Buy iMac Pro, iMac, or wait?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by badlydrawnboy, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. badlydrawnboy macrumors 65816

    Oct 20, 2003
    I have a 2013 iMac 5k 27". I was really hoping Apple would release a new iMac this year so I could upgrade, but that didn't happen. Wondering now whether I should upgrade to the iMac Pro or iMac 2017 now, or wait to see what happens in 2019.

    My priorities:
    • As quiet/silent as possible (I do a lot of audio recording/screencasts throughout the day; right now the fan in my 2013 iMac comes on a lot when I'm using Screenflow and other recording apps)
    • Fast with photo editing. My 2013 iMac is a bit laggy with Lightroom and Photoshop.
    I don't do any video editing and don't plan to. The iMac Pro might be overkill, but this will be used for work and the price isn't a huge factor. From what I've read it is very quiet, and more than fast enough for photo editing. And this is a minor factor, but have to say I LOVE the space grey color.

    Other options would be to go with a 2017 iMac or just wait.

    What do you think?
  2. jasnw macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2013
    Seattle Area (NOT! Microsoft)
    I'm looking at the same issue with a 2011 iMac. What may make the nut for me on deciding whether to buy now or wait is the now-ubiquitous T2 chip which is NOT in the current iMac non-Pro but appears slated to be in every new Mac. I've always been uncomfortable with Mother Apple's heavy hand on keeping people inside the Walled Garden, and I'm seeing in the T2 chip a higher wall and stronger locks on that garden. It's all in the name of "security", which is definitely a concern but Apple seems always to trample on what DIY hardware and software people want to do with their systems in the name of security.

    So, while I'd like to buy a new iMac (or new Mini) I need to know a lot more about the T2 chip than we do know, and more about it's effects on people who like to work outside the Garden every now and then.
  3. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2017
    Hello guys. So there are a few things you should consider here before pulling the trigger on a 2017 iMac or iMac Pro.

    1) Do you need it *now*?

    2) Would a 2018 Mac Mini, or 2019 Mac Pro be better suited for your task?

    3) iMacs this year are either going to come out in April, June, or around September. These are the traditional launch events. Apple tends to update the iMac on a two year basis, so this year is a likely refresh candidate. Can you wait that long?

    As for the T2 chip, are you bootcamping? I've heard it has to be disabled in certain bootcamp situations, but other than that, the T2 chip simply enhances the machine. It acts as a secondary processor to offload signal processing from the facetime camera and a few other components. This makes it so you get a slight boost in performance and stability in a few areas of your mac, as well as enhancing boot security. For examples of attacks that you are protected from via the T2 chip, a popular one with a well known name is the "Thunderstrike Exploit" - most are local attacks.

    I have two computers with T2 chips. Neither exhibit the problems that people have claimed to have. In my opinion, there are bad apples out there in every product line, and the T2 chips are no different. Read those reports with a grain of salt.
  4. Spytap macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2010
    It's funny, I won't even consider a new Mac that doesn't have a T2 chip. Different strokes, I guess.
  5. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 20, 2003
    Do we know for a fact that the next iMac will have a T2 chip? Most of the rumors I've read suggest we might not see that until 2020 or later?

    I don't need it *now*. My 2013 is still working. I don't want a Mac Mini or Mac Pro because I prefer the all-in-one design of an iMac.

    I could definitely wait until April. June is feasible but not ideal. September feels a long way off, and if I wait that long and there is no update, I'll probably be reluctant to buy something in October, given that it would then be highly likely that an update would come shortly after that.
  6. cwanja macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    I would say that no one knows specifically anything unless you are sitting in Apple's offices. Unlikely on Macrumors. However, if you look historically, as far as I remember all new Mac hardware that was released recently has the T2. So it would be likely that the T2 would fall into the next iMac update (and Mac Pro for that matter). The 2020 date you are referring I believe is the rumor for Apple to make their own silicone (CPUs) entirely. And I would probably add two years to that (in my opinion). Plus you might be a bit weary to buy the first Apple created Mac silicone hardware. Let them get the kinks worked out.
    Only included this to mention that if there is an update in October, it is unlikely that "an update would come shortly after that".
  7. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    Me too. The crashing sucks sure, but I think the T2 has a lot of potential
  8. JoshuaMoraski macrumors newbie


    Nov 9, 2018
    Schenectady, New York
    In my opinion the T2 chip is a must, nothing official but i have a suspicion that in the next few years a version of MacOS will require the T2 chip. So if future proofing is important, definitely get a Mac with it. I just upgraded my 2014 iMac 5K to an iMac Pro and will have it for many years, so having the new OS is key! Also, Mac mini is a great option if budget is a concern, iMac Pro is not for everyone..
  9. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    I had a top-spec 2013 iMac 27 and still have a 2015 and 2017, plus a 10-core Vega64 iMac Pro. These are mostly used for video editing with FCPX but also some Lightroom and Photoshop.

    The 2017 i7 iMac is great for video editing but make no mistake -- the fans spin up a lot, especially if using Adobe products. The 2017 i5 is much quieter, and the performance is roughly equal to the 2013 i7; not sure that's enough improvement.

    The iMac Pro is very quiet most of the time. You can find some extreme cases where the fans spin up but it's uncommon, even when doing heavy video transcoding.

    Micro Center and some other places have periodically had the base 8-core Vega56 iMac Pro on sale for $3999. That would be a pretty good deal and it's a good machine. It has lots of ports -- 4x USB-A, 4x Thunderbolt 3, and 10 gigabit ethernet.

    Any 27" iMac after your 2013 has a 5k retina screen. These are very nice and a big improvement. However they require moving around more screen data. MacOS uses smart scaling methods to minimize the burden of this, but initially some apps didn't handle it well. Nowadays it seems to work well.

    The big unknown is the 2019 iMac 27, and whether the iMac Pro will be updated in 2019. It seems possible the iMac will have a 6-core (or more) option and a new-generation Intel CPU. Whether the cooling system is updated, nobody knows. Apple has stayed with the same external design for a long time, maybe it will also be updated.

    In general I'd suggest waiting to see the 2019 iMac 27. If April or June arrives and there's no hint of it happening you could get an iMac Pro.
  10. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 20, 2003
    Thanks. The more I think about it, the more I'm leaning toward just getting an iMac Pro now—there's a refurbished base model in the Apple store available now. It meets all of my needs, it's quiet, it has a T2 chip, there's little chance that I will "outgrow" it in the next few years, and as a bonus, I love the space grey design.

    I'm fortunate to be in a position where price isn't a huge factor in this decision. Sure, it matters, but I'm willing to pay $4,500 for a computer I'll be using intensively for work over the next 3-5 years.
  11. Minxy macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2012
    I was so certain I was going to buy a Mac Mini to use with a monitor. I was also going to buy the space grey keyboard and mouse to go with it. Then thought why not get the egpu too? But then that takes it into iMac money which doesn't make sense if a new iMac is coming out soon which has a 5K monitor too and takes up a lot less space.

    So now my option is to either get a Mac Mini (16GB, 512GB SSD) or wait for a computer that might not come out until the end of the year. Although my feeling is that Apple won't want to launch the Mac Pro and iMac as the same time.
    I genuinely don't know what to do.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I don't think you need an iMac Pro for audio work. Total overkill, completely unnecessary.

    I'd suggest a 2017 midrange iMac (3.5ghz model). A nice "blend" that offers more CPU/GPU power (than the entry-level) and is reportedly "quieter than" the i7 model (fan noise).

    It's my guess that we'll see new iMacs around April/May/June this year.
    They'll probably be pretty much like the existing ones "on the outside", with improved "guts" ...
  13. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2017
    An eGPU and a Mac mini makes way more sense than an iMac. Buy an eGPU case that can have the graphics card replaced, and you can upgrade the card to keep your machine fresh for 5 years. CPU technology doesn't upgrade as rapidly as GPU technology. I kind of wish I had that option when I bought my iMac Pro in 2017, but then again a Mac mini doesn't come with 18 cores.
  14. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 20, 2003
    I do a lot of photography with large files, which is the main reason for wanting a bigger screen and more powerful computer. The reason I mentioned audio is my need for a completely silent work environment when recording. Right now the fan in my 2013 iMac comes on a lot when I'm recording, which is picked up a bit even with a directional mic. The cooling system and silence of the iMac Pro is appealing for that reason.

    I'm not interested in a Mac Mini. I'd want the 3.0 Ghz one with 32 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD. That's $2,300. If I bought an LG 5k monitor that's another $1,200. For that price I could get 2017 (or 2019) iMac, and for $700 more I can get a refurbished iMac Pro.

    One way to look at this is, would I prefer a 2019 iMac—assuming one is released this year—or an iMac Pro for the next 4-5 years?

    If the 2019 iMac was redesigned and had FaceID and some other bells & whistles, I'd probably go with that. But if it's just going to be a spec bump, I'd likely prefer the iMac Pro.
  15. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 20, 2003
    I should add that my biggest concern about a 2017 iMac, even the i5, is reports I've read about the fan often being on. Here's a thread on MacRumors about this. This article at iMore says that the iMac Pro is much quieter than the iMac 5k, and is the ideal studio machine for podcasters. That might be the deciding factor for me.
  16. Peter_M macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2018
    If you have the money, why not get an iMac Pro? There's almost zero chance of getting a 2019 regular iMac that's going to be more powerful than the iMac Pro. The higher clocked CPUs in a 2019 iMac will give a slightly better single thread performance, but otherwise the iMac Pro will still be the superior product performance-wise.

    (Well, now that Apple is starting to struggle a little bit, maybe they will try a bit harder, who knows.)
  17. anonymous161 macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2003
    Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains
    Can confirm for me the iMac Pro (base config - I got a Microcenter deal back in March) is great for, well, everything. In particular I love recording with it (Logic Pro X) because the iMac is dead quiet. I have yet to tax it enough doing Logic to bring the fans to a noticeable level. If I needed a machine right now, this is still the one I would buy.

    This was the first time I really splurged and went with a top of the range machine and I haven't regretted it for a second. I love having a computer that I don't worry about working hard.
  18. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 20, 2003
    I actually did just that last night, and it's arriving on Saturday. Here's why I pulled the trigger:
    • Pretty future-proof, for me at least. I think the iMac Pro will provide more than enough to meet my needs for years to come.
    • Near silent operation. This is really important given how much audio/video recording I do throughout the week.
    • 1080p camera. I make money with training/education programs that include recorded video and webinars, so the quality of my webcam is pretty important. This article on MacRumors shows how much better the iMac Pro camera is, and I've heard this from other iMac Pro owners.
    • Don't think Apple is going to release a redesigned iMac with features that might have been more compelling than those above in 2019. Or even 2020.
    Tomorrow will be a good day!
  19. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    I think you will like the machine, especially how quiet it is.

    Be advised that -- unless disabled -- the T2-based Secure Boot facility will prevent booting from an external device or from the network. E.g, you can't boot from a Carbon Copy backup. This also means you can't do network-based erase/reinstall. The solution is boot into recovery mode with CMD+R and under Utilities > Startup Security Utility, disable the secure boot facility. Without taking this step the only way to re-install macOS is from a Time Machine backup.
  20. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 20, 2003
    Wow, that is an extremely helpful tip—I never would have known that, and since I don't use Time Machine, it could have caused serious problems. Thank you.
  21. chrisandersen macrumors 6502


    Sep 6, 2008
    Funny that Apple stock is tanking and I have $3000 for a new IMac and they can’t get one in the store.
  22. badlydrawnboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 20, 2003
    Update after a few days of using the iMac Pro.

    I LOVE this machine. Favorite Mac desktop that I've ever had, and I've been using them since the Apple IIe. I haven't heard the fan once, and I've thrown everything I can at it. It is almost completely silent.

    It is super snappy in Lightroom, the lagginess I had with my previous iMac 5k is gone.

    The FaceTime camera is amazing and makes a huge difference with my training videos.

    And, the space grey looks fantastic on my desk.

    Overkill? Sure. But I'm a happy camper and probably will be for several years.
  23. anonymous161 macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2003
    Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains
    Congrats. Like you said, best machine I've ever owned. I'm still excited to use mine after nearly a year.
  24. Peter_M macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2018
    Congrats, it is an amazing machine.
  25. BigBoy2018 macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2018
    It sounds like you agree with him then. He, like me thinks the T2 is another way for Apple to use it's heavy hand to wall us in, in the name of security. I personally think all this talk about 'security' is fear-mongering in order for Apple to lock down their systems even more.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 10, 2019 ---
    I'm glad you love it. But tbh, almost everyone LOVES their computer within the first few weeks (or even a couple of months) after they bought it.
    I'm not saying you won't still love it in 6 months or a year, but that's the real tale of the tape: How much do I still love that machine I bought last year that I was infatuated with, now that it's not so new and 'shiny'.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 10, 2019 ---
    There you go. That's what I like to hear.

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