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M3 iMac Questions

Dr. Nathan Parker

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This is my final opportunity to purchase a new Mac with a student discount since I graduate in December.


For my desktop Mac, I currently own a 27" 5K Intel iMac Pro, 8 Core Xeon CPU, 8 Core AMD GPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD.


I'm interested in replacing it with an Apple Silicon Mac.


The new M3 iMacs are out. The base model is 8 Core M3 CPU and 8 Core GPU, but it can only be maxed out at 24GB RAM (but it is "Unified Memory", plus the display is 24" 4.5K.


The price isn't bad. With my student discount, it would be $2,125.00. I paid $4,600 for my iMac Pro with my student discount. I'd also wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to see what extra deals occur.


I also like the all-in-one format of the iMac Pro.


However, I'm concerned if 24GB RAM is going to be enough for me, plus the 24" display going down from 27".


Would I be "upgrading" or "stepping down"? I want to invest in a machine that's going to last for years. 


A M2 Pro Mac Mini with 32GB RAM and the specs I'd need would run me $1,739.00, but then I'd need to buy a separate display. I'm not sure if I'd like Apple's Studio Display, and I don't care for third-party displays at all. Already used them in the past. Plus I'd be dealing with two components.


I want a machine that I can perform regular video editing on in the event I need to produce any high-end videos for Accordance, plus if I ever do land a side job teaching in Bible college or seminary, I'd need something that could handle editing all my weekly lectures.


Here are my questions:


1. Would an M3 iMac truly replace my current iMac Pro, or would I be making some performance sacrifices?

2. Would an M2 Mac mini with an external display give me better performance than an M3 iMac Pro or not?

3. Would I be better off investing in something now, or since I already have a M2 MacBook Air on the side if I need an Apple Silicon Mac, hold off until next year when some M3 Pro Macs become available?





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I'm probably going to hold off on any Mac desktop purchase this year and re-examine late next year. Maybe by then I'll have a side teaching position and can still qualify as academic. :-) 


Apple doesn't have exactly what I want out yet.


Since I have both an iMac Pro running well and a M2 MacBook Air on the side for stuff that might need Apple Silicon, I'm just going to hang onto my gear.


Plus it'll ensure I'm spending quality time on Intel for any Accordance testing. :-)

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Under $2,200 24gb Ram with a mac silicon chip is a decent machine and will easily handle any thing accordance throws at it.


you could open your entire library and it will probably be under 10 GB a ram. 24 GB is more than enough. 

The only reason you would want more is if you are going to edit video and want faster rendering speeds. If you are okay with waiting a few minutes for screencast to render you should be just fine with 24 gigs. 


I have a Windows PC with a 16core AMD processor and 64gb of Ram and this MacBook air is my daily driver just because of portability. 



May I suggest trying the 24 GB one and throwing your heaviest workload(not your average)  at it, and see how it performs



You're jumping into a new generation of Macs and they are undoubtedly pushing the envelope in the PC tech world. 






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At my stage of life, I am going to upgrade to an M3 series from my M1. I am spec'ing a machine that can last 5+ years (closer to 7-8). I might have to wait a little longer for exporting or doing video work (min. part of my workflow at the moment). I remember my first "portable" computer — a Commodore 64. Apple Silicon is getting to the place where for 95% of users it is more than adequate, perhaps, way more than adequate.


The only "wrench" that I can foresee is how Apple integrates AI into its offerings (along with the power to drive it). VR requires a lot of horsepower but doesn't appeal to my usage. Software has a ways to catch up to utilize Apple Silicon's power.


Apple has a vision where it is going that will demand these chips.

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Thanks everyone for the feedback! Some points to ponder.

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