera image processing, etc. Independent of the system on the Intel side).

Its contents have not been clearly announced, but it is said that it is a certain generation of Apple A processor itself. In other words, it can be read as a device for delivering the value of signal processing, hardware and software developed for the iPhone to an Intel-equipped Mac.

1080p FaceTime camera with significantly improved image quality

Apple hasn't officially announced how the hardware has changed, but the built-in camera has been updated from 720p to 1080p, or full HD resolution. This is the first time that the Mac's built-in camera supports 1080p. However, as far as the quality of the image that can be obtained is concerned, it seems that the resolution is not just increased. It seems that the sensor size is expanding and the generation is being updated. The image quality is clearly improved due to the image processing, exposure control, face recognition, etc. by the ISP (Image Signal Processor) with a built-in T2 chip.

Compared to a 16-inch MacBook Pro (720p) that also has a T2 chip, the gradation, color noise, and brightness noise are all excellent, and the contrast and black level sinking are also completely different. The impression is that the image quality is improving especially in the dark. Not only is the quality of image processing improved with the T2 chip, but the sensor itself is also of high quality.

In terms of the active use of semiconductor circuits developed for the iPhone, so is the improvement of voice-related quality. Hardware and software developed to improve call quality and produce satisfactory sound quality with small and thin iPhone speakers are used here. In addition, the built-in microphone was only placed near the camera so far, but the new 27-inch iMac has two additional places at the bottom of the screen, and the directionality is controlled by combining multiple microphones. The sound quality has been greatly improved. Basically, it seems that the technology installed in the 16-inch MacBook Pro is adjusted for the desktop, but it is an exceptional quality for the built-in microphone of the desktop machine.

Camera and microphone, these two points are very important especially in the telework environment. Similarly, the speakers are also subjected to range balance, low range emphasis, phase adjustment, etc. Together with their own virtual surround, you can enjoy surround sound such as Apple TV + or immersive sound. However, I can't feel the impression of the 16-inch MacBook Pro and the stereoscopic effect of virtual surround. It may be that the housing design or speaker design has not been changed.

In terms of range balance, the total impression is not as great as that of the MacBook Pro. That said, the improvements over the traditional iMac are obvious. If you want to listen to music, I recommend you to search for your favorite external speaker separately, but if the sound of the video distribution service is comfortable, it is finished in sufficient sound quality.

See the video below for the performance of the FaceTime camera and built-in microphone.


Anti-reflection effect of expensive but extremely effective Nano-texture glass

Perhaps the most annoying choice for a new iMac is the Nano-texture glass option. The 32 inch display Pro Display XDR is set at 70,000 yen, and this option is a low price of 50,000 yen for 27 inch iMac. That said, it's still an extremely expensive screen surface treatment option.

Nano-texture is a glass surface that has been subjected to an etching treatment, and has been subjected to extremely fine unevenness treatment that does not adversely affect the definition and contrast of the 5K display. As its name suggests, it adds a fine texture at the nanometer level and reduces the glare by dispersing external light reflection in various directions.

You may have already experienced the advantages of Pro Display XDR, but it is extremely effective, and the screen does not become difficult to see even if there are ceiling lights or windows behind the user. You might think, "It's the same as frosted glass," but the texture is so fine that it's surprisingly sharp. On the other hand, it does not have a glossy feeling, and it has a silky appearance despite the transmissive display, but if you say 50,000 yen without checking the actual thing, I think that many people will not choose.

However, from the point of view of what I actually saw, if I ordered personally, I would use Nano-texture. I felt it was so vivid and of great quality. Various screen processing options have been prepared in the past including those for business use, but I would like to assert that it is the best of all options. It should be emphasized that the 27-inch iMac does not affect the 5K resolution, contrast, or Display-P3 compatible color gamut. Especially recommended for users who do graphics design, photo development, retouching, etc. on iMac.

It also supports True Tone that optimizes the color temperature of the screen according to the surrounding lighting environment. Up to this point, it is difficult to obtain a 5K display environment other than the integrated type, and there are no products that have the same equipment as the iMac and solid quality including color reproduction. In that sense, my frank impression is that there are no clear rivals, including Windows machines.

With a wide range of options, the low end is a bargain, and what are the weaknesses?

The model used this time has the highest CPU/GPU. There is a margin in cooling performance, and even a model equipped with a Radeon Pro 5700XT with a TDP of 150 W in addition to the 10-core Core i9 will demonstrate its performance.

State of RAW file development with Luminar 4

While developing a RAW file with Luminar 4, I tried to monitor the operation status of the processor with Intel Power Gadget, but despite the GPU combined processing, the average operating clock frequency exceeds 4.5 GHz against the Turbo Boost upper limit of 5 GHz. It was

When running Cinebench R20

This is the same for video encoding, etc., and the cooling system is working properly for the CPU of TDP125W. A similar test was performed with the Cinebench R20, which has a high CPU load, but the power consumption of the package jumped up to 160 W, which exceeds the rated value, and while sticking at about 4.5 GHz, it finally reached an operating frequency of near 4 GHz. I drew a graph that the temperature drops (because the CPU temperature approaches 100 degrees).

It may be that the adaptability to heat is increasing due to the fact that the Fusion Drive is not built in and the space is created inside, but it seems that there is a margin of thermal design that constantly operates at a clock frequency close to the upper limit at high load .. This time I am testing with a 10-core model, but an 8-core CPU-equipped model may rotate at a slightly higher clock frequency.

We also conducted some other tests, but in the case of processing with intermittent load, the clock frequency settled at around 4.6 GHz, and for a short time, it also works well at 5 GHz. The thermal design seems to have plenty of headroom, so even lower models with low base clocks are likely to consistently perform well at much higher frequencies.

The evaluation machine was equipped with 32GB of memory, but the 8GB model would be a good choice when actually purchasing. This is because the 27-inch iMac is the only product except the Mac Pro that allows you to add or replace memory yourself. The cost of adding memory can be reduced to less than half by using a third-party product.

What are your weaknesses? That said, the questions that I've been holding since the launch of the current design iMac remained the same. As I wrote in the review at the time, when I put the iMac on the desk, the line of sight looked slightly higher.

Even a writer with a height of 180 cm tends to look upwards, so it is even more so for those with a short height. If you are accustomed to the downward gaze with a notebook type, this positional relationship is difficult. The burden on the neck is also great. After all, it deviates from the personal computer usage environment (horizontal or slightly downward) recommended by Apple itself.

To solve this problem, it is necessary to devise the installation location such as selecting a VESA mount model and adjusting the position with the monitor arm, or making another stand under the desk. The best thing is to add a height adjustment function and then recreate the design by removing the blank area at the bottom of the screen. I'd love Apple to provide a good answer to the problem of the iMac's display position being too high (of course, it will be the next work).

On the other hand, the low-end model is finished at a low price, partly because it is an industrial design that has been used for a long time. It is cheap to price less than 200,000 yen while incorporating a 5K display with such quality. As usual, it becomes expensive when options are piled up (test machine configuration is close to 500,000 yen), but it should be appreciated that keeping the same design keeps the price of the entry model down.

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