Apple's New iMac w/ M1 chip ...?

I’ve been waiting for the Apple announcement, and today was a bit disappointed!
Apple is only releasing a 24" 4.5K screen unit, nothing equivalent to my current 27" 5K screen model! (There had even been speculation that they might go for a 32" 6K screen, but no dice).
Although I want the M1 performance, going down to a 24" screen just doesn’t feel like much of an upgrade to me! I can go with a 2nd monitor, but really … ?
And their pricing is pretty vague, $1699 for the high end model, but no price information to add larger SSD’s. They say “configurable” to 16GB unified memory (RAM), but what does that cost?
I will be very eager to hear from anyone who buys one of these and runs SU/LO!
Just how fast is the 8 core CPU? How does the 8 core GPU perform? How dramatic is the step up from 8GB unified memory to 16GB, in terms of performance?
Anyone who buys a maxed out machine (delivery mid-May), please report your experience to the rest of us!
Thanks in advance!

Current benchmarks I have read for the M1 suggest it is noticeably faster, even running programs through Rosetta 2 which have not been ported. So I’m expecting good things to come as well. as SketchUp is single thread only I don’t think the improvement will come from having more cores. Let’s hope we see more M1 in the future.

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Yes, I know about SU’s single core processing - but how fast are each of these new M1 cores?
I haven’t seen any comparisons with the old Intel “GHz” clock ratings. For instance, is each of these new M1 cores as fast as an old 4.2 GHz i7 Intel chip?
I saw the (2 day old) video about this new M1 iMac from Luke Miani on YouTube - he says this 24" model is just the first “Mass-Market” issue of the new M1 iMac’s, and that bigger, more powerful, “professional” level machines will follow. This is logical, but we have no indication from Apple as far as the time line.
I’m impatient, and I don’t want to wait another year of more just to see an M1 variant that is equivalent to my current 27" 5K iMac!

I work in Mac IT and am also a Sketchup user.

I just sold an M1 MacBook Air to a client who uses Sketchup in commercial kitchen design, and his reports are that it is great, noticeably faster and smoother than the 2016 MacBook Pro he had been using. I’m getting one myself and will also be using it for Sketchup. I specified both of these with 16GB of RAM - although reports of the benefits of additional RAM with the M1 processor are vague at best.

As to the new 24 inch iMac, even though it looks like a lovely machine, my advice would be to sit tight and wait for the big brother of that iMac that is surely coming. Like all of the current M1 Macs, despite the processor’s potency, this seems like a consumer-oriented system, rather than a production workhorse. So I’d be agreeing with Luke Miani.

There are rumours this week of a new beefier variant of the M1 chip moving into production, and the assumption is that that chip (M1X?) will find its way into bigger “pro” MacBooks, and a new replacement for the 27 inch iMac. I’d have thought the fabled 14 and 16 inch M-based MacBook Pros would be released next - possibly at WWDC in June, and the bigger iMac later in the year, or early next year.

This is all speculation of course, so take it as you will. But given Apple’s stated 2-year timeline for transitioning all Macs to M processors, bigger M-based Macs must be on the way. I can tell you that this is affecting sales of anything that doesn’t have an M processor in it, so Apple will be onto it.

We will be getting one of the new 24 inch iMacs as soon as we can, so I’ll install Sketchup on it and see how it performs.

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Hey Jeffreyg,
Thanks for the response and information/opinions!
You mention that you had “specified” 16GB of ram for your new M1, but what does that upgrade COST? As far as I can find, Apple hasn’t yet published any costs for extra RAM on the M1, or, for that matter, any prices for bigger storage drives! Do you know prices?
And yes, it looks like I (we) will have to wait and wait and wait for a professional level iMac to emerge from the Apple caverns.
Do you have any info or speculation on what the M1X (or even the M2) chip will look like? Maybe 16 computing cores and 16 graphics cores? And, I have heard rumors that the new larger iMac (or maybe the equivalent of the new iMac Pro) might have a 32" 6K screen … wouldn’t that be sweet!
I would also hope that such a machine would be able to accommodate more RAM, at least 32 GB, or even 64GB …
Please do report your experience running SU (and especially that laggy LO) on your new M1 iMac … and any differences you see between 8GB and 16GB of unified memory (Ram).
Thanks, and Good Luck!

Hey Beamer. I think you misunderstood, the 16GB is going into M1 MacBook Airs. In Australia, that’s $300 extra. The M1 24 inch iMac we are buying to demo will probably be upgraded to 16GB too, to future-proof it a bit. But we don’t have any prices yet - orders open tomorrow and we’ll find out then. I’d expect the same upgrade prices as the current M1s. It is after all the exact same M-processor in all of the current M1 Macs, and the cost of upgrading RAM or SSD is the same in all of those.

As to your hopes for future M-based Macs, sounds like you’re reading the same rumours and gossip that I am. I’ve seen some talk of 20 core M processors, but that sounds a bit fanciful to me. Like you, I’d be expecting the next M processors to basically double everything. A piece I read somewhere yesterday made that seem like the next logical evolution in a technical sense. So that would be 16-core CPU, 16-core GPU and up to 32GB of RAM. And my hunch is that it will be the “M1X”.

From anecdotal experience and comment I’ve seen so far, given the different way that the M-processors utilise RAM, 32GB should be sufficient for even the most demanding users. An exception might be really serious PhotoShop users, video editors or animators with extreme rendering workflows. They’ll have to wait for the next M-processor - perhaps in a new Mac Pro, or whatever that becomes. I’d love a Mac Mini Pro myself.

I’ll report back on the M1 MacBook Air and 24 inch iMac once I’ve had a chance to thrash them around a bit.

And yes, when the new bigger iMac arrives, it will surely have a 32 inch or bigger screen. With the small iMac evolving up to a 24 inch screen, it wouldn’t make much sense for the “big” one to be only 3 inches bigger. So far, clients I’ve attempted to sway towards the 24 inch iMac instead of the current 27 inch models have been reluctant to settle for the smaller screen. Although I am intrigued that Apple are referring to this new 24 inch iMac simply as “iMac”. Perhaps its possible future bigger brother might have another name?

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All right, we shall all stay tuned!
(I did see mention today in MacRumors that the upcoming, “bigger 27” iMac (yes they are still referring to 27") would be receiving the “M2” chipset).

So, … it looks like it’ll cost $2,919.79 (US) for the highest end, maxed out (as far as Apple will let you go, at least at the moment) new 24" M1 iMac!
This is with 16 Gb “unified” (RAM) memory, and a 2 TB SSD, (and Apple Protection Plan), here in California.
Based on this, I’m guessing that what I’m really waiting for … (Something like a 30" or 32" 6K screen iMac with an M1X (or maybe an M2?) chip and at least 32 GB of RAM and a least a 2TB SSD) will probably cost north of $5K!
(And then there is the possible iMac Pro iteration … what might that look like?)
Hope it’s worth the wait … which looks like late this year, or early next.

@Jeffreyg, let us know how your maxed out M1 unit performs when you put it through some paces!
(I’m especially interested in whether this chip can bump LayOut out of it’s sluggish behavior!)
Looking forward to your report!

I ordered an iMac as well, but opted to leave it with the 512GB SSD and 8GB memory. That will be more useful for me to test what SketchUp and LayOut is like on a setup that most people may get. It won’t arrive for 3-4 weeks though.


You can save $800 by staying with the lower end hard drive and the machine would be the same in performance. Save another $200 and you’re at the base 8GB of memory and still great performance. At that point you’re at $1600 for almost the same as the maxed out one. Maxing out really isnt about a faster machine. It’s just an expensive ssd. You can use externals for far cheaper.

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That’s Great Colin,
I’m sure YOU will report SU and LO performance on this new iMac to us all!
But I’m still really wanting to know how that extra 8 GB of unified RAM (8 + 8 = 16GB) will effect performance, especially with LayOut … (please don’t tell me, but maybe not at all?).
So you really can’t get Trimble to spring for the 16 GB RAM? That’s kinda sad, if not … it’s only like an extra $200 ? …
Anyway, will you eventually be able to “obtain” the upcoming higher end M1X and M2 models to test SU & LO performance? (And report results?)
I hope so …
Thanks for your attention and effort!

Yes monospaced,
I get that, Apple RAM and SSD are always the most expensive possible!
But, you know that the Ram is integral with the chip, so there are no upgrade options down the line.
With the SSD, yea, external is a cheaper option …
Thanks …

Yes of course. And even with 16gb of ram you can still save $1000 off of the price you got. You don’t actually need the trackpad for example.

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I’m buying it personally. But yes, I will report what performance I see.

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Yes, and please don’t misunderstand me … I am NOT buying this machine
If you follow my thread, I’m definitely waiting for the (probably much more expensive) M1X or M2 chip variant in a bigger, higher resolution screen iMac which will (hopefully) emerge from the Apple caverns sometime late this year or early next …
That version will also probably have a similarly dedicated (non user upgradable) RAM “add option” (hopefully at least 32 GB) attached to the chip (which will then hopefully be something like the M1X or M2 chip, with at least 16 + 16 cores, or more?).
I’m just looking, waiting, and speculating! It’s had to be patient …
Cheers …