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Which Mac should you buy?

Roman Loyola | June 18, 2015
If you're reading this article, chances are you're thinking about buying a new Mac and may be in need of a little guidance. Fortunately, we're quite familiar with Apple's Macs, and we're happy to help you choose the right Mac for you.

If you already have an iMac that's less than three years old, the new iMac may be a harder sell. You'll see a performance boost, but you'll sacrifice some features, such as the SuperDrive.

What is it? The iMac with Retina display is like Apple's standard iMac, but with a ultra high resolution display.

Who's it for? The Retina iMac is designed for professionals who work with high-resolution videos, photos, or images. Or it's for the demanding user who wants the best image quality for everyday use.

What are the specifications? There are two standard configurations. The $1999 model has a quad-core 3.3GHz Core i5 processor, a 1TB 7200-rpm hard drive, and a 2GB AMD Radeon R9 M290 graphics processor. The $2299 model has a quad-core 3.5GHz Core i5 processor, a 1TB Fusion Drive, and a 2GB AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics processor.

Both models come with a 27-inch Retina display with a 5120 by 2880 resolution. The display is an IPS display, so its viewing angle is wide enough to let you to see a clear picture at any angle.

Other specifications for both Retina iMac models are similar to the standard 27-inch iMac: 8GB of user-accessible memory; wireless keyboard and mouse; no optical drive.

How do I connect stuff? Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in. All Retina iMacs have four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, a gigabit ethernet port, and an SDXC card slot.

If you want to connect a FireWire device, you'll need to use a Thunderbolt-to-FireWire Adapter. USB 2.0 devices can connect to the iMac's USB 3.0 ports.

How fast is it? The Retina iMacs are among Apple's fastest computers when it comes to single-core performance. When it comes to multi-core speed, the Mac Pros with more than four cores are faster machines. You can improve the multi-core performance by opting for the $250 4.0GHz Core i7 upgrade in the $2299 model--the total price goes up to $2449, but that's a small price to pay for the performance boost. The $1999 Retina iMac does not offer a processor upgrade.

Macworld's buying advice: The allure of the Retina display is strong; you'll love the way it looks. You may not love the way the price looks, however. If you are hesitant about the price, it won't take long to get over it, once you've used the Retina iMac for a couple of weeks. Here's a thought that might convince you: Better 5K displays, such as Dell's UP2715K, costs $2500--more than the Retina iMac.

Mac Pro

What is it? The Mac Pro is Apple's workstation. It's designed for professionals who need a powerful and flexible machine.

Who's it for? The Mac Pro is ideal for professionals who work with applications that use as many processing cores as possible--video-editing applications, image-editing software, 3D programs, and the like.


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