iMac is a family of all-in-one Macintosh desktop computers designed and built by Apple. It was first launched in August 1998, and has evolved through seven distinct forms.
- The iMac G3 had egg-shaped look, with a CRT monitor, mainly enclosed by a colored, translucent plastic case, which was refreshed early on with a sleeker design notable for its slot-loaded optical drive.
- The iMac G4, moved the design to a hemispherical base containing all the main components and an LCD monitor on a freely moving arm attached to it.
- The iMac and Intel Mac had all the components immediately behind the display, creating a slim unified design that tilts only up and down on a simple metal base. The fifth major revision shared the same form as the previous model, but was thinner and used anodized aluminum and a glass panel over the entire front. The sixth major revision used a different display unit, omits the SuperDrive, and uses different production techniques from the older unibody versions. This allows it to be thinner at the edge than older models. It also includes a dual microphone setup and includes solid-state drive (SSD) or hard disk storage, or an Apple Fusion Drive, a hybrid of solid-state and hard disk drives.
- The seventh major revision of the 27-inch iMac was announced, whose main feature is a “Retina 5K” display at a resolution of 5120 × 2880 pixels. The new model also includes a new processor, graphics chip, and IO, along with several new storage options.
- On June 5, 2017, Apple announced a workstation-class version of the iMac, called the “iMac Pro”. The iMac Pro shares the design and screen of the 5K iMac, but is colored in Space Gray rather than silver. It comes with Intel Xeon processors and standard SSD storage.
Which is the best iMac to buy?
Now Apple has two versions of the iMac: the standard iMac and the iMac with Retina display. The iMac is great for device for professionals or new users. It can handle general-purpose and heavy-duty tasks equally well. It’s ideal for someone who needs to buy a complete computer setup keyboard, mouse or trackpad, and display and wants to maximize workspace efficiency.
The standard iMac
Standard iMac model is currently available with a 21.5-inch 1920×1080-resolution display. It has a 256GB SSD. The entry-level 21.5-inch iMac has a 2.3GHz dual‑core Intel Core i5 processor and Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 integrated graphics.
You can’t upgrade the 21.5-inch iMac yourself after you buy it, so consider paying an extra $200 at the outset for a memory upgrade to 16GB. If you want to add more RAM later, you need to bring the iMac to an Apple store. The 21.5-inch iMac also offers a 1TB Fusion Drive upgrade for no additional cost, but the Fusion Drive is slower than the 256GB SSD.
The iMac comes with Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2. If you order online from the Apple Store, however, you can switch the keyboard to a version with a numeric keypad, and/or switch the mouse to a Magic Trackpad 2. You can opt to get both a Magic Mouse 2 and a Magic Trackpad 2 for $129 extra.
The iMac does not have an optical drive. If you want to read or burn CDs and DVDs, you need to buy an external USB optical drive. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in. All iMacs have four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a gigabit ethernet port, and an SDXC card slot.
iMacs are among Apple’s fastest computers, however, the $1,099 iMac is Apple’s slowest iMac. Also, if you upgrade to a Fusion Drive, you get a significant amount of storage, but a Fusion Drive isn’t as fast as an SSD. The $1,099 iMac has an attractive price, but you make sacrifices in performance.
According to Macworld site for new Mac owners, the $1,099 iMac is a good alternative to the Mac mini. On a 21.5-inch iMac, the 8GB of RAM should be fine, but buying the RAM upgrade at the point of purchase could help you avoid some hassle in the future.
iMac with Retina display
iMac with Retina display 21.5-inch models for sale were originally released March 2019. 27-inch models for sale were originally released August 2020. The iMac with Retina display is like Apple’s standard iMac, but with an ultra high-resolution display and faster components. The Retina iMac is designed for professionals who work with high-resolution videos, photos, or images. Or it’s for the demanding user who wants the best image quality for everyday use.
Apple calls its two 21.5-inch models the 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display. These iMacs have a 4096×2304 resolution screen.
- $1,299 21.5-inch model: 3.6GHz quad‑core Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, 2GB Radeon Pro 555X graphics, and a 256GB SSD
- $1,499 21.5-inch model: 3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and 4GB Radeon Pro 560X graphics
Apple’s 27-inch iMacs called the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display come with a 5120×2880-resolution Retina display. Apple offers three models of the 27-inch Retina iMac.
- $1,799 27-inch model: 3.1GHz 6‑core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 4GB Radeon Pro 5300 graphics, and 256GB SSD
- $1,999 27-inch model: 3.3GHz 6‑core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 4GB Radeon Pro 5300 graphics, and a 512GB SSD
- $2,299 27-inch model: 3.8GHz 8‑core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, 8GB Radeon Pro 5500 XT graphics. and a 512GB SSD
You can upgrade the RAM on the 27-inch iMac easily. The machine has four RAM slots, accessible through the back. Apple installs the standard 8GB as a pair of 4GB memory modules, so you can add more RAM after you buy the system. Or if you prefer, you can upgrade the RAM at the point of purchase.
The 27-inch $1,999 and $2,299 Retina iMacs have the option of standard glass or nano-texture glass ($500) in front of the display. The standard glass is glossy, while the nano-texture glass has a matte-like finish that produces less glare.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in. All Retina iMacs have four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a gigabit ethernet port, and an SDXC card slot.
The Retina iMacs are among Apple’s fastest computers when it comes to single-core performance. When it comes to multi-core speed, the Mac Pros are faster machines, but the iMacs with 6-core processors have closed the gap. You can improve the multi-core performance by opting for the 3.6GHz 10-core Core i9 upgrade in the 27-inch $1,999 and $2,299 models, or the 3.2GHz 6-core Core i7 upgrade in the 21.5-inch model.
iMac Pro Models for sale were originally released December 2017. The iMac Pro is an all-in-one computer like the iMac, but it contains workstation-class components for handling heavy-duty, complex computations. This is the computer for people who with the most demanding tasks. It’s targeted at creative professionals, scientists, and software developers.
The iMac Pro uses workstation-class Intel Xeon W processors. The processors are available with 8, 10, 14, or 18 cores. The iMac Pro will come standard with 32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory. You can configure it to 64GB or 128GB. The RAM is not user upgradeable, though; if you want to add more RAM later, you need to bring the iMac Pro to a service provider.
The storage device is a 1TB SSD, with options for 2TB or 4TB. The graphics card is a Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics processor with 8GB of HBM2 memory, with upgrades available.
Pricing starts at $4,999 for the 8-core model with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and 8GB Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics.
The iMac Pro comes in an aluminum space gray case. It also has matching space gray Magic Keyboard with a numeric keypad and Magic Mouse 2.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are included for wireless connectivity. The back of the iMac Pro has four USB 3 ports, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, a 10-gigabit ethernet jack, and an SDXC card slot.
Mac Pro model currently for sale originally released December 2019. Again The Mac Pro is Apple’s workstation. It’s designed for professionals who need a powerful and flexible machine.
The Mac Pro is ideal for professionals who work with applications that use as many processing cores as possible—video-editing applications, image-editing software, 3D programs, audio editing, software developers, and the like.
Apple doesn’t offer standard configurations of the Mac Pro. You start with a base model and custom configure it to your liking. Here’s a overview of the major specifications.
- Processor: The Mac Pro uses Intel Xeon W processors. You can choose an 8- 12-, 16-, 24-, or 28-core CPU.
- Memory: The Mac Pro uses DDR4 ECC memory, and has 12 DIMM slots. However, the memory configurations that Apple offers don’t always fill all of the slots. The amount of memory you can opt for starts at 32GB (four 8GB DIMMs) and goes all the way up to 768GB (six 128GB DIMMs or 12 64GB DIMMs). If you get a 24- or 28-core processor, you can get up to 1.5TB of memory, which fills all 12 DIMM slots.
- Graphics: The Mac Pro has room for two graphics cards. Apple has three different AMD cards from which to choose: an 8GB AMD Radeon Pro 580X, a 32GB AMD Radeon Pro Vega II, or the 64GB AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo. Apple will be offering soon a 16GB Radeon Pro W5700X, and a 32GB Radeon Pro W5700X Duo.
- Storage: The Mac Pro has room for two SSD modules. You can get a single 256GB SSD, or you can get 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB of storage that’s installed as a pair of SSDs. An 8TB storage option will be available soon.
- Afterburner: Apple offers a special optional component with the Mac Pro called Afterburner. This is an accelerator card with a Field-programmable Gate Array (FPGA) designed for video production. According to Apple, Afterburner can handle up to six streams of 8K ProRes RAW video at 30 fps; up to 23 streams of 4K ProRes RAW video at 30 fps; and up to 16 streams of 4K ProRes 422 video at 30 fps.
To connect external devices, the Mac Pro has two USB 3 ports and two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the back of the machine. The top of the Mac Pro has two Thunderbolt 3 ports. Inside the Mac Pro, there are 8 PCI Express expansion slots. You can install up to two MPX modules, or up to four PCI Express cards. There is also three full-length PCI Express gen 3 slots (one x16 slot and two x8 slots).
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth come built-in on the new Mac Pro. The back of the machine also has two 10Gb ethernet jacks.
Apple says that the new Mac Pro is a “designed in pursuit of performance,” capable of handling 8K video editing, 3D applications, software development, and other production-oriented tasks.
Apple claim the new Mac Pro provides three times the performance in ProRes transcoding over the previous 12-core Mac Pro using Final Cut Pro X. Apple also says you’ll see more than triple the performance in task performed in Adobe Photoshop 2020, Autodesk Maya, Logic Pro X, MATLAB, and Wolfram Mathematica.
Finally you better know what you want in Mac and make the choice to buy that best.