27" iMac vs. 27" Screen + MBPr dock

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by elcrian, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. elcrian macrumors newbie


    Jun 17, 2013
    Georgia, US
    I currently have a MacBook Pro Retina (2014) with 256GB SSD and 8GB of Ram as well a s a pretty powerful Windows machine (which I never use b/c Windows) as well as three 24" Full-HD monitors, two of which I use for my MBPr and one for the PC. The amount of cables this setup uses is ridiculous. I also sort of grew out of the nerdy-triple-screen-office-look, lol.

    So I was thinking about getting the current 27" 5k iMac but I'm unsure if I should, tho. It would replace the PC as well as all three screens (ideally), so I'd have a much cleaner office as well as everything on OS X. Windows @bootcamp would also be optional, my current SSD is way too small.

    But the thing is, I travel like 4-5 days a week so the 27" would only be used on weekends which seems a bit... wasteful? It'll be ~€2,050 with the M390 and 1TB Fusion drive and ~€2,300 with the M395 and 2TB. Also something tells me I should definitely get the bigger version.

    So I was wondering, is there any comparable, cheaper alternative to hook up my MBPr to a (semi-comparable) 27" screen? So screen and docking station basically.
    I guess I could and would use the iMac's processing power - but not necessarily €2,300 worth of it.

    Also, the 27" 5k still has no target display mode, right? Not even with a normal 4k resolution?

    What would you do?
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Well no not really you can't get a 5K screen for less than about 1600 euro and your macbook can't power it.

    You can certainly get a 4K monitor but if your macbook pro is a 13 inch it'll only drive it at 30Hz (or 52Hz with switchres X).
  3. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Well, Samuelsan (above) has pointed out the problem with 4k/5k. The 5k iMac is pretty tempting, and I haven't seen the new version with the improved colour range yet.

    However, it sounds like what you need is a nice, third party 27" 2560x1440 display. It's not 5k, or even 4k, but it will be a step up from a 24" "Full HD" (1920x1080) display and your rMBP won't break a sweat running it. Also, most such displays have multiple inputs, so you could connect your PC to the second input and switch between them with a couple of button presses.

    Of course, there's always the Apple Thunderbolt display - unbeatable when it comes to cable reduction (its a docking station with Ethernet, Firewire, sound, webcam, USB2 ports and magsafe power supply) but outdated because it lacks USB 3 (so if you have USB3 hard drives you'll still have to connect them to the Mac) and expensive because you can buy a 3rd party 1440p screen and a thunderbolt dock for less money. Its also very glossy, which is a love/hate feature. Plus, it wouldn't work with your PC. Probably only a contender if you find a good second hand deal.
  4. Rainman4500, Oct 15, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015

    Rainman4500 macrumors newbie


    Oct 15, 2015
    Well I have a 2013 Macbook Pro retina 15 inches.
    I drive a 4K monitor via thunderbolt at 60 Hertz & another 4K monitor at 30Hertz via HDMI
    You can not use both thunderbolt ports.

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3 October 15, 2015