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For the project studio, the benefit of an iMac is its form factor. Its slim design assures that your computer will take up, literally, the same amount of space as would a monitor by itself—and in many home and project studios, let’s face it—space is at a premium. This feature allows you to fit many smaller audio interfaces or some outboard gear directly underneath the iMac itself.
Frankly put, the processing power of the Mac Pro, even in its “basic” quad-core configuration, will handle even the most demanding, processor-intensive tasks for your recording and mixing needs, catering especially to post-production and film-mixing tasks, which regularly deal with hundreds of tracks.
One of the strengths of the Apple’s all-in-one computer/monitor system is the up to 5K Retina display, able to display more tracks and controls at once. When you look under its slim hood, what the iMac brings to home and even pro studios is just as evident.
Depending on the configuration, an iMac can provide you with multiple Thunderbolt ports, up to four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, and an SD slot for many external storage options. While the beefy graphics-card options might seem like they would be relegated to the concerns of pro video guys, keep in mind that your 60-track mix is going to be sporting a lot of moving meters that you do not want to see lagging or causing a drain on your CPU.
With the ability to equip your iMac with up to 32GB of RAM, in addition to its Fusion Drive or pure flash solid-state drive storage, you can create a lineup to support up to quad-core processing, with each component playing its part to create a stable environment for your complex, multi-track recording and mixing sessions.
The Mac Pro is an impressive, black cylinder for the creative power user. When you need to call in the big guns, and require the most powerful processing and speed, the Mac Pro is the way to go.
Six Thunderbolt 2 ports add not only a world of future connectivity to the machine, but provide backward compatibility to PCIe cards with the use of a Thunderbolt to PCIe chassis, an important consideration for use with Pro Tools HDX systems.
While the Thunderbolt ports provide the ability to connect a number of fast and reliable external hard drives for writing to and reading session files, sample libraries, and backups, the Mac Pro comes equipped with an internal flash-memory drive for fast program launching and operation.