27-inch iMac 2020 review: The latest Intel iMac leaves a lasting impression

This could be it, you know. There’s a pretty good chance this is the last version of the iMac as we know it, with its iconic all-in-one design and Intel processors. Maybe there’s a chance that those Intel processors get a speed bump upgrade before switching over to Apple silicon, but regardless, they’re on their way out.

The iMac isn’t going out quietly, though. The 2020 27-inch iMac gets your attention by being a top performer with a CPU boost, SSD storage, and updated graphics. It has other features to take into consideration—namely, a new nano-texture glass front—but the emphasis is on speed. If you rely on software that takes advantage of multiple processing cores (video editors, graphics software, databases, etc.), the new iMac will satisfy your need for speed.

The iMac in this review is a built-to order model with upgrades to the processor, graphics card, memory, storage, and the nano-texture screen. With those upgrades, the price of our review unit is $4,499.

What’s inside: Intel, more memory, fast graphics

At the heart of the 27-inch iMac are new 10th-generation Intel Core processors, replacing the 9th-generation CPUs introduced in 2019. The processor in our review unit is a 3.6GHz 10-core Core i9 with Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz. This is a build-to-order option, which adds $400 to the price of the high-end $2,299 standard configuration model.

This generation of the 27-inch iMac now has Hyper-Threading standard in the CPU across all models. Hyper-Threading allows each processing core to run two threads simultaneously and should help CPU performance. Before, only the 27-inch iMac with a build-to-order 9th-generation 3.6GHz 8-core Core i9 processor supported Hyper Threading.

To get an idea of the speed our review iMac is capable of, we ran several benchmark tests. To start with, we ran Geekbench 5 and compared the results to other Macs that Geekbench has on record on its website.

Geekbench 5 single-core results

27in imac 2020 geekbench single core IDG

Results are scores. Higher scores/longer bars are better. Click to enlarge.

In Geekbench’s single-core tests, the new iMac was 10 percent faster than the built-to-order option in its predecessor, a 3.6GHX 8-core Core i9. A little more impressive is the 19 percent increase over the current entry-level iMac Pro with a 3.0GHz 10-cole Xeon W, or the 26 percent improvement over the 3.5GHz 8-core Xeon W in the base model Mac Pro.

Geekbench 5 multi-core results

27in imac 2020 geekbench multi core IDG

Results are scores. Higher scores/longer bars are better. Click to enlarge.

In Geekbench’s multi-core tests, we saw an 18 percent improvement by the new iMac over its predecessor, and a 20 percent boost over the base model Mac Pro. The new iMac and the iMac Pro come close in performance, with the iMac being 6 percent faster.