Advice on upcoming purchase

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jdoutine, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. jdoutine macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2012
    Hey guys, First post here. Been looking around the forums for about a month and finally decided to make an account and get some advice.

    Alright, so I am looking to buy my first Mac, or in my latest thought, Macs. I was originally dead set on buying a Late 2011 15" Macbook pro and upgrading the RAM myself to 8GB as well as upgrading the standard HDD to a 256GB SSD. It's still a possibility, but now I am thinking about going a different route.

    Rather than spending $1700 for the 15" Macbook pro, +$325 for a 256GB crucial m4 SSD, and the $40 for 8GB of RAM, I am now debating on whether I want to purchase both a base model 2011 21.5" iMac along with a base model 13" Macbook pro for roughly the same price.

    I originally wanted the 15" macbook pro because it would be good for everything I need. Perfect size screen, powerful quad core processor, discrete over Intel HD 3000 graphics, and I also like the fact that the speakers are on the outside rather than underneath the keyboard.

    But now I realized for the same price(relativley speaking) I can get both an iMac and 13" Macbook pro and I am stuck with which option to take here. Obviously with the iMac and Macbook pro combo, I get the best of both worlds.

    I am a 4th year college student and my primary uses are as follows:

    -Heavy web browsing/research, watching videos, etc.
    -Writing papers, creating spreadsheets, etc
    -Syncing iPhone and iPad with iTunes, so I would like to be ble to keep both libraries identical.

    That's really about it. For any of the programs I need for circuit simulation I can use the computers in the labs at my school, so i won't need to do anything like that on my mac, although I would probably pick up iCircit for fun. I also might get into some photo and video editing once I get it but nothing hardcore, just for fun.

    Regardless, I only have a laptop now, and I would be fine with it staying that way, I'm just looking for some opinions on what you guys think/What you would do. Do I go for the super fast 15" Macbook pro, or get an iMac and 13" MBP?

    Thanks in advance for any advice/help on the issue.
  2. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    How about a nice 15" and used 24" Cinema Display that you can connect your laptop to? (the recent Cinema Displays have the power/usb/display port on a single cable for the laptop).

    Also you can go the 27" ACD route, but that's a bit more expensive and out of your budget, since you're a student.

    Having 2 computers is good, but you have to keep both of them in sync with the iTunes libraries's not that hard, but still work. Also 21" is pretty small, imo, for a desktop. A 24" would be nice since you can watch other things on it as well.
  3. jdoutine thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2012
    that's a good thought, and an option. I guess part of my reason for wanting both an iMac and a 13" is that I can use the macbook pro and still have the portability and use the iMac at home so I don't use just one machine for everything.

    I do game a bit, not really much, but I don't generally like laptops/notebooks for gaming because I feel like it stresses them and the heat from gaming isn't good. But i'm not really sure how good an iMac is for gaming(relating to heat). for what little I do, it would probably be fine.

    I'll look for displays and see what comes up. Thanks


    now that I look at it(online), 21.5" does seem pretty small. So now my decision leans towards the 15" mbp like I was originally planning. I'm still open to opinions, but it seems logical right now to just go with the 15"
  4. willieva macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2010
    It doesn't look like you have a serious need for speed. A base 13" with an external monitor would be cheaper and fit your needs. I'm not really sure why you think it would be good to have 2 computers instead of 1. If you needed power and portability I could see getting a fast iMac and an air, or a really fast laptop, but the base 13" and base iMac are really pretty similar.

    Save your pennies. There's more important things in life to spend money on than computers.
  5. Lisa89 macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2012
    I'm a college student too, and like the fact that i can use my mbp where i want. When i go home in the weekends, or stay at a friend or the library, all my files are in one place. I thought about buying an imac for general use and using my old laptop for on the road, but decided to buy an external screen instead. That way, all my files are in one place, i don't have to sync everything and don't forget anything.

    An external screen doesn't cost that much, so you can get a big 27" one for watching movies etc. In your student room, where there is probably no television or anything (in mine there isn't), it's nice to have a big screen which you can use for everything!

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