KEY POINTS

  • Apple recently released the Mac Pro, its most powerful workstation yet
  • The Mac Pro is highly upgradeable, but gets more expensive with each upgrade
  • Those who want the base Mac Pro can save by getting the 2017 iMac Pro instead

Apple recently released the Mac Pro – the most powerful, most expensive workstation it has released to date. Despite the price, the Mac Pro boasts of top-of-the-line features and is remarkably easy to open for repairs, meaning that it's high on repairability.

While most of the attention given to the new Mac Pro focused on its cost, particularly the cost of purchasing a maxed-out model that costs $52,599, not much attention is given to its base model which, as per Apple Insider, is already remarkable on its own.

The lower-end Mac Pro model (that's based on specs as compared to its more powerful configurations) boasts of a 3.5GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W processor, with 32GB RAM and 256GB SSD. It also has a Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB of GDDR5 memory, two 10GB ethernet ports, two USB 3 ports, and four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

These specs, as mentioned, make even the lower-specced Mac Pro a good workstation. And as also mentioned, the device is easy to open in the event that users would want to upgrade it or repair it. There's one important thing that's missing at that price point, though: a powerful display to go with it.

The $5,999 Mac Pro doesn't come with the Pro Display XDR, which is about the only display powerful enough to do the Mac Pro some justice. This display, however, costs another whopping $4,999 sans the specially designed stand, which will also cost buyers $999.

Those who plan to get the base Mac Pro and have no plans to upgrade at any time in the foreseeable future can simply opt to get the 2017 iMac Pro instead. The older machine's base configuration is $1,000 cheaper compared to the Mac Pro's base model, but their specs are almost comparable to each other.

What does the base 2017 iMac Pro feature? For $4,999, buyers will get a 3.2GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W processor with 32GB RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, a Radeon Pro Vega 56 GPU with 8GB HBM2 memory, a keyboard and a mouse. Best of all, the iMac Pro already comes with a 5K 27-inch Retina Display.

The catch? The 2017 iMac Pro isn't user-serviceable and user-upgradeable after purchase. Buyers who want more RAM and more SSD storage, for example, will have to pay up for it at the time of purchase. Those who want to upgrade their 2017 iMac Pros after buying it will need to pay for Apple to upgrade it.

iMac Pro The 2017 iMac Pro continues to be a real workhorse for many users today. Photo: Reuters/Stephen Lam