13" Ultimate + Display VS. 11" base + Refurbished iMac ???

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ccs569, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. ccs569 macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2011

    I'm sure these threads are getting tiresome, but any insight would be much appreciated. I am upgrading from a 2006 15" MBP, that is effectively a desktop at this point due to its weight & battery life. I am beginning classes at night and want a portable machine for note taking, in addition to a home machine for my music, browsing, and light gaming (SC2 & hopefully D3). Apple makes so many great products that it becomes tricky to choose. But I've narrowed it to this:

    a) A 13" Ultimate MBA with a 27" monitor. It would be nice to have one machine with everything where ever I go. Concerns are the portability of the 13" and whether the HD3000 can drive the 27" smoothly. (I assume any gaming would have to be on the native screen?). Cost: ~$2k.

    b) A base 11" MBA with a refurb 27" iMac. The 11" is more portable & the 27" iMac is beautiful & can drive games and heavier tasks at home. Concerns are having files on two different computers (although a drop box can help this) and whether I even need 2 to begin with. Id almost prefer an iPad to the 11" if I didnt need the ability to take notes. Cost: ~$2.4k.

    Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated.

  2. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    Well, the iMac would be way better for gaming. The 13" will run Starcraft, but it would have to be much lower res than the 27" Thunderbolt display.

    Personally I would go with iMac + 11" MBA. You get the ultra portability of the 11" and the power of the iMac. You also will have a lot more storage space on the iMac for music/videos/pictures.

    But either one would be a nice setup.
  3. ccs569 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2011
    Wow, a hub with an external graphics card would be a game-changer. That would definitely push me towards the 13" ultimate. But that article does make the development seem pretty tentative. Who knows when that could hit stores...

    And any thoughts on how expensive that might be? I was thinking a dell 27", since the apple thunderbolt is an exorbitant $1k without an external graphics card.
  4. jackyyeow macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    I think it's great to bring your system around, while still be able to enjoy powerful graphics and large display when you're home. Sometimes it's a bummer when you have certain important files on your iMac but you didn't copy it to your 11" MBA. I'd rather wait for the GPU dock/hub if I'm in your situation.
  5. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    i design and make tshirt for a living. my setup is:

    iMac 21.5" thunderbolt for photoshop only
    air 11" 4gb, i5 1.6ghz and 128gb ssd for everything else including itunes

    i put all my videos on the external drives so i can have my movies on travel and while at home i connect the external drives to the imac and use ipad 2 to watch movies via airvideo.

    that's a great setup for me. u dont have to sync files within 2 computers, do u really need to bring heavy work files everywhere u go on with the air?

    so my advice is to seperate the computer, iMac for working on heavy tasks and 11" for everything else.
  6. misterneums macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2009
    @ the OP

    I'd vote for the latter of your two options--sort of. I'm not sure if I would be able to get by having the 11" with 2 GB ram and only 64 GB of SSD space.

    If you have time to wait, I would. It would be nice to see some of those Thunderbolt external accessories start to make their way to market.
  7. ccs569 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2011
    the 11" ultimate + new 27" iMac might be the best of both worlds, but I really cant justify the cost of anything but the base 11" & a refurb iMac in that case. I can totally see how for some it would make sense, but I wouldnt be using either for work, just personal use and some note taking.
  8. jackyyeow macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    I'd say, if you don't need the extra CPU power, and use them as a casual user, go for MBA 13". It's my main machine right now, and I can't express how happy I am. Mine is the old 2010 13" ultimate, anything new on the 2011 MBA is a plus. I think the thunderbolt is a godsend for small and slim laptops with limited ports, as well as the ability to expand the GPU and possibly many many other types of expansion in the future.

    Having 2 machine isn't as convenient IMHO since both machine serve the same purpose anyway. Unless you're doing CPU/GPU intensive works.

Share This Page