Mac Pro vs iMac Pro: Which Workstation is Best for Professionals?

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Mac Pro vs iMac Pro

The iMac Pro is, by far, the most powerful all-in-one desktop that Apple has ever created. On the base configuration, users are treated with eight-core of pure Intel Xeon power. If that is not enough, owners can beef up their setup by opting for an 18-core Xeon processor, also from Intel. However, some might ask if this will hurt the sales of the Mac Pro; something that Apple promised it will revive next year.

As mentioned, the iMac Pro is already capable of great feats with its server-grade hardware. To add more grit to the immense capabilities of the the iMac Pro, Apple threw in a brilliant 27-inch 5K display as well.

Server-grade performance from an AIO

The iMac Pro, when released, will be more powerful than the current Mac Pro machine. Apart from more number of cores, it is generally faster in all aspects including memory and graphics. However, this is not what we are aiming here. We do not want to compare the iMac Pro with the current version of the Mac Pro. Instead, we should be looking at the next generation Mac Pro that is expected to be released sometime in 2018.

Mac Pro vs iMac Pro

At the moment, nothing much is known about the Mac Pro apart from Apple giving it back its modular design. This could mean that users will be able to easily upgrade a workstation without much fuss at all. This is something that cannot be done with an iMac Pro due to its AIO build.

Mac Pro vs iMac Pro

Current Mac Pro (via

The subject of modularity could also bring in a few more features that will set it apart from the iMac Pro. Chief of which is the motherboard design.

Earlier generations of the Mac Pro enabled users to install as much as two physical processors on a single machine. This is quite good for those users who really require huge amounts of computational power from the processor side.

Furthermore, the older modular design also allowed for additional, or even multiple GPUs, in one system. Again, something that heavy users can take advantage of, like 3D rendering and computer graphics.

What will set the Mac Pro apart?

Perhaps the main feature that will set the Mac Pro apart from the iMac Pro is its modularity and upgradability. These will enable users to easily upgrade their Mac Pros with as many hardware allowed for the system.

Adding a graphics card will be possible on the professional Mac with its collection of PCIe slots. Quite possibly, Apple will also bring back the dual-socket motherboard design on the Mac Pro. Perhaps, there will be an option for users to install two 18-core Intel Xeon processors on a single machine.

Another thing is parts compatibility. Since the Mac Pro will basically become an open system, users will be able to plug in pre-approved third-party hardware such as SSDs, GPUs, RAM, and other peripherals. This is something that cannot be easily done on the iMac due to its limited space and limited hardware support.

Price point

Of course, this too will be a defining feature of the Mac Pro. The iMac Pro base model is priced at $5,000. Consumers thinking about getting a Mac Pro when it releases next year can expect the machine to have nearly the same introductory price, or perhaps even more. Apple might opt for a higher core count on the base system to make further delineate the differences between the two machines. Also, to compensate for the lack of in-built display.

Mac Pro vs iMac Pro

iMac Pro (via

That said, it will be not a big surprise at all if we see the Mac Pro start at $6,000 with either a ten-core or 12-core Intel Xeon processor. Furthermore, it could also be rocking a dual graphics card setup just like the current Mac Pro model.


Finally, the audience. For the most part, it will be very difficult to market the Mac Pro now that the iMac Pro is soon to arive. Its hardware specs are more than enough even for an advanced Mac user.

The ability to upgrade the iMac Pro to as much as 12-cores per system is sure to find many users in the digital imaging field. Those who work as graphics designers or digital content creators will be able to take advantage of the extra power the iMac Pro has.

That said, the success of the Mac Pro will now be down to a slightly smaller number of professional users. Perhaps in this case, only big design and graphics studios will be able to afford the Mac Pro.

The verdict

At the end of it all, choosing between the iMac Pro and the Mac Pro boils down to three basic criteria: budget, use, and preference. As for budget, one must remember that the Mac Pro does not come with a display; that is the iMac Pro. Furthermore, the Mac Pro will be slightly more expensive than that iMac Pro due to its included hardware. For those who does not want to spend on separate displays, perhaps that iMac Pro is best for you. However, if you have exiting high-resolution screens, you can benefit more on the high-end workstation.

Mac Pro vs iMac Pro

Mac Pro concept (via

Next criteria is use. Users should ask themselves where they intend to use the machine. If it is going to more on the scientific side like machine learning and artificial intelligence, the Mac Pro is an obvious choice. However, for image and video editing, the iMac Pro is more than enough to take the challenge.

Finally there’s the preference. Of course, the iMac Pro’s all-in-one design is quite attractive, to say the least. It features a less cluttered design with its wireless keyboard and mouse. On the other hand, the Mac Pro can offer further optimization and customization to users. One can basically choose the peripherals they want to use on their Mac Pro, ranging from a high-end display, keyboard, and mouse.

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Also read: A Case Of Too Little, Too Late: Can Apple Still Reinvent the Wheel With The Apple Car?

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