iMac v. Macbook - graphics not an issue

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Bonked, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. Bonked macrumors member

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    Sep 9, 2005
    #1
    So, I need a new Mac that can also boot into Windows. I have to use a Windows stats program that really needs the dual core processors (Mplus 4.2). I need as much horsepower as possible but have a limited budget. I'm thinking either the 17in iMac 2.0Ghz or the White Macbook 2.0Ghz. I'd get 2 GB of RAM in either. I just want to know whether folks know of any performance related differences between the two besides the GPU issue, which does not concern me. I looked online and it appears they have the same CPU, frontside bus, etc. But, I want to make sure.

    If there are no differences, I might get the Macbook for the portability.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

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    #2
    if you need portability, get the macbook.

    The iMac has a bigger display, more power, more HDD space, more connectivity (another USB port and a FW800 port on 24" model), but the macbook has a battery, thus making it portable. Do you need a portable machine or more power?
     
  3. Bonked thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 9, 2005
    #3
    Power is the biggest issue, but if the two machines were just about equal in that respect, the portability would be nice. That's my question: am I trading power for portability with the Macbook?
     
  4. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #4
    Not really Core Duo (and in this case Core 2 Duo) chips are really fast.
     
  5. atari1356 macrumors 68000

    atari1356

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    Feb 27, 2004
    #5
    Disk access will likely be a little bit slower in the MacBook, but aside from that (and the aforementioned graphics card issue) - there shouldn't be much of a difference.
     
  6. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #6
    One is a laptop, one is a desktop.

    There really is no comparison.
     
  7. emptyCup macrumors 65816

    emptyCup

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    Jan 5, 2005
    #7
    You are trading screen size for portability. If you spend a lot of time in front of your computer, and you don't really need portability, then the 17" iMac is a very comfortable machine to have on your desk. The other differences have been mentioned. Some people need portability, all of us think it is nice, but it doesn't come free. Best wishes.
     
  8. holamiamigos macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 10, 2006
    #8
    go for the macbook and an external hd...i'm sure you would want to use it in a different place at one time or another
     
  9. Bonked thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 9, 2005
    #9
    Clarification

    Thanks for all of the help! I'm aware of the tradeoffs of desktop v laptop in terms of portability, screen size, HD size, etc. My main concern is in pure processing power, and whether there were any differences in terms of the CPUs, frontside bus, etc that might affect how fast the computers can churn through things. It doesn't sound like there is, though.
     
  10. 2ms macrumors 6502

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    Nov 22, 2002
    #10
    Actually, the distinction between the two is much smaller than normal performance-wise. It's possible, in fact, that they are basically identical in performance.

    Why?

    Because the iMac uses basically all notebook components. The CPU is NOT the desktop C2D, but rather, it Merom, which is like 10% slower or something (still HELLA fast tho). Moreover, the basic iMac has integrated graphics the same as iBook. The memory too -- iMac uses SODIMMS -- notebook memory.

    I do not know what kind of HD the iMac uses, however given the iMac's form factor I suspect it's basically a fast notebook hd.

    I'm on an iMac right now though. Rest assured they are fast as hell. But i see no reason to believe they significantly faster than iBook. Unless you get one of the iMacs with ATI or NVidia graphics -- then CPU not share memory bandwidth with graphics and also graphics memory fast as hell, so overall computer going to be faster.
     
  11. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #11
    Nope, it's a desktop HD you can go up to 500GB on all but the cheapest model, the 24" can go to 750GB too...
     
  12. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

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    Apr 8, 2004
    #12
    My wife's MacBook (1.8GHz CD) is almost identical in performance to my 1.83GHz CD iMac. The only thing that slows it down in comparison is she has 1GB RAM while my iMac has 2GB RAM, which means, e.g Word bounces 6 times in the dock while it bounces three times on the iMac. Doing CPU intensive tasks like compiling code, the MB is just as fast.
     
  13. Lancetx macrumors 68000

    Lancetx

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    Texas
    #13
    In a nutshell, the iMac will have a much larger capacity and faster hard drive (a desktop 7200rpm vs a notebook 4200rpm), a slightly faster optical drive, much faster graphics processor, more USB and FireWire ports, and a larger display.

    Meanwhile, the MacBook will obviously have the portability advantage. They're each basically the same when it comes to CPU performance, front side bus and RAM memory speeds. If overall performance is your only concern, the iMac is definitely the better of the two.
     
  14. 2ms macrumors 6502

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    Nov 22, 2002
    #14
    But the difference in performance is much smaller between these two than it usually is between a notebook and a desktop of pretty comparable price.
     
  15. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

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    #15
    5400 rpm for the macbook HDDs, 4200 rpm for the 200GB MBP HDD ;)
     
  16. 2ndPath macrumors 6502

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    Feb 21, 2006
    #16
    If you compare the bottom-of-the-line-MacBook to the bottom-of-the-line-iMac you pay $100 more for the the portability of the MacBook and get a smaller and slower HD and a smaller screen. Aside from that they are more or less identical. So the iMac is a bit better performance wise while the MacBook clealy wins on portability.

    I was a bit surprised when I looked at the cheapest iMac on the online Apple Store that there isn't an option to get a built-to-order hard drive. But still the one it comes with is better than the MacBook's.
     

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