iMacSource: iMore

Best Mac Desktop iMore 2019

The Mac lineup isn't all about MacBooks. There are also excellent desktop models! Our favorite desktop solution for 2019 is the 21.5-inch iMac 4K (2019), which is packed full of terrific features at a reasonable price. There are other desktop Macs worth considering depending on your needs.

Best Overall: 21.5-inch iMac 4K (2019)

2019 iMacSource: Apple

Featuring an aluminum and glass enclosure with a five millimeter-thin profile, the iMac 4K ships with a matching Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2. The iMac 4K (2019) that we're recommending comes with a 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory, Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, and 1TB Fusion Drive for storage. You can upgrade any of these for more money. Our tip: splurge on the memory, if you can, which is available up to 32GB.

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The iMac 4K (2019) ships with the latest version of macOS, which includes a system-wide dark mode for the first time and new privacy controls. The current version of macOS also includes three iOS apps jumping to Mac for the first time: Home, News, and Stocks. There's also a new desktop Stacks feature and improvements to Finder.

There's nothing negative to note about this desktop, except knowing it's the most expensive 21.5-inch iMac currently on the market. Additionally, if you've been counting on a 27-inch model, you'll no doubt be disappointed with this one.


  • 4K Retina
  • Fusion drive


  • Only con would be the display size
  • Most expensive 21.5-inch model

Best Overall

21.5-inch iMac 4K (2019)

Best for most users

Your home will love this computer, which can remain a prominent fixture for many years to come.

Runner Up: 27-inch iMac 5K (2019) (entry-level)

2019 27-inch iMacSource: TechRadar

The entry-level 27-inch iMac 5K offers fantastic features, including a 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory, Radeon Pro 570X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, and 1TB Fusion Drive storage. Like with our overall pick, if you can only upgrade one component, considering increasing the memory size.

For those looking for a 27-inch iMac 4K, this model is ideal. However, if you plan on using your computer for photography, illustrating, or video-editing, you should consider our premium model on this list.


  • Beautiful Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display
  • Just $300 more than our overall pick


  • Price can rise quickly with add-ons
  • 8GB of memory might not be enough
  • Difficult to move

Runner Up

27-inch iMac 5K (2019) (entry-level)

Look at that display!

Forget 4K, when you can have 5K. Great internals and a robust display in one package.

Best Value: 21.5-inch iMac 4K (entry-level)

iMacSource: iMore

For $200 less, you can purchase this entry-level iMac 4K Retina model, which offers a 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB DDR4 memory, Radeon Pro 555X with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, and 1TB Serial ATA Drive. This iMac model is the one you should buy in a pinch if you can't wait to purchase our overall winner.

Don't start upgrading the internals, however. By doing so, you'll start adding more costs that could make it more expensive than our recommended model.


  • Less money
  • Still a 4K monitor


  • i3 vs i5 processor
  • No Fusion drive

Best Value

21.5-inch iMac 4K (entry-level)

Budget choice

You'll still get Apple's impressive 4K Retina display on this iMac model. Inside you'll find less expensive parts.

Premium: 27-inch iMac 5K (2019)

iMac 27-inchSource: Apple

This 27-inch iMac model looks exactly like the one above. Inside, however, you'll find significant upgrades, starting with a 3.7GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz. You also find 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory, configurable up to 64GB, 2TB Fusion Drive, and Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB of GDDR5 memory.

Short of the older iMac Pro (which starts at $4,999), this is the best 27-inch iMac you can buy and is the one ideally suited for the creatives among us. If you can, max out your memory; you'll be happy you did.


  • Plenty to love
  • Memory up to 64GB


  • Pricey
  • Don't buy unless you need the extra power


27-inch iMac 5K (2019)

Awesome internals

Your friends will be jealous of this impressive beast. Just make sure you really need to extras before spending the money.

Best Professional: Mac Pro

Mac Pro with Pro Display XDRSource: Apple

No doubt, the Mac Pro (2019) is the best professional-graded computer Apple has ever created. Made in the United States, the Mac Pro has been designed for maximum performance, expansion, and configurability. It features Xeon processors, an Earth-shattering high-performance memory system, eight PCIe expansion slots, and graphics architecture that supports what Apple calls the world's most powerful graphics card. There's also the all-new Apple Afterburner accelerator card that lets you playback as many as three streams of 8K ProRes RAW video simultaneously.

On the downside, no doubt, is the price and the unproven aspect of the machine. The 2nd generation cylindrical Mac Pro (2013) was largely forgotten by Apple soon after its arrival. Will the new model go down the same path? Only time will tell.


  • Workstation-class Xeon processors up to 28 cores
  • High-performance memory system with a massive 1.5TB capacity
  • Apple Afterburner accelerator card


  • Recommended Pro Display XDR monitor adds to the price
  • Overkill for most folks
  • Unproven

Best Professional

Mac Pro (2019)

It's a Pro Mac!

Get this Mac if you want everything and have the resources to build the best machine to suit your needs. Otherwise, stick with iMac as your desktop app.

Bottom line

For 2019, we recommend the 21.5-inch iMac 4K (2019) as our favorite Mac desktop. The model includes lots of great features for everyone in your household and most professional buyers.

The model includes a 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory, Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, and 1TB Fusion Drive for storage. If you can, upgrade the memory to the maximum of 32GB 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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