From compositing in After Effects to editing in Premiere Pro and encompassing all in between including Resolve, Final Cut Pro, Cinema 4D, and more, iBuildMacs delivers reliable and optimized performance Mac creative workstations.

Component Recommendations


Raw CPU power, calculated by multiplying a CPU’s cores by its frequency, will always pay off for the most demanding workloads. We recommend the 12-core 3.46GHz on the tower and the 12-core 2.7GHz and on the cylinder.


The amount of RAM you need is going to depend on the resolution, length, and complexity of your timelines. However, as a general rule of thumb we recommend 32GB if you work with 1080p footage, 64GB for 4K footage, 128GB for 6K or 8K footage.


SSDs are much faster than traditional hard drives and in many cases can be noticeably faster than the older style drives. In some cases (most commonly working with RAW footage) even an SSD is not fast enough, so we recommend using the newer M.2 (flash storage) style drive which are around three times faster than a standard SSD.

In general, we recommend a two to four hard drive configuration depending on your budget and desired performance level:

Primary Drive - OS/Software (SSD) - Includes macOS and applications. An SSD is highly recommended as it will greatly improve how fast the macOS and applications startup.

Secondary Drive - Project Files / Dedicated Media Cache/Scratch (SSD) - Using a dedicated SSD for your media cache and scratch files can at times improve performance when playing and scrubbing through compositions.

Optional Storage Drive (Platter) - For long term storage where the high speed of SSDs is typically not required, a larger traditional platter hard drive is a good choice as they are still much cheaper per GB than SSDs.


Many effects/filters/actions and real-time playback may require a powerful GPU and scrubbing and previewing can benefit from multiple GPUs. At the heart of Adobe Premiere Pro CC is the GPU-accelerated Mercury Playback engine. It leverages NVIDIA CUDA to deliver interactive, real-time editing and up to 23x faster performance than even dual CPUs can deliver, particularly in 4K RED camera files, eliminating the need for a RED ROCKET card. The more effects and the higher the resolution, the more powerful GPU configurations you should consider for your Premier Pro workstation.

Generation Comparison

Tower (Original)

Production: 2010 to 2013
Model 5,1


Production: 2013 to 2019
Model 6,1

Tower (New)

Production: 2019 to current
Model 7,1

ProcessorsIntel Xeon X5600 series 'Westmere'
Launch Q1 2011
Intel Xeon E5-2600 series 'Ivy Bridge'
Launch Q3 2012
Intel Xeon W-3200 series 'Cascade Lake'
Launch Q2 2019
MemoryDDR3 ECC 1333MHz
Up to 64GB per processor
DDR3 ECC 1866MHz
Up to 128GB per processor
DDR4 ECC 2666MHz / 2933MHz
Up to 768GB / 1.5TB per processor
GraphicsCan upgrade to newer models for macOS support and increased performanceAMD FirePro D300 / D500 / D700
Launch 2013 - Upgrade not possible
Latest AMD Radeon Pro with PCIe 3.0 x16 slots for expansion
StorageCan upgrade to latest SATA and NVMe SSDs for increased performance. SATA SSDs limited to SATA2 speeds and NVMe limited to PCIe 2.0 speedsCan upgrade to latest NVMe SSDs for increased performance.
SATA external expansion
PCIe NVMe SSDs without performance limiting factors.
SATA and NVMe internal expansion
macOSApple support discontinued in 2018
Latest macOS - Mojave 10.14
Apple support estimated until 2024 to 2026
Supports latest macOS
Current generation
Supports latest macOS
USBOnboard USB 2.0
USB 3.0 and 3.1 optional upgrade
Onboard USB 3.0
USB Type-A only
Onboard USB 3.1
Type-A and Type-C - Latest
ThunderboltNot availableThunderbolt 2Thunderbolt 3
PerformanceOutdated technology, but excellent performance considering the cost. Cost effective solution if on a budget and okay with macOS Mojave limitation.Supports latest macOS with considerable performance. Cost effective solution if new Mac Pro is not within budget.Latest technology. Highest performing Mac currently available. Max longevity for macOS support.

Recommended Configurations

Ask Our Expert Staff

Need expert advice? We are here to help! Please fill out the form below to have a technician contact you.

Fields marked with * are required.

Contact Us

Call: (310) 844-6661 (Monday - Friday, 10am - 6pm PST)


New: Purchased new from an Apple authorized dealer. Never used.

Refurb Grade A: Pre-owned. Inspected, cleaned, tested, and upgraded. Excellent cosmetic condition. Might have a small scratch or scuff, but overall looks great.

Refurb Grade B: Pre-owned. Inspected, cleaned, tested, and upgraded. Good cosmetic condition. No bends, dents, or dings. Will have light scratches and/or scuffs. Nothing severe. We do not purchase units that are in poor cosmetic condition.