Can an iMac truly be a "professional" computer?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by kat.hayes, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. kat.hayes macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2011
    When working with audio, video, animation, and special effects on an iMac or iMac Pro with the better graphics, speed, etc. can it really be considered "professional?"

    What types of things do video editors, compositers, etc. need in a computer that the iMac does not offer? OR can it now do everything needed that essentially desktop computers can?

    Not just referring to internal specs, but expansion, etc.?

  2. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

    Apr 13, 2017
    Most proffessionals working with media use macs,and among still photographers,the MacBook Pro is widely used.
    Guess the Mac is a proffessional machine,as the only thing where windows is better is for gaming.
  3. Dave245 macrumors 604


    Sep 15, 2013
    First off Mac's are widely used by all different professions from video, audio and photo editing, they are also widely used in education when i was a university student here in the U.K nearly everyone had a MacBook in lecture halls and then in the editing suits iMac's were used, the same for those studying music. So yea iMac's and Mac's in general are used by professionals.

    As for what type of things people need that are NOT in the iMac it's simply power, Apple have realised this and that is why they will be offering the iMac Pro from December, it's aimed that the Pro's who need that type of power (VR, developers video editors and so on) but also want/love the iMac as an all in one. The iMac is a brilliant machine, i still own a late 2012 iMac and it's a great machine, i'm in the market for a new iMac and will be seeing what happens later this year and into next year. The iMac is the best all in one, at least in my opinion and a lot of other people, people will say that they are expensive and while that is true initially when you break it down over a 5 year (or more) period it really isn't that much.
  4. propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    There is no definition for "professional" so that can not be answered. There are lots of professional folks making a living using iMacs and the much less capable MBP. Expandability is strangely equal among the current iMacs and MBP's and soon to be MacPros and iMac Pros. There are both cages for Drives and PCIe cards driven from TB2 and now TB3 (just starting to appear). May or may not be "elegant" like putting all that in the cMP but it is just as serviceable (IMO of course!)

    Needs not met by the 2017 machines are folks that NEED more than quad core Desktop CPUs can handle. These have to wait for iMac Pro and the future MP. Current 2013 MP is a real answer today as well as cMP.
  5. rkuo macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2010
    Professional has different meanings to different people. But ... just because one is a "professional" and makes his living with a computer, does not mean that his equipment is "Pro". Does shooting a movie with a 100 dollar camera and making money from it make it a "Pro" camera? No. And I think that's where Apple is abusing the term badly.

    Here's a better definition ... "Pro" equipment is generally dramatically more expensive than consumer equipment, with very specific, powerful, niche, and ultimately often pricey options to suit certain tasks that can justify the expense.

    Apple's current products are more "Prosumer" than "Pro" ... designed ultimately to be sold to vast quantities of people at elevated prices. And yes, computers have gotten so powerful now that the mainstream option works for most people. But that doesn't make an iMac or a MacBook Pro truly "Pro". "Pro" products should push the boundaries of what the very definition of that product ... a computer, in this case ... can do.
  6. RuffDraft macrumors regular


    Sep 16, 2012
    As everyone has already pointed out, a 'pro' can use sub-pro equipment to make a living. In essence, that makes their sub-pro equipment professional. What would be the best defintion of a professional piece of equipment? I guess it's any technology that has the capacity to get the job done, regardless of the struggles you may face in the long run.

    I've made a living this year using a 2011 MacBook Pro for my video business along time a part time teaching position. From July, I will be full time video business operating from a 2011 MacBook Pro. It may pose problems for me every so often, and it may take a lot longer than current Macs to get the job done, but at the end of the day, the client always receives films that they are happy with. Therefore, my 2011 MacBook Pro is operating in a professional manner. The minute it's unable to perform the tasks that I throw at it is the minute it becomes unprofessional.

    I've always considered 'pro' as a term linked to professionals who make a living from a particular activity: a Mac is truly a professional computer, and you don't need the latest to make a living from using it either. The more time I spend around people who make a living from doing commercial/weddings, the more I realise that 'professional' is often a way of using the old equipment to get the most out of your money; in many ways, professionals are anti-consumerism and shoot using equipment from a long time ago to ensure that they are making a good living from what they do. These pieces of equipment that we buy need to pay themselves back many times over before we can consider replacing them.

    Example #1: I use 2 GH4s, 1 GH3 and an AX100 to do my job. I've shot in hospitals, shops and my mainstay, weddings. I could opt to pay for the GH5 and sell my GH3, but the GH3 - a camera from 2012 - is still able to produce professional imagery. I'm still making money from that camera.

    In many ways, this summarises the nature of professionals.

    As my MacBook Pro comes to its winter days, I can honestly say that I've picked up a profession from using it. Back in 2011, I had a mild interest in video editing. Following a few travel videos, I shot a wedding and never looked back. I have made back at least 20x its cost, and that's at the start of my business. The next one should pay itself back 30x and that's going to be the iMac Pro, which doesn't come cheap.

    Ultimately, pro is what you make it.
  7. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Professional users know what they need and buy what they need for the foreseeable future. If their needs change then one Mac is handed down to someone else and they buy a new one. All newer Macs allow expansion by adding multiple monitors, USB-C connected hard drives, and external graphics cards. You can attach 120TB of external storage to the latest MBP if you wish to do so and have the money.
  8. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    More and more I get the feeling on this forum that people who claim Macs are not "professional" either don't understand the real-world definition of the term or work in industries that the Mac was never a part of because it never offered four or more CPUs / GPUs, terabytes of RAM and petabytes of drive storage.
  9. BurgDog, Jul 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017

    BurgDog macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2012
    Generally professional equipment in most fields are products designed to be used hard, not coddled, and remain reliable. Also generally have the features needed for the job and little else. A pro can use pretty much anything that works and make money from it but prefers stuff that is dependable and can be relied on. Pros generally just see their equipment as tools to make them money and not something to play with.

    As for the iMacs, it appears to be designed for low to medium level usage and the heat profile makes reliability suspect if used to full capacity continually. For pro stuff I'd expect better cooling, more error checking such as ECC memory, and in generaly a more robust design targeting reliability over performance. iMacPro seems to be hitting those targets and has sufficient performance for some of the more demanding pro jobs.
  10. kat.hayes thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2011
    Thanks for all of the replies. I get that a pro can use different devices to get a job done, you can even use an iPad and edit video, and if clients are happy with the final video, run a successful business possibly off it. Maybe not...

    I guess what I am wondering more specifically, do you think post production houses, places that edit video for film, tv, or places that composite special effects for movies, tv, would consider purchasing iMacs or iMac Pros vs. some desktop PC or Mac Pros? I do have a reason for asking this, I work at a school and we need to purchase computers to train our students consistent with equipment they will use in the workplace. We had been getting iMacs, especially when Final Cut Pro 6/7 was around, though we are now thinking of looking into PCs.
  11. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Depends on the applications you use and what platform they are optimized for. Final Cut requires a Mac (preferably with an AMD GPU) whereas I understand Adobe Premiere leverages nVidia's CUDA so that would favor Windows.
  12. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    If you look at the benchmarks the top end iMacs already blow the entry MacPro out of the water. With eGPUs the issue of graphics is muted. Whether the iMac screen is good enough for professional color matching I can't say, but certainly the iMac can be configured to be more than a consumer-grade computer just as the BMW M3 is more than a consumer grade car even though it's essentially the same chassis as the conventional 3 series with upgraded parts and body work.

    But if you are having quandaries on what certain pros in certain fields use maybe call the type of companies you want to train your students for and ask them what hardware/configuration and software they use.
  13. Cisco_Kid macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2005
    British Columbia
    Yes an iMac can be a professional machine, I make money with the iMacs I use.
  14. William Payne macrumors 6502a

    Jan 10, 2017
    Wanganui, New Zealand.
    I know a videographer/editor who uses an iMac
  15. czacha macrumors member


    Jul 9, 2017
    It's only up to you if your computer is professional ;) You can even use MacBook Air for professional work and it will become professional laptop ;)
  16. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Expandability and upgradability is important to many creative professionals and a limitation of the iMac.

    The biggest hold up with "professionals" though is their unrealistic requirements. Many will want a computer in their house that rivals Deep Thought (Hitchhikers Guide) so they can do task that could be accomplished in iMovie on an iPad.

    In reality with quality external storage some pretty amazing things can be accomplished on an iMac. I'm not saying that will work for everyone obviously.
  17. poematik13 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2014
    i know lots of professional editors and content producers who are on maxed out 27" iMacs. It's an excellent value proposition because you get a 5K screen + a fast quad core mac in one thin package.

    The only ones switching to PC are the prosumer hobbyist idiots without any real clients/projects who fell for the "i can build one for half the price" fallacy or the ones who legitamtely need as many cores and GPU's as possible for stuff like VR and VFX. And for those people, the PC is literally just a render box and everything else runs through their macbooks.
  18. bbnck, Jul 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017

    bbnck macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2009
    I would consider myself being a developer to be a 'profession' in the same way you consider video editors to be, and the iMac certainly fits my professional needs. Apple has to cater to a lot of different professional fields and the iMac does serve a lot of varied interests quite well in my view. I can't think what Apple could do to help the iMac better serve my needs than it already does. Maybe an extra USB port - and my god, a better mouse - but nothing a USB hub and Logitech mouse can't solve.
  19. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    Re "train our students consistent with equipment they will use in the workplace", it's mostly not the equipment -- it's the software. Avid, Premiere Pro and Resolve run on both Macs and PCs. It's like training students to be expert at Lightroom, Photoshop or Excel and asking whether Macs or PCs are better for this -- it's the same software with mostly the same interface.

    An employer looking for a DaVinci Resolve expert is unlikely to care much whether the person learned it on a Mac or PC.

    By "equipment" if you mean the broader term including software, that is more an issue but this is an iMac forum so you could probably get better answers from a hardware-neutral video/graphics forum like

    Re logistical/cost issues for an educational institution, there are several ways to view that. PCs may be more costly to maintain but if the students are involved in this they'll learn valuable skills if their ultimate employer uses PCs. OTOH lots of places don't want programmers or video editors fixing PCs or solving hardware or config problems -- that's what tech support is for. It might even be prohibited.

    Some places like IBM have found Macs are a lot cheaper to maintain in the long run:

    Re whether an iMac or even iMac Pro is truly considered professional, the iMac Pro won't be released until December but the preliminary specs look much faster than the current Mac Pro and faster than many Xeon workstations.

    I'm editing a documentary using FCPX on an iMac 27 and I currently have about 136 hr of H264 4k in 5,000 clips comprising about 5.5TB for media and 2TB for proxies (about 7.5TB total). This will eventually grow to about 20 terabytes, all on a single iMac 27 using various Thunderbolt RAID arrays. So even an iMac (much less iMac Pro) is capable of professional-scale work.
  20. xWhiplash macrumors 68000

    Oct 21, 2009
    Why is this such an issue to people? Pro in product names just mean better than the original product. THIS.....IS....ALL.

    PS4 and PS4 Pro.
    Surface and Surface Pro

    There are professionals that can use a Macbook. There are professionals that can use a Mac Mini. There are professionals that still use a G4.

    On the other side, there are professionals that NEED triple SLI, 50TB of storage, 128GB of RAM, 20-core processors, and more.

    What gives you guys the right to say we are not professionals? There are professional photographers using iPhone cameras. The photographer makes the photos, not the camera. Put a $20K camera in my hand and it will NOT make me a professional photographer. Put an iPhone camera in professional photographer's hand and it turns out well.

    People REALLY need to let this whole "pro" thing go. If it doesn't work for you, fine. Guess what? Some of Dell's "Professional" desktops do not work for some professionals. GASP!!! The Surface Pro cannot edit 8K video or do extreme 3D work.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 16, 2017 ---
    So NOTHING should be a Pro computer then. Because there WILL be someone that can't get by with a $20,000 computer and they need more power.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 16, 2017 ---
    Nope. I guess if it doesn't have NVIDIA it is not "Pro" to some people, yet it will hurt Apple's own products.
  21. iPadified macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2017
    I am not familiar with teaching digital art , but I assume there are learning goals of video editing. Perhaps focus on that instead of on the hardware. I agree that students should use tools used in the industry but in general I think schools should be platform/software agnostic. An alternative question is to ask which platform is best for teaching the students the learning goals.
  22. Strider64 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 1, 2015
    Suburb of Detroit
    A computer is a computer and the only thing that makes it a "professional" computer is the person behind the keyboard. Heck, a long time ago I once knew a professional editor for a small magazine that did his work from a Commodore 64. I once asked him why he used the Commodore 64 when there were better computers out on the market? His reply "I like the sound of keyboard and the response on the screen when I type". :)
  23. xWhiplash macrumors 68000

    Oct 21, 2009
    Agreed. Put a $20,000 camera in my hands does not magically make me a professional photographer. Put an iPhone in the hands of a professional photographer and it will still be a great piece of equipment!
  24. Joe The Dragon macrumors 6502a

    Jul 26, 2006
    a system that you can't remove the storage is not an pro system unless apple can do in office warranty service even if it just coming out to your office to remove the storage from the old system and give you it + the dock to load it on to your new system or to destroy the old one.
  25. BurgDog macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2012
    Use external storage if movable storage is necessary. Get your IT guy to replace it if you need more internal storage. Most pros think of their equipment as tools used to do their job. Not toys to play with. Spec it right to begin with or get a service pro to upgrade it.

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