Vector illustration of an Apple MacBook Pro laptop

The Best Apple Computers for ProPresenter (2024)

This is a complete list of Apple Macintosh computers I use and trust for running Renewed Vision's ProPresenter 7 presentation and lyrics software in houses of worship, corporate meetings, digital signage, video playback, broadcast lower thirds and graphics, and more.

Looking for Windows PCs instead? Check out The Best Windows Computers for ProPresenter.

Mac Mini (2023) with M2 Pro

 product image

The best overall Apple computer for most ProPresenter users.

Get Price at Amazon Get Price at Adorama

The Apple Mac Mini with the M2 Pro is an incredible bang for the buck that will easily meet the needs for a vast majority of users.

It offers the ability to run up to three native graphics display outputs without the need for extra expensive hardware.

In addition, it can easily handle up to eight 1080p SDI outputs plus a single desktop monitor with ease.

This machine is a perfect fit for small‑to‑medium houses of worship, kids and student rooms, digital signage, video playback, and live stream or broadcast graphics.


Recommended Configurations

Up to 27 million pixels of graphics/video output at 60Hz:

  • One 4K desktop display plus one option below:
    • Up to two 4K graphics/video outputs
    • Up to one 4K graphics/video output plus one 1080p NDI output
    • Up to eight 1080p graphics/video outputs
    • Up to four 1080p graphics/video outputs plus one 1080p NDI output

Pros

  • Incredible performance for the price
  • Lots of I/O for expansion and outputs
  • Full size HDMI output doesn't require any adapters

Cons

  • Nearly impossible to service or upgrade
  • The M2 feels a little left behind compared to the rest of the M3 computer lineup

Apple Mac Mini (2023) with M2 Pro Specifications
CPU 10‑core M2 Pro (configurable to 12‑core)
GPU 16‑core M2 Pro (configurable to 19‑core)
Memory 16GB unified memory (configurable to 32GB)
Storage 512GB SSD (configurable up to 8TB)
Thunderbolt Support 4x Thunderbolt 4 ports
Display Support Simultaneous support for up to three displays:
Two displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz and one display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz

Mac Studio (2023)

 product image

The best Apple computer for more than two ProPresenter outputs.

Get Price at Amazon Get Price at Adorama

With gobs of processing power and support for up to five or eight native graphics display outputs, the Mac Studio picks up where the top pick falls short and won't require extra video output hardware for most.

If you need more than three native display outputs, anticipate pushing ProPresenter's capabilities with intensive tasks (e.g. multiviews, multiple NDI outputs, alpha keys with ProRes clips, or video effects), or you simply just want more processing headroom for years to come, then the Mac Studio will deliver.


Recommended M2 Max Configurations

Up to 45 million pixels of graphics/video output at 60Hz:

  • One 4K desktop display at 60Hz plus one option below:
    • Up to four 4K graphics/video outputs
    • Up to two 4K graphics/video outputs plus up to two 1080p NDI outputs
    • Up to eight* 1080p graphics/video outputs plus two 1080p NDI outputs
  • Two 4K desktop displays or one 6K desktop display at 60Hz plus one option below:
    • Up to three 4K graphics/video outputs
    • Up to two 4K graphics/video outputs plus two 1080p NDI outputs
    • Up to eight* 1080p graphics/video outputs plus two 1080p NDI outputs

*While the computer can easily handle the processing for additional outputs, ProPresenter technically supports a maximum of eight discrete outputs.


Recommended M2 Ultra Configurations

Up to 63 million pixels of graphics/video output at 60Hz:

  • One 4K desktop display at 60Hz plus one option below:
    • Up to five 4K graphics/video outputs
    • Up to three 4K graphics/video outputs plus up to two 1080p NDI outputs
    • Up to eight* 1080p graphics/video outputs plus four 1080p NDI outputs
  • Two 4K desktop displays at 60Hz plus one option below:
    • Up to four 4K graphics/video outputs
    • Up to three 4K graphics/video outputs plus two 1080p NDI outputs
    • Up to eight* 1080p graphics/video outputs plus four 1080p NDI outputs

*While the computer can easily handle the processing for additional outputs, ProPresenter technically supports a maximum of eight discrete outputs.


Pros

  • Insane performance and power
  • Up to five or eight native display outputs
  • Lots of I/O for expansion and flexibility

Cons

  • Nearly impossible to service or upgrade
  • Dongle Fest with native display outputs
  • The M2 feels a little left behind compared to the rest of the M3 computer lineup

Apple Mac Studio (2023) Specifications
CPU 12‑core M2 Max
24‑core M2 Ultra
GPU 30‑core M2 Max (configurable to 38‑core)
60‑core M2 Ultra (configurable to 76‑core)
Memory 32GB (M2 Max with 30‑core GPU - configurable to 64GB)
32GB (M2 Max with 38‑core GPU - configurable to 96GB)
64GB (M2 Ultra - configurable to 192GB)
Storage 512GB SSD (M2 Max - configurable up to 8TB)
1TB SSD (M2 Ultra - configurable up to 8TB)
Thunderbolt Support 4x Thunderbolt 4 ports (M2 Max)
6x Thunderbolt 4 ports (M2 Ultra)
Display Support Simultaneous support for up to five displays with M2 Max: Four displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz over HDMI
Simultaneous support for up to eight displays with M2 Ultra: Three displays with up to 8K resolution at 60 Hz, six displays with up to 6K resolution at 60 Hz, or Eight displays with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz

Mac Mini (2023) with M2

 product image

The best budget Apple computer for ProPresenter.

Get Price at Amazon Get Price at Adorama

For simple setups, this is a phenomenal bang for the buck.

Just be aware of these hardware limitations...

First, it only supports two native display outputs. You will get a single desktop display and a single ProPresenter output. That's it. Any additional display outputs must be done using extra Thunderbolt hardware like the Blackmagic UltraStudio Monitor 3G or an external PCIe enclosure and a Blackmagic DeckLink card.

While it might be tempting to use a USB‑C/Thunderbolt display adapter with multiple outputs or a DisplayLink adapter, I do not recommend those types of accessories and they are not supported by Apple or Renewed Vision.

Second, the base model only includes 8GB of RAM. And yes, the Apple silicon computers do have much more efficient memory than the RAM sticks to which we've grown accustomed. However, it's still widely understood and recommended to start with a minimum of 16GB of RAM. ProPresenter is demanding software, and users with less than 8GB of RAM often struggle with performance and stability.

And lastly, the base model also only includes 256GB of storage that has been confirmed to be slower than the models with more storage.

With those limitations in mind, the Mac Mini (2023) with M2, 16GB of RAM, and at least 512GB of storage is just about my bare minimum viable recommendation.

But with those specs it's still a phenomenal deal, and will provide plenty of power for those less demanding tasks.


Recommended Configurations

Up to 18 million pixels of graphics/video output at 60Hz:

  • One 4K desktop display plus one option below:
    • Up to one 4K graphics/video output
    • Up to four 1080p graphics/video outputs
    • Up to two 1080p graphics/video outputs plus one 1080p NDI output

Pros

  • Price
  • Full size HDMI output doesn't require any adapters

Cons

  • Nearly impossible to service or upgrade
  • Less than adequate I/O for expansion
  • The M2 feels a little left behind compared to the rest of the M3 computer lineup

Apple Mac Mini (2023) with M2 Specifications
CPU 8‑core M2
GPU 10‑core M2
Memory 8GB unified memory (configurable up to 24GB)
Storage 256GB SSD (configurable up to 2TB)
Thunderbolt Support 2x Thunderbolt 4 ports
Display Support Simultaneous support for up to two displays:
One display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one display with up to 5K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt or 4K resolution at 60Hz over HDMI

Mac Pro (2023)

 product image

The best Apple computer for ProPresenter money can buy.

Get Price at Adorama

When you want the best, this is your Huckleberry.

The latest Mac Pro supports up to eight native display outputs in addition to offering six full‑length PCIe slots.

While it would be unwise of me to claim that this machine can do it all... It can do it all.

Seriously, it's the exotic car of consumer computers.

If you want macOS, want a computer that can handle pretty much everything you ask of it, and do so with room to grow, you've found your match!


Recommended Configurations

Up to 72 million pixels of graphics/video output at 60Hz:

  • One 4K desktop display plus one option below:
    • Up to seven 4K graphics/video outputs
    • Up to five 4K graphics/video outputs plus up to four 1080p NDI outputs or one 4K NDI output
    • Up to eight* 1080p graphics/video outputs plus up to six 1080p NDI outputs or two 4K NDI outputs
  • Two 4K desktop displays or one 6K desktop display at 60Hz plus one option below:
    • Up to six 4K graphics/video outputs
    • Up to four 4K graphics/video outputs plus up to four 1080p NDI outputs or one 4K NDI output
    • Up to eight* 1080p graphics/video outputs plus up to four 1080p NDI outputs or one 4K NDI outputs

*While the computer can easily handle the processing for additional outputs, ProPresenter technically supports a maximum of eight discrete outputs.


Pros

  • Up to eight native display outputs
  • Six full‑length PCI Express gen 4 slots means no external hardware required for SDI or HDMI I/O cards
  • Rack‑mountable model perfect for production environments

Cons

  • Premium price point
  • Rack‑mount model is $500 more

Apple Mac Pro (2023) Specifications
CPU 24‑core M2 Ultra
GPU 60‑core M2 Ultra (configurable to 76‑core M2 Ultra)
Memory 64GB unified memory (configurable up to 192GB)
Storage 1TB SSD (configurable up to 8TB)
Thunderbolt Support 8x Thunderbolt 4 ports
Display Support Simultaneous support for up to eight displays:
Eight displays with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz, six displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz, or three displays with up to 8K resolution at 60Hz

MacBook Pro (2023)

 product image

The best Apple laptop computer for ProPresenter.

Get Price at Amazon Get Price at Adorama

If you need portability then any of the latest MacBook Pro models will be a great fit.

They come in two different screen sizes, 14 inches and 16 inches, as well as three different M3 chip options.

The mid‑level M3 Pro hits a great sweet spot in terms of performance and available display outputs for the price. But the standard M3 and upgraded M3 Max also cover scenarios where you may want a more budget option or need more performance and/or native display outputs.

For most ProPresenter situations I still recommend going with a desktop like a Mac Mini or Mac Studio inside a good case, but the MacBook Pros are a great fit for those that need mobility over performance.

As always, be aware that the standard M3 will only support one external display output, and I recommend a minimum of 16GB RAM as well as a minimum of 512GB of storage.


Recommended M3 Configurations

Up to 9 million pixels of graphics/video output at 60Hz:

  • Built‑in display at full resolution plus one option below:
    • Up to one 4K graphics/video outputs
    • Up to one 1080p graphics/video output plus one 1080p NDI output
    • Up to four 1080p graphics/video outputs

Recommended M3 Pro Configurations

Up to 18 million pixels of graphics/video output at 60Hz:

  • Built‑in display at full resolution plus one option below:
    • Up to two 4K graphics/video outputs
    • Up to one 4K graphics/video output plus one 1080p NDI output
    • Up to eight 1080p graphics/video outputs
    • Up to four 1080p graphics/video outputs plus one 1080p NDI output

Recommended M3 Max Configurations

Up to 36 million pixels of graphics/video output at 60Hz:

  • Built‑in display at full resolution plus one option below:
    • Up to four 4K graphics/video outputs
    • Up to two 4K graphics/video output plus two 1080p NDI outputs
    • Up to eight* 1080p graphics/video outputs plus two 1080p NDI outputs

*While the M3 Max can easily handle the processing for additional outputs, ProPresenter technically supports a maximum of eight discrete outputs.


Pros

  • Incredible performance for a laptop
  • Full size HDMI output doesn't require any adapters

Cons

  • Many people will feel that the built‑in 14" screen is too small
  • Nearly impossible to upgrade things like memory and storage
  • Portability comes with added risk of accidental damage or theft

Apple MacBook Pro (2023) Specifications
CPU 8‑core M3 (14‑inch)
11‑core M3 Pro (14‑inch - configurable up to 14‑core)
12‑core M3 Pro (16‑inch - configurable to 14‑core)
14‑core M3 Max (configurable to 16‑core)
GPU 10‑core M3
14‑core M3 Pro (14‑inch - configurable to 18‑core)
18‑core M3 Pro (16‑inch)
30‑core M3 Max (configurable to 40‑core)
Memory 8GB unified memory (M3 - configurable up to 24GB)
18GB unified memory (M3 Pro - configurable to 36GB)
36GB unified memory (M3 Max - configurable up to 128GB)
Storage 512GB SSD (M3 - configurable up to 2TB)
512GB SSD (M3 Pro - configurable up to 4TB)
1TB SSD (M3 Max - configurable up to 8TB)
Thunderbolt Support 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports (M3 - up to 40Gb/s)
3x Thunderbolt 4 ports (M3 Pro and M3 Max - up to 40Gb/s)
Display Support Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built‑in display at 1 billion colors and:
M3 - One external display at up to 6K resolution at 60Hz
M3 Pro - Up to two external displays at up to 6K resolution at 60Hz (HDMI output limited to 4K at 144Hz)
M3 Max - Up to three external displays at up to 6K resolution at 60Hz and one external display at up to 4K resolution at 144Hz over HDMI.

Why You Can Trust Me

I started my career over 23 years ago as a freelance live and ENG camera operator for broadcast television networks including ABC, FOX Sports, and Speed Channel. For more than a decade, I was also a tech director for 3 different non-denominational churches with congregation sizes between 800 and 5,000 members. I began using ProPresenter starting on version 3, and have used it consecutively in many production environments ever since. Additionally, I have spent the last decade running this website and consulting with organizations to help them find the right cameras and maximize their results. Learn more about Joel


ProPresenter Computer Buyer's Guide

ProPresenter is a powerful and feature‑rich presentation software developed by Renewed Vision for macOS and Windows.

Originally developed for houses of worship to display lyrics, slides, and media content, it has grown to be a more versatile application for corporate meetings, sporting events, conferences, concerts, education, theaters, live broadcasts, and more.

It includes a multi‑layered architecture that allows you to build complex and creative workflows and presentations with backgrounds, text, shapes, image files, video files, effects, and even live video inputs.

It supports up to eight discrete outputs, can provide alpha channels for keying, and supports custom resolutions and edge blending.

The Stage Display and multi‑viewer features give you the ability to create custom confidence displays with timers/countdowns, notes, slide previews, and even chord charts for on‑stage talent, speakers and presenters, and production personnel.

There is also abundant support for control inputs and outputs including MIDI, DMX, AMP, and RossTalk. As well as dynamic content solutions like web view and the ability to send messages to ProPresenter via web‑server.

All in all, ProPresenter is loaded with more features than most users will ever desire and the possibilities for its use are plentiful.

Processing

When choosing a computer system for ProPresenter, two key considerations are:

  1. The total number of pixels that require processing and output
  2. How much processing is required for every pixel

For example, outputs that only show a full screen image or a black background with static text will require substantially less processing power than outputs that are combining multiple layers or combining many different screens for a stage display or multi‑viewer.

Simply put, the more you ask ProPresenter to do the more power will be required.

The systems and configurations outlined in this list are a general representation of what to expect when it comes to output processing.

If you are expecting ProPresenter to handle more complicated tasks like multiple multi‑viewers, lots of custom animations or video effects, or alpha channels from video files then I highly recommend getting much more machine than you think is required.

HEADROOM is the keyword for all of this.

Outputs

There are three ways to output pixels from the computer that are generated by ProPresenter:

1. Graphics Outputs

Graphics outputs, also called native or desktop outputs, are fed directly from the computer's operating system and GPU. They are available via physical ports on the machine like HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, or USB‑C (that supports the DisplayPort standard).

The desktop background, desktop interface, application windows, mouse pointer, and screen savers can appear on any graphics output.

ProPresenter can utilize any graphics output seen by the operating system for output.

As an example, a computer that supports a total of three displays can have:

  1. One desktop output (for ProPresenter's control window/interface)
  2. One ProPresenter "audience" output
  3. One additional ProPresenter output - like a stage display or announcements screen

Keep in mind that a desktop monitor will always count towards the number of maximum supported displays for any computer system.

If the computer is a laptop, the specifications should clearly detail how many total display outputs are supported and whether or not the built‑in display counts towards that number.

2. Video Outputs

Video outputs are not native to the operating system or GPU. Therefore, they require additional third party hardware and drivers, and must be supported by developers and their applications.

They come in either internal PCIe or external Thunderbolt/USB form factors.

In general, the PCIe products can support one or many inputs/outputs while most Thunderbolt/USB products only support one input/output.

These products also include interfaces like SDI for seamless integration with professional video equipment like production switchers and routers.

Here are some important caveats that pertain to video outputs:

  1. Video outputs are not seen directly by the operating system so they cannot show the desktop or application windows without workarounds
  2. Video outputs will not show the mouse pointer or screen savers
  3. Video outputs do not count towards the computer's or GPU's maximum supported display outputs
  4. Video outputs only work with applications that support that specific piece of hardware and compatible drivers
  5. Video outputs still require the computer's GPU to generate the pixels and video information before being passed to the output(s)

Currently, Renewed Vision only supports video output from Blackmagic UltraStudio and Blackmagic DeckLink products.

3. NDI Outputs

NDI is a royalty‑free interface standard that enables video and audio content to be transferred over a standard IP network.

It is a compressed format that requires a necessary encoding/decoding process on each end of the signal.

It also requires proper wired (keyword) network infrastructure to work reliably. I recommend reading NewTek's NDI networking white paper to get an idea of best practices for implementing NDI over a network.

NDI‑compatible hardware decoders or software decoders are required to interface properly with ProPresenter NDI outputs.

Also be aware that ProPresenter currently only works with full bandwidth NDI, not NDI|HX.

A major catch with NDI is that it requires twice the processing compared to a graphic or video output.

Not only do the pixels need to be generated by the computer's GPU, but they also must be compressed into NDI's codec before being transmitted.

Therefore, I recommend treating each NDI output like two outputs to account for the extra processing required to compress the feed.

DisplayLink

DisplayLink uses a computer's CPU (not GPU) and USB ports to create additional display outputs.

These outputs are not counted as a standard graphics output and are therefore not considered in the total number of supported outputs.

However, it is important to know that DisplayLink adapters are not supported by Apple or Renewed Vision at all.

DisplayLink adapters are also not supported by yours truly.

So you're on your own if you choose this method.

Don't choose this method.

Considered yourself adequately warned.

Pixels Are Not Free

No matter what, remember that every pixel must be processed. This includes every graphics, video, and NDI output.

Plan accordingly.

Mirrored Outputs

If you require more than one projector or display to show the same content at all times, then it is always recommend to distribute (split) that signal after it is output from the ProPresenter computer or connected output hardware.

It rarely ever makes sense to ask the computer to duplicate pixels for an entire output. Remember, pixels are not free.

I recommend using SDI as much as possible. It is the industry standard for video distribution in professional video and production environments, and is clearly standardized for reliable distribution as well as transmission over long cable lengths.

If you choose to distribute HDMI, then I highly recommend using only powered HDMI distribution amplifiers from licensed and approved HDMI Adopter brands like Extron, Atlona, Kramer, or FSR that offer equalization and EDID management for every individual output.

And if you choose to use HDMI cables longer than 5 meters or 15 feet, I only recommend using ATC‑certified AOC fiber cables from licensed and approved HDMI Adopter brands like FSR, Kramer, or Gefen.

Live Streaming

Another feature offered by ProPresenter is live streaming directly from the application.

While this can be useful in some instances, it is not a solution I recommend using long‑term.

The live streaming features and settings are quite limited. And when a crash or issue does arise, you may lose multiple things all at once.

ProPresenter is presentation software, first and foremost. I suggest keeping it that way and finding other ways to stream.

In general, I almost always recommend using dedicated hardware for separate devices for separate tasks. This goes for things like switching cameras, overlaying graphics, recording video/audio, and encoding live streams.

USB‑C Display Adapters

Apple computers utilize the DisplayPort interface to provide graphics outputs via Thunderbolt/USB‑C ports.

However, there is a lot of confusion surrounding this interface and many USB‑C display adapters on the market simply do not meet all the proper standards.

In my experiences in many production environments, I have seen countless problems caused directly by poor quality USB‑C display adapters.

Often major problems, too...

Kernel panics, CPU usage skyrocketing, computers slowing to unusable speeds, power and stability issues spreading to other peripherals, constant display disconnects and dropouts, etc.

Therefore, if you are using an Apple computer with USB‑C ports then the only display adapter I recommend is the Apple USB‑C Digital AV Multiport Adapter or the Apple USB‑C VGA Multiport Adapter.

Yes, there are a few other reliable adapters out there. If you use them and have no problems... 🫡

However, Apple's adapters are the only ones I'm aware of that can receive direct firmware updates through macOS (at least that I'm aware of). This alone makes them a no‑brainer, in my opinion.

Need Help?

I understand choosing the right equipment can be daunting.

If you have any questions I will be happy to help.

Feel free to contact me at the link in the footer below.

✓ Link copied to clipboard