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Which professional Mac desktop: iMac and Mac Pro compared

Martyn Casserly | April 8, 2016
Sometimes you need the power of a Mac desktop.

If you're looking for more power than a Mac laptop can give you, and a larger screen, 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 best for you.

Updated 6 April 2016 with general pricing and component updates.

iMac vs Mac Pro: Budget

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.

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: Software requirements

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.

iMac vs Mac Pro: The Macs you shouldn't consider

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. 


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