Desktop Vs. Laptop for abnormal computing needs

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by 12dylan34, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    So I do motion graphics, which means a lot of 3D work. Usually a "buy the fastest machine that you can afford and still not fast enough" sort of situation.

    I've been planning on getting a specced out iMac for almost 9 months now, but the wait has killed me. The speculation of the wait now extending into 2013 has caused me to question my decision.

    I'm now seriously considering just getting a specced out rMBP. I do have an old 2008 MacBook Pro, which is a good machine, and virtually all the parts in it are new. Until now, I've used the argument, "I don't need another laptop because I have one that functions well already," though I do really benefit from portability. On the other hand, having a superior graphics card and included large screen in the iMac is a big plus.

    Should I continue to wait for the iMac?

    As a side note, I do have access to some very powerful computers at work that I'm able to use for rendering personal stuff, though rendering is often a later step in the process. A good GPU is required for animation and working with a lot of geometry, which I'm not sure the rMBP will be very good at.

    I think it comes down to: laptop: portable, but do a lot of my work sitting around the office, or desktop and be able to most of my personal work at home. Honestly, I would prefer to do work at home, but portability is also important to me.

    Maybe there's not a good answer to my question, but what do you guys think?
  2. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I never understood why people "need" a laptop even when they spend 99% of their work time at a desk in an office.

    Yeah okay you can take it home or bring it to work blah blah.

    Get a Best-specced rMBP and stuff as much third-party ram in it as you can. And be done with it.

    You can only upgrade RAM on the 27" iMac, and the new iMacs wont ship until next year no matter what.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    May 9, 2012
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    rMBP ram cannot be user upgraded. :confused:
  4. macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    Doesn't sound like you need a new machine. Your own logic is sound. Wait until next year.

    If your will caves and you've just gotta buy, sell the '08 and use it to subsidize a maxed out rMBP. Neither the rMBP nor the iMac are upgradable but at least the laptop is portable.
  5. macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    To make.....

    an informed decision or educated guess I will try to get benchmarks/data of the current graphics options both in the iMac and the rMBP. If not available for the actual cards, maybe for the generation inmediately before them. Much better if that info covers you 3D app for rendering.

  6. macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2006
    Why not go MP? If you are in need of serious 3D work, the difference between iMac and rMBP is neglectable compared to the base power and the extensibility of the MP. As suggested above, just wait until next year when the new iMac arrives and also the new MP will be released.

    I find portable overrated as well unless your work in a dynamic environment which your case doesn't sound like.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    An alternative is to go with a thunderbolt equipped laptop and a thunderbolt PCIe enclosure with a high-end graphics card installed.

    One nice rig for graphics/3D work is a rMBP with a thunderbolt enclosure holding a graphics card. You get the portability and a decent dedicated GPU in the rMBP models. Then when working at home/office you can plug in to a higher-powered GPU for rendering out. The multiple thunderbolt ports and the HDMI port give you options for 2+ external displays.

    Though I have used a Mac Pro in the past when I have needed compute power there is no way I would put money into the current Mac Pro line. For my use, the performance isn't sufficient to make up for the mark-up. But my work-loads are easy to split across multiple machines. Other work-loads are better suited for a single machine.
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    I think you're right that waiting really is the better option. And make no mistake, I do need a new machine to continue to work on personal projects, but I guess that's not super important for the time being. As for the Mac Pro, I wish that I could afford one, but I really can't swing $10,000 at the moment. The slowness for even doing 2D animation in After Effects for me on my 2008 is growing increasingly frustrating.

    I'm working with 4GB of RAM on something more suited for 16-32GB, not to mention the processor.

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