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New iMacs 2016 release date, specs & new features rumours

Ashleigh Allsopp | June 24, 2016
AMD Polaris 10 GPUs could make new iMacs VR-ready

Virtual reality

Talking about graphics architecture can be a little dry, but the Polaris rumour discussed above has a sexier element to it: VR.

AMD has consistently talked up its Polaris graphics chips as a way of bringing VR within the reach of a wider market of PC users. At present Macs are basically unusable for VR, as we discuss in our articles Can you use Oculus Rift with Mac? andHow to use a Mac for VR, and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey specifically cited underpowered Mac GPUs as the reason why the company was focusing on Windows:

"People have said, 'Why don't you support Macs? So many people have Macs.' It's true. A lot of people have Apple hardware, especially in the laptop space. But the GPUs in those, they're not even close to what we're pushing for our recommended spec."

But adding Polaris GPUs to the iMac could change Luckey's mind. 

AMD's Roy Taylor thinks the company's new GPUs are about to massively expand the available market for VR. "AMD has just completed the shrink to 14nm [with Polaris]," he said. "This means we can produce GPUs that will run the minimum spec of VR at a lower cost, in larger volume, consuming less power and running faster. That means in the second half of this year and going forward more people will be able to run those headsets."

Flash storage

We'll repeat our hope, expressed this time last year while waiting for the 2015 update, that Apple makes flash storage standard across the entire range of iMacs. At present the 27-inch iMacs get a Fusion Drive by default (Fusion Drives are a high-performance hybrid blend of flash and conventional storage) and the 21.5-inch models can add them as a build-to-order option for an extra £80. We think it should be offered as standard in all Apple's desktops.

The current 21.5-inch iMac range is crippled somewhat by its hard drives, which are a lot slower than the flash drives used in all of Apple's laptops - to the extent that Mac laptops with similar processors will perform noticeably better than the equivalent iMac because of their faster SSD drives.

Source: Macworld UK 

 

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