Hardware wise, how does an Air compare with a iMac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by iMacNoob, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    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?
  2. Moderator


    Staff Member

    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
  3. macrumors demi-god


    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.
  4. macrumors member

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


    So would a MBA be closer to a mac mini or there are hardware differences there also?
  5. macrumors demi-god


    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 which will give you all the hardware details of every Mac.
  6. Moderator


    Staff Member

    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
  7. macrumors 68000


    The iMac will eat your MBA for breakfast.
  8. macrumors member

    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.
  9. #9
    What are your computational needs?
  10. macrumors demi-god


    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.
  11. macrumors member

    Software development, both light stuff like Ruby and slower stuff like Java.
  12. macrumors 6502


    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.

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