The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display is the best desktop Mac you can buy today. It's an all-in-one with prosumer power and the best display in the business.

Update: Writing the article saddens me. Apple didn't update any of their desktop Macs for 2016. For the last couple of years, iMacs were updated in October and. Mac Pro and Mac mini... weren't updated at all. Best we can hope for now is spring 2017. So, if you can wait, wait. If you have to have a desktop Mac today, keep reading.

Ritchie Ritchie Rene Ritchie has been covering Apple and the personal technology industry for almost a decade. Editorial director for Mobile Nations, analyst for iMore, video and podcast host, you can follow him on Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter @reneritchie.

Best overall

27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display

See at Apple

The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display — and DCI-P3 wide color gamut — has the best display I've ever seen on a computer. At first glance, almost better than real life. The entry-level model starts off with a 3.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of memory, a 1 TB hard drive, and an AMD Radeon R9 M380 with 2GB video memory. You can max it out with a 4.0 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 32 GB of memory, 1 TB of flash storage, and an AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB video memory. 3.5 mm headphone jack, SDXC card slot, four USB 3 ports, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, gigabit ethernet, and a Kensington lock slot all come standard on all models as well.

For most people the sweet spot will be in the build-to-order middle ground: 3.2G Hz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with 8 GB of memory, a 1 TB fusion drive — which melds flash for speed and a hard drive for size — and an AMD Radeon R9 M390 with 2GB video memory. If you do particularly intensive tasks, you can bump the memory to 16 GB, which should handle all but the highest-end tasks with aplomb.

Bottom line: The 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display has the biggest, best screen Apple's ever shipped on a desktop and all the power you need to drive it.

One more thing: If 27-inches is simply too big for your desktop, there's a 21.5-inch 4K model as well.

Why the 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display is the best.

Apple's best-looking — and most up-to-date Mac.

The centerpiece of the iMac with 27-inch 5K Retina display is right in the name: That 27-inch 5K Retina display. Not only is it ludicrously dense for a desktop — enough to edit 4K video while showing your editing palettes at the same time — but it's just as ludicrously deep. That's thanks to the wide color gamut display. The technical term is DCI-P3. It's the digital cinema standard that shows more and better reds, magentas, and oranges than the older sRGB standard.

Apple's 9.7-inch iPad Pro and iPhone 7 have the same color space, and iPhone 7 can actually shoot photos in DCI-P3 as well. And when it does, you'll want to see them on the iMac.

Christina Warren, writing for Mashable:

A year after the 5K iMac's debut, we haven't seen any all-in-one offerings that come close to performance or quality.

If you're in the market for a solid all-in-one with the best screen on the planet, the new 5K iMac is for you.

Joel Santo Domingo, writing for PC Mag:

At $1,999, the latest base-model iMac is a $300 discount from the top model. That certainly makes it a good deal if you're willing to forgo the slight speed bump you would get with the Fusion Drive and the slightly faster 3D graphics of the higher configuration. You certainly won't miss the extra 200MHz in the processor, as our performance results have shown. Even though it lacks Target Display Mode, the iMac is still a great alternative to buying a $1,250 Windows system, plus a $2,000 5K display. Thus, we have no reservations calling the latest Apple iMac 27-inch with Retina 5K Display our Editors' Choice high-end all-in-one desktop.

Previously, I used an old Nehalem Mac Pro with a Thunderbolt display for my desktop. I considered going to the new Mac Pro for my current generation, but one look at the screen on the iMac and I started to reconsider. When Apple updated the iMac to DCI-P3, and failed to update the new Mac Pro at all, the reconsideration became a decision.

Personally, I went for pure flash storage on my iMac, since I've gotten so used to it on the MacBook line I could never go back. For most people, though, the fusion drive is a more practical option. It combines enough solid state storage to make sure boot and high-frequency files are always available, with a ton of hard drive space to store photos, movies, music, and more.

I didn't bother to max out the iMac, which I always do with MacBooks, because even the middle of the line model proved more than fast enough for all my desktop tasks.

If you do want more, though. Get it when you buy. Memory aside, the new iMacs are appliances, and there's little to nothing else you can upgrade later.

Best on a budget

Mac mini

13-inch MacBook Air

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The Mac mini has a dual-core i5 or i7 processors — though sadly no quad-core option any more — USB 3, Ethernet, HDMI, and Thunderbolt 2. You can get it with 2GB, 8GB, or 16GB of memory and up to 1TB of flash or Fusion drive. If you already have a display, keyboard, and mouse or trackpad, Mac mini is the least-expensive way to get a Mac.

Bottom-line: Mac mini hasn't been updated since 2014. If you can wait for an update, wait. If you need a low-cost Mac for school, development, home theater, server, or just to try out, it's your best option.

One more thing: If you really want an all-in-one, you can still get the old, non-Retina iMac for much less money than the new model. Your eyes won't thank you, but your wallet will.

Best for graphics pros

Mac Pro

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The Mac Pro offers massively parallel computing with up to 8-core Xeon E5 processor, 64 GB RAM, dual AMD FirePro D700 graphics cards, 1 TB of flash storage, with 4x USB3, 6x Thunderbolt, 2x Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI 1.4 UHD ports. It can also drive up to three 4K displays, six Thunderbolt displays. While outdated, especially in the graphics card department, it still represents the most Mac cores you can throw at processing problem.

Bottom-line: Mac Pro is ridiculously past-due for an update. If you can wait, wait as long as you can. Otherwise, if you need a Mac with multiple cores, Mac Pro is currently your only option.

One more thing: It's almost impossible to recommend a Mac this outdated to anyone, for any reason. So, seriously, if you can wait, wait.

Conclusion

iMac is great. Mac mini and Mac Pro, while fine for the tasks most people use a desktop computer for, have little pride left in them. Keeping the Mac desktop line up to date and giving customers the latest components for the unflinching prices Apple charges for them is a responsibility currently being neglected, if not outright abused.

Hold off until the end of October if you can. Apple's been good about updating the iMac every year for the last few years. Fingers crossed for the Mac mini or Mac Pro. If they don't get updated this year, you may need to consider other options.

Best overall

27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display

See at Apple

The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display — and DCI-P3 wide color gamut — has the best display I've ever seen on a computer. At first glance, almost better than real life. The entry-level model starts off with a 3.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of memory, a 1 TB hard drive, and an AMD Radeon R9 M380 with 2GB video memory.

You can max it out with a 4.0 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 32 GB of memory, 1 TB of flash storage, and an AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB video memory.

For most people the sweet spot will be in the build-to-order middle ground: 3.2G Hz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with 8 GB of memory, a 1 TB fusion drive — which melds flash for speed and a hard drive for size — and an AMD Radeon R9 M390 with 2GB video memory. If you do particularly intensive tasks, you can bump the memory to 16 GB, which should handle all but the highest-end tasks with aplomb.

3.5 mm headphone jack, SDXC card slot, four USB 3 ports, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, gigabit ethernet, and a Kensington lock slot all come standard on all models as well.

Bottom line: The 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display has the biggest, best screen Apple's ever shipped on a desktop and all the power you need to drive it.

One more thing: If 27-inches is simply too big for your desktop, there's a 21.5-inch 4K model as well.