Tests show 10-core 2020 5K iMac is not $400 better than 8-core, might even be worse

Max Tech Imac Test
Max Tech Imac Test (Image credit: Max Tech)

What you need to know

  • Max Tech has put Apple's new 10-core iMac through its paces.
  • The results might surprise you.
  • Max Tech says that the 10-core processor is not worth the $400 price jump.

Max Tech has conducted tests of Apple's 5K iMac to see if the 10-core Intel i9 processor is worth the $400 price jump. As it turns out, it probably isn't.

Apple announced its new iMacs in August, with new 10th generation Intel processors, nano-texture glass options and a 1080p FaceTime HD camera.

If you're curious about the iMac as a whole, then you should definitely check out our 2020 iMac Review, which it aced with an excellent score. Apple's last intel iMac is definitely its best.

Max Tech's recent testing is explicitly aimed at Apple's processor options. Apple offers users both the 3.8GHz 8-core 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz and the 3.6GHz 10-core 10th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz, the latter of which is a $400 optional extra.

Max Tech put both options through their paces for a couple of weeks with a variety of tests:

In this video, we compare things like CPU performance, graphics performance, gaming performance, Xcode programming, Logic Pro X music production, Photoshop graphics design, Lightroom Classic photo editing, 3D graphics rendering with Blender, and video editing with Final Cut Pro X including H.264, HEVC, Canon RAW, R3D RAW and Canon eOS R5 10-bit 4:2:2 footage!

You can watch the full video below, but the bottom line is clear. The extra money is not worth it in this case. In testing, even of purely processor-based tasks, the difference between the two was minimal, and in Lightroom tests of exporting, the 10-core version was actually worse.

Max Tech says that the 10-core model isn't bad, only that the 8-core i7 is "incredibly powerful" and not limited in the same way as the 10-core. Graphics heavy testing only showed up better results for the 10-core i9 because of the better graphics card in the machine, as the processor on the 8-core model was not being maxed out.

In conclusion, Max Tech says that "100 percent of people" should instead spend the $400 upgrading the iMac's graphics or storage instead. You can see the full video below!

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9