13" i5 Pro + TFT vs. iMac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hutchingsp, May 29, 2011.

  1. hutchingsp macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2008
    Right now I have a 24" C2D white iMac. It works fine but I've been debating replacing it for a while since it's 4 years old now, and my Mum's G5 iMac has broken meaning I need to replace it for her with something.

    I keep thinking I'll get a 27" i5 iMac when they refresh the range, but I always put it off because I never can quite see the value there vs. what I currently have.

    I see the UK Apple Store have refurb 13" MBP's and I'm thinking one of those, plus an SSD, plus an external TFT might be a decent solution.

    My take on it is that I'm not CPU bound right now, HDD is almost always the bottleneck. Also I tend to do basic browsing/surfing and being desk bound isn't always ideal - so being able to move around the house or just use it whilst watching TV would be nice.

    What are the screens like on the 13" MBP please? I tried a 13" white plastic Macbook prior to my current iMac and the screen seemed shockingly bad vs. the 15" MBP's so I assumed they were different technology, not sure if that is still the case?

    These are the specs on the refurb models:

    Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.3GHz dual-core Intel i5
    Originally released February 2011
    13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display, 1280-by-800 resolution
    4GB (2 x 2GB) of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    320GB Serial ATA @ 5400 rpm
    8x double-layer SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB of DDR3 SDRAM

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Kentochan macrumors 6502


    Feb 19, 2011
    Virginia, USA
    I bought the base 13" MBP back in March, and have been loving it ever since! Its a great laptop that is easy to carry around while having the power to do quite a bit of work. The screen is also very nice, and has great resolution in comparison to most 13" PCs. Movies and photos, as well as text and websites look awesome in addition to a wide viewing angle. I would totally recommend the 13" MBP!
  3. hutchingsp thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2008
    Thanks, that's good to hear.

    I do keep looking at the 15" MBP, new and refurbished, but in real-world terms I still feel the slow HDD is going to be the biggest hold-up, and it's easier to stomach a 13" MBP + SSD than it is to look at a 15" and still have to add an SSD.
  4. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    Ya, the screen that was used on the old MacBooks was no where near the quality of what is on the current MacBook Pros. You'll love the screen. And, if you are otherwise happy with your iMac than I think the MBP + LCD will be just fine.

    I'll say that the performance on these is pretty good so you might want to buy one and run it a while before you decide to upgrade the hard drive to an ssd. After all, its a simple swap too add one later unless you intended on buying the Apple SSD preinstalled so you don't have to swap it yourself.
  5. hutchingsp thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2008
    That's good to hear. I know it's a little unfair comparing a new LED display to a screen from a bottom of the range Macbook from 4 years ago, but bad experiences stick.

    Interesting comments on the SSD and a fair point. I'd likely be looking at a refurbished MBP whether 13" or 15", and like you said, it's not as if the SSD couldn't be swapped in further down the line.

    I do wonder whether I strictly need the monitor, but having gotten used to a 24" screen, and given how cheap good quality 23/24" screens are it's hardly a show stopper.
  6. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    There's a really nice Dell 23" IPS monitor that people recommend a lot here. Its rather economical as I recall. I'm running a 24" Samsung personally that was under $200 but it isn't an IPS display. Personally I'm not doing the kind of work that requires a high quality display so it doesn't matter much to me. It all depends on what you need and what you are used to.
  7. frunk macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2011
    I suggest you get all the processing power first, as these machines are speed demons, regardless of HDD or SSD. Go for a refurbished Base 15", and get a nice HP or Dell panel - they can run anywhere from 200-500.
  8. awer25 macrumors 65816


    Apr 30, 2011
    I had a 13" MBP for a little while but to be honest the screen size at 800 lines of resolution meant there was no where near the screen real estate I wanted. My main reason of upgrading to the 15" was the screen resolution.

    If you prefer having the absolute best screen quality over portability, then get the iMac.

    If you prefer portability and will accept a very good screen, get the 13" Air and an external monitor. It has a higher resolution than the 13" MBP and is more portable.

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