Audio engineer touts Apple’s ‘most stylish computer’ ever [Setups]

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iMac Pro audio recording and mastering setup
An iMac Pro from 2017 is core to this audio recording and mastering setup.
Photo: Wanderedabit@Reddit.com

Before Apple’s powerful but sub-Mac Pro-level desktop Mac Studio even existed, there was iMac Pro. We don’t see the premium all-in-one desktop computer in the wild often compared to regular iMacs, but it clearly still has its fans.

Today’s featured user, who records and masters audio in a home studio, refuses to give up his 7-year-old iMac Pro until absolutely necessary. Because it’s still great. And for some people, it could be a great bargain on the used market (check out a few options in the gear list below).

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Still going strong: iMac Pro audio setup

Redditor Wanderedabit (“Dab”) showcased the setup in a post entitled, “Anyone still running an iMac Pro?” He asked the perfectly valid question because his is still running strong in his audio-recording-and-mastering setup. He has no immediate plans to replace it. He runs a 2017 iMac Pro, from the machine’s first year of production out of four years total.

The setup’s custom desk looks almost like an officer’s station on the bridge of a Federation starship, a la Star Trek — albeit one that’s all about the tunes, with audio gear built into the desk’s frame. (Science officer and total rocker Mr. Spock just stepped away for a moment to use the restroom. Not that we know if Vulcans use restrooms, as it never came up in the shows or movies.)

iMac Pro shows no limitations … yet

“I love this computer and still haven’t run into any limitations … yet,” Dab said. And as for the setup overall, which he started assembling during the COVID-19 pandemic, he added, “It’s been an enormous undertaking and labour of love for the past two and a half years.”

His 2017 iMac Pro boasts these specs: 18 core 2.3GHz Intel Xeon chip, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics card, 128GB DDR4 RAM, 2TB SSD storage.

When a commenter brought up expecting to see Mac Pro, Dab said that would be his dream computer, “but I will ride this one out until I’m forced to upgrade.” Another person mentioned recently shifting from a 2017 iMac Pro to an M1 iMac, and sometimes regretting it. But they didn’t elaborate.

Apple’s ‘most stylish computer’

iMac Pro 2017
People loved the iMac Pro, but it didn’t last long in Apple’s lineup.
Photo: Apple

“The iMac Pro 2017 is Apple’s most stylish computer,” another commenter said. “Absolutely superb. And I think it’s still very powerful. I hope Apple will release something similar on m4/m5.” Apple is on M3 chips now.

“I completely agree, it’s such a sleek design,” Dab agreed, happy for now with his iMac Pro audio setup. “I’ve been hoping for a successor to it. Especially with all the consolidated chip designs, could be even more powerful than this model.”

Discontinued in spring 2021, used iMac Pro could be a good grab on used market

Apple discontinued iMac Pro on March 5, 2021 and it disappeared from the iPhone giant’s website and online store before the end of that month. Rumors it might return persisted for a while. Mac Studio and Studio Display came out almost exactly a year later, on March 18, 2022. The first M1 iMac came out in May 2021.

It’s tricky to recommend used computers of a certain age because Apple might stop supporting them soon. Lately we expect about six years of macOS updates plus another couple for security patches. So that suggests many users who want great value along with ongoing ease-of-use might want to steer clear of the oldest used iMac Pro machines and aim for those from the most recent years of production.

Good luck beating this deal, though

And can you find great deals on them? A commenter in Dab’s post spoke of bagging a “fully loaded” 2020 iMac Pro for $400. It needed a lot of cleaning, which the user said he did himself at a cost of about $50.

Here’s what he said about the work and its result:

I recently picked up a fully loaded 18 core/Vega 64X/256GB for $400 because it had a bunch of dust in the backlight and was quite dirty, but was otherwise in perfect condition. Original purchased date in 2020. Cleaned out all the dust, repaired the backlight, new thermal paste, extensive cleaning, and it’s been super nice to use. Back to new for less than $50. Temps are so much better than my 2017 iMac, and it’s as fast as my M1 Max MBP (faster for some things). Plus can use Bootcamp. I know people like to discount Intel Macs, but a 5K display and Xeon processor for that price is hard to beat.

That story seemed to blow away Dab, whose “deal” on his machine back in 2018 cost him nearly $7,000.

“That is an insane price!” he said about the $400. “I would still take that deal for a second edit room if I saw that. A good clean and reinstall at least once a year keeps mine in solid condition. I worked for Apple at the time and bought mine for just under $7K in 2018 lol.”

Shop these items now:

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If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches, challenges and plans for new additions.

27-inch iMac Pro
$1,450.00

This space-gray, all-in-one desktop machine packs an Intel chip, 32 GB RAM and 1TB SSD for storage (MQ2Y2LL/A, renewed).

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02/22/2024 12:31 am GMT

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