iMac 5K (Late 2015), analysis: best in everything, unique by its screen

iMac Retina 5K, late 2015. We could consider it as the second renovation of a model that surprised us in its day by the incredible quality of its screen. An update that, like May (model mid 2015), would be a small tune-up. But no, this new iMac takes a step forward in sections that are important to its daily performance.

In Applesfera we have had access to the intermediate configuration. A team that after testing well and with the experience of having been able to analyze the two previous versions, especially the first iMac 5K with top-of-range configuration, I think I can assess as it should be.

Unchanged design

Apple always tried with its iMac range to create the ultimate all-in-one. A product with an exquisite design, that makes use of the most advanced technologies to go even further. This led them to the design that the family has been wearing for a few years now.

In this generation there are no changes and it really doesn’t need it. It is true that I had always said that I would not mind being a few millimetres or centimeters thick, especially if this favoured the inclusion of a more capable cooling system. Not because it’s not effective now, but because sometimes certain components can’t be included because of the heat they release. But this year, seeing how he behaves on temperature issues, I don’t think about it that much.

-The iMac 5K still offers the option to expand RAM by ourselves-

iMac 5K

Otherwise little to tell, in the back we have access to the different connections as well as the compartment to expand the RAM. Because it should be remembered that the 27″ iMac is the only one that allows the user to expand RAM easily. The 21.5-inch models are now welded on board. So, if at first you want to save a few euros to later increase the RAM yourself you can do it.

With those sleek, well-profiled lines, the iMac 5K is still an impressive team. You can get to know him but the feeling of having him at the table, in front of you, makes you enjoy admiring how everything fits perfectly. And where the screen puts the icing on it.

An even better screen

The screen of the new iMac 5K is better. It doesn’t increase in resolution, it doesn’t need for now as its 5120 x 2880 pixels offer amazing sharpness, but in quality. Now it makes use of DCI P3 gamut technology. The key to the new display leaves behind the use of white LEDs for lighting and is passed on to the use of red and green phosphor LEDs. This «simple» change improves color rendering. The color range now increases so that gradients and transitions between colors are smoother.

Is that something very noticeable? Well, I look at the issue of SSDs. When you buy or start using a computer with SSD you think that improvement is not so important. Yes, it’s going faster, everything in general, but you don’t think it’s essential. Error, the moment you reuse your computer with a mechanical disc, at 7200 RPM at best, you realize what you’ve lost.

The new iMac 5K screen happens the same. You start using it and you are surprised by its sharpness, how good the images, the videos, everything are. Then you re-use that Full HD or even 2K monitor that you were so happy with and you don’t just see pixels like fists and colors with less life.

So yes, the new screen of the iMac 5K is noticeable. It’s one of its strengths and why I want Apple to launch a 5K resolution screen to accompany my Mac Pro. Because as I say, there are very interesting options on the market but I’m not quite sure to find any that appeal to me more than this. Simply brutal.

Improved performance

Let’s move on to what’s important, to the section that many users are waiting for. And it’s not for nothing, the new iMac 5K introduces the sixth generation Intel Skylake processor. A family of CPUs that we had been waiting for, not because their performance was going to be vastly higher than the Haswells but rather because of their energy efficiency and other more technical details.

The unit we have analyzed has the following configuration. These are intermediate specifications between what the most basic model offers and the highest configuration. Still, then I will make some subsections in certain respects in case they serve you in the face of a future purchase.

CPU performance

Intel’s new CPUs, a sixth-generation Skylake processor, offer a performance improvement but not as pronounced as many might expect. However, although there is a slight improvement, the most important thing is that we have gained in efficiency and above all better heat generation.

On the first iMac 5K I was able to test, the one using the Radeon R9 M295X and Intel Core i7 processor at 4Ghz, the problem was the warm-up. It is true that they have then shown that they endure perfectly and there are users doing hard tasks with them without problems. But having the fan jumping so often was something I didn’t like.

Now, the temperature that this new iMac reaches is much lower, I have taken longer to make the fans jump and it certainly wasn’t with common everyday situations. Therefore, in the face of performance that improves the most important thing is that the equipment now suffers less from high temperatures.

Still, for those who may have doubts, the Intel Core i5 processor at 3.2Ghz used is capable of raising thanks to Turbo Boost up to 3.6Ghz. That means that in applications that make use of a single core we will have a performance similar or higher than that of even computers like the quad-core Mac Pro. In multicore tasks things change but still perform very well.

After all this and seeing some synthetic test results, I think it’s more interesting to the actual usage experience. During the days i have been using it as the main Mac, with which I not only write but edit videos, retouch images and a few more tasks, the performance offered by this new iMac (with the above settings) has been very good.

Tasks such as compressing multi-gig files, rendering video or applying effects did not suffer or lose your patience. And looking at the activity tracker, we see how the workload didn’t make the team suffer from high temperatures. It is true that every user will have their needs but in this case I dare say that a last baked iMac 5K will satisfy those of many.

GPU performance

Again Barefeats published the performance of different Mac models in different benchmarks. In games it improves against previous model (always comparing between ranges of equal graphics) and beats the Mac Pro with D300. In the case of the Radeon R9 M390 it is very even compared to the base model of the Mac Pro. This is because they are more valid graphics for games while those on Mac Pro are focused on professional applications. In contrast, the dual graphics of the Mac Pro of 4 cores surpasses it by applying Photoshop filters, exporting video.

In my tests, with the AMD Radeon R9 M390 and its 2GB RAM GDDR5 I have to say that its behavior is remarkable. Its performance in applications such as FCPX, DaVinci Resolve, Photoshop and the like is very good. I haven’t tested it with games, which may interest some, but I don’t think, FPS up or down compared to their predecessors, is going to be a problem for the players. Those who want to play next-generation games, mainly emulating Windows under Boot Camp, will be able to do so with reliability.

Storage unit performance

For me it is the most conflicted point as I have already been able to advance. The option with exclusive HDD seems slow, very slow for the type of equipment it is. The possibility to opt for an upgrade Fusion Drive, with Blackmagic Disk Speed Test we reach write speeds of 303 MB/s, and read speeds around 805 MB/s.

These are transfer rates that are not bad enough but are far from what the latest PCI Flash drives used on computers like MacBook Pro Retina offer. That’s why, my opinion is that you should opt for a configuration whose storage is exclusively Flash memory. To save all our data there are very economical USB 3.0 options, or NAS devices that also give much more game to share with mobile devices, players, etc.

A unique equipment with accessories to match. This could more or less define the new iMacs. Apple all-in-one now arrives with the new keyboard, mouse or if we dedicate trackpad. This, looking at their prices, is good news because they are very good products but they have been rattled by the euro pain change and the logical increase in incorporating new technologies.

Therefore, buying them separately may be more difficult but if it already comes next to the iMac it’s great. A few days ago we talked in more detail about them so you can read the article or watch the video we make.

A note update

The new iMac 5K is a note update. I can’t give it the standout because we all know there are always improvements to be made. It would have been great to have Thunderbolt 3 ports, especially going forward. Although I also understand that if the thunderbolt 2 has not been taken advantage of by most it is still foolish to make the product more expensive. I would also have liked the storage units to be on all models flash drives. Because even if there are users who say they don’t need it, it’s an improvement that anyone would appreciate.

Anyway, without those details that would have taken it to the standout, the new iMac 5K Late 2015 seems to me an even rounder team. The balance between processor and graph is successful, the inclusion of the new accessories add points and the display continues to mark a before and after. Now even more so with that improvement in color reproduction.

Now it’s just a matter of whether or not you make the investment they cost is worth it. I am clear that once at home or the office will not disappoint you.

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