Can Macbook Pro replace iMac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Adriancaetera, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. Adriancaetera macrumors newbie


    Feb 8, 2018
    Has anyone replaced their desktop computer (PC or Mac) with only a laptop? I run recording software (logic pro x), video and photo editing (final cut pro x, photoshop and lightroom). 3 screens, recording interface. monitor speakers. Ive currently got an iMac (2013 i believe, at work so cant remember/check) and a macbook pro (early 2013).

    I am wondering if its possible/viable to sell them both and just get a brand new, spec'd out macbook pro 15"? Whats your thoughts? Pros and cons?
  2. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2017
    Yes, the performance of a spec'd out 2017 MacBook Pro 15" would be better than your 2013 iMac.

    It handles up to 4 4k screens. You might need an adapter for the monitors and your recording interface because the MBP only has usb-c ports.

    - You have the simplicity of a single machine you can carry around.
    - The MBP is expensive. At the price of a fully spec'd MBP you could consider getting an iMac with better specs and a cheaper/lighter laptop. But that's if you don't need much power on the go.
    - Dongles! You'll need to get a dock, a hub or a couple of adapters for all your gear.
  3. Sterkenburg, Feb 9, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018

    Sterkenburg macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2016
    It is perfectly possible for a 2017 MBP 15" to surpass the performance of a 5-year-old iMac. However, keep in mind that some beefed-up MBP configurations are almost as expensive as buying an iMac with the same processing power (and a larger screen, more ports, etc.) + a laptop with base specs for work on the go. And you'll have to factor in the price of all the hubs, cables, adapters etc. that you might need to work with the MBP.

    By going the iMac route, you would also avoid the reliability issues (*cough* keyboard *cough*) that plague some current-gen MBP units.

    However, from your post I assume that you prefer to have everything in a single machine, in that case yes, a high-tier MBP 15" is indeed your best bet and will certainly outperform your current machines.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The iMac is a better machine when it comes to demanding apps, the CPU/GPU tend to be more powerful, and you have more ports. Not to mention the screen is better (larger) and with newer iMacs it can be 5k.

    The MBP is a better machine when you have mobility needs

    I think if you don't have any pressing mobility needs, then the iMac is a better solution, but that's just my $.02
  5. Falhófnir macrumors 68040


    Aug 19, 2017
    Agree with what others have said, I would add that for a single main machine the 1TB storage upgrade (that you would probably want) makes it pretty eye watering - doubly so if you want the 2TB. That's the good thing about the iMacs with the fusion drives, you can get a good amount of storage for a much more reasonable cost. Of course an external drive is always a possibility, but then there's having to remember to take it with you wherever you go and all the management stuff.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    The question:
    "Can Macbook Pro replace iMac?"

    My thoughts:
    No, not really.
    There's no comparison regarding screen real-estate (particularly where the 27" iMac is concerned). The "big display" wins, hands down.

    Similar for processing power.
    A well-fitted iMac just "has more".

    And insofar as "connectability" is concerned, no comparison.
    iMac wins easily.

    Two very different computers for different missions...
  7. Khaleal macrumors regular

    Aug 24, 2013
    I have both the iMac and the MacBook Pro, and I prefer to use the iMac every time, the screen is much bigger (that might come into consideration when doing music production), and the horsepower of the iMac is much better than the MacBook regardless of the year (the iMac has a desktop 65W CPU, while the MacBook usually comes with a 15-25W mobile underpowered CPU), also the RAM in the iMac is expandable to 32GB (2013 iMac (27")) which is a big plus for music production.
  8. Falhófnir macrumors 68040


    Aug 19, 2017
    The 15” mbps being talked about here come with 45W H series chips, but otherwise you’re right. You get significantly more power for your money with an iMac.
  9. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014

    The only way the Mac Pro makes sense is if you have the option of docking it and using external monitors. While I dig the retina 5k display I still think matte > gossy
  10. austyn23 macrumors regular


    Nov 22, 2017
    I was on your situation last year:

    Option 1:
    iMac 5k 2017 (i5/ Radeon 575 / 512 SSD) + 2015 MBP 256 SSD = 4600€

    Option 2:
    2017 MBP 15 inch touch bar with 512 SSD + LG 5K display = 4705 €

    I went for the option 1 and no regrets, the 5K screen is amazing (that´s why I consider the LG in the option 2, once you tasted 5K... there´s no 4k display that suits you).

    And I have 2 working computers, if any of them gets down, I have a backup.

    Do you need portability? I´m on my desk every day, and the laptop just in a few cases or work travels, that´s why the 256 ssd option it´s good, I use dropbox and only sincronize what I need and not all my data.

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