With the release of the Mac Studio, Apple officially discontinued its 2020 27-inch iMac. The departure of the 27-inch iMac from Apple’s current lineup may be disappointing for those looking for an upgraded version this year.
Back in 2020, the 27-inch iMac quickly got your attention by being a top performer with both a CPU and GPU boost, a fast SSD, and a stunning display. However, it has been replaced by the Mac Studio, a smaller machine that serves as a perfect blend of what came before it.
If you are looking to upgrade your old iMac this year, you are probably wondering how Mac Studio stands against the 27-inch iMac. With that in mind, we will put the two in a side-by-side comparison so you can make a better choice.
The Mac Studio starts at $1,999 for a model with a 10-core CPU, 24-core GPU, 16-core Neutral Engine, 32 GB of RAM, and 512 SSD storage. Of course, you can upgrade to the M1 Ultra option with 20-core CPU, 48-core GPU, 64GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD. But it won’t come cheap as you are looking at $3,999.
Remember that the Mac Studio does not come with a display, keyboard, and mouse. That means you need to spend some extra money to complete your setup. Indeed, a Studio Display now costs $1,599 for the standard glass model. You are looking at a minimum of $3,598, which is on par with the entry-level MacBook Pro with an M1 Max chip.
The maxed-out 27-inch iMac with a 10-core Intel Core i9 and 32 GB of RAM costs $3,299, which is pretty close to the Mac Studio and Studio Display bundle.
The 27-inch iMac is definitely the winner when it comes to pricing tiers. At $3,299, you had an all-in-one model with a powerful Corei9 chip and a beautiful display for professional tasks.
The Mac Studio has everything you need to attach your peripheral devices, including 4 Thunderbolt 4 ports, 2 USB-C ports, an HDMI, 2 USB-A ports, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and an SDXC card slot. Not to mention an additional Thunderbolt port if you are going for the M1 Ultra model.
The 27-inch iMac, on the other hand, came with 2 Thunderbolt 3, 4 USB-A ports, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and an SDXC card slot. The iMac can connect to any external display out there to boost your productivity, but you won’t be able to hook it up to 3 or 4 5K displays at the same time as it only has 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports.
The Mac Studio has its upper hand in terms of connectivity ports. The support for Thunderbolt 4 allows for faster data transfer and seamless connection to multiple external displays.
However, if you do not have any external device to attach, the 27-inch iMac still serves as a good option, thanks to its lower price tag.
Specs and Performance
The entry-level 27-inch iMac was powered by the 10th-gen Intel Core i5, coupled with the Radeon Pro 5000 series GPU. It had 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. The model we used in this comparison has a 10-core Intel Core i9 CPU, 128GB of RAM, 2TB SSD, and a Radeon Pro 57 XT graphics.
The GPU has 40 compute units, 7.6 TFLOPS, and 16GB of memory. This maxed-out option was priced at $5,000 back in 2020, making it the most expensive Mac machine.
It’s hard to compare the Intel CPU and Apple CPU. But at $1,999, you will be getting a faster SSD, 32GB of RAM, and an M1 Max CPU with a 10-core CPU and 24-core GPU. The Mac Studio looks like a better value because it has modern hardware while the iMac is 2 years-old this year.
We ran some benchmark tests to see if the M1 Max really stood out against the Intel counterpart. The results are exciting.
|Geekbench 5 multi-core||Geekbench 5 Metal|
|Mac Studio (M1 Max, 32-core GPU)||12676||69676|
|27-inch iMac (Core i9, 16GB Radeon 5700XT graphics)||10074||59155|
The Mac Studio scored up to 12,676 during our Geekbench 5 multi-core test, while the iMac had 10,074 scores. The difference really exists but is not significant.
When testing both machines using Geekbench 5 Metal, the new Mac Studio stood out, scoring 69,676 compared to iMac’s 59,155. This is thanks to the additional cores in the M1 Max that made the difference.
Keep in mind that this is the base Mac Studio model with the M1 Max chip. If you upgrade to the $3,999 M1 Ultra, the difference will be huge.
Based on our test results, the Mac Studio is the winner in overall performance. The M1 Max is the game changer with more CPU and GPU cores. However, the 27-inch iMac is still a beast compared to what came before it.
Geekbench 5 results
|27-inch iMac (3.6GHz 10-core Core i9, 2020)||1385||10074|
|27-inch iMac (3.6GHz 8-core Core i9, 2019)||1242||8292|
|iMac Pro (3.0GHz 10-core Xeon W, 2017||1126||9488|
|16-inch MacBook Pro (2.4GHz 8-core Core i9, 2019)||1277||7369|
When comparing the 27-inch iMac 2020 with some older Mac machines, the iMac was around 10 percent faster in our Geekbench 5 single-core tests, hitting over 1,300. In our Geekbench’s multi-core tests, the 2020 iMac was 18% faster, scoring over 10,000.
The Mac Studio brings an improvement across the board. Thanks to its modern hardware and techs, we believe that the machine is better value even without a mouse, keyboard, and display. The lack of a display may not concern you as you can pair it with a cheaper monitor option out there.
A 27-inch iMac is still a good option in 2022 as it has a beautiful display, a powerful hardware, and a lower price. However, the real issue is that you won’t be able to get a brand new model as Apple officially discontinued it.
If you are not brave enough to grab a second-hand iMac, then go for the Mac Studio. We are sure that you will be happy with it.