13 inch Macbook Pro with External Display vs. iMac

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by JajoPGH, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. JajoPGH macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    I'm sure plenty of these have been done before, but I am quite confused at this time.

    I'm looking to move from PC's to a Mac, but am having a hard time figuring out which would work best for me.

    I would love an iMac, but I have a weird feeling the new one is coming out soon. I just don't want to be outdated too quickly. The current one is absolutely beautiful and it has quite a presence on a desk, so I'm sure the next will be even better.

    If I get a 13 inch Macbook Pro, I would get a 24 inch external monitor. Basically, I'd have a laptop and a desktop at the same time (portability and stationary at the same time). By the way, would the performance of the MBP significantly decrease once connected to a monitor?

    I do all sorts of things on my computer, but more than anything else I use Photoshop.

    So, which do you think will be best for me? I'm looking to buy within the next two weeks, but if there is good indication of a new iMac within a couple months, I can wait. I suppose deep down, I want an iMac, but would also benefit greatly with the MBP.
  2. boatski macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2008
    You could go with the MBP and buy a keyboard and mouse with your monitor.

    I connected my 13" MBP to my 22" monitor via VGA, but the graphics are kind of 'blurry'. I'm thinking it's because of the resolution being blown up on a 22" monitor from a 13".

    Maybe others can confirm this.
  3. JajoPGH thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Yeah I definitely have the keyboard and mouse in mind also.

    Are your settings correct for the monitor?

    I see that you have the lower model MBP but with a couple upgrades. Is that something you recommend? I was looking to get the one with 4g RAM and 250gig hard drive preinstalled. Are the aftermarket parts more prone to failure?
  4. polaris20 macrumors 68020

    Jul 13, 2008
    I've got my work MBP 15" connected to a 24" via MDP to DVI, and my 13" MBP connected to a 22" via MDP to DVI. Both are sharp and work well.
  5. boatski macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2008
    I think it's a VGA thing. I'm not sure, but if you can use DVI then use that instead.

    I bought the $1200 MBP. I then bought the HDD and RAM separately. $60 for RAM, $100 for HDD. Was easy to install. RAM was Corsair and HDD was Western Digital. Quality brands.

    I'm not sure I could recommend the one I bought. I bought mine to toy with iPhone apps, but I haven't gotten into it yet really.
  6. JajoPGH thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Thanks to all for the comments. I appreciate it.

    To tell you the truth, a lot of what has pulled me into buying a Mac is their great looks. I love the modern, sleek look and it would fit right into my home. But, I also believe Macs are much better performers than PC's, so it's a no brainer. Now which one? :confused:

    But anyways, I noticed the MDP to DVI connectors are only a few inches long. Are there any out there that are longer, or do I have to add some other connection to extend it?

    Would you guys recommend buying a lower end model and modding it?
  7. Kobra macrumors regular


    Jun 17, 2009
    I've recently switched from PC to Mac. Bought the MBP 13 when it was released earlier this summer. When at home I connect it to my 24" Dell with a DVI adapter, Apple keyboard and a Logitech mouse. The keyboard and the mouse are connected to the screen USB hub so I only need to attach the display adapter and a USB cable. Very much like you would if you had the Apple Cinema display. I haven't noticed any performance drop when connected to the screen. If I were in your shoes I'd go with the PowerBook over the iMac as you'd be able to take your work with you... :rolleyes:

    Regarding comments about blurry screen: some screens (like my Dell 24") sucks when used with VGA, get yourself a DVI connector and your screen will be sharp as a razor ;)
  8. boatski macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2008
    I'm only using VGA because the DVI input is being used by my PC.
  9. Harmless Abuse macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2008
    That adapter isn't the DVI cord itself, you can just plug the DVI cord into the adapter, which connects to the MacBook.

    =D I use my 19" external Samsung via VGA, though it isn't as sharp as my actual screen, the screen itself is matte (a plus since my room is 75% windows facing West), making writing papers a lot easier after class. If possible though, I'd go with DVI.

    I have a uMB, the aluminum MacBook before the pro, and I get by fine on 2GB of RAM, though I just surf the internet and do homework. The lower model tends to be the biggest value, as you can easily upgrade your harddrive and RAM for a much better price than what Apple offers.
  10. JajoPGH thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Thanks to all for the information

    So if I get a the Macbook, I'll get the lower model then upgrade slowly. But at the same time, I'll need the adapter, a keyboard, a mouse, a monitor, and a desk stand. If I get the iMac, I just need to buy the iMac and I'm good. The Macbook will run me a little higher in costs.

    In the end, which would you choose? I understand it's my decision in the end, but I'd love to hear what you think. Thanks again
  11. airplaneman macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2009
    If you can, wait until the end of the year to get the new iMacs. Otherwise, get a 13" with an external and slowly upgrade if you want portable power. Simple enough?:)
  12. steve31 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2007
    Edmonton Canada
    I use my 13 MBP connected to the 24 Apple Cinema Display...it's perfect.
  13. wywern209 macrumors 65832


    Sep 7, 2008
    do you rly want to know?
    i would just get the imac if its for home use. the imac will still be fast 3-4 yrs from now.
  14. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    try dvi
  15. Harmless Abuse macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2008
    I personally went for a uMB, because it's much more portable, and for me, portability is key.

    But my mother went for a 24" iMac, because she won't be moving it around. She likes desktops, she likes how it looks, and it performs very well for what she needs to do.

    Even if the iMac were to be upgraded, sitting around waiting for a new one will keep you waiting for a long, long time. If you need one now, then get it, if it does what you need it to, then enjoy. It's not like if a new one is released, yours will get any slower than it is. Besides, they look very nice right now =) I REALLY love how the iMac looks currently, and feel like it will fit nicely for years to come.

    Like you said, it's your call. Is there any way you can get to an authorized retailer, like an Apple Store or Best Buy? Play with both for a bit, lift the 13", fiddle with it, take a close look at the iMac, fiddle around with OS X.

    Windows PCs can perform very well if cost is your concern. Windows 7 is very promising, and the complaints about Vista really aren't necessary, it works just fine, not to mention many other manufacturers are producing All-in-one computers, the iMac isn't the only sleek PC you know.
  16. minusten macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2009
    MBP with no battery left?

    I'm considering the option discussed in this thread, and was wondering if the non-user replaceable model can run at full performance when the battery is dead if constantly powered up and run as a desktop. Does anyone have any ideas?

    Is it actually possible for user to replace battery? - ie: Apple don't endorse upgrading HD in Mini but that doesn't stop people!

    Finally, how easy is it to replace RAM and HD in the new MBPs compared to doing same in a) the Mini and b) the older MBP (or uMB) with user replaceable battery?
  17. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

    Jul 12, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    it depends on what you do on the go. If you just check your email and surf get a netbook and an iMac. if you find yourself working in many different environments then the macbook is better. I got mine simply for the ability to have the same workstation in every office combined with a screen. But I use it with an external monitor both at home and at the office.
  18. RDM3 macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2009
    Concordville PA
    I bought my 13" whitebook back in April, it was an open box buy at Best Buy, its an older one with the Intel graphics card, but I hooked it up to a 20" Hanspree monitor, a Microsoft bluetooth mouse and an apple keyboard, an older one it has the white keys, it is probably 4 years old, but it works well, so I use that as a desktop, I was also taking it with me to class, until last week when I got a 15" MBP, so I take that now.

    I don't think you would go wrong with getting a MBP and using it as a desktop, it may cose more but having the portability is worth it.

    Right now my cousin is looking into a MAc and I am helping her, I think she is going the MBP route with monitor
  19. boatski macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2008
  20. airplaneman macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2009
    The computer would be like 10 years old before the battery died on the MBP.
  21. JajoPGH thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Thanks to all for the comments

    I am leaning toward a 2.26 Macbook Pro and upgrading it myself and hooking it up with an external display.

    So, I was wondering, will the monitor display exactly how an iMac would? Would the size of icons, text, etc be the same as on an iMac? It's something I very much love about the iMac. I love having to move my head to see the whole screen.

    In addition, which monitor in size 23 inch or 24inch would you recommend? I'm not looking to spend more than $300. At the same time, I'd love to get one that would look nice along a Macbook Pro, Apple Mouse, and Apple Keyboard. I was thinking this Dell monitor.


    Sorry for the silly inqueries, but thanks for the comments.
  22. bluespark macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2009
    New York
    I know you're only looking to spend $300 or so, but you really should check out the MBP/24" Cinema Display combination. The monitor is designed to go with the MBP -- the built-in charger is a huge convenience and it matches both the MBP's look and the iMac look you like so much. And the image quality is stunning. Refurbs are only $599, so it's really not that much more than what you were planning to spend. Well worth it (if you can afford it) to have the entire experience, IMO.
  23. Zorginator macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2009
    Heavy Photoshoping is a CPU and RAM intensive application. As such you'll want atleast 4GB RAM off the bat and a Quad core would be best so I'd actually go Mac Pro for performance. If you only do light Photoediting then the 2.53Ghz Macbook Pro might work for you but I'd probably look to get the iMac.

    The fact that you're considering an iMac suggest you don't really need portability. I'd consider how much you'll be moving it around and how much power you'll need.

    Also for Photoediting I'd go no less than an IPS panel; look at a Dell 2209WA or the Apple LED Cinema Display 24" (I'm not sure about prices in the US, so apologies if these are bad suggestions on that front. The Apple LED Cinema Display is most likely out of your reach but I thought it should be thrown out there)
  24. imawake macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2005
  25. Spiderbundy macrumors newbie


    Dec 2, 2009
    Belfast UK
    I also bought a Mini Displayport to VGA to hook up my 13" 2.53GHz MBP to my existing 22" monitor,just because my PC was using the DVI input...and I have the 'blurry' problem as well....nowhere near as sharp a picture as had hoped for. I'm wondering if i buy the Mini Displayport to DVI will that make it noticibly sharper?

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