Should You Buy a Mac with Intel in 2021?


The answer to this question depends on what kind of Mac you need and how urgently. There are only three models left in the Mac lineup with Intel inside. Two of them are the big iMac and the Mac Pro, powerful desktop computers. These Mac models will switch to Apple-designed computer chips in October-November next year. John Turnus, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware, said in May: “The transition will end with the launch of the powerful iMac and Mac Pro.” With the exception of high-end Mac minis and powerful desktops, since yesterday, Apple hasn’t sold a single Mac with Intel inside. But they can be bought on the secondary market, so the question of whether it is worth it is still not without meaning.

Mac computers on Intel are inferior to solutions on Apple Silicon

On October 18, Apple introduced the following computer chips of its design. Two at once, M1 Pro and M1 Max, with fantastic technical data. Almost a year has passed since Apple introduced the first such chip, the M1, on November 10, 2020. It was already beginning to seem that Apple was failing with the transition to its own chips. It seems to work. It remains to be seen what these chips will turn out to be in real life, but most likely everything will be fine with them. A little more, and the last Mac with Intel inside will be a thing of the past. Naturally, and after that they will not be left to the mercy of fate.

Announcing the transition to a new architecture in June 2020, Tim Cook promised that within a few years, new versions of macOS will support Intel-Macs. Every year, of course, fewer and fewer programs will be developed for them. New features in new versions of the system will only be available on Macs with chips from Apple. On Macs with Intel inside, the most interesting things that Apple comes up with will not be supported. Gradually, they will become second-class Macs. It’s already starting, but it hasn’t gone too far yet. Intel-Macs are still pretty good – though not all of them.

Which Mac mini to choose

Mac mini is a great work machine. Especially on M1

There are two models in the Mac mini lineup. One of them uses the entry-level M1 chip developed by Apple, the other uses 8th generation Intel processors. The model with M1 is presented in Apple online stores in two versions, for 74,990 ₽ and for 94,990 ₽. In the maximum configuration, they are identical and cost 184,990 ₽. The M1 chip has everything you need to fully support the new features of macOS Monterey – a 16-core neural processor and more. The performance of the M1 Mac mini is unquestionable. The Mac mini also has its downsides. The size of its RAM (combined) memory is limited to 16 GB, it can connect no more than two displays. However, it is worth buying. My friends successfully use it for software development. For a small entry-level computer, this is pretty cool.

Prices for its counterpart with Intel inside start at 114,990 ₽. This is a 2018 model. For Rs. The performance of the Mac mini with Intel inside is mediocre, especially when compared to the M1 Mac mini. But, unlike its more modern counterpart, in a Mac mini with Intel, you can replace the Core i5 with a more powerful Core i7, and increase (during checkout) the amount of RAM to 64 GB. This, as expected, will cost a pretty penny – in the maximum configuration, this mini will cost 304,990 ₽. A wonderful model – for 2018-2020, but now I would not recommend buying it. A higher-end Mac mini, with the M1 Pro and M1 Max, is in development, a project that has been known since April. But by October 18, its developers did not have time.

Apple’s most powerful computer

Prices for its two models with 6-core 10th generation Intel processors start at 188,990 ₽ and 209,990 ₽. A good monoblock for a variety of activities, able to cope with medium-heavy work. Its design with thick bezels around the 27-inch screen is considered outdated, and has really become boring in recent years. I’ve been using an older model of a large iMac for a few months now and it’s been the best experience ever.

iMac is the perfect solution for the job. But you should not take a model for Intel, except, perhaps, the most expensive

But these are regular iMacs that would be great with the M1 Pro and M1 Max. But among the 2020 iMacs, there is a real monster suspected of killing the iMac Pro. In the database, this model, with an 8-core Intel processor, costs 241,990 ₽. But by paying an additional 40 thousand rubles, you can get a monster with a 10-core Intel processor, and with fantastic performance. If you need a desktop Mac with incredible power, there is no better yet. Except for the 2019 Mac Pro, which is much more expensive.

The most powerful Mac, starting at $621,990, isn’t a PC for everyone. It is needed to perform the hardest work, continuously, for a long time. It makes no sense to talk about it – those who need such a computer know about it. This is the most customizable and most maintainable Mac. At any time, you can change the set of peripherals in it. I hope that Apple will be able to develop a chip that will make the 2022 Mac Pro outperform the 2019 Mac Pro.

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