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Best Mac Desktop

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.

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.

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.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

14 Comments
  • I like the flip up screen and built in keyboard on the mac-mini https://www.imore.com/sites/imore.com/files/styles/larger_wm_blw/public/...
  • Rene! cc3d wants to say that it is the wrong picture in the Mac-mini section ...
  • No Mac desktop or laptop can come close to the real power of a premium PC. Sent from the iMore App
  • OK, you can go back under the bridge now.
  • Hahaha kid! Sent from the iMore App
  • Downvoted though she/he’s right, BUT……..it’s not all about power. I’ve chosen a Mac and I understand that there are a set of compromises that come with it.
    But for the price I’ve paid, that set of compromises suits me. It’s no different from any other product. I might buy a German car and to ME, it’ll be better than many a Japanese model. Objectively things MIGHT be different.
  • He's right...if you haven't used a good windows desktop lately, you're clueless. You could buy two of the, for the price of one Mac...i7, 2 Tb HD, etc...with a touchscreen Sent from the iMore App
  • Thank you. I've way though why do ppl except real superior power when they get a $500 dollar laptop and then complain how their new Mac book is so much better. Well how about you spend 1300 on a premium laptop dumbass and see the difference. Sent from the iMore App
  • lolol
  • That's what I did to your gf kid. Sent from the iMore App
  • Providing you want to use Windows, which many people here don't. If you want to use macOS, you only have two options, you buy a Mac, or you go down the Hackintosh route which can be complicated if you don't know what you're doing
  • I do happen to be in the market for a new Mac - so this kinda blows. I'd even settle for an official "Coming Soon" if they could give one.
  • What's with the constant need to upgrade every year? I don't get it? It's funny how a bump here and there in specs is considered an upgrade. If it ain't broke ... Sent from the iMore App
  • No one needs to upgrade every year, if it's just a spec bump you're best waiting it out till something more significant comes