Advice for secondary machine needed

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by thundersteele, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    My boss just asked me if I need a new computer for the office... now I don't know what to do.

    My main working machine is my own 15'' MBP (2011 model). I usually spend 2 days a week at my office, the other days at offices elsewhere. Typical daily routines include word processing (Latex, Keynote), writing & running C/C++ code (often CPU intensive), and lots of online research and reading. I also have access to a few remote servers for more demanding calculations.

    I've considered all of the following:
    1. just an external (thunderbolt) display
    2. another MBP 15/17 so I don't have to use my own machine
    3. a 13'' MBA (+ external screen?)
    4. iMac
    5. A windows/linux desktop

    Things that would, in one or the other way, help me:
    - large screen, or a second screen
    - data backup, or even a full mirror of my working machine
    - less weight to carry around

    5. is probably useless. 2. would be great if my MBP was old, but right now I wouldn't benefit very much. The MBA lacks RAM for everyday use.

    How easy is it to keep two OSX Lion machines synchronized? Could I leave my MBP at home, work on the iMac, and come back home and continue to work on the MBP the next day, without excessive copying? I'm already using Dropbox, and most of my files are relatively small.

    I guess my question is whether I would benefit more from an iMac or from an external display. I'm also open for other suggestions for a useful setup, and for synchronizing.

    Thanks :)
  2. bdinger macrumors member


    Jan 22, 2012
    Lincoln, NE
    You mention the burden of carrying around the MBP, is that a big consideration? If so then it's a no-brainer: get an iMac.

    Keeping them in sync is somewhat of a challenge, but not if you have DropBox. In fact that's currently what I'm working on after getting my new MBP, keeping it and my white MacBook in sync. I'm upping my Dropbox account, but with that it should basically cover it since all of the work I'd be doing on the MacBook would otherwise be on remote servers.

    That said, I really am considering just using the MBP for everything. Keeping multiple computers up, right now I'm at three laptops (MBP, MacBook, and a HP EliteBook 8440p that's on it's way out) up plus servers plus a desktop gets very annoying. I'd like to simply have one laptop, and my hosted servers and be done with it. I'm also always on the go, so just having everything in one spot instead of realizing I needed to edit some video and left the MBP at home.. well you get the idea.

    Hope that helps. My personal opinon, though, is to have them get you a Thunderbolt display, external KB & Mouse, and a backup drive.
  3. thundersteele thread starter macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    It's not such a big consideration... if I would just work at one place it would really be a no-brainer...

    Yeah, I'm somewhat leaning towards this solution. Keeping everything in sync is cumbersome... data/code is fine with dropbox, but I still have to keep installed programs and libraries synced too.

    Thanks for your reply!
  4. Lisa89 macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2012
    Ask for a large screen, it really boosts your productivity and is easier to work with. (+ mouse and keyboard)

    Be aware that, once you have an external screen at the office, you will want one at home too!:D I've used my 15" macbook pro without problems for 4 years, but since i've bought a 27" monitor, the small screen starts to annoy me when i work elsewhere.
  5. bdinger macrumors member


    Jan 22, 2012
    Lincoln, NE
    Late reply, I know!

    I've had my 15in MBP for two weeks now, and prior to it I always had smaller, but powerful, laptops I'll be honest here, I don't notice the additional weight of the 15 but man do I appreciate having the powerhouse with me. Granted my situation is a little different in that I spend a portion of every week working either remotely at another office than our corporate office, or from home.

    I had heavily debated between the 15in MBP, iMac, or Mac Pro. Had I bought one of the latter I would have upgraded my white MacBook to a Air or 13in Pro for travel use - but I'm very glad I didn't.

    Anyway, for what it's worth. Alternately the 13in Pro is supremely capable, particularly when coupled with a Thunderbolt display.
  6. rockyroad55 macrumors 601


    Jul 14, 2010
    Phila, PA
    I run around with an iMac at home and a 15" MBP on the go. Best of both worlds for me since I know I have a lot of power no matter which I choose to use.

    I use DropBox to keep my files in sync and iCloud helps keep my calendar and contacts together along with my iPhone.
  7. 88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

    Jun 18, 2011
    London, UK
    If using Dropbox, I'd suggest encrypt the work files using programme such as TrueCrypt before upload them, since you are rely on others to keep your files save.

    An imac will be an excellent choice for your office.
  8. thundersteele thread starter macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    I'm slightly leaning towards the iMac right now... I feel more comfortabe spending $1500 or so on an iMac compared to $1000 on "just a screen."

    Plus the added comfort of leaving my laptop home once in a while.

    I should be able to set up the iMac so that I can ssh into it. Can I use screen sharing to access the desktop of the iMac?

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