I don’t want to waste my mon­i­tor

Mac Format - - APPLE TALK -

I am due for a new Mac and I’m strug­gling to de­cide which is the bet­ter op­tion: the 27-inch Retina iMac or the new Mac Pro. I al­ready have the 27-inch Thun­der­bolt Dis­play, to use with my cur­rent Mac Pro (Mid 2010), so get­ting the iMac feels rather like I’d be wast­ing this ca­pa­bil­ity. But would the up­grade to the 5K screen be worth it? I pri­mar­ily use my Mac for video edit­ing and 3D map­ping, but also for all the usual email and web brows­ing tasks, of course. Jorik Sig­mund­sen The cheap­est Mac Pro cur­rently costs £2,500. For that you get a 3.7GHz pro­ces­sor, 12GB RAM, dual 2GB graph­ics cards and a 256GB solid‑state drive. If you up­grade the 5K Retina iMac to the near­est equiv­a­lent spec, it ends up cost­ing about the same. There’s only one graph­ics card in there, but you do get the 5K screen. The de­ci­sion then comes down to what mat­ters more: video frame rates (and thus the Mac Pro’s dual graph­ics cards) or su­pe­rior screen res­o­lu­tion.

In your po­si­tion, I think I would opt for the Mac Pro. I’ve tried the 5K screen in the Ap­ple Store and my eye­sight isn’t re­ally good enough to ap­pre­ci­ate the dif­fer­ence – but try to get to a store and check for your­self. Hav­ing the screen and the Mac sep­a­rate has the ad­van­tage that if one fails, it doesn’t take the other down with it. The Mac Pro also has much bet­ter cool­ing than the iMac. If you spend long hours run­ning graph­i­cally in­ten­sive soft­ware, this can make a big dif­fer­ence to the life­span of the hard­ware. The Mac Pro also has a bet­ter up­grade path. If you later de­cide you need a 5K dis­play, sell your ex­ist­ing one and buy a Dell 27-inch Ul­tra HD mon­i­tor. If the iMac’s graph­ics per­for­mance turned out to be in­suf­fi­cient, you’d have to re­place the en­tire ma­chine. That said, if you can hold off for a bit, wait for the Mac Pro to be re­freshed to fu­ture-proof it for a bit longer.

The Mac Pro has far more per­for­mance than most peo­ple will ever need and is the eas­i­est Mac to up­grade.

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