24" iMac + MB or MBP (UK)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Peteypan, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. Peteypan macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2007

    Well I'm goin into the final year of my computer science degree and I thought I'd get a new MacBook Pro for the year ahead.

    I had chosen the MBP over the MB because I'll be using it for programming and web developement so the larger screen/faster processor/discreet graphics would serve me well. Also, the MBP is much sexier, but you know this.

    I live with my partner, so this would really be a shared laptop (I'm not sure either of us would tolerate working on the old inspiron or thinkpad we have just now, watching our better half hammering away on a MBP).

    The alternative then is for us to buy an iMac together, and I can buy a MacBook myself.

    The iMac is a more powerful machine than the MBP, and the recent discovery of the H-IPS panel in the 24" along with the 2600 (better than) pro graphics have made it quite appealing to me. It is an ideal home computer.

    Even with an iMac, tho, I'd still need something portable. I worry that a MB just wont cut it, and wont be able to deal with CS3 work. I certainly cant afford an iMac and MBP.

    I was going to spend about 1400 on the 2.4 MBP (with HE discount), and the 24" iMac and entry level MB works out around 1700 (also with discount, im not on my university network just now so I can't quote actual prices).

    If we get an iMac just now, I could afford to wait until october for (hopefully) a macbook speed bump (x3100).

    I suppose what I'm asking is if an x3100 MacBook (or maybe even a current gen MacBook?) is capable of running CS3 and other programming/web development/design software and lasting a reasonable length of time. And if it would be capable, do you think an iMac MB combination is worth the £300 odd premium over the MBP?

    Sorry to be so long winded, its just its alot of money and I dont want to suffer a dreaded mac-strength dose of buyers remorse!


  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    The current MacBook is no slouch. It's dual core and supports up to 2GB of RAM. I don't think you would have any problem running CS3 on it.

    I'd go the route of the iMac/MB combo, especially as they're going to be shared. Far easier to share 2 machines than 1!
  3. koobcamuk macrumors 68040


    Oct 23, 2006
    Interesting story.

    I currently have the 1.83Ghz base model Core Duo MacBook and it's a year old. It runs CS3 jsut fine. I have 2GB of RAM and a 160GB HD by the way - but it really is very, very quick when compared to the iBook I used to have.

    My girlfriend is an Architect and has a 24" iMac. We also use this for DVDs and streaming eyeTV from my MacBook in the study.

    The MacBook and iMac are a seriously great combination. If you buy them now - you'll be having the same setup as me, but with much faster and more expandable computers (ours are 1 year old).

    You won't regret this.

    One caveat... I personally suffer from a syndrome where I want to have the MBP. This means that whilst the MB does everything I need (save the smallish screen) I want more. Either an external screen or a MBP. Choosing is hard and I am currently deciding. Chances are, I will keep the MacBook for another year and be done with it. :rolleyes:
  4. TheChillPill macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    I've never had a Macbook, so I can't comment on how well they work with CS3.

    However, have you considered perhaps getting an iMac and a 2nd-user MBP? You can pick up a used MBP a couple of months old with 2Gb RAM for only slightly more than a new Macbook.

    Unless you really wanted the new aluminium iMac, you could do the same there and save a little extra still.
  5. koobcamuk macrumors 68040


    Oct 23, 2006
    They work really, really well.

    I think that's good advice too.
  6. MacDonaldsd macrumors 65816


    Sep 8, 2005
    London , UK
    Im agreeing with TheChillPill to. The Extra screen space on the MBP is invaluable IMO so if you can pick one up cheap enough id go with that.

    if you cant do that, I do think the iMac/MacBook combo is the way to go
  7. Peteypan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2007
    Haha, I think I suffer from the same condition. And the prescription is more Mac! Its good to hear how these macs have performed in a similar situation to mine, and that CS3 runs well.

    Thanks for the quick replies.

    I dont think I could afford a refurb/2nd user MBP. I'd consider a refurb or 2nd user MB if i could get a good price, maybe then I could afford to upgrade the RAM right away. I would buy a new iMac, as with the HE discount the difference in price over a 2nd hand white one isnt massive (although a 7600 would be nice) and I'm a fan of the new enclosure.

    Incredibly, my massive first post didn't even cover everything I wanted to ask! I'm also curios as to how a MB would perform with an external display.

    I'd like the option of buying a nice external display at some point to run dual displays when im working at home (which would help with the relatively limited screen space on the MB), how does the GMA950 do in this area? would the X3100 fare much better?

    It seems like a bad time to buy a MacBook, with the bump likely in October. I'd say the same is true of the cinema displays (not that I can afford one at the moment, and I'd probably get a 22" HP or Samsung).

    Its a great time to buy an iMac though, and with that I can wait a while for the MB.

    I'm really leaning towards the iMac-MB combo now based on your advice, the girlfriend will be pleased.

    thanks again,

  8. maestrokev macrumors 6502a


    Apr 23, 2007
    Other than apps that push the graphics card capabilities of the MB, there's nothing slow about the MB. The biggest advantage of the MBP to me is the screen real estate but that can be remedied with an external monitor if need be. I can do CS3 and Lightroom work just fine in my MB and MBP - it's all about RAM and fast hard drive as the chips are so similar - all the latest generation dual cores are super fast!

    What I love most about the MB is it's smaller and lighter to carry around so you're more likely to use it out of your home. My MBP stays at home most of the time.

    If cost is an issue, stay with the MB, there's always something faster around the corner but as you can see now the increases are coming in smaller increments.
  9. koobcamuk macrumors 68040


    Oct 23, 2006
    That is a very important factor in life... yours and hers :)

    As for external displays... I am looking into that at the moment. I want something to tempt me away from getting a MBP as I don't think I need it or can afford it.

    The MacBook will happily run the 23" ACD at full resolution (1900 by something I think). This is the max for the MacBook. Which Samsung or HP displays did you have in mind? I am after any display over 20" really - and I would want it to be on the right side of a good price because otherwise I will be tempted by a MacBook Pro again.

    The MacBook will easily do what you want it to do - mine does. I do programming and play with photoshop and iWeb, I really feel that I can do anything I want with this computer (I dont game on it - can't comment).

    I have a 17" iMac at work (I wish it was the new 20"!!!) and that's a snappy little machine too. Quite a rare one I feel - being discontinued so early as well.

    Let me know which displays you're looking at as I am currently on the look - big time. The MacBook is feabile when you're at home for a long time and you want to have a huge screen.
  10. Peteypan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2007
    I started off looking at lovely 30" ACDs and Dells that I couldn't afford (neither the displays themselves nor the machine powerful enough to use them), and didn't need.

    I think at the moment, ACDs are overpriced and not far from an update so one shouldn't really be on the cards. You can get a good 22" display for less than the 20" ACD.

    22" really seems to be the sweet spot; when you see them in person they are so much bigger than 20" and don't seem much smaller than 24". They are also much more affordable than 24" or higher displays, possibly because they tend to fall just short of HD at 1900x1050.

    If your working with a macbook though a higher resolution might have a negative impact on the experience using it, with its integrated graphics.

    If i was buying today I'd get either the HP w2207 or the Samsung SyncMaster 226BW.
  11. TheChillPill macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    I can highly recommend the Samsung - I have 2 SyncMaster 225s and they are excellent.
  12. Squonk macrumors 65816


    Mar 15, 2005
    2nd for Samsung monitor

    I have a pair of 206BW's and love them. The 226BW looked most excellent as well!
  13. cervaro macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2005
    Kent, UK
    The Apple refurb store is always a good place to look for bargains. I'm torn at the moment between buying a 17" 2.33GHz MBP with external Dell 24" at around £1800, or going for a 17" 2.4GHz MBP with high definition display and reusing an old 20" Dell 4:3 ratio monitor for similar money.

    Any opinions on which is the better option?

    I had considered the MacBook, but couldn't live with the smaller screen, and after seeing the 15" MBP screen at the weekend in the local Apple store, compared to the 17" models, it has to be a 17" model for me. Ironically, I've just sold my 24" iMac to fund the laptop purchase. Beautiful machine, and the display made it even better. Another reason I'm torn between losing a 24" display, even though the 17" HD MBP has the same pixel resolution.

Share This Page