Apple’s new iMac Pro has started shipping, and it’s an astonishing machine. Put simply, it’s the most powerful Mac ever, a title it will likely retain until Apple releases a new version of the Mac Pro, promised for sometime in 2018. But for now, what’s special about the iMac Pro, and should you buy one?
The main thing to know about the space gray iMac Pro is that it’s aimed at high-end professionals, and as a result, it gets pricey fast. The base configuration starts at $4999, and if you max out all its options, you’ll spend over $13,000. That’s a lot of money, but you get a lot of bang for your buck.
The power starts with the processor, an 8-core Intel Xeon W. If that’s not enough performance for you, there are also 10-core, 14-core, and 18-core options. Apple didn’t skimp on RAM either—32 GB comes standard, and you can bump it to either 64 GB or 128 GB. The default storage is a 1 TB solid-state drive, but you can increase that to 2 TB or 4 TB. You can’t upgrade the iMac Pro in any way yourself, but you can take it to an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider to have more RAM installed after the fact.
The screen is a stunning 27-inch Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display, and the iMac Pro drives all those pixels with a Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics card with 8 GB of memory, though you can get even more graphics processing power from an optional Radeon Pro Vega 64 card with 16 GB.
Most of the iMac Pro’s other specs are similar to the existing 27-inch iMac with Retina display—a 1080p FaceTime camera, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, an SDXC card slot, four USB 3 ports, and a headphone jack—but it also boasts four Thunderbolt 3 ports for driving external displays and large storage arrays, along with 10 Gb Ethernet for lightning-fast network access.
It comes with a space gray Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad and a space gray Magic Mouse 2. You can switch to a space gray Magic Trackpad for $50 or buy both input devices for $149, which you might want to do because the space gray peripherals aren’t sold separately.
Many of the iMac Pro’s options come with eye-watering price tags—$2400 for the 18-core processor and another $2400 for 128 GB of RAM—but those stratospheric costs make the purchasing decision fairly easy. If you’re in a line of work where increased performance translates directly to increased productivity, you’ll want an iMac Pro as soon as you can get one. It’s ideal for video editors who need to work with 8K video, engineers using complex modeling software, and developers suffering through long compile times. Put simply, if time is money for you, you’ll want an iMac Pro.
And if you’re a professional whose needs aren’t nearly so rarefied, you can rest easy knowing that the regular 27-inch iMac can give you more than enough performance for a lot less money.