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Feeling generous? The right Mac can be the perfect gift

Christopher Breen | Dec. 15, 2014
Only the worst sort of ingrate would complain about finding an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch stuffed in their holiday stocking. But if you want to really impress your favored Apple fan, there's nothing that does the job like placing a brand-new Mac under the tree. But, budget considerations aside, which current Mac is the most appropriate for the Apple lover in your life?

27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display
This 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display--priced at $2,499--gets its own entry for good reason. Sure, it's an iMac and therefore has a lot in common with the other 27-inch iMac models, but there are a couple of things about it that make it special.

The display, of course, is key. With a resolution of 5120 x 2880 (projecting 14.7 million pixels), this iMac's screen is gorgeous. And, surprisingly, it's power efficient--using 30 percent less power than the standard 27-inch iMac. The difference between this screen and that of a non-Retina iMac is not as startling as the difference between, say, a first-generation iPad and an iPad Air, but it's certainly noticeable with its razor sharp text and images that are clean rather than slightly hazy.

The other advantage is in this iMac's processing power. For tasks that require just a single core, the iMac with Retina 5K display can outpace Apple's most expensive Mac, the 2013 Mac Pro. This means speedy performance in all but the most demanding apps (and even with those apps this iMac is no slouch).

Who should you give it to?
Who do you really, really, really love? There's your answer. Unless your friend is hankering for a laptop or is the kind of professional who needs the fastest Mac made, unwrapping an iMac with Retina 5K display will blow them away.

Mac Pro (2013)
If you're thinking of giving someone the latest Mac Pro you could be accused of showing off. There is such a thing as over giving, after all. But fine, it's your money.

Of that money you're going to spend at least $2,999 for the 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor model (with 12GB of RAM, Dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics card with 2GB VRAM on each processor, and 256GB flash drive). And if you're feeling really generous, why not go for the top-of-the-line 3.5GHz 6-Core model with 16GB of RAM, Dual AMD FirePro D500 graphics card with 3GB VRAM each, and 256GB PCIe-based flash storage?

These Macs are stunningly fast, beautifully designed, and house four USB 3 ports, six Thunderbolt 2 ports, an HDMI port, dual Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. They can drive up to three 4K displays or up to six Thunderbolt displays.

Who should you give it to?
There isn't a person on earth more deserving of this Mac than you. Give your loved one an iMac with 5K Retina Display and keep the Pro for yourself.

No? In that case, understand that Apple takes the word "Pro" very seriously with this Mac. As mentioned earlier, an iMac with Retina Display will perform single core tasks more quickly than this computer. However, with apps that take advantage of a processor's multiple cores, the Mac Pro screams. If the target of your generosity routinely renders professional-grade video, spends hours on end with Photoshop, and appreciates beautiful design, they'll swoon when they see what you've purchased for them.


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