2013 iMac + MBA or rMBP + MBA?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jmoscillada, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. jmoscillada macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Hello! I'm new to the MacRumors forums.

    I'm torn between getting the iMac 27" + MacBook Air 13" or the retina MacBook Pro 15" + MacBook Air 11", all with the latest Haswell chip.

    Primarily, one Mac (iMac or rMBP) will stay at home, while the MBA will be the portable one. I narrowed down to these choices as I like the retina display of the MBP, but I also like the computing power and large screen estate of the iMac.

    The iMac's specs will be 3.4 GHz i5, 16GB RAM, 512 GB PCI-e flash, and standard NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M with 2GB of video memory. Meanwhile, the rMBP's specs will be 2.3 GHz i7, 16GB RAM, 512 GB PCI-e flash, and Intel Iris Pro + NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 2GB of video memory.

    For the MacBook Air, it will be 13" or 11", base models with 1.3GHz i5, 4GB RAM, and 128GB PCI-e flash.

    Which is the better setup to get? I will appreciate all replies.
     
  2. dextr3k macrumors 6502

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    Nov 26, 2012
    #2
    imac and mba. no sense getting 2 laptops. Since you completely neglect the portability advantage of a rmbp.

    if you are only planning to do a little traveling. I say get only the rmbp.
     
  3. jmoscillada thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    I'm a student and always on the go. It seems iMac+MBA will be the perfect setup. I also have an iPad but MBA will do a better job at taking notes. Thanks for the reply :)
     
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #4
    Wow, looks like you've a lot of pesos to burn.

    Why not get the retina MBP and a Thunderbolt display instead? You'll find that over time, the i7-4850HQ (2.3GHz in rMBP) will be better in the long run because of more threads compared to the iMac's i5.

    The iMac is an i5-4670 (3.4GHz) and the rMBP is an i7-4850HQ (2.3GHz rMBP) (look here: http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/220/Intel_Core_i5_i5-4670_vs_Intel_Core_i7_Mobile_i7-4850HQ.html)

    Instead of buying the iMac, get a 2.6GHz rMBP with 1TB SSD (it's much faster than the 512GB SSD because it's a 4-lane PCIe, compared to 2-lanes in the 512GB. The 1TB SSD can hit read/writes of over 1GB/s) and a Thunderbolt display, since it's going to stay at home.

    As for your portable setup, why not a 13" MBA? I have an 11" and find it too small. In this case, i5 or i7 doesn't matter because both have 4 threads, although the i7 can push 3.3GHz, as opposed to the i5's 2.6GHz max turbo speed in the MBA. But I'd suggest you max out to 8GB of RAM since it isn't upgradeable.
     
  5. jmoscillada thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    I don't like the idea of regularly plugging in/out a cable (in this case, thunderbolt) on the MBP, though. Maybe I can have the i7 and 1TB flash on the iMac plus an MBA. I like the 11" MBA more because it has a smaller footprint, and it can fit in my everyday bag without being too heavy. (1kg on 11" vs 1.5kg on 13")
     
  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #6
    Well you could just leave the Thunderbolt cable permanently plugged into the rMBP though, since it's staying at home :)

    But anyway, you can also scrap the rMBP and invest in an i7 on the iMac plus a 4GB GTX780M (big leap over the 775M).

    Note that the 1TB SSD in the iMac isn't 4-lane, unlike the rMBP. It's the regular 2-lane drive in the iMac regardless of capacity.
     
  7. jmoscillada thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    That would be nicer... maybe the 2-lane SSD on the iMac would be great enough for me. BTW, what are the read/write speeds of 4-lane SSD on rMBP versus the 2-lane SSD on the iMac?
     
  8. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #8
    4-lane SSD (1TB rMBP): read/writes of around 1.1-1.2GB/s.
    2-lane SSD (SSD, 512GB and smaller on rMBP, any SSD on iMac): read 750MB/s, write 650MB/s
     
  9. jmoscillada thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Not that bad! I think I'll go with the iMac + MBA. Thanks! :)
     
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #10
    i7 and 4GB 780M?

    PS you can always upgrade RAM yourself after purchase, it's cheaper.
     
  11. jmoscillada thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    Yes.

    If I could find 32GB RAM for the iMac, I would. If I can't, I'll just be including it with the iMac upon order.
     
  12. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Just go to crucial they have an easy to use configurator.
     
  13. minimalism macrumors member

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    Nov 28, 2013
    #13
    Like what dextr3k said, there's no point in getting two laptops. I'd go for iMac 27 inch for home, then MBA for mobility.

    Retina display is nice, but is it truly necessary or negligible when it come to work? If you do some surfing, note taking or other simple tasks, perhaps an iPad Air + keyboard would suffice.
     
  14. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #14
    I'm not partial to it. What I don't understand is why you wouldn't just take the rmbp along if you went that route. It's not heavy.
     
  15. jmoscillada thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    As I've posted earlier, that would be the better setup. Though I'm still considering just buying the rMBP and completely scrapping the iMac + MBA setup. I'm not a fan of iPad + keyboard combo, I think it's just clunky.

    I have a 13" 2010 MBP, and on paper it has the same weight as the 15" rMBP. For me it's heavy. Though it's also a good idea to have the rMBP alone to do tasks meant for the iMac + MBA setup.

    I like the retina display on the rMBP :) but reviewers say the 27" display on the iMac is gorgeous even though the pixel density isn't that high. (Please don't judge, I haven't seen one in person yet)

    Based on the previous suggestion to have a Thunderbolt Display + rMBP: I'm still open for that option, not my first choice though.

    ----------

    I live in the Philippines. I prefer to buy a RAM in-store than online. I'll just use the online tool to find the RAM with the exact specifications on any of the various Mac hardware retail stores here. :)
     
  16. supaman macrumors member

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    #16
    I'd go with iMac and MBA. I have a 21.5" iMac and 13" MBP and I like having the screen real estate, wish I had the 27" now though.
     
  17. jmoscillada thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Greater screen real estate is a big plus, combined with the MBA's portability, makes the perfect setup. Thanks for your suggestion :)

    Wish the MBA had the retina display, and that would be the ultimate ultraportable.

    It seems I have narrowed my decision to the iMac and MBA setup. It makes perfect sense already. Thank you guys!
     
  18. richard13 macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Can you please cite the source of your information? I haven't seen any benchmarks that show a significant performance difference between the 1TB and 512GB SSDs.

    Regardless, the 1TB SSD upgrade is currently ridiculously expensive. Even if there is a spec difference I doubt a regular user would see much of a real world difference anyway.
     
  19. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    If you are set on two machines and have the money to spend then iMac and MBA.

    If you don't like the idea of a monitor and rMBP (which would have been my suggestion) then how about an Apple TV and hd TV - you can mirror the rMBP to the large screen without a cable connection.
     
  20. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #20
    Myself from Blackmagic tests and benchmarks from 9to5mac

    http://9to5mac.com/2013/11/04/latest-macbook-pro-15-gets-blazing-ssd-performance-thanks-to-4-channel-pcie/

    Read the graph.

    I have a 1TB SSD myself in my 15" RMBP, and the performance gains are only noticeable when working with really huge files though.
     
  21. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #21
    I still have a 17" around. It's heavier than a 13" mbp, but I can still transport it easily. I can't see how the extra 1-1.5 pounds would influence whether or not it goes with you, but that is obviously up to your preference.
     
  22. richard13 macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Hey… thanks for the link/info. This is really peculiar. I wonder why Apple is being quiet about this. You'd think they would be really pushing 1TB SSDs with this as a benefit. Of course, as previously stated, typical users probably won't see a difference so maybe this is to reduce confusion.

    ----------

    Based on this and your other replies I'd suggest the direction you seem to be going in, iMac + MBA.

    The MBP + MBA combo would make sense if you needed total portability and had very specific needs for a MBP. Using the MBP as a de facto iMac by adding a Thunderbolt display would work but wouldn't have the same performance as a fully decked out iMac. It would also wind up costing you more and you'd be wasting the wonderful retina display of the MBP.

    Of course if you do wind up going MBP + MBA that would probably work ok too.
     
  23. djc6 macrumors 6502

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    #23
    I have this setup and like it a lot. My laptop sits on a mStand next to my display. You only have to plug the one cable in, since your keyboard/mouse/ethernet/drives/etc are plugged into the thunderbolt display.

    I used to have an iMac and a laptop, and I much prefer this setup because all my documents are on this one computer. That one cable is a lot easier than setting up some sort of file sync between computers or copying files back and forth when I want to go portable. That was the hardest part of having two computers - making use the most recent versions of documents I care about were on both computers. Hooking up an external display has been much easier.
     
  24. gagecloutier macrumors member

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    Sep 21, 2012
    #24
    It's funny seeing all the people complaining about keeping data synced between two computers like it's such a royal pain in the ***. Ever heard of Dropbox? My 27" iMac + 11" MBA are practically the same computer (with the exception of massive media libraries), without me even ever needing to do anything other than connecting to the internet.
     
  25. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #25
    Some people have never heard of NAS either :)

    All my Macs share Aperture and iTunes libraries in a NAS.
     

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