iMac Pro
The new iMac Pro is likely to meet its December release date. Reuters/Stephen Lam

While almost everyone is patiently waiting for the arrival of Apple’s iPhone X flagship smartphone, others are anticipating the launch of the Cupertino giant’s new iMac Pro. Sources are saying that as of the moment, Apple suppliers are busy producing the AMD Radeon Pro Vega video cards that will ship with the computers.

On Monday, Taiwanese publication DigiTimes learned through supply chain sources that Apple ordered high-end GPUs to AMD back in September 2017. These GPUs will be powering the graphics of the new iMac series. The same sources disclosed that Taiwan-based outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) companies are already stepping up the 2.5D packaging for the GPUs.

Per the industry sources, Apple is preparing to launch a super workstation-class iMac Pro with 27-inch display, Radeon Pro Vega 56 GPU and 8GB HBM2 memory. There’s also a variant with the Radeon Pro Vega 64 GPU and 16GB HBM2 memory. The difference between the two GPUs is the high-end version will be packaged using 2.5G technology, while the general-spec one will use flip-chip packaging process.

According to Apple Insider, the GPUs will likely influence the cost of the iMac Pro one is getting. The devices that will debut in December will start at $4,999. This pricing is understandable, knowing that the new iMac Pros will have 5K display and an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, which is scalable up to 10 or 18 cores. In addition, the computers will have 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD, and there are options that would allow buyers to push the specifications higher.

“AMD's Vega series GPUs are fabricated by GlobalFoundries on 14nm process, but Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has won the order from AMD to fabricate its NAVI GPUs using 7nm process technology. As TSMC is also keen on making deployments in advanced packaging technologies, it will continue to maintain coopetition relationships with local OSATs,” an industry source was quoted as saying.

The use of 2.5D packaging will mostly benefit consumers. Patently Apple pointed out that the high-end graphics cards that will utilize DRAM chip stacks will provide more memory bandwidth on small, low-power boards. This means that the GPUs that will ship with the new iMac Pro will make the device perform better.

The new update about the iMac Pro 2017 shuts down speculations that Tim Cook’s company had stopped caring for the Mac series. These speculations surfaced after it was found out that the iPhone series already accounts for the vast majority of Apple’s revenue. Furthermore, significant Mac updates have become elusive. Nevertheless, Apple maintained in April that newly designed Mac Pro devices were in the works. The company then unveiled the $4,999 iMac Pro two months later.

Aside from the imminent release of the new iMac Pro, Apple is also busy preparing for the arrival of iPhone X early next month. Preorders are expected to open this Friday, Oct. 27. Ahead of it, major carriers Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint announced the different deals, discounts and trade-in incentives they are offering to consumers who want the iPhone X to be their next daily driver.