iMac Pro reviewed

Originally published at:


I seriously do not know what the fuck Apple is thinking these days when it comes to desktop computing. They have basically said “fuck off” to all of us who started out as loyal Apple COMPUTER customers. Not as the ridiculous drones who buy every version of the iPhone & iPad that gets released.

I am sore about this. Very very sore. And I do not hide it at all.


The above review talks about how insanely powerful the iMac Pro is and how it’s the most powerful desktop computer they’ve ever put out. Is it the price that’s making you say fuck a lot?


They sell a 27" 4K/P3 iMac with a 3 GHz CPU and 1 TB of disk for $1300. That’s not an unreasonable price at all.

Want a similar screen for your PC? Here’s one.


We have a new 5K iMac. Not the pro, but as high-specced as you get can with the standard model. Easily the best computing experience I’ve ever had. That screen. Wow.


These are not mutually exclusive. Being the best desktop they’ve released is not a bragging right when they’re essentially resorted to only providing low power laptop components in AIO systems…

I’m not a mac user at all, but it’s as clear as night or day that they have a problem here.

A little openness would go a long way here, but that also seems to go against the core ethos of Job’s locked-down proprietary shenanigans…

I do think apple has a big choice in their roadmap to take soon… and i feel the sane choice won’t be a walled garden. Not sure i can see them taking that decision though…

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Apple has been de-emphasizing desktop computing and the general purpose computer in general slowly for the past ten years, paring down models and reducing the expandability of their Pro line. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a long term weaning-off before they switch processor architectures again and cease manufacturing desktops and AIO machines altogether.


Making an all-in-one desktop machine that’s extremely powerful is a problem? I think for Apple users, the “oh no a walled garden” is not an issue in any way. It’s one of those things that seems weirdly terrifying for longtime DIY folks but for people used to the Apple ecosystem, it’s easy to get used to devices that work together seamlessly and aren’t plagued with constant bugs and worms and hacks.


That’s not the case for the Imac Pro, which has a workstation Xeon processor. Nor is it the case for either size of the regular imac, which both have desktop grade CPUs. The only apple desktop machine that uses laptop cpus is the Mac Mini, which has always basically been a headless laptop.

The cheapest 21" imac uses a laptop spinning disk, but that’s easily solved by not punishing yourself by cheaping out on storage - in this day and age, just paying the extra few hundred bucks for an SSD or a hybrid storage solution is the best way to future proof your purchase.


I’ve been a mac user since1986. I learned PCs, Macs and CPM for a xenographics slide making workstation. It was clear which platform worked better (and arguably still does). As a designer I want hardware that gets out of my way and lets me just work. Generally macs do that for me. I don’t work in a big video production mill, I am not rendering Toy Story frames or doing machine learning yada yada. But I have had bootcamp on my macs and I’ve built high end gaming PCs with my kids (and bought a gaming laptop for one). All the PCs have problems that grow worse over time… sound cuts out, weird start up slowdowns, weird stuff that makes you crawl thru forums hour after hour searching for a clue (none to be had). They are faster for games, but the productivity sap of windows makes it a wash or advantage Mac. ymmv

That said, Apple is clearly now a iPhone first co. They have let their desktops languish. The mini hasn’t been updated in like 4 to 6 years (the last update was pretty much a tiny spec bump? but you can’t update the ram or drive easily… good grief). The Mac Pro should have never been redesigned as the tube (great for FCPX w two video cards, but not great for almost everything else - all expansion was external?!? facepalm). The iMac is awesome w the 5k screen, but I fear on the next upgrade cycle they will seal up the ram upgrade door like the iMac Pro (no no NO! no one asked for that). The laptops are good but no standard USB port is a doddle. just my 0.01.

The vast majority of their profits come from iPhones and they are following the cash cow.

As Jony gets fatter all the designs must grow thinner (no no NO!)


Nope. Apple has been hampered by internal disorder in their Mac team. And by Intel making poor choices in the feature sets of their chipsets (like limiting low power RAM to 16 gb in their laptop chipsets), and by the slowdown of Moore’s law.

But Apple has been very clearly dedicated throughout to the idea that their macs are for people who need to do things that are impossible on a mobile device with a mobile CPU. As you move down the size scale, they make computers that are more personal and intimate and simpler, but less capable. And they view this as a feature - for 90% of the computing needs of 90% of the population, a phone is all they will need. For the remaining 10%, there’s a tablet. If your needs are not met by a tablet (for whatever reason), they make mac laptops. If your needs are not met by a laptop for whatever reason, they make imac desktops. And if your needs are not met by an imac desktop (now talking about less than 1% of thier Mac customers), they make the Mac Pro and now the Imac Pro.

Diisorder inside Apple, and the fact that this years chips have not been a worthwhile upgrade over last years chips for, what, over five years now, might give the impression that the Mac is on the chopping block, but that’s a false impression.

To get a bit philosophical, each new wave of computers has always been smaller and cheaper, but the bigger, more expensive computers have always found new jobs to do. Mainframes still exist (we call them supercomputers now), despite desktops taking over nearly all the work they used to do. Desktops still exist (now called workstations) despite laptops taking over nearly all the work they used to do. And laptops still exist despite phones taking over nearly all the work they used to do. Every step of the way, first the new smaller computers get derided as toys, and then a few years later the larger computers get derided as obsolete. Both kinds of derision are foolish.


cc @Headache

I had a G5 tower from 2001 - 2010. I then purchased my iMac 27" core i5 and have used that since mid 2010.

Now I work extensively in Adobe CS as a designer and in Dreamweaver as a front end developer. I also (like everyone else) surf the interwebs, email, use various social media apps…but also like many other people…I game. NOW…when I was on my G5, I gamed heavily…specifically in World of Warcraft. Blizzard has always been a gaming company that supported Apple hardware/software and the Mac users in their community. When Blizzard said “We can’t do Overwatch on Mac because it is just too difficult with the Mac hardware” I knew something was amiss. Now They are no longer supporting non-metal Mac GPUs. Everything about my iMac is great…except oh yeah, I cannot replace my non metal GPU with an upgraded graphics card. Why?

I said this before in another thread…10 years ago, the market for small form factor computing was limited, and Apple was clearly the leader in the market. And I bought into the entire notion that “small form factor is hard! you have to make concessions!!” BUT…fast forward to today…

Or google search: ITX Gaming PC. You will find pre built products from Alienware, MSI, Asus and others…additionally Fractal Design, Silverstone, and so many others are now building components in the ITX SFF market. And these things hold REAL COMPONENTS that can be upgraded and interchanged.

So it is not impossible, Apple just has said “fuck it”. And the iMac Pro is the ultimate abomination of this entire design/development mentality they have…YOU CANNOT REPLACE THE RAM!! I mean…seriously…you have to schedule it for service like its a god damn car to just put in another stick of ram!!!

Yeah. bullshit. That is utter bullshit and two middle fingers up to their consumer base.

The price is not what bugs me…it’s the price coupled with the inability to do even the most basic upgrades to the machine. Imagine purchasing a car that you could not change the tires on yourself when it gets a flat? Would you be ok with that?


While I do indeed wish they’d make memory easier to add by the user, that seems like a one-time upgrade. I think if someone needs a top-of-the-line machine and they (or, more likely, their boss) is willing to pay for that kind of computing power, an extra few hundred to add more RAM when purchasing isn’t a deal breaker.

Personally, I don’t need the 3D/video oomph of this machine enough to pay for it, and am holding out for the modular, easily-user-upgradable Mac Pro tower they say is coming next year.


Nothing you have said contradicts anything I have said. The fact that there has been disorder in the Mac team is a symptom of Apple’s attitude toward the market, and actually reinforces it.

If, as you say, less than 1% of Apple customers are in the market for a high end machine like a Mac Pro, how long before it becomes a very simple business decision to simply kill that line?

It’s not coming soon, but I can see a time, perhaps five or ten years from now when Apple is no longer manufacturing something they call a Mac Pro, or for that matter an AIO like an iMac.

I agree with that. For those looking to spare no expense there is nothing wrong with having this “luxury” model.

But you mean to tell me there is no room for a modular imac model? With the ability to swap out components by the end user? This is too hard to make? Not worth their time? Really?

And I am not at this stage in the game hopeful or optimistic that the new Mac Pro will be configurable either…not without costing $10,000!

I’ve been a long time Apple desktop user, and I always had the options to upgrade my components up until the iMac. And with this one I at least could put more ram in it…but now Apple has shown they really do not want end users to have those options at all. And I find it insulting.


Setting aside the aesthetics and the MacOS/Windows battle - anyone know how much a comparable Windows setup would cost?

I’m guessing from the text that a PC would be more than a thousand dollars cheaper if people are talking about spending the difference on new lenses.

THIS. I keep asking…

There is absolutely nothing wrong with offering 3 basic line ups in the iMac world…

  1. Entry level low cost with minimal expansion or upgrade options (basically plenty of ports, and you can add some ram).
  2. Mid line which can be expanded and upgraded…swap out SDDs, RAM, takes a full graphics card, remains in the ITX form factor so it has its limits.
  3. Top end…all the bells and whistles…it comes as is.

There is literally nothing stopping them from doing this. Except to @Dennis_el_Campesino 's point which I think is accurate…they just don’t want to be doing it anymore and will soon be nothing but a mobile hardware company (iphone/ipad/macbook air).

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the views of the price tag aren’t new especially in the creative community. we’ve been drifting away from mac for decades. cheaper faster pc’s make sense. mac doesn’t need to (and probably can’t) hold on to the “pro” anymore; they’ve cornered the consumer market pretty well.

I didn’t say that, no. I actually literally said that I wished the components were more easily swappable. But I also don’t think it’d be a deal-breaker if my company was dropping several thousand on a top-of-the-line machine to have Apple add the memory when it’s purchased. As someone buying it for myself, my priorities are different, and I want to make sure I can swap out components, which is why an all-in-one iMac isn’t a form factor that appeals to me much. For now, my 10-year-old Mac Pro is doing just fine, and I’ll wait to see how much the new one is when it arrives.

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a comparable Windows machine would cost a lot less…but you’d also have to account for the Win’s lack of a 5k 27" monitor. Adding that to the Win price would certainly get it closer.

That isn’t the issue.

The problem is…if I have some PC builder like Digital Storm of Origin to build me some high end rig it may not cost any less…but when the GPU becomes outdated I can freaking swap it out for a new one! When I need more ram, I can buy some an add it. Want to change a 5400 rpm spinner for a quick SSD…easily done.

Apple just doesn’t see that as something users want to do OR they don’t want them doing it. They are wrong.

and @nungesser Oh…agreed. Those questions are not directed at you at all…it’s at Apple. I completely get your perspective and agree with it…at least the optimist in me does. The realist in me however…yeah. He’s angry at Apple. very very Angry.