7/7/229:00 am Which Desktop Mac Should You Buy? (Summer 2022) If you are looking to buy a new Mac soon, it can be confusing to decide which one is right for you and which options to get. See this guide to deciding between the Mac mini, iMac and Mac Studio. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let's take a look at which desktop Mac is right for you. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 1000 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. So if you're thinking about getting a new Mac soon you, of course, need to decide which model is the right one for you. Now the easiest decision to make is whether you're getting a desktop or a laptop or MacBook. I'm going to assume, in this video, that you've decided to get a desktop. The next video I'm going to talk about all the MacBook models. So there are basically three Mac desktops right now. There's the Mac Mini, the iMac, and the Mac Studio. I'm going to break each one of those three models into three different possibilities. A super, low-end model. A reasonable model. A high-end model. So let's start off with the Mac Mini. This is going to be the lowest priced option. It's a very small desktop machine that you could hook up to any screen, keyboard, mouse, or trackpad that you want. You can get the base model for only $699. But this low-end model has very limited use. If you really don't do anything with media. You don't have a photos collection. You don't edit video. You don't have a big music collection and you're not downloading a lot of apps. You're basically just using the Mac to surf the web and check your email. Then perhaps you can put up with a 250GB drive. But I would not recommend that really to anybody. Even people that think they can go with the smallest possible drive usually end up in trouble later on when they realize this is too small for them. It doesn't take a very big photos library to run into problems with something this size. Now for a lot of these models I'm going to suggest, instead of getting an Apple screen which is very expensive, getting a third party screen. You can pick up a variety of different 4K screens for about $300. I've used one of these for years until I got my Studio display. A regular 4K display works really well with Mac. Also I'm going to assume you already have a keyboard, or mouse, or trackpad, or perhaps you're looking into getting a very low priced keyboard and mouse to use with it to save money. So I'm not even going to add those to the price. You can see here your cheapest Mac that you can get brand new comes in at $1000 here. But let's look at the reasonable Mac Mini. All I'm going to do here is upgrade two things. First the M1 processor. Now it's important to note that in addition to the major divisions of the M1 processor, the M1, the M1 Pro, the M1 Max, and the M1 Ultra, there's also some subdivisions in there. There's actually a low end M1 and a regular M1. So getting the upgraded Mac Mini adds a little bit to the price but gets you the regular M1, the one that has the full number of GPU's on it and also I'm going to go up here to a 1TB drive which should be able to handle files for most people as long as you're not doing a lot of video editing. This brings the price over a thousand dollars and then you have to get a screen in addition to that. I'm assuming you're bringing your own keyboard and mouse to it. But one word or warning here is that this is the M1 Mac Mini. It's been out for a while. We expect at some point, perhaps later this year, for there to be an upgrade. The same basic machine but with an M2 processor in it. So if you're not in a rush you might want to wait for that. Now what happens if you want to get a Mac Mini but you want to go really high-end. You do expect to do some video editing and all of that but you don't want to spend the money to get a Mac Studio model which I'll be looking at in a bit. Well you can get a fully upgraded Mac Mini with the full M1 processor, 16 GB of ram and a 2TB drive that's going to cost you significantly more. I'm going to assume here that if you want everything high-end and looking great that you're also going to want to get a Studio Display, which is a premium $1600. Plus you're going to get the official Apple keyboard and the Apple trackpad and then you've got a fantastic setup without having to go beyond the Mac Mini. But it's going to cost you a lot more here. If you're going to spend the money to get a high-end Mac Mini like this you really probably do want to wait for a M2 Mac Mini just so you have the latest one, not a two-year old model. Now a note here about memory. You can see my reasonably priced Mac Mini has 8G of ram while the high-end one has 16G, the maximum for the M1 processor. A lot of people will recommend getting 16G of ram and never going with the 8G of ram. But I don't think a lot of those people have actually tried the 8GB version of the M1 processor. I have one. I have an original MacBook Pro with 8G of ram in it and it works just great. Maybe if you want to have like 20 tabs open in Chrome and editing in Final Cut Pro and doing a whole bunch of other things at the same time and you've maxed out your drive space, maybe then you'll feel it. But I've actually done quite a bit at the same time with 8 GB of ram on my M1 MacBook Pro and it handles it like a champ. I think macOS handles memory really well and you can get away with 8GB of ram if you can't afford the 16GB. I highly recommend that the first thing that you upgrade on any machine be the storage. That's where I hear the most complaints. That's where I see the most people run into some serious trouble. Not memory. So if you can only afford one thing get more storage and stick with 8GB of ram. So next, let's look at the iMac model. The iMac models can be actually more affordable than the Mac Mini because they come, of course, with the screen and a keyboard, and a mouse or trackpad. So, you can get the base model for only $1,300. Now this is going to include that very anemic 256GB hard drive so a very limited use there. Only if you're sure you just don't store pretty much anything are you going to want to get this model. A more reasonable model is the same thing but with a slightly upgraded M1 processor and the 1TB SSD. This one will work for a lot of people. If you want to go high-end you can upgrade to the 16GB of ram and maybe a 2TB drive. Now you can see the price is up there significantly over that original iMac. This takes us to the Mac Studio. The Mac Studio is similar to the Mac Mini but it is a significant speed upgrade with using the M1Max and M1 Ultra processors and a lot more memory. So the base model is going to have a M1 Max processor and it is going to come with 32GB of ram. This is a lot of ram. It's going to be able to handle a lot of stuff. The only thing wrong with the low-end model is going to be the drive size. 512 is still twice the size of the Mac Mini and iMac at the low end. But I still think it's too little. Especially if you're going for Mac Studio. You're probably using it for things like video editing or working on big graphics projects. So 512 GB drive is just not going to cut it. What you're going to want to do is go up just a little bit to the 2TB drive. This is a really powerful machine that will work for a ton of people. I'm going to assume that you're going to bring your own third party 4K screen to this and also an old keyboard or mouse or get a cheap one and keep the price down at under $3000 here. But if you really want to go high-end you can't get better than a Mac Studio now with the M1 Ultra processor in it. I comes with a base 64GB of ram. I'm going to add a 2TB drive here so it comes with plenty of drive space. This is the model that I have. This is the one I use. This is the one I'm using right now to record and edit these videos. If you want to be high-end just like with the high-end Mac Mini, you're going to want the Apple Studio Display which is 5K. Superior to almost anything else out there. It's going to cost a pretty penny as will the Apple Keyboard and trackpad. The total price is going to be well above $6000. Now there's one model I've left out. What about the Mac Pro? Well, I don't think I would recommend the Mac Pro right now to just about anybody. It's a 2019 model using an Intel processor. Apple has said that they are coming out with a new Mac Pro at some point and that's going to use the new Apple silicon. So, you're going to want to wait for that if you can do it at all. So what is the 2019 Mac Pro even doing right now? Well, I suppose if you're using it for production work, like need to get a machine to handle video. Maybe your editing a film right now. You only expect to use the machine for six months or a year while you work on this project that's being bought by a company or is part of your budget then it makes sense to maybe get one of these with the after-burner card and everything. It's going to run $6000. Probably more like $10,000 with a decent drive and afterburner card and all of that. But for any home user you're going to want to look at the Mac Studio right now. Not the Mac Pro. At least not until Apple comes out with a new one. So I thought it would be useful to break everything down here in a chart so you can see the three groups and the three variations that I have included with each one. The iMac stands out right here because they don't need a screen or any of the peripherals. You can just get it and the price is the price. Whereas with the Mini and the Studio you have to think about screen and think about the pointing device and the keyboard. You can see how even though the iMac is pretty reasonably priced you can still save money by getting a Mac Mini instead if you want. Mac Studio models are going to be much more expensive of course. But people are in general using them for their job. They are using them to make a living so spending the extra money to get that extra power is worth it. Looking at this chart the one model you can probably rule out for most people is the high-end Mac Mini. Jump right from the reasonable Mac Mini to the low-end Mac Studio. Then you can divide this into whether or not you want the iMac which is mostly for home users or whether you want a Mac with a separate screen. Then you can go from the Mac Mini to the Mac Studio and basically choose the level of what you want. How much power. How much memory. How much drive space that you need. If you are on the fence as to whether to get a Mac Mini or get an iMac, I highly suggest you don't make a decision until you actually try an iMac. Go to an Apple Store or a Reseller and actually see the iMac in person. I think pretty quickly you'll either fall in love with it and decide that's the one for you or you'll see and think, nah I can do it with a Mac Mini and I can use my existing screen or get some sort of 4k screen to go with it. So I hope this makes your decision a little bit easier. Thanks for watching. Related Subjects: Buying Guides (5 videos) Related Video Tutorials: New M2, MacBook Air, macOS Ventura and More at WWDC 2022 Comments: 9 Responses to “Which Desktop Mac Should You Buy? (Summer 2022)” John Clark 2 years ago Can I use my iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2020) as an external screen for a Mac Studio M1Max? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago John: Not as a pure display. But if you are still using your iMac for other things, you can always use AirPlay to use it as another display occasionally. If you are not using your iMac at all otherwise, it probably makes a lot more sense to sell it and get a regular display. The energy savings alone may make it worth it. Howard Brazee 2 years ago I bought my M1 iMac when they came out. One consideration for me was to get the model with Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports and Two USB 3 ports. Another was to get the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad. At the time I ordered an external port that included two HDMI ports (which I needed for karaoke). That worked for a while until MacOS upgraded. Apparently this Mac doesn't support multiple HDMI. So I had to get another HDMI adaptor that supported DisplayLink software. Weber Baker 2 years ago My wife has a 27” iMac that needs to be replaced (it will not take any MacOS updates). She likes the 27” screen as she is visually impaired, but all the the current desktops seem too much for what she does. The 24” iMac looks good except for screen size. I wonder if Apple ever intends to put out another 27” iMac. Or alternatively I need to figure out the best configuration that matched the 24” so I can get her a 27” monitor Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Weber: I did a video on this: https://macmost.com/will-apple-come-out-with-a-new-larger-imac.html My advice is to have her look at the 24-inch iMac in an Apple Store first. It is easy to think of the old 21.5-inch iMac in your head, but the 24-inch is much larger and may be fine for her. Especially if she had an old 27-inch, as the new displays are much nicer to look at. Have her use it in the store for a bit before deciding. Steve Penner 2 years ago I’m retired and my primary hobby is photography I already own a M1 Mac mini and wonder if you feel like the new Apple 5k monitor is overkill over a high quality calibrated monitor for my hobby? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Steve: Hard to say for an individual. The price is high for some, but not for others. The quality is excellent. Go to an Apple Store when you get a chance and see it for yourself first. Steve 2 years ago Are there not other alternatives for a desktop Mac worth considering? What do you think about connecting a MacBook Air to a large monitor, possible a Studio Display? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Steve: Sure, you can do that if you like. That works if you need both a desktop and a laptop, but want to only get one Mac. Comments Closed.