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View Full Version : Consolidation (2 Mac's > 1 Mac) ?




nylon
Mar 13, 2012, 03:44 AM
I currently have 2 Mac's

- 2010 iMac Core i7 27" with SSD and HDD + DROBO
- 2010 Macbook Air C2D

All my documents sync via dropbox except for Media and iTunes/iPhoto libraries.

I travel a lot.

Does anyone have an opinion weather it is better to have 2 separate machines or would it be better to have only a monitor at home and plugin a portable when at home.

I am not a gamer nor a huge media hound though I do have large iTunes and iPhoto libraries. I highly value SSD's.

What are the pros and cons of having separate machines vs just a notebook with a display at home?



DenniZ
Mar 13, 2012, 04:06 AM
What size is your iMac? and it sounds pretty reasonable to use your laptop as your main computer, using the iMac when you need to do intensive tasks. I use my 11 inch mba i5 as my main machine.

Icaras
Mar 13, 2012, 04:13 AM
Yea, you can definitely have the Air as your main machine. You could sell your iMac for a 27" Thunderbolt display and just dock your MBA with it when you're at home from business.

You'd have to get an external drive though for your iTunes and iPhoto stuff though. But get a tiny 2.5" one and if you want to hide it for a clean look, check out the Twelvesouth backpack out: http://store.apple.com/us/product/TW851LL/A

If you're not needing the power, then I think one computer definitely simplifies things.

Xikum
Mar 13, 2012, 04:43 AM
If you ask me, you should be happy with what you have got. You have a laptop for travelling, and a powerful home computer if you ever need to do anything intensive. Is there really a point in changing that? It would just cost you more money, and I dont think there would be a benefit to it.

nylon
Mar 13, 2012, 05:26 AM
If you ask me, you should be happy with what you have got. You have a laptop for travelling, and a powerful home computer if you ever need to do anything intensive. Is there really a point in changing that? It would just cost you more money, and I dont think there would be a benefit to it.

I am happy with what I have got, however, I tend to be a minimalist and like to make things as efficient as possible. This is a constant process in my mind. It's annoying when you can't get a certain train of thought out of your mind.

Xikum
Mar 13, 2012, 08:15 AM
I am happy with what I have got, however, I tend to be a minimalist and like to make things as efficient as possible. This is a constant process in my mind. It's annoying when you can't get a certain train of thought out of your mind.

Then I think you have your answer then, no?

Personally I think its a waste of money changing anything; you have two great computers, but if you can't 'deal' with that, then it looks like you only have one choice.

iDutchman
Mar 13, 2012, 08:32 AM
I've gone from an maxed-out 2010 iMac 27" and 2011 11" Air to a different setup. Namely because, like you said, working with two different machines just isn't efficient.

I use an 27" Thunderbolt Display with my Air and I am more than happy! It feels the same as I'm looking at the same screen. And, I actually saved up around 700-800 euro's which I keep aside for Apple related goodies.

Ingot
Mar 13, 2012, 09:27 AM
If you ask me, you should be happy with what you have got. You have a laptop for travelling, and a powerful home computer if you ever need to do anything intensive. Is there really a point in changing that? It would just cost you more money, and I dont think there would be a benefit to it.

I quite agree. The money has been spent already. If money needs to be spent, set up a home server. I did and it has made my multiple computer house much easier to maintain.

nylon
Mar 13, 2012, 09:38 AM
Thanks for the input everyone. I guess I will bide my time and really mull over the options.

Icaras
Mar 13, 2012, 12:39 PM
I am happy with what I have got, however, I tend to be a minimalist and like to make things as efficient as possible. This is a constant process in my mind. It's annoying when you can't get a certain train of thought out of your mind.

I'm just like you then. I'm always on the thinking process of how to streamline my process and my setup, which is why I still think going one machine is the way to go. ;)

i don't understand why it was suggested that you would lose money? I think you'll actually come out in the end with a couple of hundred dollars in your pocket if you sold your iMac up for 27" Thunderbolt display. Research ebay on your particular model.

You still end up with the same amount of cables: 2. You retain the same size as your previous home display. But now you only have one OS to manage. The biggest reason that you only needed one machine that I got from your original post is that you do not game and that you didn't specify any pro apps that require heavy duty processor crunching. If you're only managing documents then I assume the iMac's power is probably just going to waste. Managing only one OS and one hard drive (+ external) is more minimal in my opinion.

nylon
Mar 14, 2012, 02:12 AM
I think I will wait to see what kind of hardware updates roll out this year before consolidation.

thelookingglass
Mar 14, 2012, 08:31 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9B179 Safari/7534.48.3)

I can understand OP's point of view and am considering the same move. Doesn't make sense to have both a laptop and a desktop these days when just the laptop and a monitor would cover all based.

My question is this: is it still a concern to keep a laptop plugged in all of the time or is this considered old school thinking these days?

NutsNGum
Mar 14, 2012, 08:48 AM
I've gone from an maxed-out 2010 iMac 27" and 2011 11" Air to a different setup. Namely because, like you said, working with two different machines just isn't efficient.

I use an 27" Thunderbolt Display with my Air and I am more than happy! It feels the same as I'm looking at the same screen. And, I actually saved up around 700-800 euro's which I keep aside for Apple related goodies.

I was looking for someone with this setup to ask this question, as I've just bought a TB display and am finding that it's unlikely I'm going to need the 17" Pro to the same extent anymore.

How is the 11" at driving the display? Is it noticeably laggy? I'm keen to go lighter again for portability and I really don't think I need the power of the MBP.

tootall
Mar 14, 2012, 08:49 AM
I have a similar setup iMac 27" + MBA 13" and I find it is the perfect combination. The iMac has a large HD (I don't own a Drobo) that backs up via Time Machine and has all my apps installed (both useful and superfluous). My MBA is more streamlined just with the necessary apps. I carry it to work and when traveling. Both are synched via dropbox using SuperFlexibleSynchronizer.

I have the best of both worlds (processing intensive and portability). Plus when I am at home and want to work in another room or outside, I just pickup my MBA without having to disconnect anything.

I also love simplicity but I guess I accept some redundancy! :D

iDutchman
Mar 14, 2012, 09:05 AM
I was looking for someone with this setup to ask this question, as I've just bought a TB display and am finding that it's unlikely I'm going to need the 17" Pro to the same extent anymore.

How is the 11" at driving the display? Is it noticeably laggy? I'm keen to go lighter again for portability and I really don't think I need the power of the MBP.

The 11" is just perfect. Not lag at all. Period.

I also watch 10-20GB .mkv Blueray rips on the Thunderbolt Display which are one of the most intense and it plays them as if they were made for this machine. Flawlessly.

Being ultra portable but still being able to deliver a great desktop experience when at home did the trick for me. Best combo in my opinion IMO.

NutsNGum
Mar 14, 2012, 09:15 AM
The 11" is just perfect. Not lag at all. Period.

I also watch 10-20GB .mkv Blueray rips on the Thunderbolt Display which are one of the most intense and it plays them as if they were made for this machine. Flawlessly.

Being ultra portable but still being able to deliver a great desktop experience when at home did the trick for me. Best combo in my opinion IMO.

Thanks for the response man, I'm going to take a look into this!

entatlrg
Mar 14, 2012, 09:34 AM
NutsNGum - best thing to do is put your 17" away for a few days and try your 11" out the with TBD, (please post your results).

I don't have the same experience with the 11" and TBD as some have written here. The problem - roaring fans, lag and heat. In the 11" size I've bought three total for myself and my staff, a 2010 and two 2011's, one i5 and one i7 so far, 4GB ram of course.

While hooked up to the display it takes nothing to speed up the fans, if you push the machine a little there is lag for sure. It seems the machine is almost working too hard or being pushed too much. Why people here don't experience it I don't understand, but we're 3 for 3 here.

The 13" MBA handles the TBD better, takes longer for the fans to roar up and they're not as loud and the lag is almost unnoticeable, again why I don't know.

I used this set up for a while and ended up buying a 17" MBP to go with my Air. Reasons being, less fan noise and no lag whatsoever. Also, I like to use a larger screen and not be locked to a desk or one set place to work, the 17" solves that.

If I was going to go back to a one computer system I'd have to choose the 13" Air.

Interested to see what your results are and what you end up doing.

NutsNGum
Mar 14, 2012, 10:06 AM
NutsNGum - best thing to do is put your 17" away for a few days and try your 11" out the with TBD, (please post your results).

I don't have the same experience with the 11" and TBD as some have written here. The problem - roaring fans, lag and heat. In the 11" size I've bought three total for myself and my staff, a 2010 and two 2011's, one i5 and one i7 so far, 4GB ram of course.

If I was going to go back to a one computer system I'd have to choose the 13" Air.

Interested to see what your results are and what you end up doing.

That's a fair point actually.

I don't do anything particularly strenuous with 'em, but I did notice when I had the 11" and 13" previously, that the 13" did certain UI things more smoothly, such as scrolling in Word documents and things of that ilk.

Also, the 11" did seem to struggle a bit with the iPad simulator in XCode on its own screen, I can imagine running it on the TB display might be problematic. Did you try it in clamshell mode, Entatlrg, if so, did it make any difference?

Might be worth waiting a month to see if the Ivy Bridge ones land and that'd give me a chance to check out the HD4000.

iDutchman
Mar 14, 2012, 10:37 AM
NutsNGum - best thing to do is put your 17" away for a few days and try your 11" out the with TBD, (please post your results).

I don't have the same experience with the 11" and TBD as some have written here. The problem - roaring fans, lag and heat. In the 11" size I've bought three total for myself and my staff, a 2010 and two 2011's, one i5 and one i7 so far, 4GB ram of course.

While hooked up to the display it takes nothing to speed up the fans, if you push the machine a little there is lag for sure. It seems the machine is almost working too hard or being pushed too much. Why people here don't experience it I don't understand, but we're 3 for 3 here.

The 13" MBA handles the TBD better, takes longer for the fans to roar up and they're not as loud and the lag is almost unnoticeable, again why I don't know.

I used this set up for a while and ended up buying a 17" MBP to go with my Air. Reasons being, less fan noise and no lag whatsoever. Also, I like to use a larger screen and not be locked to a desk or one set place to work, the 17" solves that.

If I was going to go back to a one computer system I'd have to choose the 13" Air.

Interested to see what your results are and what you end up doing.

I must totally disagree. I actually never have fan sound. They only become louder when playing those MKV's. Otherwise I never notice any fan noise. If I were to think of moments of 'lag', I'd say it must be when I want to switch between different screen (with the new 4-finger swipe feature). It is close to as smooth as silk but you can see some delay if you watch carefully.

I have heard of people have different experiences, so it could vary from MacBook Air to MacBook Air. But mine is perfect and is deadsilent!;)

entatlrg
Mar 14, 2012, 08:15 PM
I tried it again this evening, connected the 11" to the TBD and then the 13" Air. Both are i7's, 4GB ram ...

Again, the 11's fan spin up faster and louder and there's more lag compared to the 13". So far the 13" is handling the TBD flawlessly.

I thought I'd like an external display as it turned out mine doesn't get used often, main reason is I don't like being tied to a desk or one set area to work. Also with a glossy display in the a 27" size you get a LOT of refection, even the shiny black edge around it reflects like a mirror. It's no go for my home office, three of the walls are glass and there's no way I can make any glossy display work.

I wish the 27" display had a antiglare option, it's necessary for anyone working with bright light behind them and it's not easy to move around to find a good spot like I can with a laptop.

This is why I prefer my 17" MBP and Air combo, best of both worlds while still being portable and I avoid the super glossy glass display.

entatlrg
Mar 17, 2012, 10:19 PM
I was looking for someone with this setup to ask this question, as I've just bought a TB display and am finding that it's unlikely I'm going to need the 17" Pro to the same extent anymore.

How is the 11" at driving the display? Is it noticeably laggy? I'm keen to go lighter again for portability and I really don't think I need the power of the MBP.

Hey NutsNGum, How's it going with the 11" and TBD? How are you finding the performance and convenience of plugging/unplugging. Think you're going to prefer that set up over your 17"?

I've been trying different set ups as well and do like to have the luxury of having a mobile large screen, the 17" suits perfectly. Otherwise the only time I'd get to use a larger display is when I'm at my desk with the 27". Still I think I do my best work away from a desk so the 17" screen has won me over.

For example in today's unusual heat wave I sat on our deck with my 17" and a laptop table overlooking the water ... the other choice would of been spending hours staring at an 11 or 13" screen or in my den in front of the 27".

I'd like to use one computer for simplicity but the advantages, freedom and extra productivity I get from the 17" make it worthwhile. Although my Air for couch surfing, quick emails, traveling can't be beat.

Plus with my Air the fans spin up, its loud and sounds like its really being pushed when hooked up to the 27" working in photoshop, AI, browsing photo's, video, even using Word at times.

A 17" MBA is something I'd buy right away, a 15" Air not so much ...

NutsNGum
Mar 18, 2012, 04:05 AM
snip

Hey man, I haven't gotten round to it. I think I might forego it for the time being as there seems to be a few rumours springing up about new Pros. So I think I'm going to wait and see what they look like before I go downsizing. A thin and powerful 13" with a hi res display would be a winner in my book.

entatlrg
Mar 18, 2012, 08:19 PM
So you might go with an updated 13" MBP and TBD as your set up?

Do you use your 17" MBP much now or your Air/TBD combo? To my surprise I use my 17" more than I expected unless I'm travelling then I use the Air. It's the screen that wins more over.

NutsNGum
Mar 19, 2012, 08:14 AM
So you might go with an updated 13" MBP and TBD as your set up?

Do you use your 17" MBP much now or your Air/TBD combo? To my surprise I use my 17" more than I expected unless I'm travelling then I use the Air. It's the screen that wins more over.

I'm looking at that, yes. If they get an upgraded display and an SSD, it'll be a no-brainer. Possibly a 15", so I've got something that fits in my bag again, at the moment the 17" is going in a gigantic sack type thing.

I do love the 17" though, it's a great machine, but The TBD is definitely nice to have as an option, and I'd like to take advantage of it as a docking station.

entatlrg
Mar 20, 2012, 01:01 AM
I didn't realize you were moving around with your 17, makes sense now. My Air goes with me, the 17" stays mostly in my home office.

NutsNGum
Apr 2, 2012, 08:59 AM
I didn't realize you were moving around with your 17, makes sense now. My Air goes with me, the 17" stays mostly in my home office.

Just bought a refurb 11", gonna give it another go... :o

njean777
Apr 2, 2012, 11:05 AM
I would just keep both machines and wait till the imac breaks. No use in getting rid of it just for a huge monitor as it will be almost as having the same exact set-up.