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Guide to the Macintosh range - the different Mac models explained

To help you find your ideal used Mac, here we explain the different Mac models (both current and past) so you can choose which one best suits your needs. It may be that you don't need the expense of a high-end Mac Pro - an iMac may be sufficient for your needs and cheaper. Would you be better off with a laptop or a desktop model? Do you need the expense of a current model or can you get a real bargain with an older model that will be just as good for what you want? Once you understand the difference between the different models, read more about how to choose which Mac to buy.

On this page we also give you a guide to current new and secondhand prices so that you can see what you might expect to pay for each type of Mac.

Lastly, we'll show you live listings of actual Macs for sale on eBay that you can buy. Our proprietary searching technology shows you only the Macs you are looking for rather than having to search through pages of eBay listings to find what you want. So this site will help you research, choose and finally buy the Mac that is right for you.

Current Mac models - Desktop Macs

Mac Pro

Mac Pro

Super-fast desktop Mac for professional use. This is the fastest Mac available, highly expandable - the workstation of choice for graphic designers and other high-end users. Currently available in Quad-Core or 6-Core versions from around £2,500 to £3,500 for a new one (note: this does not include a display). Second hand Mac Pros tend to go for around £1,000 to £1,200 on eBay for the earlier models. The newer mac pro is supposedly twice as fast as its predecessors, with a bigger, flash memory and improved graphics capability. This is the only current Mac where you can add PCI expansion cards. Expandability and ultimate performance are the main reasons for choosing a Mac Pro.

iMac

iMac

Excellent value machine for less intensive professional or home use. The best buy for most people unless you need ultimate performance or expandability, the iMac is capable of running even high-end professional applications adequately for the majority of people. Many professional web designers and graphic designers choose an iMac for it's low cost and neat, space-saving all in one design. Even though it isn't as fast as a Mac Pro, for most people it's fast enough and it's around half the price. Currently available with 20 inch or 24 inch displays, a new one will cost from £950 to £1,800 depending upon the specification. On eBay, used iMacs go for around £450 for a recent model right down to about £35 for an older one.

Mac Mini

Mac Mini

Low cost Mac designed to tempt users away from PCs and consequently it comes without a screen, keyboard or mouse - the idea being that you use your existing PC ones. This packs all the function of an Mac into a tiny box about the size of 5 CDs piled on top of each other so it's an ideal low cost / small size introduction to the Macintosh. Like all the Intel macs it will also run Windows and it's more than adequate for home use. New Mac minis start at £499 and used Mac minis go for around £300 on eBay.

Current Mac models - Laptop Macs

MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro

High performance Mac laptop with 15-inch or 17-inch screen options, ideal for demanding users who are on the move. 2.4GHz or 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors and two graphics processors make these very fast laptops and as always they are beautifully designed. Standout features of these Macs apart from their power are the quality of their display, improved battery life and the slim and durable casing which is carved from a single block of aluminium. New MacBook Pros range from £1,370 up to £1,950. Used MacBook Pros on eBay start at around £1,100 for a fairly recent model down to around £600 for an early one.

MacBook

MacBook

Good value laptop Mac with a 13-inch display. Less performance than the MacBook but a lot less cost - the iMac for the road. Available in two versions - Aluminium (carved from a single block like the MacBook Pro) or White (plastic) with a 2.4GHz option of the Aluminium model which pushes it up into MacBook Pro territory. New MacBooks range from £719 up to £1,125. Used MacBooks on eBay are around £600-£800 for a recent model down to around £400 for a good early one.

MacBook Air

MacBook Air

Very thin, very light MacBook with 13.3-inch display. Less performance and some features (such as a CD/DVD drive) omitted to keep the weight down. It comes into its own if you value lightness above all else and it makes a great second Mac for traveling but it's probably not ideal as your main or only Mac. New prices of MacBook Air are £1,271 or £1,761 for the more powerful model. On ebay used MacBook Air start around £650.

Legacy (no longer produced) Mac models

PowerMac

PowerMac

The PowerMacs are the forerunners of today's Mac Pro computers. They were the highest performing Macs of the day, featuring the fastest processors of their time and had considerable expansion capability. They used the PowerPC chip family instead of the Motorola chipsets used previously by Apple. The first models (called Power Macintosh rather than Power Mac) were the Power Macintosh 6100,7100 and 8100 which had speeds from 60-110MHz and they replaced the previous Quadra range. In 1998 Apple introduced the G3 processor which offered a huge leap in performance. The G3 chips were so powerful that clock speed was no longer an indicator of performance relative to other Macs and PCs - a G3 based Mac would perform similarly to a competitor running at twice the clock speed. The Power Macintosh G3 machines were superceded by the Power Mac G4 in 2000 and these in turn were replaced by the Power Mac G5 64-bit computer in 2003. PowerMac G5s are still very useable computers today and you can pick up some real bargains on eBay for as little as £200. Models prior to this are probably not worth buying these days unless you are a collector of vintage computers as they are too slow to run today's applications satisfactorily.

iMac - previous models

Old iMac

The original iMac was a style icon from the moment it came out in 1998. The concept was the same as it is today - it offered a less-powerful alternative to the high-end Power Macintosh in a very neat all-in-one design at a very low price point. It has moved through several evolutions: from the original egg-shaped iMac G3 available in a variety of fruit flavour colours, through the 'Anglepoise' iMac G4 which had a flat screen display mounted on a movable arm above a hemispherical base, to the iMac G5 and Intel iMac which are fairly similar in appearance to today's model. Again there are some real iMac bargains to be had on eBay but it's probably not worth going older than a G5.