iMac Pro is one hell of a machine but not just for all the hardware it is packing on the inside. With everything from Thunderbolt 3 to 10Gb/s Ethernet to USB-C and USB-A on the back, it's Apple's most expandable iMac yet.
So, if you're looking to take your next-level iMac Pro to another level entirely, hang on to your wallet and check out these accessories.
iMac Pro has a 5K display. It can also drive up to two external 5K displays. (It can drive up to four external 4K displays as well, but unless you want a wall of screens, 5K is more efficient.)
You can get the LG Ultrafine 5K, which is the one recommended and sold by Apple. It's the same panel used in iMacs and, after fixing a nasty problem with the shielding when it first shipped, it works fine now as well. The casing is just... blah.
Until Apple releases its next-generation Pro Displays — hopefully some time in 2018 — LG is your best Thunderbolt 3 bet. At $1399.
External graphics processor support in macOS High Sierra is still in beta. As such, it's tough to recommend rolling your own unless you really know what you're doing. (And if you already really know what you're doing, you likely also already know exactly what you're getting.)
You're best off waiting for eGPU support to go mainstream this spring, and to see what's available then. Otherwise, if you just can't wait, you can sign up for Apple's developer program and grab an eGPU dev kit and start playing early. For $599.
Thunderbolt 3, especially with dual controllers covering all four ports on iMac Pro is fast. So is the 10 GB/s Ethernet. So, you can hang some serious storage off the back of your iMac Pro and access it at serious speeds.
If you don't want to manage your own RAID, you can go with something that does all the heavy lifting for you. My two favorites are Drobo and Synology. If you want to attach over TB3, I'd go with Drobo. Over Ethernet, Synology.
They're both flexible, resilient, easy to use and maintain compared to traditional storage systems, and can double as servers for everything from Plex to Wordpress.
Prices really vary on these. You can get the naked enclosures for a few hundred or upwards of thousands of dollars, depending on how many bays they have.
Most modern DAS or NAS systems will let you use hard drive platters for maximum storage. But they'll also let you use solid state drives for maximum speed. It ramps up the cost significantly, but once you go SSD internally, it's hard — and frustrating — to wait for HDD to spin up externally.
While iMac Pro is the first Mac to offer native support for VR, it's limited to HTC Vive right now (about $600). That means, if you want to develop for VR, edit 360 video in VR, or play around in VR, by default you want the HTC Vive.
You might also want the HTC Vive Audio Strap, and a couple of mounts, depending on your existing headphone and room layouts situations.
VR is mostly a creative story on iMac Pro right now but, as Steam ramps up, hopefully it'll become an consumption story as well.
With as much firepower as the iMac Pro brings to the table, you can chomp through video. That includes RED video. (Apple even sells the RED RAVEN in its pro store for $15,000 and offers support for it in the latest version of Final Cut Pro X — how times change!)
If RED is out of your price range but you still want video that looks like the pros, our resident pro, Mr Mobile loves the Panasonic GH5, calling it a "miracle worker". (In his best Scotty brogue, of course.)
If you're going 4K for your video, the least you can do is go 4K for your audio. And if you're using an XLR microphone like many of us podcasters do, you'll need an interface that delivers that sound quality to your Mac in the very best way possible.
That's the Sound Devices USBPre 2. It offers a ton of inputs and options for audio engineers doing more complicated mixers — as do the even higher-end products available from the company — but even if all you're doing is plugging in your mic, your headphones, and your Mac, it'll sound amazing.
If you want to record straight onto an SD card as well, there's a Sound Devices USB MixPre-3 for that.
I've been testing out both with my current mic of choice — the Heil Sound PR 40 — and they sound terrific.
If sound coming out is more important to you than sound going in, and the internal iMac Pro speakers just won't do, you can get a set of externals and really amp up your set up.
The Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers aren't cheap but also won't break the bank. (They're less expensive than just about any iMac Pro build-to-order upgrade) and they sound great for what they are. (And if you want much, much, better, let's face it — you've already set up your room for Dolby Atmos, haven't you?)
I'm being forced to include this by the gamers on our staff who simply can't get by on the Magic Trackpad alone and who don't want to be subjected to Apple's Magic Mouse.
I gave up mouses with shoulder pads and big 80s hair, but my colleagues swear by the Logitech MX Master 2S. So, if you really, truly still want to keep a mouse around the house, that's the one to keep. Check it out at Amazon for around $95.
Your best iMac Pro accessories?
I didn't include a Tesla Roadster to carry your iMac Pro to Starbux with, my bad. But if I forgot any of your other favorite iMac Pro accessories, drop them in the comments below!
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