Completely indecisive between the iMac and MBP.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Rieka, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. Rieka macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2017
    Pretty much day to day over the last week I have been switching between making a decision to buy the iMac or MacBook Pro.

    I currently have the first-gen Retina MacBook Pro (2012) and before that I had the '09 iMac so I've had both previously.

    I'm currently torn between the top end model of each (iMac w/CPU bump and SSD, MBP w/CPU bump).

    Primarily I work from home so would generally have just gone with the iMac but I'm away for a few months on and off next year (primarily holiday but will be doing some work here and there throughout) so I will need something portable.

    My current MacBook Pro gets warm/hot easily which in turn cranks the fans up to max and they are pretty noisy. I'm pretty sure something is wrong with it heat-wise but at 5 years old I'm kinda thinking it's probably not worth spending money on it to get it fixed up.

    My main concern with the MacBook Pro is performance and heat/noise (and therefore potential CPU throttling) and my main concern with the iMac is that it's obviously not portable. I would be using one or two external monitors (1 4K and 1 1440p) which also might cause more heat and thus fan noise.
    Both machines are around the same price, within a couple of hundred pounds (taking into account some third party RAM for the iMac) and a couple of hundred pounds relative to either machines price is basically negligible, so that's not affecting the decision (besides the iMac giving more power for pretty much the same money).

    iMac (and maybe get my 2012 MBP repaired to use when away)
    MBP where most of the time it'll be sat on my desk with external displays plugged into it.

    Would really appreciate some input from the community.
    You may have thought of thing's that I haven't, some of you will have experiences with both (I have read a bunch of reviews, watched countless videos on both) so really any help with this would be very useful!

  2. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    Could you tell us more about how you will use the system?

    Have you entertained the idea of a base iMac (that you would eventually do a RAM/SSD upgrade on) and a base retina MacBook? In the US, the price of the two of them combined is actually less than the price of a top end model MBP or iMac.
  3. Rieka thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2017
    I'm primarily working in Sketch but over the years I have reached the point where I have very little patience for a machine that stutters or hangs so I generally go for the top end to avoid that!

    I haven't thought about that (partly from what I said above) but if I had both then I would pretty much solely use the iMac while working from home (most of the time) so it seems like it would be a bit of a waste really so yeah I'd probably avoid that route because whatever I get I want to be powerful enough to not give me any agro, and also because the MBP would most of the time just be ignored.

    Thanks for the suggestion though!
  4. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003
    I'd go with the iMac and servicing your 2012 MBP. In the US, at least, there is "flat-rate" service which is relatively reasonable price-wise - hopefully there is something similar where you are (guessing the UK from your use of "pounds").
  5. macs4nw macrumors 601


    Purely going by the above, I would get a 5K SSD iMac, a no-brainer really. Your laptop is three years more recent than the 2009 iMac you had, it gets a lot less usage, and it may not be anything major to solve the heat and fan noise (get this confirmed first) to keep it as a spare for those occasional times when you need the portability.

    Also the larger screen of the iMac is a joy to work on, could save you from having to buy external monitors, and the desktop will simply give you more bang for your buck (pound).

    Indecision can be paralyzing....Bite the bullet, knowing you always have that return window if buyers remorse were to set in. The screen on the newer iMacs is fabulous, and when fully tricked-out, the 5K SSD units are blazingly fast.

    Best of Luck!!
  6. Rieka thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2017
    I can’t find any information on a flat-rate repair for my MBP over here (yep I’m in the UK), but I’ll contact Apple later and enquirer about it, thanks!

    I am overall definitely leaning towards the iMac but then whenever I think about when I’ll be away the MBP creeps back in to the mix
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Get the iMac and keep the MBPro.

    I'm thinking that the fans are ramping up on the MBPro because of something "running away" in the background. Do you use the Chrome browser, by any chance?
  8. Rieka thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2017
    I don’t use Chrome nope.
    I actually tested something last night. Closed everything, display went to sleep and after a while the fans kicked in again and it’s a pretty new installation of macOS (couple of weeks).
  9. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    "...after a while the fans kicked in again and it’s a pretty new installation of macOS (couple of weeks)."

    The next time this happens, open the MacBook immediately and go to Activity Monitor and see what is using up CPU power. This might give you the info you need.
  10. Rieka thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2017
    Just checked when it just did it again and "spindump" was at 99% CPU usage, then disappeared and then "SubmitDiagInfo" kicked in at 98% CPU
  11. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Those are likely symptoms of a problem, rather than the cause. Something else likely happened just prior to that to trigger the need to spindump (create diagnostics report) and then send it to Apple.

    You can control the SubmitDiagInfo behavior in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Analytics (or Diagnostics). It's not beneficial to disable spindump, because that generates the diagnostics reports that may help pinpoint the cause (sorry, I don't have the expertise to analyze the diagnostics reports).
  12. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    The 2012 is known for failing GPU's. Since you have it constantly plugged in (this forces the GPU on as the Intel GPU on the CPU doesn't have a connection to the external display connectors) it sounds like you GPU might be on it's way out. As of now, the only permanent fix is to replace the MacBook. All "fixed" logic boards will eventually go bad also... There's no new logic boards available. When you get it replaced, you really just a get a refurbished one. Even Apple considers that MacBook obsolete and it's hard to get them to repair them anymore (at least in the US)
  13. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Is your current MacBook pro fast enough for the time you will be away? If so, then keep it and spend the money on the updated iMac. If not, then sell what you have now and get a new MBP with an external monitor for when you are at home. But check the MBP is fast enough for what you want when you are working at home.
  14. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I have a couple of suggestions.

    These won't "fix" the problem. They are just "workarounds".

    If you're not going to be using the MacBook for a while when you put the cover down, just TURN IT OFF instead.
    These things boot quickly, and it's a matter of a few seconds to get up-and-running again from a fresh boot vis-a-vis waking from sleep.
    And.... no fans.

    Try turning OFF "hibernation mode" by using this terminal command:
    sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0

    Then remove the sleep image with this command:
    sudo rm /private/var/vm/sleepimage

    Try running this way for a couple of days
    Any difference?
    If you want to re-enable the hibernation mode, use:
    sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 3
  15. Rieka thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2017
    Not the news I wanted to hear ;)
    I'm probably going to get the iMac so once I have that I'll take the MBP in to get looked over and see what needs fixing and what they'll charge and then decide whether to bother I guess :/
    --- Post Merged, Oct 12, 2017 ---
    I'm pretty sure it would be fast enough if it ran properly as other people I know with the 2012 say that theirs is still perfectly fine.
    I'm pretty much decided on the iMac and hopefully I can maybe get the MBP repaired for a reasonable price (that isn't more than the MBP is worth!).
    --- Post Merged, Oct 12, 2017 ---
    I'll try shutting it down every night and see what that does. Good idea though.

    As for hibernation mode / sleep image. Not that I'm opposed to doing this (and I most likely will do it in a minute even if I don't really know what it does), what do these actually do?
    Is hibernation basically sleep, or is it related to macOS suspending applications that aren't in use or something?

    Thanks for all the tips/input so far guys!

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14 October 7, 2017