24" iMac or MBP+24" monitor?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by EasyRider, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. EasyRider macrumors regular


    Mar 28, 2008
    I am new to the Mac world. Recently I started using a 24" iMac at work, I like it a lot and want to switch out my PC to something that runs OS X.

    So now I am debating between a 24" iMac or a MBP and use my current 24" monitor at home. Wondering if anyone else was in a similar situation and are you happy with your decision?

    I am going to buy either the $1,499 refurbished iMac or the refubrished $1,649 15.4" MBP. They are priced almost the same.

    I would not use the MBP as a portable very often (2-3 times per year for trips and the occasional want to read my rss feed in my lazy boy)

    My home computer is on for 6-9 hours per day with 2-4 hours of actual use. Are there any downfalls to using a MBP as the cpu to run external monitor/keyboard/mouse. Will it overheat if I keep the lid closed for that long? Is it louder then an iMac?

    Are there any good docs for a MBP?
  2. TravisReynolds macrumors regular


    Mar 2, 2008
    Hey there bud,

    If I was in your situation I would go with the MBP. The MBP is very powerful, more powerful than the iMac.

    So you already will have a more powerful computer, then on the plus side you can take your MBP with you on the go. Where with an iMac you cant. All you need to do really is get a wireless mouse and keyboard, put your MBP under your desk and you wont even notice you have a laptop.

    This is just what I do, because you get both power and portability.
  3. skiffx macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    I just recently switched myself from PC to mac, and what I did is got the mbp and connected it to a 24" Dell LCD. Works liek a charm, plus instead of 1 screen you have actually 2. If you wanna run mbp closed you can do that as well, plus you have a benefit of actually have a laptop, if you need to use it as such, so its a no brainer...go with mbpro + external.
  4. andrewdale macrumors 6502a

    Jan 28, 2008
    Memphis, TN
    My fiancée and I have both a 24" iMac (2.8GHz, hers) and a 15" MBP (2.5GHz, mine) and I can definitely say that her iMac is wonderful to work on. It's so nice to have it there for simplicity. No need to plug up a monitor and hook up a mouse/keyboard. Just turn it on and there you go.

    Personally, if you're not going to be using the MBP for its Pro abilities, I would suggest getting the iMac. Then, when you get the money, get a nice refurb MacBook. They're much more portable and I think it'd be nicer to have a desktop and a laptop than having one computer.

    Just my 2 cents.
  5. ghettochild macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2007
    Bay Area, CA
    I use my 15" 2.4GHz MBP with a 23" ACD w/o any problems. I use the MBP w/ the lid opened, but you won't have any issues running it in closed lid mode.

    No worries, nothing will overheat. Also, you can always install smcfancontrol and raise the RPM of the fans to cool the MBP better.
  6. Ubele macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2008
    I debated this for a long time. I'd been using an eight-year-old PowerMac G4, in which I'd upgraded every component that could be upgraded. I was one of those people who were waiting in futility for a mid-range tower comparable in price to my G4 ($1599 back in 2000), and I finally got tired of waiting. I got a new MPB 15" three weeks ago, which I'm using with my old Samsung 21" LCD monitor, and I couldn't be happier. Having the two displays is great, and while I don't move my MBP around a whole lot, having the option of portability is nice.

    I really like the 24" iMac, but the 30" Cinema Display is truly breathtaking. Eventually, they (or competing brands) will drop in price to a level I won't be able to resist, and my MBP will be able to handle one. If I didn't already have a 21", I would have gotten a 24" with my MBP.

    I also debated between the MacBook and the MacBook Pro. In truth, the MB will do everything I need to do right now. But the MBP's 15" screen is much nicer than the MB's 13" when I'm not using my external monitor, I like the aforementioned ability (which I may never use) to drive a 30" monitor, and the backlit keyboard is something I didn't think would be a big deal but which has turned out to be really useful. Then there's the FireWire 800 port, which may prove useful for the A/V work I do. Best Buy had the 750 GB MyBook Studio for Mac external drive with USB 2.0/FW 400/FX 800 interfaces on sale for $179, and I snagged the last one on the shelf. So I feel that the extra money for the MBP was well spent, but that's not true for everyone.
  7. Azmordean macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    Actually, its a pain. I had a G5 desktop with a PB12" for a long time.. and while its a nice setup, it gets annoying. You go somewhere, and oops, that file's only on my desktop, oops, that music wasn't transfered over to the lappy, and oh, same thing with those photos I want to show off. Or, you remember as you go out the door, and spend 20 minutes copying over your music and photo libraries from desktop to laptop because you can't remember what you've added since you last updated your laptop.

    So, I decided this time around to go with a single computer - a MBP. Granted, I do travel quite a bit more than the OP. I'm quite looking forward to not having to sync my files and my "digital life" between two different computers.
  8. EasyRider thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 28, 2008
    Anyone have any tips on the MBP+large monitor setup? any cool stands or ports? I am leaning to getting the MBP instead of the iMac(getting tired of waiting for the iMac to get updated)
  9. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    This is what I'm desperately trying to figure out for myself.. As you can see on my sig I own a Mac Pro and a Mbp... but thinking about selling my mac pro and just using 1 machine the mbp.

    I'm thinking about keeping the mbp and hook it up to the 23" ACD while at my desk and take the mbp with me around the house or outside wherever..

    But I'm torn because to me like someone here said.. you can just turn on the imac or in my case the mac pro and there you go + not to mention how much more powerful a mac pro is compared to a mbp.. I mean its nice to use dual monitors on the mbp with the 23" ACD but there's nothing like a nice powerful desktop that can just crush through everything you throw at it with ease...

    But on the other hand.. the mbp does almost everything I want it to do and does it pretty well and fast and using it in dual screen mode is nice plus when I want to get off the desk I can take the mbp to the couch or coffee table or to a friends place or to the library...

    I dont know what to do.. =/
  10. gothamm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2007
    consider this:

    you are getting almost twice the real estate if you go with the mbp+external monitor.

    plus, I can not tell you how freaking awesome it is to use the notebook on my bed, while using it as a desktop for some serious work or some 1080p movie watching.

    no need to synch your laptop and desktop content. Its all right there :cool:
  11. Wingnut330 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2008
    Central Ohio - USA
    I just went through this exact same situation. I bought an MBA - loved it, but then thought it would be nice to have something more powerful with more exapandability for long editing sessions. So, I bought a 24" iMac. I love it as well, but I found myself frustrated with the syncing issue etc.

    In the end, I returned the iMac, sold the MBA and now have a new MBP. Guess what - I LOVE IT! hehehe. I have loved every Mac product I own, so that's no surprise.

    Anyway, I bought the 15" MBP for portability and power. I also bought a 24" Dell LCD for my long editing sessions. I really like the fact that I have the power to work on anything anywhere in my house. I have a young child, so being able to move from room to room with my machine is very handy.

    My MBP is very fast and has a great screen (glossy). It also have a big enough hard drive to get all of my data on it and I still have around 100G free.

    Either way you can't go wrong, but you might be surprised how useful it is to have a laptop / portability once you have it.
  12. hooly macrumors regular


    Nov 19, 2007
    that's my set up at home.

    iMacs are really nice, but for me the beauty is I can use my MBP at my desk when doing fine photo work or handling lots of docs, but 90% of the time I have my lazy ass on the couch or in bed and I couldnt do that with an iMac! :D

  13. Bokser Guest

    Just thought to mention, dont forget that the 24'' iMac uses IPS panel, which is far more superior then the many 24'' TNs people use out there in their external monitors.
    This will be crucial for photo editing in particular.
    So if you want to match the screen colour reproduction and quality or exceed that of an iMac 24'' you should go with an external monitor like NEC 2490WUXi, which, by the way, costs more than 1K$.

    I think that this is something people with photo-related work or editing should know, if they dont already.
  14. hooly macrumors regular


    Nov 19, 2007
    good point :) the photo work for me is strictly amatuer, but interesting to know that :apple:
  15. Azmordean macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    Yeah you have a much harder decision because you have a Mac Pro :p. For me, the MBP is far faster than anything I had - my G5, my PB, and my old PC - so it made sense to downsize and use it as my one and only computer. Personally though, if I Were you, I'd keep the Mac Pro. It is basically a dream desktop and is far and away more powerful than the MBP. Its more than worth the "syncing pain" in my mind. Now, when it comes time to upgrade, if you don't have unlimited moneys, you may have to consider this issue again (ie, do I buy a hot new lappy and use only that, or do I perhaps buy a cheaper laptop and spend most of the $$ on a better desktop and stay on the "desktop + lappy" track). But for now, since you have the Mac Pro, I'd enjoy it.

    Your experience doesn't translate to the OP though - as he doesn't currently own either computer. Also, he is looking at an iMac vs. a MBP, which, in my mind, are fairly comparable in terms of performance. Accordingly, if he does much at all where portable computing would be helpful, I'd lean towards the MBP since he already owns a good external display. Toss in a Griffin Elevator and some cable ties and velcro and you can actually have a pretty nice, clean, desktop type setup with a MBP.
  16. MacHiavelli macrumors 65816


    May 17, 2007
    new york
    I got a 24 inch iMac a couple of months ago and regretted the decision within 1 hour - should definitely have gone for a MBP and 30 inch monitor. It is an okay PC but the lack of freedom to roam is a real pain in the neck. Get the MBP and don't repeat my mistake.
  17. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    You gotta remember....

    Better tools doesn't make you a better manipulator or designer.

    I know a few professional photographers, designers who are using old five or six year old Apple Displays, cause they know it's more talent.
  18. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    Yea thanks for your input on what to do.. everytime I list the mac pro on ebay, I always have the urge to cancel it and just want to keep the mac pro... it is that much faster. I'm leaning on takng your advice and keep the mac pro and enjoy it, I guess to me the mac pro is the best mac I've ever owned and will last me the longest of at least 3-5 years before I'd want to upgrade... there is nothing like sitting back using a powerful desktop..

    As for the OP, I'd choose the mbp anyday over the imac. No offense to the die hard imac fans/users but to *me* though, just my opinion, that the imac seems like a kids toy just setup in a 9 year old kid's desk for him to play games on. Not only that I dont like the idea of the screen that's already embedded into the imac plus its overall speed is pretty much the same as a mbp. So to me its no brainer to just get the mbp and have a desktop type deal + get to take it wherever you want to go, on the bed, couch, starbucks, friends place, if your house is burning you can just snag up the mbp and just leave!! :D
  19. zgnoud macrumors member

    Feb 15, 2008
    Real designers dont use glossy screen - which is the only available feature with macbook pros for work... and especially not when it comes to colour work. And i have no idea what your trying to imply with your external display comment, there are plenty of displays that have outranked ACD (these reviews in mac magazines) infact apple just came out of a court losing in a settlement regarding the quality of their displays
  20. Bokser Guest


    Well, you might be right - buying an expensive piano won't make you play better. But here things are a bit different. No professional photographer/publisher who wants to accurately edit their photos will come close to TN panels, simply because DITHERING (this is what TN does to achieve 16mil. of colours) just doesn't cut it. Whereas In Panel Switching (IPS) has true 12bit representation, and it does make a huge difference.

    It might not make you a better designer, but if you want to get what you see on the monitor (how many times did you print a colourful picture which looks different when its printed compared to the monitor?) you need to have a decent display with IPS (Apple Cinema 23'', 30'', NEC 90's, Eizo ColorEdge etc.)

    Absolutely, real designers don't use glossy! But it seems you didn't read my post, where am I suggesting an ACD display? :D First of all, we are talking about an external display, and the one I mentioned (NEC 2490WUXi) is matte and is Better than iMac's 24'' screen. Secondly, there IS an option of matte screen for Macbook Pros, you must have missed it.

    Now you have an idea of what I was talking about? ;)

    I wasn't advocating using Apple Cinema screens, in fact I think it is stupid to allow user only change brightness and nothing else, not having aspect or custom scaling, LUT memory, calibration...and they claim it is a PRO monitor...well atleast not for me. The package is nice though :p
  21. chris y. macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2006
    los angeles, ca
    I've always had a desktop PC + apple notebook and I would have to agree that syncing them is somewhat a burden at first, but eventually you develop a pattern to keeping the files organized on both. I have been choosing to run my ACD30" off my new MBP since the ability to drive a 30" was one of the reasons for purchasing it.

    What I found to bother me the most would be having to actually plug in all the connecting wires: monitor, power, speakers, and ethernet before being able to use it. I have to admit there have been more than a few times where I would just use my notebook on my desk, unhooked to the 30", because I know I am going to have to unhook it all in the morning.
  22. kwfl macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2007
    is that really true?
    i have both macs (both SR) 2.4 vs 2.8

    i can definitely say that the imac runs much faster. I mean in terms of rendering. I usually convert movies to ipod mp4. It takes longer in the MBP to do the same task.

    they are all good.

    if they were the same, i wouldnt have got both.
    the imac, has higher screen resolution, better and larger hard drive, faster precessor, (i cant compare the graphics card, although i thinks the pro's is better). Cheaper

    at the end of this argument.
    i am thinking of selling my iMac and buying a 2x display. Because i dont do a lot of stuff. but again i will be missing lots of stuff i need in the imac. :(
    maybe i will stick with it.
  23. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I would like to see a review that outranks the apple ACD (I'm sure Eizos and NEC might at the same price as the ACD or even more expensive) but no other companies and especially at a lower price will.

    Plus your wrong about the apple settlement, they are in court because of dithering on the macbook pro screens not being an 8-bit monitor as it is a 6-bit and using dithering to show all 16.2 million colors and NOT the ACDs ;)

    Please dont post with wrong information, which is both wrong.

  24. kwfl macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2007
    and i advise you to buy one with a matt screen. dont go for the glossy as it has that weird reflection.
  25. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006

    This is true because the imac actually has a core 2 duo extreme on the 2.8Ghz (higher end models) [​IMG]+ the use of a 3.5" HDD is a huge difference as to a 2.5" HDD.

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