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classicaliberal
Mar 29, 2012, 12:10 PM
When the new Notebooks and iMacs come out, I'm going to need to decide what setup I want to get. I'm trying to decide between the following options:

1) New iMac w/ 2TB Hard Drive and backup 2TB Thunderbolt Hard Drive
2) New Macbook Air w/ Apple Thunderbolt display, 2TB Thunderbolt HD, and backup 2TB Thunderbolt HD

I estimate that The Air setup would cost about $300-400 more.
I would gain flexibility of taking my air to other locations, travelig, etc.
I would lose processor speed. How much?
I would gain OS HD speed. (the OS would be on the internal flash drive, right?)

Looking for thoughts and opinions.



Tomorrow
Mar 29, 2012, 12:22 PM
You'd lose a Superdrive and some USB ports, as well as the ability to upgrade your RAM. If you're okay with that, if you need the portability, and you don't mind spending the extra cash, it sounds like a fine setup to me.

jj48
Mar 29, 2012, 12:24 PM
When the new Notebooks and iMacs come out, I'm going to need to decide what setup I want to get. I'm trying to decide between the following options:

1) New iMac w/ 2TB Hard Drive and backup 2TB Thunderbolt Hard Drive
2) New Macbook Air w/ Apple Thunderbolt display, 2TB Thunderbolt HD, and backup 2TB Thunderbolt HD

I estimate that The Air setup would cost about $300-400 more.
I would gain flexibility of taking my air to other locations, travelig, etc.
I would lose processor speed. How much?
I would gain OS HD speed. (the OS would be on the internal flash drive, right?)

Looking for thoughts and opinions.

It's hard to offer sound advice without knowing your general day-to-day usage of your set-up. I would normally say the MBA is a fantastic device and can handle a lot more taxing tasks than some people give it credit for. However seeing as how I assume the portability isn't much of an issue (seeing as how the iMac is an option for you) I would say go for the iMac. I feel that option is better value for money - and if a couple of years down the road you feel like you need the portability buy a refurb base 11" air with the $400 (and another $400 or so extra). Then you'll have the best of both worlds.

elmo151
Mar 29, 2012, 12:26 PM
wait until they are in the stores; talk to a genius, then make your decision.

it won't be much longer

classicaliberal
Mar 29, 2012, 12:30 PM
You'd lose a Superdrive and some USB ports, as well as the ability to upgrade your RAM. If you're okay with that, if you need the portability, and you don't mind spending the extra cash, it sounds like a fine setup to me.

I don't think I would lose any ports because of the thunderbolt display?
Good point to consider with the RAM. How much RAM do you think the new AIRS will allow?


It's hard to offer sound advice without knowing your general day-to-day usage of your set-up..

I use my computer mostly for Photos, and Video editing. Obviously web browsing and email, etc. but that's simple stuff. I do iMovie a lot... tons of video and photos of the kids you know. ;)

Good point on the $400 saved. Could get an iPad to go along with the iMac.

What about the SD hard drive on the Air though? How does that affect the performance vs. the iMacs faster processor and more RAM?

Tomorrow
Mar 29, 2012, 02:16 PM
I don't think I would lose any ports because of the thunderbolt display?
Good point to consider with the RAM. How much RAM do you think the new AIRS will allow?

MacBook Air has two USB ports and one Thunderbolt port. It comes with either 2 or 4 Gb of RAM and is not upgradeable.

iMac has four USB ports, one FireWire port, and one or two Thunderbolt ports. It comes with 4 Gb of RAM and can be upgraded up to either 8 or 16 Gb.

classicaliberal
Mar 29, 2012, 02:55 PM
MacBook Air has two USB ports and one Thunderbolt port. It comes with either 2 or 4 Gb of RAM and is not upgradeable.

iMac has four USB ports, one FireWire port, and one or two Thunderbolt ports. It comes with 4 Gb of RAM and can be upgraded up to either 8 or 16 Gb.


Right, but like I said... the Air setup uses the Thunderbolt display... which has 3 more usb ports, a FW800 Port, Thunderbolt port for daisychaining, etc. Doesn't seem like there's any substantial connectivity difference between the two options.

Will come down to portability vs. speed/performance I guess.
My biggest question now is how the Air's Flash HD effects performance vs. the iMac's extra Ram and Processor.

DenniZ
Mar 29, 2012, 03:42 PM
I'd say depends on your needs.

iMac 27 is just a decent computer stuffed within the Thunderbolt display. You can still use a iMac as an external monitor for the MBA. I'd say get the iMac first see if you do need the portability. Then buy a refurb air as its going to be relatively cheap. In the UK the £300-400 premium for getting a iMac 27 vs getting a apple display means you might as well spend the extra, because the display is lovely.

classicaliberal
Mar 29, 2012, 03:45 PM
I'd say depends on your needs.

iMac 27 is just a decent computer stuffed within the Thunderbolt display. You can still use a iMac as an external monitor for the MBA. I'd say get the iMac first see if you do need the portability. Then buy a refurb air as its going to be relatively cheap. In the UK the £300-400 premium for getting a iMac 27 vs getting a apple display means you might as well spend the extra, because the display is lovely.

One point of clarification... Isn't the Thunderbolt Display actually significantly better quality than the iMac?

DenniZ
Mar 29, 2012, 03:52 PM
One point of clarification... Isn't the Thunderbolt Display actually significantly better quality than the iMac?

Couldn't say unless their side by side, but their the same size and resolution so I couldn't see too much of a difference. They probably have the same speakers too.

If you can try and find a student who will get you some discount and cheaper extended warranty.

wrinkster22
Mar 29, 2012, 03:55 PM
One point of clarification... Isn't the Thunderbolt Display actually significantly better quality than the iMac?

The TBD and iMac are the exact same display.

classicaliberal
Mar 29, 2012, 04:10 PM
The TBD and iMac are the exact same display.

Really!?! I didn't know that... I thought the iMacs where all cheaper TN panels, and the Thunderbolts were the more expensive (and accurate) IPS panels? Is this not the case anymore?

bogatyr
Mar 29, 2012, 04:18 PM
Really!?! I didn't know that... I thought the iMacs where all cheaper TN panels, and the Thunderbolts were the more expensive (and accurate) IPS panels? Is this not the case anymore?

The iMac display looks great from any seat in the house, thanks to a premium display technology called in-plane switching (IPS). IPS gives you a bright picture with excellent color — even if you’re viewing the display from the side.
http://www.apple.com/imac/features.html#displays

wrinkster22
Mar 29, 2012, 05:59 PM
Really!?! I didn't know that... I thought the iMacs where all cheaper TN panels, and the Thunderbolts were the more expensive (and accurate) IPS panels? Is this not the case anymore?

I do not think that ever was the case- or at least for the last 6 years.

jiholl
Mar 29, 2012, 07:37 PM
Hi..Im debating the imac vs air and thunderbolt display as well. I dont do anything "heavy" so I think im fine with the air, but to me there is a subjective factor to this decision too. The imac is beautiful and yes can be equipped far more powerfully...BUT it "feels" somewhat "ordinary" in the mac world. The air is such amazing design as is the T Display. Having that set up also, as you point out, gives you the option of portability if needed/desired. This may sound lazy, but I also like the idea that, if needed, its so much easier to carry the air into the apple store for support than the imac. So bottom line to me, the air/display setup seems more interesting than the imac..a great, but mainstream device.

KohPhiPhi
Mar 30, 2012, 04:19 AM
I use my computer mostly for Photos, and Video editing. Obviously web browsing and email, etc. but that's simple stuff. I do iMovie a lot... tons of video and photos of the kids you know. ;)

You have your answer right there: if you're going to do heavy video editing, the MBA is not the optimal choice.

classicaliberal
Mar 30, 2012, 10:39 AM
Thanks for all of the replies so far - I'm still interested in the Macbook Air's SSD vs the iMac's Hard Drive. Can anyone tell me how this affects performance vs. the iMac's memory advantage and processor advantage for something like video editing, opening applications, or photo browsing in iPhoto?

Hamburger
Mar 30, 2012, 01:39 PM
I don't know whether you need a full computer for portability.
If so, the Air plus TBD combo appears to be the best, and if 4GB RAM are fine for you.
If not, how about an iMac plus iPad combo?

jiholl
Mar 30, 2012, 02:01 PM
Have you considered ordering BTO from Apple and getting the iMac with an ssd?

Tomorrow
Mar 30, 2012, 02:10 PM
Thanks for all of the replies so far - I'm still interested in the Macbook Air's SSD vs the iMac's Hard Drive. Can anyone tell me how this affects performance vs. the iMac's memory advantage and processor advantage for something like video editing, opening applications, or photo browsing in iPhoto?

Video editing is both RAM and processor-intensive. The iMac may have a slight advantage there, if you boost your RAM up to the max. If you stick with the base of 4 Gb and compare it to a MBA with the same amount, I can't imagine there being a noticeable difference.

Opening applications will definitely be faster with an SSD. But keep in mind you can get that in an iMac, too.

Photo browsing in iPhoto isn't particularly taxing on the system, IMO, but a faster drive would probably help you more than more RAM or processor.

jmoore5196
Mar 30, 2012, 03:30 PM
I actually have both in different locations. I have a 27" quad-core i7 iMac and a TBD with a 2011 MBA. For what I do - which is seldom video-intensive - both are fine machines. The displays, as a previous poster said, are coequal; you can't go wrong with either.

The one little problem with the MBA/TBD setup is that the Thunderbolt port and MagSafe power port are on opposite sides on an MBA. I use a TwelveSouth BookArc and keep the Air in clamshell mode (with no fan issues, incidentally) but I always feel the leads are stretching to reach both sides. This is purely a design or aesthetic issue and has no effect on performance.

If I had to lose one setup and clone another, I'd probably clone the MBA with TBD. There's a lot to be said for portability; in my view, that outweighs the extra cost. I'd also stress that I'd probably wait until the MBAs are refreshed ... the one thing I really miss is the 1TB HDD in the iMac, and a 512GB SSD would go a long way toward remedying any deficiency I might feel with the Air.

classicaliberal
May 16, 2012, 09:11 AM
After thinking about this quite a bit, I think my best bet might be the following:

iMac w/ 2TB + SSD for OS
This will give me the HD speed advantage of the Air, while at the same time allowing me to have the processor and RAM of the iMac. Right now, because of the extra SSD, this setup is actually more expensive than the Air/TBD option I mentioned in the OP... but when the new iMacs are released hopefully they'll reduce the price of the SSD option.

The Air/TBD setup is so appealing from a 'pick it up and travel, bring it back for luxury' point of view... but the need to have all major content on external HD's just doesn't seem very practical I guess.

Then, I' think I'll just add an iPad for mobile work. Seems to be the best of both worlds for me.

If I didn't need so much storage space, I think I'd prefer the Air setup... HD video is just so incredibly space-intensive!! Might have to actually get the 3TB option if it's available. ;)

Boyd01
May 16, 2012, 09:20 AM
Seems like this should really be a very simple choice. Do you need a laptop? If not, there really isn't much reason to get the MBA.

FWIW, I went from a 2004 dual G5 to a 2008 15" MBP to a 2011 MBA i5/4GB/256GB. I have a Sony XDCAM EX and edit video in FCP 6 (not as much as I used to). The MBA is much faster for this than my 2008 MBP, and also much faster than a 24" 2009 iMac that I used extensively for video editing.

I'm sure the new quad core iMacs will be better for video if that is your primary need. But I'm surprised how well the MBA works for my own type of use. I have an old 23" Apple HD Cinema Display hooked up to my MBA for use at home, and a powered 7 port USB hub works fine for all my different devices.

classicaliberal
May 16, 2012, 09:43 AM
Seems like this should really be a very simple choice. Do you need a laptop? If not, there really isn't much reason to get the MBA.

FWIW, I went from a 2004 dual G5 to a 2008 15" MBP to a 2011 MBA i5/4GB/256GB. I have a Sony XDCAM EX and edit video in FCP 6 (not as much as I used to). The MBA is much faster for this than my 2008 MBP, and also much faster than a 24" 2009 iMac that I used extensively for video editing.

I'm sure the new quad core iMacs will be better for video if that is your primary need. But I'm surprised how well the MBA works for my own type of use. I have an old 23" Apple HD Cinema Display hooked up to my MBA for use at home, and a powered 7 port USB hub works fine for all my different devices.

It's not quite as simple as you make it sound.

1) You don't buy a computer solely on how they perform TODAY with TODAY'S software. Apple is CONSTANTLY updating software with fancier graphics and transitions and new features which inevitably require higher spec'd machines to run efficiently. My old 1GHZ lamp-style iMac was GREAT at editing video... but then again iMovie is slightly different than it used to be, isn't it? Same with scrolling through thousands of photos in iPhoto.

2) Laptops aren't just for people that 'NEED' them... sometimes they're for people who 'WANT' them. Having the flexibility to pick up the machine and easily transport it from place to place is a benefit, just like a larger HD is a benefit, and a faster processor is a benefit. When I choose a machine whether it's a computer or a car... I weight the benefits and the negatives against each other. Now, I will say one thing... if you 'need' a laptop, then the choice becomes simple. That's not the case here.

Boyd01
May 16, 2012, 11:55 AM
Regarding #1, if you are trying the "future proof" your investment then I'd say the MBA is a poor choice. Non expandable RAM, SSD maxes out a 256GB (or 480GB for third party for a lot of $$$). Seems like a MBP would be a better choice if this is a major concern.

Personally, I looked at the decision in the context of what I was upgrading from - a 2008 MBP. My MBA is much faster at everything I do. And using it on the desktop with the Apple extended keyboard and Cinema Display gives me everything I need at home.

If I start doing big video projects again, I will probably want some kind of desktop system with higher performance and more RAM. But for now, I'm very happy with the MBA.

Beanoir
May 16, 2012, 02:10 PM
How about both?

I have both, and I use them equally as much as each other but for different tasks and wouldn't want to be without either, in fact if you asked me which i'd have to get rid of first it'd be a difficult decision.

How about, go with the iMac for now. You say the MBA option would cost you about $400 more, I make the assumption you have the extra cash there. Save up for a few more months or whatever until you can afford the base model MBA and bingo, you have the best of both worlds?