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.
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:
Joel Santo Domingo, writing for PC Mag:
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Get the best of iMore in in your inbox, every day!
Thank you for signing up to iMore. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.