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Which pro Mac desktop: iMac and Mac Pro compared

Martyn Casserly | Feb. 10, 2015
Apple's laptops are brilliant, but sometimes you want the luxury and power of a Mac desktop. In this feature we'll explore the options open to you, and compare the various advantages of iMacs and Mac Pros.

Apple's MacBook range of laptops has been hugely successful in recent years. From the svelte portability of the MacBook Air to the gorgeous displays on the Retina MacBook Pro, these devices have much to offer users who like to work on the go. If you're looking for more power, and a larger working area on the screen though, a Mac desktop is the way to go, and Apple has a few excellent options for the professional. In this feature we'll compare the various delights of the iMac and Mac Pro to see which is the one that's best for you.

iMac vs Mac Pro: Things to consider

With every technology buying decision it's very important that you first establish your requirements and your budget. It's not exactly the best use of funds to buy something that's too expensive and does far more than you need. Conversely you wouldn't want to go through this whole process and end up with a cheaper machine that can't cope with your demands twelve months later. If you need a true powerhouse for running Pro level software such as Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, or any number of other demanding applications, then the higher end models are the obvious place to look.

If you just want a capable desktop that will keep up with general computer duties such as web browsing, home video editing, Photoshop, and some gaming then a general iMac will no doubt fill the need. There's also the ability to upgrade certain machines later on, which is either something that appeals or doesn't, depending on whether you want to get out the screwdriver and delve into your Mac (read about How to get into a Mac with a Screwdriver).

The golden rule is to take your time, know what you want from the machine, and spend an amount you're comfortable with.

iMac vs Mac Pro: A few exceptions

There are in fact three types of desktop in the current Apple catalogue: the iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini. While the Mac Mini is a solid choice for general home-use, the current iteration isn't exactly a powerful device when compared to its bigger brothers. If you're already considering a Mac Pro, then the chances are you've already ruled out the mini, and wisely so. Another model to cross off your list is the entry-level iMac, which although attractively priced at £899 is internally actually pretty much the same machine as the Mac mini. The Mac mini used to be more of a contender when it came to the decision of which Mac desktop to buy, but the latest generation is not as good as the previous generation of this Mac, so, at least for now, we are not recommending it in this pro focused article. Read: Mac Mini 2014 v Mac Mini 2012


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