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November 14, 2017

A New iMac Pro Is Coming, But Can You Afford It?

iMac ProMany of us have run our DAWs on Mac computers for a long time, and most of us have been frustrated by the fact that Apple hasn’t updated their flagship desktop Mac Pro in a long time. As a result, many of us (myself included) have migrated to an iMac as a powerful, compact, and inexpensive alternative. That’s getting a bit long in the tooth as well, but Apple has announced the introduction of a new iMac Pro aimed clearly at creatives, and said it would be released in early December. It looks to be on the expensive side, however, which begs the question, “Will it be worth it?”

Maybe not, according to an article on Zdnet. The base price is a whopping $4,999 (compared to $1,799 for a latest standard iMac). This is what you get:

  • 27-inch 5K display with 500 nits brightness and P3 color
  • 8-Core Intel Xeon CPU
  • 32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC RAM
  • 1TB PCIe SSD
  • AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 GPU with 8GB of HBM2
  • 10GbE Ethernet
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
  • Four USB 3.0 ports

There are lots of very cool features here. A 27″ 5k display we’ll take all day long, along with 32Gig of RAM and the 4 Thunderbolt ports. According the article, a standalone 5k display will cost more than the iMac Pro, so it might be worth it for some right there.

The basic processor is an 8 core Intel Xeon, but it can be upgraded to an 18 core version for another $4,000. Want to add more RAM? It’s possible on the iMac Pro, but it will also cost another $2,700 for 128Gigs, and an upgraded graphics card is another $2,000. Want a larger solid state drive? No problem, just another $3,600.

That means that a fully tricked out iMac Pro will cost $17,300!

The thing is, none of this is an absolute necessity for audio. I can already run more than 100 96/24 audio tracks on a 2 year old iMac, so while the new iMac Pro may be just what you need for editing 4k video, it may be overkill for your DAW (love those 4 Thunderbolt ports though).

Also, don’t forget that Apple promised a new Mac Pro soon as well. That might be worth waiting for.

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