Could a Macbook be my primary home computer

Discussion in 'iMac' started by CultHero, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. CultHero macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2007
    I like many others on here am anxiously awaiting the update to the iMac. Unlike many others, I am sitting on a 2006 iMac that has served me very very well and been a great computer.

    My issues seem to recently be just minor bugs appearing and the constant beach balling opening applications etc. Just seems like the computer is getting older and more tired. Little things like hot corners are buggy at best and I often find strange things happening, like my Safari browser all of a sudden deciding that I need to open ALL of my Finance bookmark folder etc etc.

    Anyway, I work from home and use my iMac a ton every day. It is an integral part of my business and I fear there might be a time in my future when it goes to sleep and never wakes up again.

    That said, I want to be prepared. I don't want a PC, I am not technical enough to do a Hackintosh and wouldn't want to pay top $ for a 18 month old iMac.

    Would I be able to make do with a top of the line macbook and a great display? I am not exactly a power user, but do run my workday with a ton of productivity apps open and constantly move between calendar, email, numbers etc etc. I do like to do quite a bit of home movie editing and found that my iMac can't even handle my current HD footage anymore.

    Is there a high quality display that I could connect a Macbook to and retain Retina display? Do I need to worry about heat issues if I keep the macbook closed all day?

    Does it have enough power to be a true home office computer.

    Sorry if too long and rambling and unclear, I am just trying to sort out my options.

  2. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    Yes, to answer your question. Portable Macs are still powerful computers, despite the price in relation to the specs, although I won't get into that as you're not paying solely for specs.

    The 15'' is Quad-core, supports 16GB of memory, and has a dedicated GPU. That sounds like it could be a primary computer to me, but it depends on your usage of course.
  3. cosmicjoke macrumors 6502

    Oct 3, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I did it for a full year w/ a decked out 15"' '11 mbp and a two TB Displays (I also had my server).... It was adequately fast for my needs, though video encoding did take twice as long and cpu intensive projects make the fans in a MBP OBNOXIOUSLY loud... Connecting and disconnecting my TB Displays would also occasionally tweak out my MBP requiring a reset, this generally would happen if say my MBP went to sleep in clamshell and then I disconnected the MBP from the TB Displays and woke the MBP up... Sometimes it would wake up to a black screen, as if it was still in clamshell, requiring a full reboot...

    Anyways, for me it was only to be a temporary solution until a new Mac Pro or iMac was released to use w/ my TB displays (I was really excited about the technology at the time, in retrospect I entirely regret getting those damned displays)- as we all know now, there has yet to be a mac desktop refresh.
  4. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Sep 2, 2008
    Metro Kansas City
    Here's a comparison that may be useful to you...

    I have both a 2008 iMac (2.8GHz C2D/6GB RAM/240GB SSD). I use Aperture daily (48,000+ library of images), along with Photoshop CS5 or Pixelmator; I use iMovie weekly to edit and render 720p and 1080p video. I usually also have Safari and Spotify open when working on projects. When not working on projects, I also have iCal, Mail, iTunes, Preview and possibly Pages open. I can do all of this with my 4 year old desktop fairly smoothly.

    A couple of months ago I got a 2012 13" MBA (2.0GHz/8GB/256GB). It is FASTER than by desktop, and by a noticeable amount. Between the added RAM, the faster bus speed and the faster SSD speed, it FLIES. I could easily see this replacing my desktop if coupling this with a TB display. I seriously doubt I'll ever buy a desktop again. And if this thing flies, I can only imagine what a fully spec'd out quad core MBP with SSD would be able to do. So, have no fear, almost any MBP or MBA will beat the pants off your 206 desktop, and one with an SSD will amaze you. The only time you may see it bog down is of you do very heavy FCP work with lots and lots of rendering or multiple cameras/video streams.

    The display may be a bit of an issue if you want to stay near "retina".
  5. DisMyMac macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2009
    Apple would love that. Telling people what they "really" want isn't unique, but they've made an art out of insulting customers.

    I want an iMac last July. I want a Pro last year. Not a Macbook or a mini - not now or foreseeably.

    But it's their company, and my money. Oh well.
  6. MagicThief83 macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2012
    Yes, most definitely. The current MBPs (especially the high-end 15" rMBP) come close, and is some cases, exceed the performance of their desktop brethren. A viable desktop replacement if you ask me.
  7. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    Processor wise, the top MacBook Pros are faster than the current top iMacs. I would certainly say that with an external display, a laptop would be a perfectly viable desktop replacement.
  8. oldmacrebel macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2012
    I lived with a MBP...

    I lived with a MacBook Pro (2006, 1st gen Intel, 17") without complaints until the graphics card died in June. :( It was just a hair behind my wife's similar gen iMac, but with a smaller display.

    Now I'm waiting for the next iMac using a borrowed Toshiba. :mad:

    My wife is still running her iMac without issues.

  9. CultHero thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2007
    I am not sure I entirely understand this post. Apple wants me to buy a Macbook over an iMac? Ok...
  10. JBat macrumors regular


    Apr 6, 2007
    My '07 iMac has been a great machine for me, but it's getting old and I was looking for a new computer. I shopped the rMBP's pretty heavily, but in the end, I decided I still want a desktop, mostly for the copious amount of photo editing I do. But I also wanted a laptop, so my compromise was to buy this pretty well spec'd out 13" MBA, which I'm now in the process of getting aquatinted with. As for the desktop, when the latest refresh of the iMac is released, I'll be nabbing one of the 27" models. Seems like a good solution to me. :D

    All this to say, as much as I dig the rMBP, it wouldn't serve my needs as a single computer. YMMV.
  11. DisMyMac macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2009
    Due to margin, shipping, inventory, consumer demand... Portables are more lucrative all-around.
  12. CultHero thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2007
    well I guess I have come to believe that Apple is not as concerned with the desktop as we would all like them to be.

    Having said that, seeing what the macbook pro is capable of I can understand why. You watch the Apple video launching the Macbook pro and they deliver it as a piece of prosumer hardware, not a college students web browser.

    I have always thought that an iMac would be the solution I was looking for but after looking into it a little more, an Macbook Pro with thunderbolt display could give me the best of both worlds.

    If that is Apple telling me what I want, then so be it.
  13. TRAV9614 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2012
    I have a question. How do you think the high end 3.4ghz sandy bridge imac would compare to the high end 2.7ghz Ivy Bridge macbook pro with turbo boost to 3.7? I may be mistaken but i think the imac only turbo boosts to 3.5ghz. Would this mean that the high end macbook is actually more powerful than the high end sandy bridge iMac?
  14. MacPat333 macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2012
    I am thinking about the exact same thing, but my concern would be how long will the battery last? I am using my laptop (battery not inserted and hooked up to power source) daily for 3-6 hours.

    I am concerned that the battery would not last for 3-4 years, this is my expected usage life span if I woul buy any new desktop or laptop.

    What do you guys think?
  15. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2012
    To my mind, it comes down to the conflicting desires for portability and screen size. If you don't want portability and you do want a large screen, then buying a MacBookPro and a big display will see you spending money on a laptop screen you'll never use. The same goes for the keyboard, if you want a decent sized keyboard that you can move around and portability doesn't matter you'll end up spending money on a new keyboard with a laptop one you never use.

    How much extra would you be spending on this combination? A quick look round the store here says it could be about £500. So, are you prepared to pay £500 extra for a combination that includes components you'll never use and yet not pay the going price for an iMac because it's 'old' technology?

    Of course, the question is moot if you want a portable solution, but in that case an iMac is the wrong choice in the first place.
  16. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    Have you thought about doing maintenance on your iMac?
    I mean the computer was fast enough when you bought it, sometimes even a few year old mac can be slowed down by a lot of factors. There is probably lots of old unused apps and files sitting on your drive,causing some of the slowdowns. Maybe you upgraded to Lion/ML and have only 4GB RAM which is not that great really.

    If I were you I would either put more RAM into the machine or do a clean install of Snow Leopard which flies on my 2009 Mac mini,compared to previously installed Lion.

    If you are happy with the machine and do not have any more demands on the computer,you should maintain this current machine. I understand that you want something new, but still it would be cool to get it running smoothly and pass it down to someone else, maybe a first time mac user?

    Your problems with the computer sound more like software related than hardware.
  17. jollino macrumors 6502


    Nov 15, 2006
    Chieti, Italy
    I can relate very well to the OP, and I could have easily written most of his post myself. Same machine, same symptoms, etc. and I can say that it's not necessarily a clean-up thing. I did a clean install of Snow Leopard in February 2011 and while it did help, it didn't take long to revert to the previous situaiton. I'm now on Lion (archive & install) and again, the first few weeks it was snappier, then it went back to how it was. Now the spinning ball is my best friend.
    The SMART status for the HDD is "verified," but I suspect that the hard drive has a lot to do with it. It can often be heard rummaging even at unsuspecting times (such as at the login screen), but at this point there's not much that can be done. After all it's a six-year-old disk that has been used for the better part of the day every single day.
    The main issue, however, is that software has become more demanding and such a machine just can't cope with it. If you only do what I call "office work", ie. lightweight web browsing, using an office suite and the like, it'll be fine for another couple of years, of course keeping in mind that it may die at any random moment. But anything more intensive is beyond its ability, and I do need to keep a bunch of apps open at the same time for work. Couple that with the fact that they are more power-hungry with each release, and you get a catastrophe. I have stoppde using Skype for that reason, and I find myself cursing at Safari very, very often. Oftentimes it just hangs there, especially when Javascript is involved. Every single time I hit 'reply' on it sits there for a couple of seconds, not to mention opening any mildly complex page.
    Adding more RAM is out of question too: these machines only support 3 GB, and it's been maxed out since September 2008: the logic board died and was replaced under AppleCare, so since I had it off the desk I bought and added the extra 1 GB.
    That's what makes it so frustrating for me: the 2011 would be an incredible leap forward, but that price tag, at this point...
  18. hawk1410 macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    For your kind of usage, yes a MacBook is powerful and reliable enough to use as your everyday machine.
  19. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    Oh yeah the simple apps like skype are more and more demanding, let alone some webpages. I would probably not like to put money into 6yr old machine but I guess if you put new HDD which are cheap anyway, you'd be able to squeeze more life out of the machine.
    Mac shouldn't get slowed down as e years go by,my 2010 Macbook hasnt slowed down by the usage.
  20. d0nK macrumors 6502


    Nov 4, 2011
    You should stick with what you want and require regardless of how much extra money a company wishes to make from you.
    Unless you require a laptop, and have money (and principles) to burn, get a desktop machine for desktop usage, not an expensive laptop + expensive screen.

    Damn this new iMac waiting...
  21. iRCL macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    Unused apps and files aren't going to slow anything down.

    Also there are tons of Apple computers released today with 4GB of RAM which is more than enough unless you're running a VM and trying to dedicate GB's of RAM to it, or do something very memory intense which OP obviously is not

    The only thing that would slow you down is if you were actively running "productivity" apps at boot up or something, or more likely your machine is just outdated and the slow CPU slow RAM etc just aren't keeping up with what you're doing.

    Computers (running OS X) don't just "get slower", sorry
  22. Overg macrumors 6502

    May 26, 2012
    For heavy duty work, I wouldn't buy laptop.
    While apple laptops are great they are still laptops, not build to stay on 24/7.
    Not much of ventilation, the docking station messing on and off.

    I used laptop configuration with screen, dell laptop and very good screen.

    It serve me well in my student years, because of the option to take it with you.
    Now iPad and iMac is the best option for me.
    And as anyone else I am waiting for a full year, goin the cycle of:

    - hold on it is around the corner
    - the iMac supply dried up in all the third l party store.
    - apple event , this is the one that they will introduce the iMac
    And so on...

    I want to buy one so bad, not only for the needs, but so I can get off this train of rumors and sites for 5 years.( if not mor) and move on with life.
    And no, I am not paying full money for 2011 hardware.
  23. jjd macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2003
    That's what I used to say. But then, I watched my fathers MBP grind to a halt. Thought it might have been a failing HDD. Nope. The culprit was the firmware update from Apple. It was (is) incompatible with the HDD. I had to downgrade the firmware to the previous version. Now the computer works fine. So, in this case, OS X really did just get slower. Still no fix from Apple btw.
  24. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I've got one of the first 27" i7 iMacs (late 2009) and this past March bought a 15" MBP with the high-res display and 2.4GHz processor, I replaced the HD with a Seagate 750GB hybrid drive and bumped the RAM to 8GB -- the same as the iMac.

    The published benchmarks of the MBP would make it slightly faster than the iMac, but I find its results mixed. Truly CPU bound tasks (Handbrake, iMovie rendering) are faster on the iMac but graphics seem faster on the MBP and, of course, boot times are faster because of the hybrid drive. I think the problem with the MBP is it's designed to sprint rather than run marathons.

    I would tend to believe that the latest, but old, iMac would beat the latest MBP. Another problem is the cost of docking the MBP. Notebook computers have lousy ergonomics. For heavy use you need a separate keyboard, mouse, and display while at the desk. That's another $1120 if you go Apple on these, but it does give you the same screen size and resolution of the top iMac.

    Even sitting here with both Macs, I'd be hard pressed to buy the Thunderbolt display and go single system rather than replace my iMac with another next year.
  25. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Sep 2, 2008
    Metro Kansas City
    This is true. What may also be true is that the next time you upgrade your MBP (3 years maybe?) would you need to upgrade your TB display? Or could your display be used over the life of 2 MBP's, substantially reducing the cost of your next MBA-as-a-desktop.

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