13 inch air + 27 inch iMac vs. Retina + Thunderbolt display

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Ardash, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. Ardash macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2012
    I am torn between two different solution.

    I was thinking of getting a macbook air 13 inch for being mobile and primarily for school(college) nothing fancy, paired with a 27 inch imac for use at home for photo and video editing as well as gaming and storing all my music and movies. The only real draw back to this setup is that I have to manage files between two computers.

    The other option I considered was to get a macbook pro retina with a thunder bolt display. I would use external hard drives for storage.

    Does anyone have any of these setups above? What are your thoughts? What do you see as potential pros and cons?
  2. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    Get the macbook pro retina if you can afford it. It's a seriously nice piece of hardware.
    Save the cash on the TB display. It's lower res than the one on the laptop itself. Maybe save for a higher res version in the next few years.
  3. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2011
    Either solution is good. You're probably better of going MBA + TBD. High portability for college and dockable for work at home while connected to external storage.
  4. TjeuV macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2011
    Get the mba and iMac. Works like a charm :)
  5. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    Are you commuting from home or staying in a hostel?

    If from home, I recommend the imac + air combo, using cloud services like dropbox and icloud to keep your documents in sync. Your imac stays home where your other family members can use as well, so it is not an entirely wasted investment.

    If in a hostel, I would prefer a high-powered laptop + external display combo. I still wouldn't go with the Rmbp (too expensive and still too bulky for me), but would consider one of the higher-end, specc'ed out air. Reason being that when you know you don't have to travel home, you tend to hang around campus more often, so a desktop is less useful (because of less time actually spent in your room). Nor would I go with a thunderbolt display, any cheap LCD monitor should do the job just as well, and poses a less tempting target for would-be thieves.

    Since you will still be moving around, mobility is still a plus. I wouldn't recommend the rMBP for anything unless you drive and the laptop is going to be sitting in an air-conditioned office plugged in most of the day. :p
  6. iamthedudeman macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2007
    Why get the imac and Air. Just get a TBD and Air combo. Save a grand in the process. You're in college. Unless you need the better gpu, the Air will do everything you ask of it and more.
  7. toby00001 macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2012
    Helsinki, Finland
    @Ardash: What do you study?

    Unless you study in a design related field I would go for the MBA + TBD.

    For 99% of regular Mac use (surfing the web, chatting, email, watching videos, basic photo collection and editing and some gaming) the MBA will perform just as well as the RMBP and iMac.

    If you're dead set on playing high end video games, go with the same configuration and get a home built PC.
  8. Ardash thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2012
    It is true I did already make a thread. Truth be told I made three posts and placed them in the air, iMac, and macbook pro categories to see the different types of responses that would be generated. I am learning a lot and think each of the threads is finding a unique point of view. I hope this does not annoy you.
  9. waloshin macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    Go with the 13" Macbook Pro you wont have time to play games anyways.

    And if you were to I would like buy a cheaper, faster windows machine for the same amount.
  10. Gustavo Carvalh macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2010
    I find having two computers very annoying, especially if you want to sync files, settings, etc. I have an 11-inch air which I connect to an external display when I'm at home and to a 27' iMac when I'm at the lab.
  11. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I have almost the exact same setup (MBA/ATD & iMac) , but I have the exact opposite experience as you. I find it absolutely trivial to keep the two machines in sync.

    By definition, my MBA will only contain a subset of my data. I choose to use dropbox to keep all data that I want with me on my MBA. That way, as I modify data while mobile... the edits are made within dropbox, and it is automatically synced real time back to my iMac back at home.

    This means that as soon as I make any edits on either machine, my work is backed up to a second computer automatically, plus it is double backed up on the iMac (locally via TM, cloud via Crashplan+).

  12. TheCaptain95 macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2012
    Hi i am by no means an expert, but could you not just use iCloud for keeping it all in sync?
  13. Mlrollin91 macrumors G5


    Nov 20, 2008
    Ventura County
    I have an 11" air and a 21.5" iMac. Best combination ever. Didn't really know how I felt about the 11" at first being so small, but it really is the perfect size for college.

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