Build yourself a Windows-powered iMac Pro clone
Processor: Intel Xeon E5-2620 V4 2.1GHz 8-core
We're going to build a system that's as close as we can get to the base $4,999 iMac Pro. It's won't be exactly the same, but it will be very close. Prices listed will be averages, and if you search around you may find better deals.
At the heart of the iMac Pro, as well as out iMac Pro clone, is an Intel Xeon processor. Here we have eight cores running at 2.1GHz, backed up by 20 megabytes of L2 cache.
This silicon is perfect for heavy workloads.
Price: $420 | More info
Motherboard: Asus X99-E-10G WS
This board gets us a lot for the price:
- Dual Intel 10G LAN ports
- Up to 128 gigabytes of RAM in eight slots, with DDR4 3333+MHz support
- 4-Way PCI-E Gen3 x16 link supporting NVidia GeForce SLI and AMD CrossFireX on demand
- U.2 and M.2 drive support
- Easy overclocking
Price: $650 | More info
RAM: Kingston ValueRAM 32G 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM ECC Registered DDR4 2133 (PC4 17000)
Eye-watering price for a stick of RAM, but you can always add more if the budget allows.
Price: $300 | More info
Storage: Samsung 960 EVO M.2 1TB
We need a terabyte of fast storage, so we have to go for the Samsung 960 EVO M.2, a rock-solid, super-reliable drive that will make sure this build doesn't have any bottlenecks.
Price: $450 | More info
Graphics card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB GDDR5X
This is where we have to make a deviation from the iMac Pro because Apple has announced that it will be powered by AMD's Vega graphics chip, but cards featuring this GPU aren't out yet, so we're going with the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti as an alternative.
Price: $780 | More info
PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA 1200 P2 220-P2-1200-X1 80+ PLATINUM 1200W
This system is going to need a powerful and stable PSU to make sure that it can deliver the performance where it's needed. The EVGA SuperNOVA can not only deliver the watts when they are needed, but it's also highly energy efficient and comes with a 10-year warranty.
Price: $330 | More info
Case: NZXT H440 STEEL Mid Tower Case
Unless you're going to run all the parts in a cardboard box, you need a case, and the NZXT H440 has a lot of features that I like:
- Plenty of cooling
- Space for 11x 3.5-inch or 8x 2.5-inch drives
- Sound dampening
- Rolled edges so you don't rip your hands to shreds when building or upgrading it)
OK, it doesn't look like an iMac; I think it looks better.
Price: $120 | More info
Display: Dell UP2715K 27-inch Widescreen 5K
This display isn't encased in brushed aluminum, and we can't shove all the other components into it, but this display makes an awesome centerpiece to this build.
- Pin-sharp 5120 x 2880 8ms display
- IPS technology
- 1.074 billion colors
- 2x DisplayPort
- Mini Display Port
- USB3.0 Hub with three ports
- Adjustable height, pivot, swivel, and tilt
Price: $2,000 | More info
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D9DX i4 3U 92mm
That Xeon chip doesn't come with a cooler, so we need to add one to the build. This Noctua is not only efficient, but it is also low-noise, which means your PC won't sound like Air Force One taking off.
Price: $55 | More info
Thunderbolt ports: Asus ThunderboltEX3 add-on card
If you want Thunderbolt ports, you'll need a Thunderbolt add-on card since there are no Thunderbolt ports on the motherboard. However, if you don't need these ports, fee free to leave the card out of the build.
Price: $80 | More info
Peripherals: Apple peripherals
Apple's iMac Pro ships with a Magic Keyboard which features a numeric keypad, and a choice of Magic Mouse 2 or Magic Trackpad 2. However, you're free to choose whatever suits your needs.
Price: Around $200 for Apple peripherals
Operating system: Windows 10 Pro
The final piece of this PC is a copy of Windows 10 Pro.
Price: $140 for OEM, $199 for retail copy
So, how does this compare to the iMac Pro?
While there are clearly design differences, and we can't get out hands on any AMD Vega GPUs, from a hardware perspective this system ticks most of the boxes -- it's a Xeon-powered PC with 32-gigabytes of RAM, a terabyte of fast M.2 storage, and a spectacular 5K display.
But what's the price?
Believe it or not, the final price for this system comes in at more than the base iMac Pro -- $5,500 plus change. You can probably do better than this by shopping around (these prices listed are averages), and if you are able to do with a 4K display instead of a 5K unit, then you're looking at quite a saving.