Which Mac should high-end pro users choose?

“I’ve been writing about pro Mac users for a while, and every so often, someone takes issue with my definition of what a pro user is,” David Gewirtz writes for ZDNet. “So, in this article, I’m going to draw the distinction between pro users and what I’m going to call high-end pros… When I say ‘pro’ in the context of hardware choices, I’m not just referring to someone who uses technology for work. What I really mean is someone who needs to push the capabilities of technology to get his or her job done.”

“As of July 2018, there are three Macs that I consider suitable for high-end pros,” Gewirtz writes. “Each of these machines is defined as such by allowing 32GB of RAM or more, and four cores or more.”

The 2017 iMac Pro: This bad boy is at the top of the Mac food chain.

• The mid-2017 iMac: Right now, these beasts are still running the last-generation Kaby Lake Intel processors. Given that the new MacBooks were just introduced with Coffee Lake processors, there will probably be an upgrade bump just a few minutes after you buy one of these iMacs and your 14-day return grace period ends.

The 15-inch 2018 MacBook Pro: The newest contender in the high-end pro Mac market is the surprise introduction last week of the 15-inch 2018 MacBook Pro. This thing sports a Coffee Lake CPU (Apple’s first use of this newer generation processor), which you can configure with an i9 and six cores.

Gewirtz writes, “With the addition of the new MacBook Pros, the decision tree becomes a little more clear.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: WHichever one best suits you, max out the RAM if your budget allows.


    1. Why? Because Pipeline has not delivered a new Mac Pro? The current machine was allowed, by Pipeline, to languish without updates for FOUR years. Pipeline has no interest in the Mac Pro and pretty much flipped off all pro users. The constant barrage of criticism towards Apple FINALLY convinced Pipeline to produce the iMac Pro, but that still does not address all the needs of the pro user.

      Pipeline promised to deliver a new Mac Pro but has yet to deliver. It’s in the Pipeline.

        1. > The real answer to “which Mac should high end pro users choose” currently is a PC Workstation.

          Sad but true.

          Especially for certain workflows, where there’s no longer any OS X unique software to NOT justify going to Windows.

  1. “… When I say ‘pro’ in the context of hardware choices, I’m not just referring to someone who uses technology for work. What I really mean is someone who needs to push the capabilities of technology to get his or her job done.”

    The problem for Mr. Gewirtz, and other of similar thought, is that the latter “pro” group is a small percentage of the former. The vast majority of “pro” users value stability and reliability above all. Pushing the capabilities of technology isn’t on their radar.

    When I started my publishing business I was using a Mac Plus. Later I moved on to a couple of 8100/80s. Swapping out ram and hard drives was a blast on those babies.

    By the time I closed shop I had been through a 15″ and 17″ lampshade iMac and a couple of G4 iMacs.

    It isn’t the tools that make a “pro” user… it’s what they do with them.

    1. This.

      Also as Leo mentions above, there are other ways than pure horsepower to arrive at an efficient and productive workflow. But since 2012, Apple has allowed the price of user configurations to climb. Every expansion, repair, or customization that used to be cheap and user-selectable was removed, so professionals who still use Macs have desks covered with little accessory boxes and adapters and cables — an ugly kludge as bad as any Windows box ever. Apple solved nothing by its cute designs other handing some tiny profits to 3rd party accessory makers.

      It is total BS that a laptop and an eGPU should ever -EVER- come within close performance to a proper desktop workstation that SHOULD NOT have a “Thermal Corner”. A real workstation isn’t compromised by fashion. All iMacs and all Mac laptops are. Thus, while some pros doing some light work can certainly use them effectively, no Mac today can keep up with the sheer computational and graphics power that is available for a lower LONG TERM cost on desktop Windows workstations. That remains an embarrassment that Apple obviously doesn’t care to correct. They gave away the Mac market at low and high end both, all so that the lazy Apple team could focus on iOS garbage. The market for low and high end Macs will only come back when Apple pulls its finger out and gives sustained HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE improvements to low and and high end Mac models, at much more competitive pricing, and will a hell of a lot less 3rd party kludges to duct tape over the shitty user flexibility that Macs now offer.

      Special shout out to the incompetent iMac design team that for years has chosen to hide all the ports on the back side where they are inaccessible. If the iMac was properly designed, there would be no need for Satechi to fix the problem.

  2. “When I say ‘pro’ in the context of hardware choices, I’m not just referring to someone who uses technology for work. What I really mean is someone who needs to push the capabilities of technology to get his or her job done.”

    Listing the 2017 iMac as fitting this requirement — in any context — does not make any sense. Therefore I submit this author does not know his audience or true pro users at all.

    Yes, there are professional photographers and the like doing day-to-day work on 2017 iMacs and doing very well with that configuration. But, someone who is pushing the envelope? Not only no, but Hell No.

    The maxed out iMac “Pro” barely fits the slot for a subset of what he defines as pro users. The new MacBook Pro only suffices if you need to struggle along doing high end work when on the road. No sane person would try to do truly high end work on the new MacBook Pro in their home office on a day-to-day basis.

  3. LOL, MacDailyNews is the place to come for reasons not to buy a Mac. Damn, I wish I had learnt about this fountain of professional advice years ago and saved myself from buyer’s remorse and a thinner wallet. — Wait — that hasn’t been my experience at all! I don’t have buyer’s remorse because all the Macs I have owned have served faithfully and outlived their bald stepchildren sired by IBM, Compaq and Dell. Moreover, since the advent of Intel Macs and Boot Camp I haven’t had to afford any of such Windows pretenders even a glance – having two operating systems in one box relieves one’s budget considerably. I dare say a significant number of computer customers share my enthusiasm for the Apple platform, based on the company’s stellar stock pricing and particularly on robust Mac sales in the teeth of the Wintel juggernaut which seems to be faltering in this new age of mobile computing.

    1. Fair comparison?

      You proudly tell of how much you love your trashcan. Like moast here, this strongly implies that you have not actually purchased and/or used any different manufacturer’s wares since then. If you did, you will find that Apple’s antique thermally constrained TB2 machine is: more expensive, slower, with less professional software options, with less 3rd party accessory options; with no GPU advancements that the PC cousins offer. It isn’t 2005 anymore. Apple stagnated and others kept moving forward.

      Your move, chief.

  4. I’d go with Apple’s definition of pro.
    15 percent of all Mac users use at least one “pro” app frequently. These are apps for things like music creation, video editing, graphic design, and software development. An additional 15 percent of Mac users use pro apps less frequently but at least a few times per month. This 30% is what Apple is talking about when they say ‘pro’. If you’re using ANY other definition than that, then there’s a good chance that you’ll continue to be confused on what Apple is doing for pro’s.

    I’m not saying I LIKE what Apple is doing. But if someone tells you that they believe “MILK IS POISON!” and you take them at face value, then you’re not surprised when they’re throwing out all the milk bottles.

    1. So every big decision Apple does today affects the Apple of tomorrow.

      Could Apple risk loosing all high end developers and creatives on every important industry and still sell most machines on the high margin market?

      Could all the software for Apple machines be created under emulation on a PC?

      Or what happens further in time if all the important work is done on a PC. How long the Mac or even the iOS market will stand relevant?

      With all the leaders using a top PC in all mayor markets or industries isn’t the PC what is going to succeed on the long term?

      I think questions like this ones are preventing Apple to entirely get out from the Mac business. It may be a very dangerous bet, even fatal. No one knows what is going to happen tomorrow, even Apple, and nothing worst than having your options very short whenever the world shift to new paradigms. This is what extinction looks like.

  5. I would’ve been an Apple user for life had I not been a professional motion graphics artist who has been let down by Apple. Apple decided to stiff the professionals and leave us up shit creek without a paddle.

    My Threadripper, 2x 1080Ti, PC Workstation rips through everything I throw at it at over half the price of a much SLOWER iMac Pro. Getting the PC was the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

    I don’t know any 3D artist still using MacOS all my friends and colleagues switched before me. Apple has lost a ton of Pro user who’ll never come back because the grass really is greener for those that need high end hardware. Apple aren’t just losing Mac buyers I also notice many switching friends they’re no longer buying iPhones or Mac laptops.

    For those waiting for the rebirth of the Mac Pro good luck, it’ll be more of a Mac Mini Pro if it’s ever released.

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