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View Full Version : Hardware wise, how does an Air compare with a iMac?




iMacNoob
Jul 8, 2013, 03:49 PM
Since iMac's are so thin, is it pretty much a laptop stuck to a Monitor :)

I'm sure I am simplifying things, but I have heard/read that the iMac is more powerful than the laptop lineup, but can someone explain to me how a iMac would differ from a i7 8GB ram MBA?

Is it 2ndary cache or something?



maflynn
Jul 8, 2013, 03:54 PM
The MBA uses a slower dual core processor due to its long battery life, so while it has the Haswell chipset, its not as powerful. The iMac uses a quad core process that is very fast. The MBA uses an integrated GPU, where as the iMac has a discrete GPU - again faster and more powerful. Then there's the storage and ram capabilities of the iMac over the MBA.

I like the MBA but from a performance and upgrade perspective the iMac wins out

SandboxGeneral
Jul 8, 2013, 04:02 PM
Everything maflynn said.

But really the two are almost incomparable because one is a large desktop model and the other an ultra thin portable model. While they both compute, they're designed for two different environments/uses. They both perform well in their own class of computers.

iMacNoob
Jul 8, 2013, 04:08 PM
The MBA uses a slower dual core processor due to its long battery life, so while it has the Haswell chipset, its not as powerful. The iMac uses a quad core process that is very fast. The MBA uses an integrated GPU, where as the iMac has a discrete GPU - again faster and more powerful. Then there's the storage and ram capabilities of the iMac over the MBA.

I like the MBA but from a performance and upgrade perspective the iMac wins out

Meaning the iMac can handle more RAM if you so want? I think the MBA tops out at 8GB.

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So would a MBA be closer to a mac mini or there are hardware differences there also?

SandboxGeneral
Jul 8, 2013, 04:11 PM
The latest 27" iMac can accept up to 32GB of RAM, while the latest MBA 13" comes in 4GB or 8GB.

Check out this free app, MacTracker (http://www.mactracker.ca/) which will give you all the hardware details of every Mac.

maflynn
Jul 8, 2013, 04:12 PM
[/COLOR]So would a MBA be closer to a mac mini or there are hardware differences there also?
In a sense yes, but I think you're mixing apples and oranges. If you need a mobile solution the MBA is a great computer. If you need a desktop solution then the iMac is the choice

Ddyracer
Jul 8, 2013, 04:18 PM
The iMac will eat your MBA for breakfast.

iMacNoob
Jul 8, 2013, 04:19 PM
I would get the iMAC but I hate the glossy screen, so that's why I want to get a MBA and connect a different monitor to it, or even a mac mini.

simsaladimbamba
Jul 8, 2013, 04:20 PM
What are your computational needs?

SandboxGeneral
Jul 8, 2013, 04:20 PM
I would get the iMAC but I hate the glossy screen, so that's why I want to get a MBA and connect a different monitor to it, or even a mac mini.

In that case I'd go with a Mac mini as it's designed to be a desktop model and will have more power than the MacBook Air.

iMacNoob
Jul 8, 2013, 04:27 PM
What are your computational needs?

Software development, both light stuff like Ruby and slower stuff like Java.

jmoore5196
Jul 8, 2013, 04:48 PM
I would say the new iMac screens are a vast improvement over the old ... I've been favorably impressed.

You are, of course, paying a premium for a rather serious hardware bump.

I'm using my 2011 15" MacBook Pro in place of my just-sold 2009 QC i7 iMac, and don't feel like I'm missing out on much. But the MBP has an SSD, which makes it capable enough. And I have a Thunderbolt display, so I have the 27" screen and connectivity from my iMac.

I think it would be very hard to go from a current-generation iMac to a MBA. The iMac is a genuine step up, but it's hard to shove in a backpack.