With more and more consumers turning to laptops, tablets, and even souped-up smart phones for their main computing needs, Apple is still betting that there’s a place for desktops in the world. The company slated its latest Mac Pro for a December release date, just in time for holiday shopping, at a price just a hair below $3,000.

New and Improved

The Apple Mac Pro does bring a lot to the table, as Apple revealed when it previewed this desktop model at the World Wide Developers Conference in June. Sleek design is a company hallmark, and the Mac Pro finally gets a long-overdue makeover. Its original tower design was a carryover from its Power Mac G5 days, but now it’s a tall, striking black cylinder.

Once upon a time, this computer didn’t need to be fancy because it was a business-user staple and its main selling point was performance and ease of use. Now it needs as much appeal as possible, in as many areas as possible, to draw users away from all the tempting laptop and tablet options.

However, while there’s a lot of buzz about its appearance, not all of it is positive. Some pundits liken it to a metallic bin.

The new look wasn’t just created for visual appeal; it also serves a purpose. Apple promises efficiency, claiming that this Mac Pro will be 70 percent more efficient than the previous model. It’s also supposed to be close to whisper-quiet, thanks to a design that utilizes a single fan pulling air upward through a vent in the bottom and pushing heat out the top.

Of course, looks alone won’t make the latest version of the Apple Mac Pro a success. It has some powerful specs, including a 3.7GHz Intel Xeon processor. It also has 12GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and AMD FirePro graphics. Its WiFi is the same standard that you’ll find on MacBooks. You get six Thunderbolt 2 ports on this computer, along with four USB 3.0 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports and a HDMI 1.4 port.

Is Apple the Best Choice?

Is all of this impressive enough to woo consumers? Apple will always have its hardcore fan base, but those who don’t mind Windows have a dazzling array of desktops to choose from, most of which have significantly lower price tags for similar specs.

Mass marketers like Best Buy and WalMart have desktop options starting under $400. Granted, brand names like Lenovo don’t have the cachet of Apple, but big players like Dell and HP are offering plenty of affordable models to tempt Christmas shoppers.

The choice of going with a Mac Pro or another desktop depends largely on how you plan to use your computer. People who cling to desktops tend to do so for very specific reasons. Many are business users, and if you fall into that category, sticking with Apple is a wise choice. You might like the redesign, but you’re mainly going to enjoy the familiarity that’s now coupled with increased performance.

If you’re just looking for power in general, for gaming or another reason, and especially if you’re price sensitive, you’re better off with a cheaper Windows-based model. You’ll also get more real estate on your screen and plenty of places to plug peripherals, but the Mac Pro offers that, too, so it’s not a deal breaker. High power for low cost is where other desktops shine.

Making the Final Decision

If you’re still torn, this bit of biblical wisdom might help you make your final decision between an Apple Mac Pro and another desktop:

Where there is no counsel, plans fail; but in a multitude of counselors they are established. Proverbs 15:22

Don’t make the choice without getting as much information as possible. Check out prices, features, reviews, comparisons, and availability online. Head to stores and talk to the sales staff.

Once you’re gathered all the counsel you can, you’ll be well equipped with your desktop buying plan, whether it ends up being the Apple Mac Pro or a totally different model that still meets your needs.

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