Macbook vs. iMac 20" for Me

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jklps, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. jklps macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2007
    I currently have a Mac Mini G4 (my first :apple: ) and a junky analog 15" monitor. Currently I am looking to upgrade once Leopard is shipping with any of these systems. Whichever system I choose I'm definitely ordering with 2GB as that is the cause of my main problem with my current Mac Mini. My other gripe is my 15" analog monitor, which is neither digital nor wide screen. I feel like I'm losing out on things I can do with my mac.

    I can't decide on getting the black Macbook vs. the 20" iMac.

    My main tasks on the machine are to use it for my music library(via a firewire drive), some internet surfing/regular use, to record a little bit with Garageband or Logic Express(if I upgrade), some use of iPhoto, and maybe an occasional windows game(but mostly more older games, as I haven't bought a new pc game in 3 year or so).

    I am looking for something to be good for the long run, maybe about 3-4 years(by then I'll get tech crazy and want a new one anyways).

    I don't know if I'm really a big laptop user, and maybe would want to get a desktop now and a laptop in a year or so. I don't need to have a computer in front of me while watching tv at all times, and if I really would need a laptop I have my current work Dell Lattitude D600 running Windows 2K - which isn't great but works if necessary. I don't really mind sitting at a desk(in my bedroom) to use a computer.

    My leaning is towards the iMac due to

    larger monitor(20 vs. 13)
    dedicated graphics card
    not having to connect/disconnect my fire wire drive
    better reliability in the long run(for a desktop vs. a laptop).
    faster dvd/cd burner

    But obviously the laptop is more mobile.

    I would order the macbook black version with 2gb of ram. For the iMac 20" I'd order it with 2gb of ram, but am possibly considering the video card with more ram, the larger hd(though I like using externals for most of my data) or the increase in processor.

    I basically want some feedback whether I'm making the right choice(not that I can screw this up that much).
  2. polevault139 macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2006
    You have to ask yourself if portability is an issue. If not then the iMac will give you more bang for your buck. The dedicated graphics will be a plus vs the integrated of the Macbook. But if you were to get the Macbook w/ an external monitor you would have the best of both worlds. Also, unless you really want the black, then the white macbook is the better deal. The final choice will all depend on your need for portability.

    As for longevity both computer will last you quite a while.
  3. FullCollapse macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2006
    Oneonta, NY
    i recently bought a 20" imac and i was also faced with the choice- desktop or laptop? i had a laptop before my imac, but i never used it as anything more than a desktop. i never took it anywhere with me.
    like previously stated, with the imac you get much more for the price you pay. so if you don't need portability, i would recommend the imac. also, i think the processor upgrade for it is not really necessary. imo it's not worth it for its cost. the ram is obviously pretty nice. whatever you decide on, have fun with it.
  4. timswim78 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    A MacBook will comfortably meet your computing needs and provide portability. I'd get the MacBook and a nice LCD monitor. (That's what I did).
  5. BobP63 macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2007
    If your primarily going to use it as a desktop the 13" screen on the MacBook gets old pretty quick. I speak from experience, as I own both a MacBook and a 20" iMac; since I really only needed one computer I'll let you surmise which one I purchased first.;)
  6. mattcube64 macrumors 65816


    May 21, 2006
    Easy: Get the Macbook with an external display. It's what I've got, and it's absolutely fantastic. When I want to be mobile, the MB does exactly that. But when I'm at my desk, it's connected to a 19" Widescreen LCD and Bluetooth KB/M. That way, I have the comfort of both a large screen and mobility.

    If you don't plan on gaming, there is really no reason not to get the Macbook.
  7. brandon6684 Guest

    Dec 30, 2002
    I've both a 20" iMac and a MacBook. If portability isn't overly important to you, the iMac would probably be the better deal. Of course the differnce is screen size is like night and day. Since I'm not a gamer, the video card situation doesn't really make a difference and it doesn't affect things like iPhoto or Photoshop. Mine have the same processor(2GHz Core Duo) and the only differnce is the amount of RAM(2GB in the iMac and 1GB in the MacBook), so the iMac feels a little bit snappier with a several things open, but the same amount of RAM the MacBook is the same and can run everything just as well.

    On the other hand, I like the MacBook's portability, though my main machine is still the iMac, largly due to screen size(and it taking up my desk). Overall, if I had to pick just one of the two I'd go with the iMac, or actually I'd go with the MacBook Pro, which I think could work as a desktop replacement for me, since the 15" screen is probably the minimum I'd go for a primary computer.
  8. holamiamigos macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2006
    i say go for the macbook + the right sized monitor for you.. it makes sense
  9. EvilDoc macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2005
    Circumventing the multi-verse...
    listen i was in your EXACT situation. And i got the 20inch intel iMac and i'm telling you that you will not regret it. It feels like you have a mile of screen coming from a 15 inch screen. The macbook would be cool for mobility, but how often to you plan on traveling and NEEDING a computer?
  10. brandon6684 Guest

    Dec 30, 2002
    I'm in about the same boat, and probably couldn't go to a smaller screen, I even had to buy a 20" screen for my PC since the old one seemed so small. I got the MacBook because I could afford it and it is convient, but not a neccesity.
  11. redmeister macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2007
    macbook plus external display for the win (assuming its in your budget)

    you get portability, and then a desktop with some sweet screen real estate.. best of both worlds and the only way to go these days in my opinion

    top of the line macbook + external monitor still under 2g
  12. iW00t macrumors 68040


    Nov 7, 2006
    Defenders of Apple Guild
    The 2 machines are not really equivalent. If you are comparing the EDU-iMac vs the Macbook perhaps that is a more "fair" comparison, but of all iMacs you even choose the 20"!

    It is really up to you to decide why you picked the 20" out of all iMacs and if that reason is more important to you than portability.
  13. jklps thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2007
    Well I priced the black macbook with 2gb to around 1550, and a 20 iMac with 2gb of ram to around the same price(using my company discount which is almost as good as an edu discount)

    The macbook in black is only 50 difference for me when i price them out to exact specs so that's fine with me.

    I want to make sure my computer will last longer then my current mac mini 1.5 ghz g4, which really isn't cutting it after 1 year :(
  14. QCassidy352 macrumors G3


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    get the iMac. Sounds like you don't really need the portability all that much.

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