It does not matter where your allegiance lies in the Mac versus PC (as in, Windows PC) debate, one thing most people can agree on is that Apple's all-in-one iMac computers are nice looking systems. However, looks will only get you so far. The iMac is need of an upgrade, and word on the web is that it's getting one in the second half of the year. Additionally, rumor has it Apple will also release a server-grade iMac by the end of the year.
Citing sources from Apple's supply chain in Taiwan, Digitimes says the new server-grade iMac will feature Intel's Xeon E3-1285 v6 processor paired with 16GB to 64GB of ECC (error correction code) RAM, which is a type of system memory used in mission critical setups to minimize errors in data. Crucial, a division of Micron, has a pretty good write-up on how ECC memory works.
The potent iMac will also ship with up to 2TB of fast NVMe solid state drive storage (most likely n M.2 form, which are those fancy new gumstick-sized SSDs) and the latest discrete graphics card. If sticking with AMD for discrete graphics chores, it's possible Vega could make an appearance in the server-grade iMac, though that is only speculation on our part. Given the makeup of the other parts, we suspect Apple will roll with a professional graphics card rather than a consumer oriented one.
Shoving workstation parts into an iMac is an interesting proposition, especially since Apple is working on a redesigned Mac Pro system. Apple recently admitted that its trashcan-style Mac Pro was a mistake, at least in terms of long-term viability. The mistake it made was assuming that users would trend towards lower end dual graphics cards rather than faster (and hotter) single GPU solutions.
"I think we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner, if you will,” Apple’s Craig Federighi told a group of journalists at its corporate HQ. "We designed a system that we thought with the kind of GPUs that at the time we thought we needed, and that we thought we could well serve with a two GPU architecture. But workloads didn’t materialize to fit that as broadly as we hoped."
"Being able to put larger single GPUs required a different system architecture and more thermal capacity than that system was designed to accommodate. And so it became fairly difficult to adjust," Federighi added.
To be clear, the server-grade iMac is not intended to replace the Mac Pro. Apple's intention is to give users a powerful alternative to Microsoft's recently released Surface Studio.