24" iMac vs. 15" MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ARK, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. ARK macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    My Quicksilver G4 is 6 years old and its time to start thinking about a new purchase. My budget is going to be $2000. Of course we have two products in this area - 24" iMac and a 15" MacBook Pro.

    Background - I am a graphic designer and would need the ability to run some design apps to take work home. I currently do finances, web surfing, email and of course some games such as Diablo 3 when it comes out. I do have an iPhone and my wife is looking to get one eventually as well. This computer would replace both my Quicksilver (in the office) and my wifes Dell (on the first floor). I also have a pair of sound sticks connected to my Quicksilver. I'm not opposed to refurbished either.

    24" iMac - For the money the iMac is definitely "future proofing" myself more than the MacBook Pro. Faster processor, bigger hard drive, bigger screen. However we would be limited to the second floor only. The sound sticks would be nice with the iMac though. I LOVE that 24" screen!!!!!!!

    24" iMac (I realize a newer model may be coming out soon)
    3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2 GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1 GB
    500GB Serial ATA Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS w/512MB GDDR3

    Macbook Pro - Slower processor, smaller hard drive, smaller screen. Since I already have an iPhone I don't see myself taking our laptop everywhere we go but the ability to be mobile around the house would be nice since our office is on the second floor. We already have wireless so that makes it easy. I would do a refurbished model but only if its the "new" aluminum unibody model. The wife has said "I think a laptop would be nice so you can be downstairs when you do our finances." HA! I think I have always lusted after a Mac laptop. Every time I see them I always admire them. If we had the budget I think an iMac with a MacBook Air would be a good solution.

    15" MacBook Pro
    2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x1GB
    250GB Serial ATA @ 5400
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Dual Graphic Cards

    So that being said what would you guys choose?
  2. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    iMac any day for me :)

    Also if you're not in a hurry hold out till November, new model due out.

    Or how about a refurb iMac and a refurb Macbook?
  3. NinerRider macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2008
    Better idea... get yourself an iMac and a new Dell for your wife to keep her in the other room. :D
  4. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601


    Nov 19, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    That's a tough decision. I would probably go with an iMac in your situation.

    I've always had a laptop (currently a 15" Macbook Pro) and it is very convenient. At the beginning of the year, I bought a 24" iMac and now it's what I use 95% of the time.
  5. MacNoob93 macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2008
    Above i read there is a new Imac due in Novmeber. Can somone please confirm this?
  6. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
  7. domiS macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2008
    Im in the almost the same situation as you are.. i'm going for a macbook pro with a 24 external screen (maybe the led apple screen if its good enough)
    1) im working in illustrator, indesign and photoshop alot, and the iMac dont got good enough screen for thee tasks (color correction)
    2) Then i got iMac and macbook pro in one sorta ;) with the monitor as a dockingstation.
  8. Malivar macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2008
    I doubt the 24" Apple Cinema Display is going to have good color correction compared to the iMac.. The one featured on the wesbite at the moment is glossy (Has the glass over the LCD itself) so it wouldn't be much different.

    I'd say get the iMac, but since you're some sort of designer, I'd say maybe get the MBP with an external display bought maybe somewhere other than Apple. If you just want an MBP with the new Cinema Display just get a 24" iMac.
  9. raccoontail macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2007
    It all comes down to whether you need portability or not for your work. I use an iMac for web design and haven't found the color accuracy to be a problem, but obviously you would want to check colors at work before printing.

    For me I ended up with a 24" iMac and a refurb Dell D430 laptop (not much bigger than a macbook air and more ports than a macbook... for under $800). Having the Dell saves me having to purchase and mess with Parallels/etc for cross platform testing, and provides redundancy in case one system goes down and an extra computer for friends/guests.
  10. ARK thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    Well Im a graphic designer for a marketing company so I do that during the day. There are times though when I may want to take work home or at least be able to do the same thing at home. Thing is I would like to get the Macbook Pro but get a monitor to go with it. Currently though the budget wont allow for me to purchase both an Apple Display and the laptop. In a perfect world I would get the 24" LCD they introduced. I *could* use the wife's Dell monitor I suppose and get a DVI adapter maybe. However I can't get by thinking I can get a faster processor, larger hard drive, and a bigger screen for the same amount of money than the Macbook Pro. Thats hard to ignore - all for the sake of being able to go downstairs -or- in the back yard with the laptop.
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You will not notice the difference in performance. The iMac and MBP are so close you'd need a stop watch to tell them apart. What you WILL notice is that

    1. The 24" screen is so much better to work on and
    2. You can't take the 24' iMac off your desk

    Don't worry much about Ghz, RAM and disk speed those are nit-picky details compared to the above.
  12. Bernardinho macrumors member


    Oct 27, 2008
    East Sussex, UK, Europe
    My situation was extremely similar, except the laptop I have been relying on is a Mere 4 year old G4 Powerbook and I used a G4 iMac at home. I need the computers for a variety of things from photos, and page design to musical arrangement. And doing more boring work stuff like letter writing, presentations etc.

    I considered the fully featured 3.06 imac, the macbook (small enough but lacking firewire which I use for my existing peripherals) the Macbook pro (too big, smaller is the most important feature for me) and the macbook air (pricey and but updated and the most portable to take to work).

    My choice was soon down to
    A) keep using the old powerbook and get a 3.06 imac for home or
    B) keep using my 15" g4 imac at home and get a macbook air for work.

    I went for choice A, and I don't regret my decision for a second. I can continue to lug the powerbook around for a while, but this decision makes the biggest difference in performance, and a problem I had was lack of hard disk space (it is such a pain having to use external HD for modestly sized itunes and iphoto libraries after you start running low on space!

    Of course i considered that the iMacs may soon get an update, but I think the top of the range one is unlikely to be eclipsed in performance by that, and the current models have all the ports in case Steve wishes to reconsider firewire in the future. It already has a pretty great graphics card, (World of Warcraft with virtually all the graphics maxed out reported 130fps full screen whatever that means!).

    BTW I upgraded the iMac RAM to 4GB when I bought it. Then got a wireless keyboard to make it look even better!
  13. highjumppudding macrumors 6502


    Mar 1, 2008
    if you need a portable, get a portable. if you dont need a portable, get a desktop. you'll save money on a desktop and get better performance. it's totally up to your lifestyle and usage. you're the best one to decide.
  14. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
  15. Jak3 macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2008
    GRAPHIC designer...MB does not have enough power...sorry man...
  16. Ubundows macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2008
    I'm in a similar boat. I'll probably either get an entry macbook pro with a 23" display or buy myself an imac and a powerbook and access my imac HD wirelessly. Not sure yet.

    I'd probably be better off getting myself a 3.06ghz imac and an iphone to use as a PDA though.
  17. chilipie macrumors 6502a


    May 8, 2006
    Enough power for what?
  18. winninganthem macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2008
    He's a graphics designer that's been getting by with a 1 GHz Quicksilver iMac G4... Anything is going to be an upgrade from that o_O.

    For that reason, I say get the MBP, since it's plenty powerful and you have the mobility option. A system's ability to be "future proofed" depends mostly on personal preferences. Seems you've been able to work with an old computer for a very long time, so based off of your experience it seems that you will likely do the same with a MacBook Pro.

    Reason I think you should get a laptop is because I think the extra mobility is worth the small compromise with power. When your wallet is feeling fat again, go invest in a new external display.
  19. domiS macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2008
    You might be right about that, but atleast i have the possibility to buy a better screen rather than beeing stuck with an intergrated monitor like the iMac have. I would suggest you buy a macbook pro and get a external screen when you can afford it :)
  20. mklaman macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2006
    ok so now help me!

    I currently have a powerbook G4 (over 5 years old now). I am graduating from VCU with a degree in graphic designer in december. My powerbook has recently been acting up and my right side board with my firewire/usb/s-video does not work. I just had to reformat because i was getting some crazy errors. It seems to be working ok now (except those ports on the right doesn't work and my trackpad button is being weird).

    anyways... I am debating between a new MBP and the top of the line iMac. I think this PB might last a little while longer so i am leaning towards a imac since i still have this for portability. BUT, I am more skeptical about when i should get a new computer.

    I guess they are no longer having an imac update in november? And will the update be that much of a difference? What about the new graphics cards in the MBP, do they out perform the imac by a ton or not at all?

    also, i cant do the mbp and external display... not enough $$ :)

  21. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008

    There are no imac updates before xmas, apple confirmed this in a statement didnt they? My mate at the apple store and all of his friends arent expecting a refresh till January. (In there opinion).

    EDIT: http://www.macrumors.com/2008/11/03/apple-no-new-products-before-holidays/
  22. Bengt77 macrumors 68000


    Jun 7, 2002
    I think you answered your own question there. And since you realise that you're more future proof with the iMac, there's really no question left as to which of the two to get. If you want a larger screen later on, you'll have to buy an external display to hook up to the MacBook Pro. Extra cost; not necessary with the iMac. Plus, the ergonomics of sitting at a desk with a raised display (like the iMac's) and a dedicated keyboard and mouse, can't be had with a laptop alone. So for your needs, I'd get an iMac any day.
  23. Bengt77 macrumors 68000


    Jun 7, 2002
  24. ARK thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    The more I think about it the more I lean towards the iMac. However last night I went to the local Apple Store and they had the 24" LED Cinema Display hooked up with a 15" Macbook Pro. That looked really nice!! Same size screen as the iMac with the portability. But it costs more... geez.
  25. TheHoff macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2008
    That pair is certainly a beautiful example of modern design but there is no reason for you to spend $900 on an external monitor if it is only used for occasional design work. You could get an uglier and not-quite-as-accurate Dell or Samsung for $300.

    If you're not printing essential colour-matched images at home, you'll do just fine with a cheaper panel. Complaints about colour accuracy, etc, are often overblown if you're not doing precise print work from that machine. I'm a serious photographer and a UI designer and I'm still getting by with a PVA Samsung panel at home. You won't get a huge gamut or precise accuracy, but really, the difference is negligible unless you demand precise colour control at home.

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