The iMac Pro and its new space gray chassis gives us a good excuse to outfit the machine with color complimentary accessories. In this first edition of our new Back to the Mac video series, we discuss some of our favorite peripherals for the iMac Pro.
iMac Pro: The most powerful Mac ever
Space gray Magic Trackpad 2
The most obvious add-on accessory for the iMac Pro is the space gray Magic Trackpad 2. It’s the exact same trackpad as the silver version Apple currently sells standalone, just in an exclusive new space gray color. If you want the space gray Magic Trackpad 2, Apple says that you need to purchase it at the same time that you purchase your iMac Pro. However, we were able to successfully score a space gray Magic Trackpad 2 after the fact via Apple customer service.
I have another post in the works where I discuss the advantage of having a UHS-II card reader in a Mac for the very first time. In a nutshell, it means faster transfer speeds for cards that support UHS-II. Sony’s G-Series line of UHS-II SD Cards fit the bill, providing noticeably faster offloading of video footage into Final Cut Pro X. Sony’s G-Series card is available in 64GB and 128GB variants.
Apple made some notable I/O improvements with the iMac Pro, including four Thunderbolt 3 ports, a UHS-II SD Card Reader and 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Yet, all of those ports still reside on the rear of the device, making them difficult to reach and align cables and cards to.
Satechi helps the problem with its USB-C Clamp Hub Pro — a handy adapter that lends you a front-facing SD Card, microSD, 3x USB 3.0 and a USB-C port. The unit seamlessly clamps to the bottom of your iMac Pro, and comes in a space gray color. The downside to the Satechi adapter is that you lose a Thunderbolt 3 port in order to gain all of the additional front-facing I/O. That may or may not prove to be a fair tradeoff depending on your particular use case.
The USB-C Clamp Hub Pro is now available for pre-order from Satechi.
The TwelveSouth BackPack is a little shelf that attaches to the iMac’s stand, behind the display. Most people use the BackPack as a convenient way to hide away external drives, but I prefer to use it in a different way.
My Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones happen to fold up and fit perfectly on the shelf, so I’m using the BackPack as a way to keep my desk looking clean when I don’t need headphones.
Of all of the items in this list, the TwelveSouth HiRise Pro is the one that affects the look and feel of my desktop the most.
The HiRise is actually a couple of different things in one. First and foremost, it’s a riser for your iMac Pro, which helps to elevate the display for a more comfortable and more natural viewing experience. Secondly, it provides a hidden storage area for disk drives, and anything else you’d like to hide away.
The HiRise Pro’s top features a soft leather surface that provides additional storage, and comes with soft non-slip feet that help protect a desk surface.
From a design perspective, the HiRise Pro perfectly complementing the iMac Pro’s chassis thanks to its space gray aluminum color that’s a dead-on match for the powerful multi-core machine. It even features a reversible, magnetic front cover with wood grain on one side, and space gray aluminum on the other.
I highly recommend the TwelveSouth HiRise Pro, as it helps keeps your desk area clean thanks to the convenient cable port on its rear, and the magnetic front cover. Most importantly, it provides a much more comfortable viewing experience, which helps reduce fatigue.
Not only is the UA Arrow an amazing Thunderbolt 3-enabled bus-powered audio interface, but it comes with an all-aluminum space gray design that perfectly matches the iMac Pro. As I noted in my hands-on impressions, the UA Arrow is able to transform the sound of your microphone in real time through the use of AUD plug-ins. I know it’s early in the year, but the Arrow is in contention for my favorite tech product of 2018.
I opted for the base model 8-core iMac Pro with 1TB of storage, so space is hard to come by when working on videos. As someone who works with huge video files on a daily basis, even the 4TB version of the iMac Pro would not have been enough for my storage needs.
The Promise Pegasus3 R6, which comes in an all black iMac Pro-complementing exterior, solves this storage conundrum. Featuring six drive bays and dual Thunderbolt 3 ports that allow for daisy-chaining, the Pegasus 3 lets you connect a second Thunderbolt 3-enabled peripheral, without needing to take up an additional port.
But the real important part of the Pegasus3 is its storage capabilities, and as you can imagine, it’s big. As of now I’m using six 1TB SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration for extremely fast performance and low latency over Thunderbolt 3.
I’ll probably end up switching back to traditional spinning disks in a RAID 5 configuration for more storage space, but I wanted to try the all-SSD RAID 0 setup to see how it fared. It performed well, as you can see from the benchmarks below.
For right now I’m very happy with the Pegasus3, as its performance is great, and it plays well with Final Cut Pro X, even when editing huge 4K video files. The only downside is that the fans are just a hair louder than I would have preferred, but that’s probably only because the iMac Pro’s dead-silent performance has spoiled me.
Promise Technology recently introduced a new build-to-order option, allowing customers to customize storage configurations of their Pegasus3 orders during checkout. Users can configure all HDDs in various storage sizes, all SSDS in 1 or 2TB sizes, or a combination of the two.
The iMac Pro already has a wide array of accessories that complement both its functionality and space gray color quite well. Although I wouldn’t consider every item on this list to be a must-have, there are a few accessories, like TwelveSouth’s HiRise Pro, that come highly recommended.
Are there any other accessories that you can think of that complement the iMac Pro? Sound off down below in the comments with your thoughts.