iMac / Mac Pro / MBP ? Please help!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Sonic, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. Sonic macrumors regular

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    #1
    Okay, so as a longtime obsessive reader of MR this is my first proper post. I am in desperate need of advice!

    I was holding out for the results of WWDC and / or Merom announcement in order to make my final purchasing decision. I'm amazed I managed to resist reaching into my wallet this long, but the time has come where I can wait no longer!

    My Ti Powerbook 1ghz died today, my trusty sidekick for nearly four years... As I am a pro user, I can no longer afford to wait beyond the announcements next Monday.

    I'm considering either:

    a) MBP 17 inch
    b) iMac 20 inch
    c) bottom end mac pro (my guess is a 2.3Ghz-ish Conroe)

    I am a music producer, using Logic Audio, so my requirements of a new machine are these...

    Essential:

    - speed, and lots of it. Yes I've scraped by with my PB G4 for a good while, but every day it gets more excrutiating. The way plugins are going I have long since fallen behind, ever waiting for the elusive PB G5. Will the MBP / iMac be fast enough? How do the speeds of MBP compare to the iMac? Is the iMac drive much faster than the MBP?

    - connectivity. My worry with the iMac is it lacks FW 800, something I'd really like as audio requires decent HD speed, and I already have an external drive which I'm running slow on FW 400. I could live without FW 800, but it's pretty high priority.

    - Windows (this is a feature that really excites me about Intel Macs)

    - [edit] screen estate. I'm tired of scrolling around logic to see the full channel strip. This discounts the 15" MBP (as does its relative bad value compared to the 17")

    Non-essential (would be nice):

    - portability (I've loved my PB for this reason, as I've travelled a hell of a lot in the past few years, but if I buy a desktop this time I would be quite happy to later on buy a Merom Macbook non-Pro for this purpose)
    - Good Win XP gaming ability.
    - FW 800
    - card slots for things like pro-audio DSP (ie Mac Pro)
    - large onboard HD, SATA (discounts the MBP)

    I know this is a lot of info to take in, and undoubtedly there will be more to consider if any upgrades are announced (although I can't wait more than say two weeks, and if that means missing Core2 machines, so be it...) Any advice would be so much appreciated... thanks for taking the time to consider my dillema!
     
  2. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #2
    Are you not better posting this question after WWDC? Or why not buy an MBP17" now if the need is urgent?
     
  3. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

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    #3
    Well, WWDC is in three days, and they should announce any new products then, so if you can hold out that long, you might be in luck. I would say wait and see what the Mac Pro has to offer, and then weigh it against the MBP and the iMac.

    All three choices will be very speedy compared to a 1Ghz G4. You'll probably get more performance from the Mac Pro than the MBP and the iMac (which are rather evenly matched, I'd say). The main downside with the Mac Pro will be price, considering you'll need to get a monitor as well.
     
  4. Sonic thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    Hi livingfortoday,
    Thanks for the advice. The only thing that troubles me is the probability that anything announced at WWDC will take a while to become available in the shops. Every day that goes by is a day less work done. I'm obviously going to wait until Monday, and as you say see what the MacPro has to offer, but re: iMac vs MBP 17" which would be 'meatier' for audio duties?
    Sonic.
     
  5. s0x™ macrumors member

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    #5
    Are all the new product's announced on Monday @ WWDC ?...secondly if the MBP was updated...would it be more expensive than the current prices?
     
  6. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

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    #6
    Well, the 17" MBP has a faster processor and a better screen resolution than the 17" iMac, and if you get the 7200rpm drive you'd pretty much be beating it in all departments. The iMac and the MBP are pretty much the same machine, portability withstanding. Of course, a 17" MBP will cost twice as much as a 17" iMac. It kind of depends on your budget. If I were you, I would compare the two spec for spec (processor speed, RAM, HD speed and size) and make a decision that way. For audio you'll want lots of HD speed and size (advantage iMac), though a higher-res screen would help you fit more stuff on (advantage MBP).
     
  7. Sonic thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Hmm, well I was considering a fully upgraded 20" iMac - which tops the MBP on screen estate I think. Also isn't the iMac's HD an SATA - another big advantage?
    The iMac's looking good... With just a slight drop in CPU speed, it pretty much matches.

    @ anyone reading this...

    Have you experienced the difference between FW800 and 400? Is it significant?
     
  8. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

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    #8
    The iMac does have the bigger screen, but it has the same resolution as the MBP.

    The MBP also uses a SATA drive, too, so there's no real advantage there. The big advantage the iMac has is the hard drive capacity, as you can get it BTO with a 500GB drive, versus 120GB for the MBP. Of course, if you're looking at external drives anyways, things even out more.
     
  9. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #9
    I would be angling for a new MacBook Pro and get a 3/4 express FW 800 card.
     
  10. Sonic thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Hmmm, well in some ways I do just crave the feel of a desktop once more, as I am in a more permanent situation right now, and I'm kind of tired of being hunched over my laptop. I'm definitely getting more inclined towards the iMac, but am worried about Merom/Conroe making it a badly-timed purchase, as chances of upgrading are slim. If the Mac Pro delivers on the bottom spec of 1999USD, then I could happily buy a 24" Dell widescreen (strangely cheap here - around 650USD) and bask in screen-estate glory for around the price of either the 17" MBP or around 300USD more than a max-ed out iMac, as well as being able to extend its life with upgrades. Hmmm.

    I'm with a lot of you on this board - a midrange tower (I'd prefer and old-school pizza box) would perfectly suit my needs.

    Who knows what monday will bring! :) :confused:

    [edit: typo - I'm typing this on my girlfriend's Japanese TiBook, and can't find the check spelling as you type, haha]
     
  11. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #11
    I guess everyone's guess is that it will usher in another hulking tower. I was thinking about it but now I'll either wait for a few months after everyone's had their inevitable problems, or buy a Dell Precision.
     
  12. wisredz macrumors regular

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    Aug 4, 2006
    #12
    hi there,
    this is my first post over here and I was about to ask nearly the same question. I was a pc user all these years and finally made up my mind to switch to mac.
    Actually I was just about to buy a new imac with a 2gb ram boost, but then I found the WWDC new and the possibility that new products featuring the new Core 2 Duo.
    I will be a college student this september, and I'm not from USA, which means I will have to wait even if new products with core 2 duo are released. I do want to have a new computer before the term starts, but I don't want to spend that much money if I can lay my hands on a core 2 duo powered mac.
    So my question is, how long would I have to wait if the core 2 duo using macs are to be released? And I would love to hear your your advices whether I should go with imac 20" or MBP 17", 2,16 ghz.
    Thanks in advance
     
  13. pianoman macrumors 68000

    pianoman

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    #13
    seems like i'll be repeating what others have said, but here goes:
    i'd seriously suggest waiting a few days until after the WWDC and the potential release of newer machines. that said, if you want to buy now, go for the 17" MBP if portability is not needed as much as screen real estate; the 15" should be a good compromise between portability and screen real estate - and you can get an external display later if you like.
     
  14. wisredz macrumors regular

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    Aug 4, 2006
    #14
    thanks for your reply.
    I will, of course, wait till monday but if the new products are late coming i might go with the current ones.
    What astonished me in your reply, is that you recommend MBp 17", i was always firm that imac was all in all a better choice. What with the price and all...
     
  15. Sonic thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    Hi Wisredz,
    I think a couple of posters here might have misunderstood our questions a little. We weren't debating 15 vs 17" MBP's... I am trying to figure out the best balance of power / features for the money.

    Right now, as I am so unsure I'm leaning towards the iMac as it is the least outlay financially, and therefore the least risk. I think it will stand up in terms of speed to the 2.16 MBP, maybe slightly topping it according to the benchmarks I'm reading. I can then wait to but a Merom / Santa Rosa laptop down the line.

    It sounds to me like you're after screen estate like me, and that portability is only a nice bonus if it happens. In that case, my experience with long-term laptop use is that the simple fact that the keyboard and screen are so close means you will always be leaning over it and it can get pretty straining if you use your machine 12 hours a day like me.

    The other thing is I can't be buying anything that won't be saying 'Shipping 1-2 weeks' in the Apple store, as like you time is critical.

    Is the Merom that dramatic an update that it's worth losing work-time over?

    Now, if the MBP gets Merom and a case / KB redesign on Monday and ships straight away, I'm probably in (never liked the AlBook keyboard, much prefer my TiBook, but the iBook G4 was the don!)
     
  16. wisredz macrumors regular

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    #16
    Well yeah, screen size is crucial and I don't think I should go with the 17" MBP right now, given that I am not that in need of it. My university will be in the same city, so probably I won't be using the dorm for some time, and when I feel I need a laptop, then I will go with Core 2 Duo MBP or something better.
    Portability comes next to power, but MBP is so steeeeep! I think I like the 2 gb imac 20" idea better at the time, maybe with a 500 gb HDD. The only problem is that I cannot upgrade the graphics card's vRAM to 256 which is actually no biggie since I'm no heavy gamer. And with all of these upgrades imac is still cheaper than the stock MBP. I mean I adore the looks of MBP, but I really can't grasp why people insist on getting the MBP over imac 20".
    Today I checked out an MBP, again, and it is really beatiful, looks good and all that but as I have said, steep as hell.
    And to be quite honest I'd like to have a mac desktop before I go portable. I'm currently using my sister's crappy HP which drives me mad, and I am missing having a caomputer that is open to my use only, so that I won't have to argue with my sister over the stupidest of systems. She manages fine with this, but me...
    And I'd like to have the iMac AND the MBP together which is impossible if I go with the MBP first.
     
  17. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

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    #17
    The iMac usually outperforms the MBP even though it has a slower CPU in many tests I have seen, ie. Macworld tests. For games, however, the MBP 17" wins because of its 256Mb GPU, but if you upgraded the GPU in the iMac, it would probably win out in all instances.
    Mac Pros will be expensive. You can get a top iMac and bottom macbook for only tens of dollars more than a top MBP 17". I am confident that it will be difficult to get a Mac Pro plus screen, let alone extra portable computer, for less than that cost. I personally like the idea of iMac +Macbook, but that's me.

    I suppose the discrepancy in iMac vs MBP speeds is due to the extra space in the iMac, allowing better, faster "subcomponents" to be used.
     
  18. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

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    #18
    I hope they do promo a pizza box Conroe mac. No doubt the engineers at Apple could make it drop dead sexy!
    Some nice curves, white enclosure with a plastic coating G4 retro style would look hot! Or just go with the black anodised Aluminium.
    Can't wait for Tuesday! (Australia)
    2 days, 4 hours and 19 mins to go!
     
  19. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #19
    I think a lot of Mac owners would like this as their second or third Mac
     
  20. Willis macrumors 68020

    Willis

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    #20
    ok, for music production, i'd say you'd be good with a MBP. if your in a studio then i'd say get a Mac Pro as they are/will be stupidly quick. Not sure how bootcamp will work on a Mac pro, but pretty sure it will work well. So i'd wait for that.

    If you cant wait, get a MBP. OR, you cant get an iMac, but i dont know if logic runs on it. it most likely does though. Just look at the Universal programs you use, and see what they require. then go from there.
     
  21. ImNoSuperMan macrumors 65816

    ImNoSuperMan

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    #21

    Well. If you do like what is launched on Monday but cant wait a month for its delivery, why not get some second hand stuff for your work. I know you need the fastest possible option. But you can certainly manage few more weeks with a second hand Mac. Sell it off when the Merom MBP/iMac reaches your hands. i m sure you wont lose more than 100 bucks.
     
  22. crazydreaming macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

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    #22
    OR, pay the restock fee to apple??

    What's the return policy at places such as Compusa for macs? Could you possibly "borrow" a mac for the time being? :p
     
  23. Sonic thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    Thanks everyone for your replies.

    I tested out Logic Pro on an iMac at the shop today, ran lovely and smooth and the screen estate of the 20" was lovely. Somehow I just don't get excited by the MBP enclosure, perhaps it's just been around too long. The 17" looks a little odd to me and felt like it would be a pain to lug about, but saying that the 15" still looks good... If it gets FW800 and a new proc it could be on the cards with a second screen for company.

    That temp Mac idea is good - would I need to buy it from the Apple online store to restock it?

    The more I think about it a $1499 Mac Pizza Extreme Conroe is what I would ideally want. Seems like a lot of people share my sentiments. You never know...

    Can't wait till Monday, somehow I've got really caught up in the hype for the WWDC. :)
     
  24. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #24
    If I were you, i'd be mainly looking out for the new towers (or even at the existing Quad). What I've loved and love about my PM is that it is fully expandable and is powerful enough (for now). I was doing a lot of audio stuff, but that has changed now to video and, increasingly, web design. The PM has been great for all...
    With a new tower, you could upgrade your system drive to one of those super fast 15K hd's, have another 750GB - 1 TB storage drive in the second bay , max out up to 8 or 16 GB or RAM (not that you would, but you could), and upgrade your graphics card (should you ever need to) easily. And if the rumors are true about the new MP having a second optical drive bay, you're set!

    Then set that up with a 24' Dell...

    Question: what is a 'Pizza Extreme Conroe"?
     
  25. Sonic thread starter macrumors regular

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    #25
    It might just be too much for me, haha... I have survived this far with a 512K 1GHz G4 and a step up to dual 2.0 with 4x faster bus and 2Gig ram is gonna be pretty huge anyway on the lowly iMac. If there's good bang for buck and quick shipping, it's a good contender.

    The pizza is this: "...a midrange tower (I'd prefer and old-school pizza box) would perfectly suit my needs...." with a Conroe proc inside. Would be perfect at around $1499!
     

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