There's nothing like an Apple iMac to bring excitement and productivity into your home. A popular choice for families and professionals alike who are looking for an all-in-one computer solution, the iMac comes in two sizes, 21.5-inches, and 27-inches. Our favorite for 2020 is the iMac 5K, which is packed full of terrific features with a huge 27-inch display. There are other models worth considering depending on your needs.
- Best Overall: iMac 5K
- Best Entry Level: iMac 4K
- Best Secondary: Non-Retina iMac
- Best for Pros: iMac Pro
Best Overall: iMac 5K
Featuring an aluminum and glass enclosure with a five millimeter-thin profile, the iMac 5K ships with a matching Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2. For 5K, Apple offers an excellent lineup of three 27-inch iMac versions, starting with the entry-level model that includes a 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with a Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory, Radeon Pro 570X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, and 1TB Fusion Drive storage.
For more money, you can increase your RAM, processor, and storage.
The latest 5K iMac was released in March 2019 and at least doubles the performance over the previous models. As part of the upgrade, the all-in-one computer also delivers up to 50 percent faster graphics performance, which is perfect for pros with graphics-intensive workloads.
- Beautiful Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display
- Three base choices to choose from
- Price can rise quickly with add-ons
- 8GB of memory not enough for most users
- Apple could release an update as early as spring 2020
Look at that display!
Forget 4K, when you can have 5K. Great internals and a robust display in one package. Our favorite for the start of the new decade.
Best Entry Level: iMac 4K
The iMac 4K is only available with a 21.5-inch display, which is something to consider before making a purchase. The least expensive model offers a 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor with 8GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory, configurable up to 32GB, 1TB hard drive, and Radeon Pro 555X with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. The more expensive version includes a 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor and other extras.
Like other Macs, the iMac 4K ships with macOS Catalina, which includes an all-new Music app alongside apps for Apple TV and Podcasts. The update is also the first to include Mac Catalyst, which allows developers to move iPad apps to Mac with ease.
When looking at the 21.5-inch iMac lineup, avoid the least expensive model. It's the one without 4K. Like the 5K iMac, the iMac 4K was last updated in March 2019, which means a hardware update could arrive soon.
- Less money than 5K versions
- Two main choices for 4K
- Can't buy 4K 27-inch iMac
- Like 5K model, could soon get updated
Best Entry Level
You get Apple's impressive 4K Retina display on this iMac model. Inside you'll find less expensive parts than the 5K option.
Best Secondary: Non-Retina iMac
This is Apple's least expensive iMac, and the only one that doesn't have a 4K or 5K display. Instead, it offers a 1,920‑by‑1,080 resolution, making it a great choice as a secondary iMac in your home. Inside, you'll find a 2.3GHz dual‑core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz), 8GB of 2133MHz DDR4 memory, and 1TB (5400-rpm) hard drive.
If you decide to purchase this model, don't upgrade its memory or storage. Instead, purchase the entry-level choice above.
- Least expensive iMac
- Don't upgrade the specs on this
- Could be nearing end-of-production
Whether for your younger kids or as an extra computer, this iMac is nice to have and available at a great, low price.
Best for Pros: iMac Pro
First introduced in late 2017, the iMac Pro includes an 8-, 10-, 14-, or 18-core Intel Xeon processor, 27-inch (diagonal) Retina 5K display, AMD Vega graphics, up to 256GB ECC memory, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet. In other words, this is one powerful machine!
Geared towards highly professional creatives, the iMac Pro can easily cost you five figures, depending on your configuration. Only buy this model if you need the expanded resources, like the color black, and a no-brainer, have a budget to support the purchase.
The biggest issues facing would-be iMac Pro buyers is two-fold. First, the product hasn't been updated in three years, which makes a refresh likely. Second, with the Mac Pro (see below) now on the market, the choice isn't nearly as simple anymore.
- Lots of customization
- Memory up to 256GB
- Only iMac that comes in black
- Extremely pricey
- Not for most buyers
- Hasn't been updated since 2017
Best for Pros
The one for massive projects
Get your boss to buy you this one -- or get it yourself if you're the boss!
For 2020, we recommend the iMac 5K, which includes lots of great features for everyone in your household, and most professional buyers. The model is available at three price points, starting with the entry-level version that includes a 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with a Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory, Radeon Pro 570X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, and 1TB Fusion Drive storage. If you can, upgrade the memory to the maximum and enjoy!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. Penn State (go Nittany Lions) graduate here, also a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe
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