3.06 GHz 24" iMAC vs. 2.4 GHz 15" MBP (1st post :)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by pwnographer, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. pwnographer macrumors newbie

    Jun 2, 2008
    Hi all,

    I've been browsing your forums for the past few months as I've been considering the purchase of a Mac and just barely registered today!

    I am at a cross roads where I am trying to decide between a 24 inch 3.06 GHz iMAC and a 2.4 GHz MacBook Pro. They are both similar in price although the iMAC just seems to be so much more bang for the buck! On the other hand the MBP is portable but at the right price?

    1) My first concern is that the MBP will not be fast enough to handle the audio and video processing I will be working with. I use Pro Tools LE 7.4 to record audio and process the signals (DSP/utilizing plug-ins and FX to alter audio using reverbs, chorus, phasers, delays, etc.) and am trying to avoid ever hitting that point where everything freezes and the program shuts down from being overloaded (as often happens on my friend's Powerbook). I also would like to keep rendering times to a minimum when using Final Cut Pro although I by no means DEMAND blazing fast speeds. My editing teacher has told me that really, 2.4 GHz should be adequate although my lead singer has a 2.2 GHz MBP and it doesn't seem especially BLAZING fast to me.

    2) How is the MBP at running external monitors? Can you hook any size display up or only up to 24/30 inches? Is there any lag/ choppy issues when doing this that anyone has run into? What about multiple monitors (like two 24 inches hooked up t othe MBP)?

    3) Anyone play games on their MBP? I would like to run some apps with bootcamp to play in Windows and maybe run WoW in Leopard.

    4) THE MBP keyboard is a little too congested for my digits...I have an unorthadox way of typing that often results in me pressing multiple keys on the MBP keyboard I usually would not - - I tried out a Macbook Air keyboard and thought that was much better as the keys are separated from one another more. New redesign rumors imply the MBP keyboard will be more like the MAcbook Air's which would be nice.

    Please reccomend to me an option listed below/ comment on the one that makes the most sense from your experience/plans/thoughts:

    *1* BUY a 2.4 GHz Macbook Pro NOW- I am thinking this could be good in the sense that I will be able to take it with me to class/campus in the fall as I'll be commuting from home to USC each day. As a quick fix to the keyboard issue I was thinking of buying a normal Apple KB and hooking it up via USB (as well as a mouse) to the Macbook Pro on my desk at home. Also, I could hook up an external monitor to make this more like a desktop experience (as long as it will prove its worth in regards to speed). Would this be too much of a hassle? Any of you that do this right now?

    *2* BUY a new 24" iMAC 3.06 GHz - I am thinking this would be an optimal time to buy as this model/version was JUST released and will not be updated for a long while (the last thing I want is to buy a model and have it be updated shortly thereafter).

    *3* WAIT for the new MBP (which nobody really has firm handle on release date wise, probably not even until after WDC or whatever the big tradeshow coming up is in June)

    *4* None of the above because PC's are superior! Haha jk but any other suggestions are welcome :)

    THANK YOU SO INCREDIBLY MUCH! I look forward to being an asset to the community once I get my MAC in gear :D

  2. Cybix macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2006
    Western Australia
    welcome, you sound a bit too excited.. too excited to use the search function anyway! heh

    1. your new MBP will blow your mates PB out of the water. I wouldn't be concerned.

    2. It will drive any monitor really. ACD up to 30" (dual-link DVI) have you even looked at the specs on Apple's website?

    3. games run nice. do a search.

    4. the keyboard is full size, it doesn't get much better/bigger than it already is (again specs avail on apple web site)

    as for your other points...

    wait at least until WWDC before buying a MBP. If nothing is announced, buy a 2.5 or 2.6Ghz machine with 4gig ram. get the 17" only if you need the display resolution, otherwise, it's a tank.(imo)

    If your doing video editing, get yourself an external FW800 hard disk case so you can run up an external scratch disk. eSata is a possibility but imo way too flakey at this stage.

    do it.
  3. mankar4 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2007
    First of all, this probably belongs in the Buying Advice Forum. But regardless:

    1) mbp should be fine, thought not blazing fast as you say.
    2) mbp runs external monitors without any issues at all.
    3) mbp gaming is great. WOW with no problems. You're not going to get crysis at full settings, but even the imac couldn't do that.
    4) no keyboard redesign rumors I've heard of. Does this problem prevent you from doing any work at all on a laptop, or is it just an occasional thing?

    I have a friend who runs around with his MB and plugs it into a monitor and keyboard every time he brings it back to his dorm.

    I would go for the mbp for the added portability, which will be VERY useful since you are commuting to school and will probably need to do group work at school/work in libraries/work between classes. Sounds like it will work for your needs too. If you were a serious FCP/PT user, you'd want to go with mac pro, but the fact that you're not considering the MP means the mbp will probably be sufficient. make sure you upgrade to 4gb of RAM aftermarket.

    If you can wait, I'd wait for the new one. Probably by September; probably August. Should be some good improvements. I'm crossing my fingers for blu-ray. haven't heard any rumors to that effect, but it seems entirely doable.
  4. AndyClarke macrumors regular


    Mar 6, 2007
    Fernhurst, Hampshire
    I agree with this advice. The MBP is more than capable of playing games and the portability is a great asset. Although waiting for a new mac is never a great idea. As soon as a new one is released everybody will start waiting for the next version. If you need one now then buy it now you will not see a great speed improvement in the next upgrade.
  5. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Nowadays, I'd always go with portability if I would ever need it. Sure, all the 3.06Ghz and stuff is jazzy, but if you're taking classes and can type fast enough, go with a laptop. I have a 15" MBP with a 2.16Ghz processor. It's an insane upgrade over even a G5 (don't get me started on the issues I've been seeing with a G5 iMac on such complicated stuff as iPhoto).

    I have started using iMovie a bit recently, and this MBP seems to encode the movies at a decent speed. I don't recall how long it took for a 40-minute home movie, but I don't think it took more than an hour. I pretty much said "do yo thang" and left for a while. I use it for HandBrake all the time, and it does about 35 fps, which is a little faster than how long the video is. The newer ones probably do even better (HandBrake is ALL about the processor).

    If you play WoW, a MBP will be fine. I played it on here for a few months (got tired of the fee). Only problem I ran into was Shattrath (sp?), but only because 500 billion people were there at once. I think everybody has lag issues there.

    I use a 20" external monitor myself almost all of the time. I have the older bluetooth wireless keyboard (the one not key-raped for no good reason) and a wireless Mighty Mouse. If you play WoW, you will need the wired keyboard with the numeric keypad. If anybody knows the person at Apple that thought ditching that from the wireless one was a good idea, beat that person. Please.

    If you have some sort of unorthodox way of typing, you seriously need to get some typing training or something and learn to do it the "right" way. You could run into wrist problems later on.

    Anywho, if I were you, I'd go ahead and get a MBP as soon as the big education discounts/deals are released, which should be today (June 3). I think college students will get a free iPod Touch (f#%ers!) and the discount, which for me was $200 off the $2000 MBP. The new chipset Intel is developing was delayed, so it's going to be many months before a decent revision. Get one now and don't look back!
  6. pwnographer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 2, 2008
    Hey Cybix thanks man! My apologies for getting upset in the other post, I hadn't realized you provided such a comprehensive answer here! Your feedback is very helpful, it seems like many have told me to just get the MBP and hook an external KB+mon+Mouse to it later on...

    Was there a way to hook TWO 24 inch monitors up or can we just hook 1 external monitor to a MBP?


  7. Cybix macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2006
    Western Australia
    Hey mate... funny, my name is James too.. :)

    I have a MBP at the moment, an older core duo 2.0 machine (over 2yrs old now) and it's still great. I do a lot of HD video editing on it without any problems at all.

    Having said that, I need more disk, and this machine only has firewire 400. I've tried eSata and it sucks, not reliable, probably my card/ext cases.

    I'm probably going to buy a new machine very soon. Either a top-line 24" iMac with 4gig ram, or a new MBP.

    Now would not be a good time to buy a new MBP, new ones must be pretty close, there is a lot of talk about new chips, etc.

    My wife suggested I buy the iMac now, and just sell my MBP and buy a new one when they are available.. and have both machines. How cool is she!? haha.

    I have a 22" samsung LCD connected to my MBP, I'm using it right now, my MBP is closed (closed lid mode), and I'm using an Apple wireless kbd and mouse. The setup works very well, it's just like using a workstation really.

    if I go the iMac, I will certainly hook my 22" panel up to that, so I can have a good video editing panel/timeline, and a playback/demo panel (the samsung).

    There are a lot of options. I'm not rich enough for a nice Mac Pro setup, if I was, I'd do it... the iMac has a lot of grunt, nice GPU, nice LCD, etc. It's a lovely workstation. I just bought the 20" for my in-law's, it's nice.

    Ask yourself how much you need portability, if there's even the slightest chance that you do, then just get a Macbook PRO, they are very powerful and cut HD video without any drama's. I have no issues with mine and it's 2 years old with 2Gig RAM. Apart from lack of FW400, I love it. (all the newer MBP's have FW400 + FW800).

    I think you should go play with the different machines and decide for yourself!
  8. gorilly macrumors member

    May 30, 2008
    London, UK
    i was in the same dilemma...

    although not at college, i use my mbp for work (it support)...

    it goes everywhere with me now and im so glad i choose the mbp... and the only thing i would change now if i could is to the faster hard drive you can get in the mbp....
  9. pwnographer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 2, 2008
    Eek I am leaning so much more toward the MBP, somebody save me! I hope they have an announcement about it at WDC, actually perhaps it would be better if they delayed the release of newer MBP's until Christmas so buying one right now would be all that much more justified muahahahha!

    lol sorry, thank you all for your input up to this point. Any threads with pictures of people's MBP setups using external monitors, keyboards, and mice???

  10. ckurowic macrumors regular


    Sep 16, 2007
    MAC is an acronym that has nothing to do with Apple Macintosh computers. The proper term is Mac.
  11. audiophile42 macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2006
    I was in your situation a couple of years ago. I ended up going with the PowerBook G4 at the time. I thought it would be cool to take my laptop to classes and on campus with me, so I decided it would be worth it to pay the premium for the portability and take a hit on performance.

    In reality, I never really took it with me. If you need a computer for in class projects, odds are they will be provided to you or you can use a lab. Using a laptop for in class notes is a personal preference thing, I much prefer good old pencil and paper though.

    Looking back at it now, I wish I would have gone with an iMac. I think I would have rather used the extra performance for the money, and it probably would have lasted me longer than my PowerBook. I'm not trying to sway you one way or the other, just offering a different viewpoint. REALLY think if you are going to need the laptop for school purposes? Or do you just want to have a laptop? Of course if you upgrade frequently or have access to a large budget that doesn't matter, but it did to me.
  12. illidian macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    The performance bump in the new MBP will be minimal. However, if you want to stick it out for a month, you'll get it.
  13. andrewdale macrumors 6502a

    Jan 28, 2008
    Memphis, TN
    Just my two bits, but you're gonna bog down an iMac AND a MBP using Pro Tools. Both of them just don't have the power to run PT in its full glory. I use it at school and it's very easy to great a lot of lag when adding multiple plug-ins and using up all of your DSP.

    If you can afford it, look into getting either a new Mac Pro or even a used one. It will allow for more expansion later when you want to and it'll provide a much better, more powerful work experience.

    If you can afford it, you'll be glad you did it.
  14. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    You need a portable, you get a portable. If not, you do not. Simple as that.
  15. mankar4 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2007
  16. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    Keep in mind that Pro Tools LE does not run under Leopard yet, and there's no indication of when it might.

    You'll have to create a Tiger partition somewhere (internal or external) boot from it, and then run Pro Tools from that.

    Check the Digidesign web site for details (or lack of details!).

    I have a 17" Penryn MBP and yes, it's heavy. But the hi-res LED matte screen is just amazing. It's the best display I've ever had, laptop or desktop, and I've had many displays over the years.
  17. andrewdale macrumors 6502a

    Jan 28, 2008
    Memphis, TN
    Very true. I had forgotten that Digi has not released an update for Pro Tools.

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