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How fast does my Mac need to be? The best Macs for video editing, gaming, web design, music making and more

Lou Hattersley | May 2, 2016
Apple Mac computers come in a dazzling range of sizes, speeds and prices. Almost all Macs are brilliant computers, but some (like the Mac Pro) offer extreme speeds.

How fast does my Mac need to be for 3D image modelling?

This is another one of those areas where you just want the fastest Mac available. If you are into 3D modelling, especially 3D animation, then you might want to consider going all out for a new Mac Pro (£2,499). If money is no object, then the £3,299 Mac Pro offers dual graphics cards with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each. The time it saves in rendering may quickly pay for itself. If you can't afford a new Mac Pro, then get the fastest iMac you can afford.

How fast does my Mac need to be for Web design?

Web design is another area that you don't need a truly fast Mac. Some designers like a large display so they can manage multiple sites and editing tools at once, so we'd advise picking up an entry level 1.4GHz Mac mini (£399) and combining it with a large display.

How fast does my Mac need to be for Programming?

Programming is a varied task, and it largely depends on the programming you are doing. If you're learning to program using tools like Xcode and Python, then a MacBook Air is a great choice. It's easy to carry a MacBook Air around and it is a fully-fledged Mac OS X capable of running Xcode and other development environments.

If you're working on thousands of lines of code, then you'll want a Mac with more clout than the MacBook Air. We'd suggest a 2.6GHz i5 Mac mini costing £569. Assembling code makes good use of the i5 processor, and if you need a bit more power you can boost to a 3.0Ghz i7 for an extra £230. You can also upgrade the Mac mini's drive up to a Fusion Drive for £160. It's £729 in total, which is a good all-round price to pay for this great programming box.

How fast does my Mac need to be for creating business documents?

If you spend most of your time using a Mac in a business environment, using programs like Mail, Keynote and Microsoft Office, then you won't really need a top-of-the-line iMac. Instead, we'd focus on portability by going for a MacBook Air. It's great to be able to carry your Mac around the office. The 11.6in model is fine for working on the go, but the 13in MacBook Air offers a little more screen estate for working with continuously. We'd go for the 13-inch 128GB MacBook Air at £849.


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