Can a 2010 13" MBP + 27" display be sufficient as a desktop?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ElDogBurrito, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. ElDogBurrito macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2013
    I am looking to get a new 11" Air for law school come fall to replace my current MBP and I am curious if my 2010 13" MBP will be sufficient as a desktop when paired with a 27" display, keyboard, trackpad, and 1TB external HD. It has a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 8GB 1067 MHz DDR3 ram, a 250GB HDD, an NVIDIA GeForce 320M 256MB graphics card, and its running 10.8.2. I mainly use it for paper writing, some excel spreadsheet work, email, recreational and research web surfing, music listening/downloading, and a little movie watching/gaming.
    To make my MBP into a desktop I would have to purchase the display, keyboard, and trackpad for around $1k. On the other hand a new/refurbished iMac runs around $1600-$1800. I like the idea of saving $600-$800 to put toward an 11" Air, but I don't want to shoot myself in the foot later on in an effort to save some money.
    If anyone has some advice it would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Giuly macrumors 68040


    Well, you can carry the display over the MBA, so you won't really loose anything. And you should be fine in the short term with the MBP and a nice display for those use cases.
  3. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    Would be....

    sufficent and right for the uses your mention. But would be best a refurbished iMac, said, for future proofing. That said, if you need to be portable, your idea of setup will work nice.....:)

  4. goy091 macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2011
    If portability is your main concern you might want to keep you MBP for a bit longer. SSD prices are coming down and you should be able to find a nice 256 GB SSD for under $200. Crucial M4, Samsung 840 Pro (note there is a regular Samsung 840 that isn't as good as the Pro) are two good options. You'll get a few more years of use out of your MBP with a simple SSD upgrade and a clean install of the OS.

    If you want a new MBA might want to wait a few months to see what the new updates for it will be since we're in the middle of a product cycle.

    Something else to think about, if you purchase a nice monitor it can last you multiple upgrade cycles, whereas if you get an iMac, you're stuck buying a new one if you want to upgrade, or a very expensive monitor, if you put it in target display mode.
  5. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    Your MacBook is still a very capable machine for the uses you described.

    Get your self a nice HD IPS display, like this:

    And maybe an SSD like this:
    (Keeping in mind your com will not take advantage of the fastest SSDs on the market - so reliability should be no.1)

    $330 later and you have an awesome setup!
  6. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    Your hardware is sufficient for your described tasks. Check around for deals on monitors. I bought a 23" Cinema Display from Craigslist for $140. Makes a really nice desktop.
  7. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    My opinion is keep your current MBPro with your 27" display. Should make a fine desktop with the tasks you mentioned.
  8. 321estrellas macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2007
  9. BrettApple, Feb 27, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013

    BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    Just like to share my setup. Similar to what you're looking for. I have recently added a wireless keyboard and mouse as well.

    I'm running on a Late 2008 MacBook (2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 8GB DDR3, 128GB SSD + 750GB HDD, 9400m) and a HP 2310m 23" 1080P monitor. Does everything I throw at it just fine. Aperture, Photoshop, iMovie, iTunes, web browsing/mail. The only weak spot left is my GPU running heavy apps at a high resolution. But it is still sufficient.

    If you have leftover money, an SSD upgrade is a great thing to do. You'll notice a world of difference starting up and opening applications. I went with an OWC SSD and data doubler so I could keep a hard disk for all my data.

  10. numbersyx macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2006
    For what you do, it should be fine. I know many people who have the setup you are looking at. I have a mid 2010 MBP myself and replaced the HD with a 500GB SSD and it is like a new machine.

    I would wait to see if new monitors are about to be released, though.
  11. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    Consider the 13" Air for a more usable mobile workspace. Wait until the refresh is announced on the Air then pickup the current model, 256GB/8GB config, at a discount from the refurb bin. Sell the 2010 and use the proceeds against the cost of the Air. Be on the lookout for the updated Thunderbolt Display as well, it is expected to have USB3 and the reduced glare properties of the current iMac. Pair these two for an awesome desktop experience.
  12. chorner macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    In reality, you can purchase the 11" Air plus the 27" Thunderbolt display and instead of having two systems, just use the Air and dock it with the TB display when you need to.

    Also... personally, the 13" Air with a couple upgrades is a much better buy. 11" used in landscape mode really sucks a lot of usable desktop space away... feels like a toy and I'd want at least 13" for any respectable amount of document work or otherwise.

    When you go Mac, to me it doesn't make sense to have the mindset of saving a few hundred. You're making a purchase with the idea that it's a high-end setup that should last a few years IMO.

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