iMac or MacBook Pro: Which Should You Choose?


Chip abilities Apple M1 are unique, in some tests it even beat the Mac Pro. But if you urgently need a new Mac for something serious, a Mac with an M1 inside might not be the best solution. The debut of the M1 was a resounding triumph, even Apple enthusiasts expected less. And all the good things that the media wrote about him are true, but in reality everything is somewhat more complicated. Macs with the M1 are good for serious work, but not for everyone. It’s even more difficult if you can’t decide if you need a desktop computer (iMac) or if you still need a laptop (MacBook Pro).

With the arrival of the iMac on the M1, it’s harder to choose

M1 had several tasks. To prove that the Intel x86 architecture processors, which have almost stopped in their development, have an alternative, to amaze the public with the abilities of these chips. But the goal was not to replace powerful workstations with computers with this chip inside. This is the chip for entry level computers. With restrictions and simplifications that are acceptable in such computers, but clearly inappropriate in computers of higher classes. They need a different chip. Such a chip should have been announced in the spring. It would be a modification of the M1, with the same cores and produced according to the same technological process.

Due to the shortage of microchips, this did not happen. As a result, Macs with Intel are still relevant. For example, MacBook Pro 16 and iMac 27.

Comparison of MacBook Pro 16 and MacBook Pro 13 M1

I see no point in comparing the MacBook Pro M1 and iMac 27. First, a strong difference in the diagonal of the screen. Secondly, these are computers of different levels. The same cannot be said about the MacBook Pro 16. True, in the tests (Geekbench 5), the 16-inch MacBook Pro even with the most powerful Intel Core i9 for an additional fee inferior to Mac with M1 in performance central processor. Albeit not much. But for all the importance of this indicator, performance is not the most important thing for a professional laptop. The discrete GPU in the 16-inch MacBook Pro outperforms the integrated GPU in the M1. M1 MacBook Pro, for example, in Geekbench Compute Metal is gaining 21842 pointswhile the 16-inch MacBook Pro is 27677 points. In Geekbench Compute OpenCL and Cinebench R23, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is also ahead by a significant margin.

You can say whatever you want, but in aggregate, the MacBook Pro 16 is more powerful

The 16-inch MacBook Pro’s 4 Thunderbolt/USB-C ports and the ability to connect up to 2 6K displays or 4 4K displays to your laptop outweigh everything else that M1 Macs have to offer.

Should I buy a MacBook Pro 16 or iMac 27

The 16-inch MacBook Pro has a 9th generation Intel processor. All variants of the 2020 27-inch iMac feature 10th generation Intel processors, including those with 10 cores. For desktop computers. In single-threaded tests, the 10-core chip is inferior to M1, in multi-threaded tests it outperforms M1. The M1 has 1724/7569 points, the 10-core Intel Core i9 has 1259/8940 points.

In the graphics area, the 27-inch iMac’s lead over the MacBook Pro 13 with M1 (even those with all 8 graphics cores active) is even more impressive. For obvious reasons, we can’t yet compare the M1 iMac to the 2020 27-inch Intel iMac, but the chip in the M1 Macs is quite familiar to us, and even if it was overclocked to higher clock speeds in the 24-inch M1 iMac, the gap is not too great.

New 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros and iMacs with 29-, 30- or 32-inch screens with an as-yet unknown M-chip modification will change the situation. But when they will be announced and when their sales will begin is unknown. In addition, due to the crisis caused by the shortage of chips and electronic components, their production will lag behind demand.

Therefore, if a powerful professional Mac need urgentlywaiting is pointless. Either a 16-inch MacBook Pro or a 2020 27-inch iMac will work for you.

What to choose – 13-inch MacBook Pro or 24-inch iMac

iMac 24

Notice how the iMac 24 isn’t advertised as an editing computer?

Not all professional activities require exceptional power from a computer graphics processor. The 13-inch MacBook Pro lineup includes models with an M1 inside and two Thunderbolt/USB-C ports and a model with a 10th generation Intel Core i5. In terms of CPU and GPU performance, the M1 MacBook Pro is significantly superior to its Intel counterpart.

The M1 MacBook Pro has only two ports and can only connect to one display – 4K, 5K or 6K. If performance is more important, take the option with M1. Among 13-inch laptops, it has no competitors in this. But if two extra ports and the ability to connect a second 4K display are more important, get a MacBook Pro with Intel.

And the 24-inch iMac (all variants with the M1) has a great screen, and different variants have two or four ports on the back (Thunderbolt/USB-C with USB4 support only two). Currently, in Russia they cannot even be pre-ordered, and in those countries where pre-orders have already begun, the first copies will arrive at the customer no earlier than in the second half of May. In theory, this is an entry-level household computer, but, as is the case with all other M1 Macs, it will do just fine with quite serious work, and even more so for communicating in our Telegram chat.

There is another iMac model – with a non-Retina display and ancient 2-core processors (2017), I advise you to ignore it. Its sales, according to rumors, will soon stop. It is high time.

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