The Best Desktop Macs of 2023

different colored imacs lined up
Jack Skeens/

Update, 01/03/2023: We’ve reviewed our suggestions and are assured these are one of the best desktop Macs you should buy.

What to Look For in a Desktop Mac in 2023

Apple’s transition from Intel {hardware} to its personal ARM-based Apple Silicon systems-on-chip is sort of full. Despite being first-generation merchandise, M1 Macs are wonderful in our expertise. The new M1 chips sip energy, stay comparatively cool below load, and pack in sufficient efficiency for all however the thirstiest of customers.

Another vital half of this transition is software program assist. We’re now a number of years into the transfer away from Intel processors, and an important deal of software program has already been up to date to run natively on Apple Silicon. Rosetta 2, Apple’s translation layer which helps you to run Intel-based purposes on ARM, has performed an important job of filling within the gaps, although not the whole lot is supported.

We not suggest shopping for a Mac that makes use of an older Intel chip for each efficiency and software program assist causes. Rather than contemplating an older chipset, you’ll now wish to resolve on whether or not you need an all-in-one iMac or one of Apple’s separate towers just like the Mac mini or Mac Studio and produce your personal peripherals.

In phrases of the lineup, there are presently a number of configurations accessible, beginning with the bottom M1 as discovered within the iMac and Mac mini (plus MacE book Air) ranges. For extra energy, the M1 Max and M1 Ultra provide extra CPU, GPU, and Neural Engine cores however are presently restricted to the Mac Studio. You’re higher off ready to see what Apple’s plan is for a extra highly effective all-in-one.

Alternatively, in case you’d relatively spend your cash on a conveyable Mac, the MacE book Pro and MacE book Air vary provide Apple Silicon energy effectivity and efficiency in a conveyable package deal. That efficiency doesn’t come low cost, nevertheless.

But in case you’re searching for a desktop Mac, preserve studying for our picks for one of the best.

family using imac at home


  • Great worth Mac with the whole lot it’s good to get began
  • Four-port mannequin has extra room for growth and a barely higher M1 chip
  • Surprisingly good downward-firing audio system
  • Available in six colours and silver


  • Might not be one of the best worth selection if you have already got a show and peripherals
  • Only 4 Type-C ports
  • The first iMac with an influence brick
  • White bezels and protruding “chin” to not everybody’s tastes

The iMac is Apple’s all-in-one desktop Mac, offering the whole lot it’s good to get began. The 24-inch 2021 iMac is the primary of Apple’s all-in-ones to obtain the Apple Silicon remedy. A base mannequin M1 delivers comparable efficiency to an entry-level MacE book Air with its 8GB of unified RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive.

RELATED: How “Unified Memory” Speeds Up Apple’s M1 ARM Macs

In the field, you’ll discover an iMac with a phenomenal 4.5K show, an Apple Magic Keyboard, a Magic Mouse, and an influence brick with a color-matched braided wire. The iMac could be bought in six vibrant colours (blue, inexperienced, pink, yellow, orange, and purple), in addition to a extra conventional silver model can be accessible.

We’re recommending the four-port variant right here, which ships with a barely extra highly effective model of the M1 processor with an 8-core GPU (up from 7 cores on the two-port mannequin) and two followers as an alternative of one. That further fan ought to make it doable for this mannequin to function at larger speeds for longer earlier than thermal throttling units in. As the title suggests, this model additionally has two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports and two commonplace USB 3 Type-C ports.

One of the principle causes to go for the iMac is its show. It delivers 500 nits of brightness, full P3 wide-gamut colour protection, and a pixel density of 218 PPI. This supplies loads of display actual property for artistic work or multitasking and a excessive sufficient pixel density to make textual content and webpages seem crystal sharp.

Considering a similarly-specced Mac mini prices $699, you’re successfully paying $800 extra for a best-in-class 24-inch show, surprisingly good built-in audio system, a Magic Keyboard, and a Magic Mouse. This makes the iMac wonderful worth and one of the best Mac on this record contemplating the efficiency and high quality on provide, and that’s earlier than you’ve fallen in love with the wafer-thin design in a colour of your selection.

Best Desktop Mac

24-inch iMac M1 (Four ports, 2021)

Apple’s redesigned 24-inch iMac appears the half and delivers next-generation efficiency because of the M1 chip and a phenomenal 4.5K Retina show.

Mac mini near a dark red light


  • The most cost-effective and best-value Mac with an M1 chip
  • M1 chip places older Intel fashions to disgrace
  • A wider choice of ports than most, with USB-A and HDMI out
  • Officially helps as much as two 60Hz screens concurrently (one 6K, one 4K)


  • Hard to discover a show that competes with the 24-inch iMac for the cash
  • Dongles or hubs essential to get extra ports
  • Cannot be upgraded just like the older Intel-based Mac mini

The 2020 Mac mini was the primary desktop Mac to make the transition to Apple Silicon. Its M1 chip has 8 CPU and eight CPU cores, with sufficient cooling to maintain the chip at load in a approach that the fanless MacE book Air can’t. A base mannequin Mac mini comes with 8GB of unified RAM and a 256GB SSD, although these could be upgraded to 16GB and as much as 2TB, respectively.

For $699 you get a pc and an influence wire. You’ll want to produce your personal show, with the Mac mini supporting one 6K show (60Hz) and one 4K show (60Hz) concurrently through HDMI or USB-C. You’ll additionally want to offer your personal peripherals, which is ideal if you have already got a keyboard and mouse you’d like to make use of. If you want the entire package deal, although, you would possibly wish to go together with the iMac as an alternative.

Performance-wise the Mac mini M1 is roughly equal to the iMac, delivering massive positive factors in apps which have been optimized for Apple Silicon. The Mac mini additionally has the widest port choice of any M1 Mac, with an HDMI 2.0 out, two USB-A ports, two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, and Gigabit Ethernet It additionally has an non-obligatory 10 Gigabit Ethernet improve accessible when purchasing by means of Apple.

The Mac mini M1 is ideal if you wish to dip your toes into Apple’s new structure with out breaking the financial institution. It’s superb for Windows customers who wish to tinker with macOS, or Mac customers preferring to deliver their very own mechanical keyboard or ultrawide show. For a very sensible purchase, get the bottom mannequin and add your personal exterior solid-state drive to extend whole storage.

Best Budget Desktop Mac

M1 Mac mini (2020)

The 2020 M1 Mac mini is Apple’s finest price range laptop, however you will have to deliver your personal show and peripherals.

Best Desktop Mac for Video and Photo Editing: Mac Studio (2022)

Person editing photo on Mac Studio


  • MacE book Pro energy (and past) at a desktop value level
  • M1 Max is greater than sufficient for many customers
  • M1 Ultra affords insane efficiency for a value
  • Lots of ports, a media card reader, and devoted cooling


  • You’ll want to offer your personal show and peripherals
  • HDMI port restricted to 4K at 60Hz
  • Unified reminiscence means RAM is soldered, so no upgradeable at a later date
  • Storage upgrades are nonetheless dear

The clue’s within the title, however the Mac Studio is one Apple desktop laptop that’s aimed squarely at artistic professionals. It’s accessible in two base configurations, one with the M1 Max as seen in Apple’s higher-end MacE book Pro line, and one other with the M1 Ultra which is successfully two M1 Max chips slapped collectively, delivering double the efficiency.

Which you go for relies upon largely on what you want from a video modifying machine. The $1,999 M1 Max delivers a single video decode engine, two encode engines, and two ProRes decode and encode engines. This might be sufficient for many video editors and can chew by means of a number of streams of excessive bitrate 4K and 8K video. There’s additionally a 24-core GPU, configurable to a 32-core model for an additional $200.

The M1 Ultra doubles all of this, with two decode engines, 4 encode engines, and 4 ProRes-specific encode and decode engines, plus a 48-core GPU for $3,999. This is Apple’s strongest machine, and it’s presently your finest wager in case you’re searching for a devoted modifying station that runs macOS and may deal with 18 streams of 8K ProRes 422 directly. You may even up the GPU core depend to 64 for an extra $1,000.

You’ve additionally bought Thunderbolt outputs for added screens and storage choices, an HDMI output (restricted to 4K 60Hz), a media card enter on the entrance for rapidly ingesting footage, and a cooling system inside that may preserve the whole lot ticking over below excessive load.

If you’re solely seeking to splice collectively a number of 4K movies out of your GoPro or iPhone, the Studio is overkill (and also you would possibly wish to lower your expenses by choosing an iMac or Mac mini as an alternative). For most different folks, the Mac Studio with M1 Max received’t disappoint. For critical video results artists, streamers, and people with very deep pockets then look no additional than the M1 Ultra.

Don’t overlook that the Mac Studio is a standalone desktop machine, just like the Mac mini, that doesn’t embrace a show or any peripherals. Take a have a look at some of one of the best shows, and ensure you calibrate that show for colour accuracy.

child using imac to study chemistry


  • Everything it’s good to get began
  • Hard to discover a show that may compete at this value level
  • Apple Silicon M1 chip delivers massive positive factors over Intel fashions


  • Not transportable, so not superb for all college students
  • Mac mini could also be higher for college kids who’re snug sourcing their very own show and peripherals
  • Performance similar to M1 MacE book fashions

Many college students go for laptops just like the MacE book Air or 13-inch MacE book Pro (a number of of our favourite MacE book fashions) to allow them to carry their workstations round campus. With the arrival of the M1, the efficiency hole between desktop and laptop computer Macs has closed significantly. For instance, the two-port 24-inch M1 iMac has the identical 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU as an M1 MacE book Air.

However, the iMac has higher thermals and may run below load for longer than the Air. This can be noticeable in duties that stress the pc, like rendering video, operating 3D purposes, or compiling software program. It’s robust to discover a full system that performs this nicely, with a show that appears this good.

The iMac has a a lot bigger display than Apple’s laptops, which provides you way more display actual property to multitask. You can have a number of net pages or paperwork open at a time, however on a laptop computer, you’ll be flicking between desktop areas.

But in case you’re shopping for an iMac within the mistaken perception that it’ll carry out significantly higher than a MacE book (particularly a MacE book Pro, which can be actively cooled), then you must rethink. Buy the M1 iMac on your dorm room since you need a colourful all-in-one answer that may chew by means of college work, net shopping, and artistic duties like video modifying. Just don’t get an iMac if portability is vital to you, particularly now that Apple Silicon has evened the taking part in subject.

Best for Students

24-inch iMac M1 (Two ports, 2021)

The 24-inch M1 iMac has the whole lot it’s good to examine arduous, with an Apple Silicon system-on-chip, a shocking show, and colourful Apple-branded peripherals.

Person using Apple Studio in office


  • Apple’s strongest Mac so far
  • Cheaper than a MacE book Pro in its base configuration
  • More than sufficient energy for many purposes
  • Tons of ports, a card reader, built-in Ethernet, in a captivating kind issue


  • Not the Mac Pro you’ve got been ready for
  • High-end M1 Ultra configuration is dear
  • No peripherals within the field

The Mac Pro would historically be thought of Apple’s “high-end” machine for patrons who want probably the most highly effective Mac cash can purchase, however on the time of scripting this machine has but to transition to Apple Silicon. So as an alternative we’re recommending a newcomer within the kind of the Mac Studio, accessible with the M1 Max and M1 Ultra system-on-chip configurations.

The Mac Studio is a desktop machine that lacks a built-in show. Think of it as a extra highly effective model of the Mac mini, with a a lot taller enclosure and a extra succesful cooling system below the hood.

Both Studio fashions ship with 4 Thunderbolt 4 ports on the again, built-in 10Gb Ethernet, two USB-A ports for older gadgets, an HDMI out, and a 3.5mm stereo jack on the again. On the entrance, you’ll discover an SDXC slot for reminiscence playing cards and two 10Gb/sec USB-C ports (M1 Max) or two Thunderbolt 4 ports (M1 Ultra).

The $1,999 M1 Max configuration is about as highly effective as a 16-inch MacE book Pro, with a 10-core CPU, 24-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine. If you go for the $3,999 M1 Ultra you’re taking a look at a 20-core CPU, 48-core GPU, and 32-core Neural Engine. You can configure as much as a 64-core GPU and 32-core Neural Engine for an additional $1,000. Just do not forget that you’ll nonetheless have to pair it with a show, keyboard, and mouse.

The Mac Studio is a compact and highly effective Mac for customers who need efficiency however don’t want the slender kind issue of a MacE book, or who’re comfortable to offer their show and peripherals. If you want extra energy than a MacE book then the M1 Ultra delivers in spades, supplied you’ve bought deep pockets.

The Studio is aimed toward professionals who goal to place that CPU energy to work on information evaluation, edit a number of streams of 4K video in real-time, or 3D artists. It’s additionally nice for anybody who needs a svelte desktop Mac that may deal with nearly something you’ll be able to throw at it.

As for the Mac Pro? Apple has already confirmed an ARM-based Mac Pro is within the works, with the launch anticipated someday later in 2022. If you want an improve to the Pro, you’ll wish to maintain off and see what Apple has to supply for this mannequin.

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