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Now that iMacs are better than ever, does it make sense to buy a Mac Pro?

Marco Arment, developer of the acclaimed Instapaper, yesterday raised the following question in his blog: since it is possible to have an iMac almost as powerful as, but much cheaper than a Mac Pro, why buy the tower instead of all-in-one ? The pertinent question, especially if you put the settings below side by side.

The table above takes into account that the Mac Pro could be easily customized to add SSD and RAM from third parties, instead of the options offered by Apple.

Seeing this comparison, the difference is clear: the Mac Pro is always about $ 1,200 more expensive than an iMac, in most configurations. That means that every average user should prefer all-in-one, right? Not without taking into account some things.

Marco and his wife, Tiffanny, have a Mac Pro and an iMac, respectively, both bought in 2008. The difference between the machines today is brutal: while the tower ?aged? gracefully, the iMac is already showing signs of fatigue. If we take into account Tiff's special needs, then it really gets ugly.

She shoots weddings and needs to keep giant RAW files saved, in addition to, of course, editing them constantly. This resulted in two things: the iMac has already been maximized in RAM (4GB) and the table it sits on is jammed with external drives (including an SSD connected via FireWire to compensate for the slowness of the iMac's standard hard drive). S joy.

And Arment's Mac Pro, how's it going? Its four hard drive bays provide everything I need (except any backups off-site, in case the house floods or catches fire). All discs are quieter and faster, as they are connected directly to internal compartments of the case.

The time to change machines will also present glaring differences: along with the Tiff iMac is the 24-inch monitor (the same as, if there is a problem, take the computer with you). The internal disk, ditto. The same thing does not happen with the Mac Pro the worst that can happen if the monitors that are left need adapters to connect to the new machine. And the resale price? A 2006 Apple tower still sells for $ 900 today. A 2008 iMac would raise about $ 600.

Conclusion: for a user who depends on gross strength, the extra you pay for a Mac Pro rewarded in the form of more value, versatility and useful life. Ultimately, the iMac doesn't just use components from a notebook: it behaves almost the same as one, in many situations. So take this into account when choosing your next Apple desktop *.

The iMac may be charming, but the giant cheese grater has many tricks up its sleeve.

* And the Mac mini? Ah, coffee-with-milk: it became an Apple TV that comes with a Mac as a gift. There is no more to say that it is a desktop.