If you've been thinking about buying a new desktop computer and you've had your eye on the iMac for a while, this is the time to seriously think about buying. Apple now offers the iMac with an upgraded 8th or 9th generation Coffee Lake processor, DDR4 memory, and improved AMD graphics. It's one of the fastest Macs on the market (almost as fast as the iMac Pro). So, is it time for you to upgrade to the iMac? Let's see.

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iMac (2019)

Apple's 2019 iMac is the fastest it's ever been.

If you're ready to upgrade your iMac, now is the time. With a brand new, faster Coffee Lake processor and AMD graphics, your new iMac is running at top speed.

Are you upgrading from a 2012 or earlier iMac?

2017 iMac

If you bought your iMac prior to late 2014, it's starting to show its age. It's a little chubbier, a little slower, or may have begun to slow down in the face of ancient cruft and modern apps. Meanwhile, Apple now has a 4K 21.5-inch iMac and a 5K 27-inch iMac, both with Retina displays, latest-generation Intel Coffee Lake processors, updated AMD graphics.

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If your iMac is the mid-2012 model or older, you might want to make the leap to the current version. It is no longer part of the macOS upgrade cycle. It's just past it's prime.

The late 2012 iMac is actually still a pretty solid workhorse but does lack some of the processor and graphics enhancements under the hood that would make your daily use more efficient.

If your iMac is starting to feel sluggish, it's probably because you're regularly using some processing or graphics heavy programs that are pushing your workhorse to its limits.

Do you need the most powerful Mac possible?

iMac Pro

Though the Mac Pro was rejiggered in 2019 with a minor price-to-performance improvement, it's still not the fantastic beast that is the iMac Pro (or supposed upcoming Mac Pro).

The iMac Pro, which is capable of supporting up to an 18-core XEON processor, configurable with up to 128GB of ECC memory, has AMD Vega graphics, and it comes with a Retina 5K display screen is Apple's most powerful Mac ever.

So, if you're looking for the most power, the iMac is not for you. You should check out the iMac Pro instead.

f you don't feel the need to rush things and are really looking forward to what Apple does with the new Mac Pro, you'll be rewarded for your patience ... eventually.

Do you already have a late 2016 or newer MacBook Pro?

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro is Apple's most powerful laptop. The 15-inch MacBook Pro can hold its own against the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K. Both have fantastic displays (500 nits!) and start with the same amount of memory. The MacBook Pro, both 13-inch and 15-inch, deliver a top-of-the-line computing experience right out of the box.

In other words, the late 2016 through 2019 MacBook Pro is good enough to be your desktop driver if you invest in a good quality 5K display. That way, you can get nearly the same level of productivity and efficiency as an iMac.

If you've just spent upwards of $2000 on a MacBook Pro, your pocketbook might be looking a little thin and a brand new iMac might not fit into this year's budget.

You can get a lot of life out of your desktop computing by turning your brand new MacBook Pro into your workstation with the cost of a display screen, which could be a lot easier on the pocketbook than a full iMac purchase.

Are you a VR Head?

Mac VR

Virtual reality (VR) is supported in macOS High Sierra and later. That doesn't mean every and all computers running macOS can handle a VR headset, though. In fact, there are only a few Macs across the entire line that are capable of natively supporting VR headsets without needing an external GPU.

The 21.5-inch iMac with the Radeon Pro 560 graphics processor, the 27-inch Retina 5K, the iMac Pro, and the Mac Pro are the only Macs currently outfitted with the hardware capable of handling VR without an external GPU.

So, if you're really into VR, you're going to want to get the 27-inch iMac or at least the 21.5-inch model with the highest graphics card.

So, should you upgrade to the 2019 iMac or not?

Cost is always one of the most important things to consider when buying a new computer. I can't make that decision for you. I can, however, recommend whether you should or shouldn't upgrade to the new iMac, depending on what you currently own and what your needs are.

  • Is your current Mac computer older than mid-2012? Then the answer is yes. You can't update to the latest operating system (security becomes an issue), the processor is older, and there are fewer cores.
  • Do you need the most powerful computing device? Then the answer is no. You should instead look into the iMac Pro. Or, for the top-of-the-line computing power, save your pennies for the Mac Pro coming ... eventually.
  • Do you have a late 2016 or newer MacBook Pro? You might be able to make due with what you have, plus a nice external display. The current model MacBook Pro is incredibly powerful and can handle much of your daily workflow, especially if you can view it all on a 4K or 5K external screen. Do you want VR on Mac without needing an external GPU? Then, the answer is yes, with a few caveats. First, the 27-inch iMac offers more variety in options (the 21.5-inch iMac must have the Radeon Pro 560 graphics card). Second, the iMac Pro supports VR natively and it's a much more powerful beast. Third, if you aren't in a hurry to buy a new Mac, the Mac Pro will launch eventually, and that's really where VR will shine the brightest (especially if it is capable of 8K).

Check out Rene Ritchie's 2019 iMac hands-on preview

Order now

iMac (2019)

Apple's 2019 iMac is the fastest it's ever been.

If you're ready to upgrade your iMac, now is the time. With a brand new, faster Coffee Lake processor and AMD graphics, your new iMac is running at top speed.

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