With three Macs to choose from, each with very different features and specs, it can get a little tricky when it comes to deciding which is best for you. Should you buy a Mac mini, an iMac or a Mac Pro? Here, we bring you buying advice to help you with your Mac purchase.

If you're looking to buy a MacBook rather than a desktop Mac, you can take a look at our MacBook buying advice in our Which MacBook should I buy article. 

There are currently two desktop Macs available to buy from Apple: the Mac mini and the iMac. The Mac Pro is coming soon, and we expect it to be available to buy next month.

There are two configurations of the Mac mini, Apple's cheapest available Mac. One has a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and while the other sports a quad-core Intel ore i7. The first has a 500GB hard drive, the second has a 1TB hard drive. Both configurations have 4GB memory and Intel HD Graphics 4000.

Mac mini review

We are expecting Apple to update the Mac mini soon, though. You can read our new Mac mini rumours article for more.

When it comes to the iMac, Apple's all-in-one desktop computer, Apple offers four configurations. Two have a 21.5in display, with 8GB memory and a 1TB hard drive. The cheaper of these two models has a 2.7GHx quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz, and Intel Iris Pro graphics.

The second model has a 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, and NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 1GB memory for graphics.

The remaining two configurations of iMac have 27in displays, 8GB memory and 1TB hard drive. The cheapest 27in iMac has a 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M with 1GB video memory.

The high-end 27in iMac has a 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M with 2GB video memory.

For more, see our 2013 iMac review. You can also watch the video below for ten things we love about the new iMac.

Not available right now is the Mac Pro. Apple says this powerful Mac for professionals is coming in December. That's not long to wait, and for some power-users, it'll be worth it.  

Mac Pro preview

Apple offers two configurations of the Mac Pro. The first is has a 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 12GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory, Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM each and 256GB flash storage.

The second has a 3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor with 16GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory, Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each and 256GB flash storage.

Of course, every model of Mac can be configured in the build-to-order options if you want to add memory or change the storage, for example. However, here, we're focussing on the eight base configurations that Apple offers.

Now, not everyone's going to know what the specifications we just listed actually mean, so in order to make the decision about what Mac to buy for your needs, you'll need to first think about what's most important, and what you're trying to get out of the computer.

For example, are you a graphic designer or a video editor who needs a Mac for running professional creative applications? Or perhaps you're a serious gamer who needs a Mac with exceptional graphics. Alternatively, you could be looking for a Mac for a home office or for use as a shared family computer. Here, we take you through the options.

Which Mac should I buy for running applications like Adobe Photoshop?

We'd suggest that, if you're planning on using your Mac to run creative apps such as Adobe's Creative Cloud suite, then you'll probably find the 27in iMac is best suited to your needs.

With a large display that is now less reflective, and specs that'll mean it won't struggle to handle most applications, it could be ideal.

However, if you're a creative professional that uses demanding applications on a regular basis for editing 4K video, 3D modelling and animation purposes, or creating music with lots of tracks, you might want to opt for Apple's high-end Mac Pro.

With a stylish new design and the ability to have up to 12 processing cores, the Mac Pro is the most powerful Mac available. The new Mac Pro also benefits from the ability to support up to three 4K displays, ideal for working with film.

But, for time-to-time Photoshop editing or iMovie video making, it's not necessary to fork out the extra cash for the Mac Pro (which costs from £2,499) – you'll find the iMac powerful enough.

Which Mac should I buy for gaming?

When it comes to video games, you'll want the best graphics performance you can get, which is why we'd recommend an iMac. There are two iMac configurations that offer NVIDIA GeForce graphics, so we'd suggest opting for one of those.

Apple boasts that, if you choose the 27in iMac and opt for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M with 4GB of video memory you'll get the best graphics performance available in an all-in-one computer. It'll cost you £1,879 for that model, though, as the graphics boost will add £130 to the iMac when you choose it in the configure stage of your order.

Which Mac should I buy if I'm on a budget?

The cheapest Mac available is the Mac mini, which starts at £499. It doesn't come with a display, though, so you'll have to add that to the cost. Apple's Thunderbolt Display will bring the cost right up to £1,398, and then a Mouse and Apple Keyboard will make a total of £1,497.

However, you can get displays from third-party manufacturers with significantly lower price tags. Check out our display reviews for more. 

Additionally, you can check Apple's Refurbished Store for refurbished Macs with significant price cuts. See: Should I buy a second hand Mac?

Which Mac should I buy for storage?

If the decision about what Mac to buy weighs heavily on storage, then perhaps you'll be best to opt for the £679 Mac mini, which has a 1TB hard drive. With quad-core processors and 4GB RAM (upgradeable to 8GB or 16GB), the Mac mini is small but powerful, and should suit most users who are primarily looking for lots of storage.

Which Mac should I buy for university?

If you're looking to buy a Mac for university then perhaps you'll be better off with a MacBook. You can find out more about MacBooks in our which MacBook should I buy article.

See also:

Will my Mac run Mavericks?

10 reasons why Macs are better than PCs