15" MBP + 24" Display or 13" MBP + 27" iMac?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by qwimjim, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. qwimjim, Jan 19, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011

    qwimjim macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2011
    I bought a 17" i5 2.53 MBP and while I love it to death, I'm spending more and more time at a desk and now with an iphone my laptop rarely leaves the house. So I'm thinking of selling it. My girlfriend currently has a 13" HP laptop that also rarely leaves the house so our choices are:

    1. Sell the HP 13" & 17" MBP, buy a 27" iMac and 13" MBP. I would end up using the 13" a lot in bed at night, so I would have my hard drive on the 27" shared with it via 802.11n wifi. I've never done this before, but would be routinely accessing documents, mp3's, photo's, and downloaded tv shows. Would this work well or would it be noticeably slow and annoying? That would be a dealbreaker.

    2. Sell the 17" MBP, buy a 15.4" i5 2.53 MBP and an HP ZR24W 1920x1200 IPS monitor. Pro's: All my files on the same computer, all the time. Cons: obviously 15.4" MBP not as powerful or upgradeable as 27" iMac.

    If I understood correctly, Macs are not like PC's where everytime I plug in the monitor I have to go through a bunch of menu's to activate the display.. on mac's you just plug it in and the display works instantly/automatically right? No fiddling? Cost wise they'll be about the same buying on craiglist/kijiji.
  2. orfeas0 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2010
    Athens, Greece
    I use a toshiba qosmio as a laptop and whenever i plug the external monitor, 2 seconds later i have my 2nd desktop, no menus no fiddling. I don't know about macs.
    And on topic, i suggest the 13mbp+imac, you'll have a powerful workstation (imac) and a quite powerful and easily transferable laptop. i don't suggest you get the 15" mbp. only get it if the 13inches are too small for you. but since you will have the huge imac , then the small mbp will be fine as a second pc.
  3. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    That's pretty close to true - the screens flicker a bit while the system adjusts differences in screen resolution, etc. - but no user input is required. I'm basing this on my 2006 MacBook which gets quite a bit of use in clamshell mode.
  4. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    for regularly accessed stuff i'd recommend having two copies and syncing between machines. something like dropbox for documents is ideal. For mp3s/photos you'll probably need sync software.

    Streaming should be fine if you get a good signal in your bedroom.

    consider what you'll lose selling your 17" though. Might be worth sticking with it and adding a monitor to it as the cheapest route to a bigger screen on the desktop.

    Personally though I'd go with the imac if you're sure you dont' need the portability that much. Much more powerful, much more screen real estate. Then consider an ipad if you just want browsing/music/video in the bedroom. if you need document editing or anything 'proper' office, then a 13" MBP would be better.
  5. orfeas0 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2010
    Athens, Greece
    or you could get 2 13" MBPs, a time machine and, if you need it, an external monitor.
  6. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I use a 13" for portability along with a 27" iMac. I don't share files directly since my MacBook is primarily used away from home. Instead I sync important folders with Chronosync. Just have to make it a habit to do so before leaving and after returning.
  7. qwimjim thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2011
    But if appletv can stream 720p video from an iMac, should it not be possible for the Macbook to stream that same video from the iMac as well? I think I read that realistically one can expect transfer rates of 100mbit/sec on 802.11n which is 12.5Mb/sec. My average movie is usually only around 1 - 1.5 gigs which works out to 0.2Mb/sec.

    I can't do the whole syncing thing, it would drive me nuts because I'd be switching from one to the other multiple times during a day, I would spend most of my time on the iMac but when on the laptop, in the kitchen or something.. I might want to stream some mp3s, or browse a recent photo album occasionally. I wouldn't want either to feel sluggish. The bulk would be documents (text, pdf, word, excel). I would create an alias on the Macbooks dock to a folder on the iMac with all my documents. Shouldn't that work flawlessly given the speeds of wi-fi?

    If it helps we have no walls in our apartment, it's a loft with an open second floor. Bed is probably 20' away from desk where iMac would be, clear line of sight. Kitchen table and living room about the same distance but on the first floor, clear line of sight.
  8. amusiccale macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    Depending on your security needs, the before-mentioned Dropbox could be ideal. A folder you'd have on both desktops (or wherever, presumably) that would be automatically synced between the two so that anything in that folder would be accessible on either computer and would always be up to date, assuming that you have an always-on internet connection. Works fastest for documents, but it sounds like that's your primary need.
  9. qwimjim thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2011
    Why use dropbox? I'm still using the same wi-fi connection since I have wireless internet, but now I'm entering in two more variables which are likely to be much slower, my isp's internet connection, and dropbox's server. I use dropbox a lot and it's often slow because the site is slow.

    If dropbox is acceptable, then why wouldn't sharing my drive via wi-fi through my 802.11n router be good? I think I'll start a new thread dealing with this question specifically because these answers don't really make any sense :)
  10. alfmil, Jan 21, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
  11. qwimjim thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2011
    i'd get the MBA if i was taking my laptop out of the house everyday, but it never leaves the house it just moves around from room to room so for us i'd rather save the money, get a more powerful cpu, upgradeable ram, better looking display colors, disc drive, etc.. ssd drive would be nice though but not at the cost of everything else. i haven't owned a desktop in 8 years, things change i guess :)

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