Apple’s most powerful line of Macs — the iMac Pro — is reaching customers this month, and Dom Esposito has created a quick comparison of the base model versions of both the standard iMac and the new iMac Pro. Just how much faster is the $5000 desktop compared to the $1800 model?

In Dom’s testing, he compares 4K video export from both Apple’s Final Cut Pro app and Adobe’s Premiere video editor. Dom says the pricier iMac Pro sees smoother performance and zero dropped frames when editing in Final Cut just as you’d expect, but the export times are more subjective for video exporting and cost benefit.

While the iMac Pro is clearly faster, Dom concludes that the base model iMac actually fares okay for the type of 4K video editing that he’s likely to do day-to-day. Here’s the comparison when exporting  a 2 minute 45 second 4K video project from Final Cut Pro:

The iMac Pro export only took 1 minute 24 seconds which beat the iMac’s export time of 4 minutes 5 seconds by a whole 2 minutes and 40 seconds. You can imagine that difference being in more dramatic with longer 4K footage and saving a few minutes per export adds up, but Dom concludes that it may take a while for that to make the extra $3200 really worth it.

Similarly, he tested exporting a 2 minute 18 second long 4K project from Adobe Premier where the difference was even more dramatic. The iMac Pro completed the export in 3 minutes 47 seconds while the iMac took a full 9 minutes — a full 5 minutes 13 seconds difference.

Your conclusion may differ based on your usage and needs (and using Final Cut Pro versus Adobe Premiere!), but the dark themed space gray finish helps sell the iMac Pro to professionals on the fence. Color aside, Dom’s testing shows that even an upgraded iMac might be just fine for some professionals.

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About the Author


Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created