15 inch MBP or iMac 5k need advice

MikeArtworks

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 1, 2015
106
6
Hey,

I've been struggling really hard trying to decide what to do. Let me explain what I currently have.

Currently I have the 13 inch i7 with TB (2016 model). I do not have an iPad (well, I have a Mini 4 but it has been empty for months). Furthermore I have the iPhone 6 (eagerly waiting for the 8).

I'm going to uni next month, starting Computer Science. As hobbies/freelance work I do graphic design, and play the occasional game.

So now there are 2 things I can do, which I really can't decide on. I've been to stores to check them all out, but it's soo hard. My 13 inch Macbook does not handle Photoshop well on my external 4k monitor, and I will NOT get an EGPU until it's 100% consumer done, next year.

Option 1: Buy a 15 inch MBP with the 460 GPU (and sell 13") , to be able to do work better on the go, as this 13 inch screen is occasionally too small for Photoshop etc.. Windows get in the way of things. Also, the quad core i7 would speed up my workflow. Then this'd be my only device, and can be used in Uni, at home and on the go. My only gripes: 1. Is it too big to carry around? 2. Is the 460 capable of gaming a bit?

Option 2: Keep 13 inch MBP, buy iMac with the 580 GPU, 2 GB fusion drive (time for SSD expansion takes weeks here, and need it rather soon). Then I can sell my 4k monitor to return some of the costs.

Option 3: Option 2 but also buy an iPad Pro for school (10.5), as the iMac is considerably cheaper than the 15 inch iMac. However, with option 2 I return less money due to the monitor being much cheaper than the 13 inch MacBook Pro.

Please give me well though advice, as I'm struggling to see what's right.

Thanks!
 

cruisin

macrumors 6502a
Apr 1, 2014
962
223
Canada
The iPad will not be used much in Computer Science, unless you plan on making apps and need something for testing. It might be useful for writing notes, but it becomes an expensive notebook unless you use it for something else.

I have used a 15 inch model for a while, and it doesn't feel too big to carry. It will be too big for flying, but just carrying it around will be fine unless you feel it is too heavy.

Your MacBook should run two 4K monitors, so it should work with just one. Maybe keep the lid closed when using the 4K monitor, so that it doesn't waste power running two monitors. Does this help with Photoshop?

What are you planing on playing? You have to remember that the thinness of the MacBook limits the graphics power. The 460 GPU will be better, but it is not a gaming GPU. The fan will be loud for most games due to the limited ability for cooling. The 580 GPU would be better (better GPU and better cooling means less thermal throttling) but it is still not a gaming GPU (Mac GPUs are meant for Photoshop and AutoCAD, not gaming).

Will you ever need to use Photoshop away from home? if not, then the iMac will be faster for everything you plan to do.
 

MikeArtworks

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 1, 2015
106
6
The iPad will not be used much in Computer Science, unless you plan on making apps and need something for testing. It might be useful for writing notes, but it becomes an expensive notebook unless you use it for something else.

I have used a 15 inch model for a while, and it doesn't feel too big to carry. It will be too big for flying, but just carrying it around will be fine unless you feel it is too heavy.

Your MacBook should run two 4K monitors, so it should work with just one. Maybe keep the lid closed when using the 4K monitor, so that it doesn't waste power running two monitors. Does this help with Photoshop?

What are you planing on playing? You have to remember that the thinness of the MacBook limits the graphics power. The 460 GPU will be better, but it is not a gaming GPU. The fan will be loud for most games due to the limited ability for cooling. The 580 GPU would be better (better GPU and better cooling means less thermal throttling) but it is still not a gaming GPU (Mac GPUs are meant for Photoshop and AutoCAD, not gaming).

Will you ever need to use Photoshop away from home? if not, then the iMac will be faster for everything you plan to do.

I will do little photoshop (only when on vacation or such) but mostly coding away from home. That's what I'm not sure about, if 13 inch Is better or 15 inch. Could you try and explain what you'd recommend? Also, any idea what's most commonly used in unis/computer science?

My MacBook Pro does run one 4k monitor properly, until I try photoshop. Then it lags ever so slightly, and I do a lot of detail work, so even the slightest stutter irritates the heck out of me.
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,694
2,119
I will do little photoshop (only when on vacation or such) but mostly coding away from home. That's what I'm not sure about, if 13 inch Is better or 15 inch. Could you try and explain what you'd recommend? Also, any idea what's most commonly used in unis/computer science?

My MacBook Pro does run one 4k monitor properly, until I try photoshop. Then it lags ever so slightly, and I do a lot of detail work, so even the slightest stutter irritates the heck out of me.
Well you can code on almost anything, its when you need to get down to testing 3d graphics etc that you need the grunt.

Either option will work for you I personally would keep the 13 for class and on the go and get the imac for the grunt work.

or you could just get FCPX instead of photoshop and that will run fine for editing on a 4k screen and then not buy anything new at all and save a fortune.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,141
6,573
Keep the MacBook Pro and buy as good an iMac as you can afford (within reason).

There's NOTHING that beats having a good desktop Mac -and- a nice Mac laptop to carry around as well.
 

MikeArtworks

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 1, 2015
106
6
I bought the MacBook Pro 15 inch, and will check it out first. If it doesn't turn out to be great for me, I'll return it. I thought that the 15 inch would be easier to return, than an iMac as it has to go through mail.

Main reason that I already have a 4k 27 inch monitor on my desk.
 

MikeArtworks

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 1, 2015
106
6
@Fishrrman I just bought the MacBook Pro 15" which will arrive tomorrow. Really thinking about cancelling it, refunding it and instead getting the iMac..
 

jaybo72

macrumors newbie
Aug 1, 2017
2
0
New Hampshire
I've had just a laptop and I've tried to make it work with 4k monitor and it just didn't seem to quite fit the for what I needed. I decided to go with an iMac 27 5k and I have not regretted it. It has all the ports you need awesome power and screen and you can easily upgrade the stock 8 to as much as 32 yourself. However I do need the portability so I just got an older macbook air on eBay and I get the best of both worlds.
 
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