Consolidate to one machine?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Rectified^, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. Rectified^ macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2011
    Hi all! I'm facing a nerdy dilemma. I'm an experienced computer power user, being an electrical engineer about to graduate with a focus on computer engineering. I've been using both a custom homebuilt tower for all my main computing needs (originally built for gaming) and my 2010 15" Macbook Pro for everything else on the go. The problem is I have grown to hate maintaining two computers with two sets of programs, data, updates, backups, etc. and I really wish I could use one computer for everything.

    The problem is my MBP is not nearly powerful enough to use as a primary gaming machine (especially with the heat issues), and the lack of quad core is a killer (my desktop has a quad core Core i5-750 overclocked to 3.6 GHz), along with the 3TB storage and 8GB RAM in the tower.

    Would it be wise to sell both computers, get a 2011 15" 2.2 GHz MBP with the high-res antiglare screen? All the reviews indicate that the new Sandy Bridge chips are powerful enough as a desktop replacement, and the 6750M GPU should be *close* to my 5770 in the tower. This way I could use the OS X I love, and it would integrate neatly with my existing Mac applications and my iPad 2. I would 100% need bootcamp for gaming and miscellaneous Windows applications but I realized games are the only true requirement for Win7. I can keep my existing monitor, speakers, keyboard, mouse, etc. and just use my MBP as a desktop replacement at home, and a true mobile computer outside.

    Here are the problems though. I would need to sell the tower, which I built in late 2009 for about $800 with these specs:

    Core i5 750 overclocked with nice air cooled setup
    8GB DDR3-1600 RAM
    OCZ Agility 2 120GB SSD
    3x1TB HDD
    Blu-ray reader
    Radeon HD 5770 1GB graphics
    600W PSU and HAF 922 case (great airflow, keeps temps down)

    I doubt I would get more than $450-500 for a custom PC, even though it is quite powerful and has tons of storage and room for upgrades. Then my MBP would probably sell for $1400 or so (it's basically mint). So combined if I sell both I could net maybe $1900 in cash. The new MBP with 2.2GHz CPU and screen upgrade is $2200 with tax and after student discount. This is a fairly large delta considering I'm only moving up one generation on the MBP (although the hardware is a pretty massive upgrade).

    Should I do it? Or hold on to both computers, AND an iPad? It would save me money in the long run especially since it's easy to incrementally upgrade and expand my desktop, but I also hate the idea of maintaining 3 primary computing devices and my files and software. I like organization.

    Here's the software and tasks I typically use:

    On the MBP:

    Heavy browsing
    MS Office (occasionally heavily)
    NetBeans/Eclipse Java development
    MATLAB (very frequently, lots of scripting and data processing)
    VirtualBox with Ubuntu VM for my Linux needs
    Steam (Valve games)
    Starcraft II
    Adobe CS5 (Bridge/Photoshop, I'm a hobbyist photographer)

    On the desktop:

    Heavy browsing
    MS Office (occasionally heavily. Sometimes Visio which isn't available on Mac)
    MATLAB (when my MBP bogs down)
    VirtualBox (Linux again, runs WAY faster on desktop)
    Steam and heavy gaming (Valve, Dragon Age II, ME2, SC2, COD: Black Ops, etc)
    Handbrake encoding (occasionally)
    Heavy Adobe Lightroom 3

    Basically in general I'm a power user with a lot of photo editing, gaming, coding, and multitasking. I absolutely love the functionality of OS X and I don't mind bootcamping for games, but in the long run I don't know if I will really gain much by consolidating to a MBP from my current two-computer setup with the iPad.

    In the ideal world I think I'd run a powerful desktop at home, and the iPad on the go, and use no laptop at all, but I don't think that's feasible yet. I still need to do processing when I'm around campus, generally coding or writing papers.

    The last option would be a Hackintosh+MBP, but I'm not sure I want the headache of maintaining the hacked OS when Lion comes out along with all the files stored on it. I don't want to endanger my 100s of GBs of photos and games.

    Sigh :( Any advice from the power users out there?
  2. awer25 macrumors 65816


    Apr 30, 2011
    Just a side note...when selling custom PCs, I've generally made more by parting it out and selling each part individually, especially when it's current-gen stuff (or of a very recent generation).
  3. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    ^^^ What he said.

    I just recently parted out a custom built X58 system. Made $1100 back to pay for my retardedly expensive MBP $2.4k
  4. deadwulfe macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2010
    Don't buy a MBP for hardcore gaming. The 6790m is great, but it's still a mid-level notebook GPU, not a desktop GPU. The MBP would work for everything else, though.
  5. Rectified^ thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2011
    Where do you guys part out? Craigslist? Shipping each part would be a PIA =/

    Another thing I forgot to mention is the storage issues. I use about 80GB on my MBP (no pictures, movies, or music stored on the SSD), and 600GB on my desktop (across a RAID 1 mirror with the third disk used for backup images). To meet my storage requirements in a MBP I would likely go:

    SSD Mac OS drive
    1TB optibay drive for bootcamp windows and file storage
    external backup drive (dreading USB 2.0, unless TB peripherals aren't $100 overpriced...)

    Maybe I could move to console gaming with a laptop. At least then I wouldn't feel the constant need to upgrade that plagues the PC gamer / computer enthusiast. =[
  6. awer25 macrumors 65816


    Apr 30, 2011
    I try Craigslist first since it's free. eBay will take out at least 10%; 13% with Paypal (Amazon Marketplace is about the same btw).

    As for storage, go the 2nd HDD route. You need a 9.5mm HDD though. Samsung is coming out with the first 9.5mm 1TB drive and the performance is very good (almost double the Apple stock 750GB drive - see the post from this morning).

    As for external storage, definitely get a Firewire 800 enclosure until TB ones come out - they give double USB 2.0 speeds. I have this one and it works great (I put a 3TB drive in that came from a Seagate Goflex kit) and looks like a mini Mac Pro :D
  7. Rectified^ thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2011
    Does anyone have experience using a dual boot hackintosh as a main machine?

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