Desktop or Laptop…or Both???

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by edavidson67, May 7, 2015.

  1. edavidson67 macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2015
    Hello! I am looking for all opinions on a dilemma that I might be in.
    I am coming into the Mac world as a noob after a 25+ year stent in PC land. This past April I bought a MacBook Pro 15 inch retina base spec laptop (the $1999.00 one). I must say that this thing is the fastest and best computer I have ever owned!:D Besides doing basic web surfing, emails, and writing document using Office 365, I am a heavy Adobe CC user; primarily with Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Muse. This is not for work, but rather I do it for non-profits organizations. For the most part, I mainly do this type of work in one location, but from time to time I will take it with me (meaning outside the house or in the living room).

    To make a long story short I am looking into purchasing a second computer as a backup (from my PC days having a laptop as a backup saved me several times when my desktop went down). And this is where the dilemma comes into play…I am really digging the Apple Thunderbolt (TB) Display as an external monitor because it acts like a docking station with a great display. With this is mind, my idea is to have the rMBP 15 as a “desktop” computer and purchase a MacBook or MacBook Air as a backup/take it where ever I go (no heavy usage with Adobe CC apps, but light/medium work with Adobe CC apps). So I will have two laptops rather than my old PC way where I had one desktop and a laptop.

    From an Apple perspective, would this setup be feasible (the 15 rMBP acting like a desktop connected to the TB, and the rMB or MBA being a second/carry anywhere computer) for this type of work? Or should just scrap the TB display (I heard that it's behind the times technology-wise) , scrap together $700.00 ($1000+$700) and apply it to getting an iMac 27 inch as a primary computer, and keep the 15 rMBP as a secondary computer? Sorry for the dumb questions, but still new Apple world…I have heard and read Apple laptops are just as good and in some instances better that iMacs due to their base models have the SSD already included. Thank you!
  2. iStruggle macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2015
    I would go with an iMac for your main machine since the Thunderbolt screen is a bit over priced. That way you can create your content or what have you on the iMac and if need be you can take it with you. Or you could buy a 27" 4K monitor, or which ever you like. And go with a retina MacBook for light tasks and medium productivity or an Air.

    I currently use a 13" 2.4ghz MacBook Pro and will be moving to an iMac and a retina MacBook
  3. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    A few "Don't" tips from a longtime Mac and Windows user. I use Windows in emulation on my Macs, and PCs when I'm consulting and working in my client's offices.

    First "Don't". Apple hosts a major event every June - it's developer conference - at which new products are often announced or alluded to, and/or existing products get a price cut. The WWDC is about 3-1/2 weeks away - I need new hardware, and I'm waiting, so if you can wait a few more weeks, "don't" buy a new Mac yet.

    Second "Don't". Apple's TB Display is nice to look at but it's REALLY outdated tech, and it's fairly expensive for what you can get as Apple hasn't dropped its prices for that Display since it was introduced. For the same price as that Display I have two Dell 27" 4k displays on my desk and the stands for those displays came with nice stands that allow for tilt/swivel/rotation. My Dell displays came with a 3-year warranty - Apple's offering 1 year AFAIK. Pfft.

    I have two Macs on my desk - a late-2013 15" rMBP and a 2012 Mini Server. My rMBP is connected to my two Dells, and my Mini is connected to one of my Dells via a different cable. My rMBP travels with me, and my Mini hosts and stores my files (with attached DAS). My only caveat is I'm pretty large - 6'7" - and a 15" laptop to me seems small at times and an 11" Air is a kids toy, because of my size (sit in a grade school desk and you'll know how I feel...).

    My killer "second" is an VZW LTE iPad Air, and I've got an unlimited data plan on that SIM card. Adobe's and MS's recent apps are really making the iPad a great tool to use in the field, and I use a Wacom Creative Stylus 2 with the newer firmware update. I passed on an iPad Air 2 as so many styli aren't working well with the updated Air 2. I also use a Logitech K811 keyboard and Logitech Voyager Edge UC with my rMBP and Air - I'm almost as productive with either, and I can now draw, dictate with my voice, and type on either with aplomb.

    I like your plan, and considered two laptops but find my solution pretty slick for what I use it for. My Air gets me out the door in a hurry and at times I don't even miss my rMBP - and, seconded with iStruggle as I'm considering exchanging my rMBP for a riMac if they're refreshed at WWDC. And, I've dictated this post in about two minutes with my Edge headset - pretty nifty, eh? Oh, and both of my displays are on arms so they're off my desk surface, so I have more room for my Wacom Intuos Pro tablet - all work tools, but I get to play a bit on my break. Back to work!
  4. edavidson67 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2015
    Thank you guys for the advice, I really appreciate it!

    iStruggle (I like that!) – I may just keep the 15 inch rMBP, get a 27 inch monitor, and hold off until after WWDC to see what I will get as a second alternate computer. I was thinking that I shelled out $1999 last month (not including AppleCare) and would take a hit trading this back in to get an iMac. Ugh…decisions decisions!:apple: Where I live rMacBooks are still sold out!

    Campyguy- I decided to order the Dell 27 Ultra HD 4K Monitor – P2715Q. It got good reviews and besides the ugly exterior that I keep reading about, reviews said it’s a very good monitor for the price. I hope the display is as good as the Thunderbolt.
    I’ll also take your advice and hold off on purchasing anything Apple-wise until after WWDC. Also like you my iPad (the one with the first retina display back in 2012) go everywhere I go. I noticed that you use the Adobe and Microsoft apps…can you edit adobe Photoshop files with those apps? I thought I read that somewhere, but could not remember the source.
  5. Moshu macrumors member

    May 3, 2012
    The MBP 15" + Dell P2715Q is a very good combo.
    Check out for a picture of my set-up ( I usually keep the laptop closed, only use the monitor ).
    However, the image is not as "good" as the thunderbolt display but it's good in its own way.
    Once you go over the difference and start using it, it's very good.
    I also highly appreciate its USB3 hub, transforming it really fast into a docking station for a USB3 back-up Hard Drive, mouse, keyboard etc when I am at work.
  6. edavidson67 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2015
    Hello Moshu?

    Thanks for the response. I could not see your setup based on the link provided, but no biggie. I did read on Amazon that some people saw a yellow tint with this monitor. Did you notice this as well?
  7. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    Good choice on the P2715Q, and I saw your later comment about issues with screen quality - both of mine are perfect with no dead pixels or discoloration. There's a REALLY looooooong thread about both Dell 4k displays (P2415Q/P2715Q, and I chime in a bit near the end of the 1000+ posts - I'm the one who discovered, by accident, that 10.10.3 brought with the update the ability for 2 TB Port rMBPs, late-2013 and newer, to drive two of these bad boys @4k and @60Hz. Take the time to read the later/newer 500-600 posts, there's a lot of good advice - the EDID hack (which I've done), using SwitchResX (ditto).

    About the bezel, I actually prefer it with two displays - they're thin and are hard to notice when both are used at the same time. I have both of mine mounted on a Herman Miller Flo Dual arm setup (and my rMBP is on a Flo Plus with a laptop adapter), and one of my displays is often in "portrait" mode so I can surf or work on tall documents - I'm 6'7" and found that I wanted some additional height over my standing desk, and the arms work great for that. I also bought the Flo Plus (hold more weight than the Flo) in anticipation of buying a refreshed Retina iMac (either with a VESA mount or buying a VESA adapter) but we'll see what WWDC brings!!!!!

    Regarding the CC apps, one can set up each app to work on a file then "save" it to the Creative Cloud as either a "file" to be opened from the Cloud on an iPad or PC, or as a library file to be opened from the Cloud on an iPad or PC, or to be opened automatically in the relevant PC/Mac app when you log in. I often live in Illustrator - I'll use one of the Illy apps on my iPad, then close it - I'll log into my work account on my Mac, then Illustrator CC opens automatically and loads the file. I hated CC at first, but I'll admit that the new iOS apps and improvements to the Creative Cloud app and CC apps (PS, AI, ID for me) kept me on for a second year's subscription. The automation and synching - they're user preferences in the iOS apps - are just frosting on the cake for me.

    BTW, Moshu's setup is the 6th post in that thread. Mine is a bit more, uh, free-flowing because of the arms but the idea is the same. Cheers!
  8. Moshu macrumors member

    May 3, 2012
    No, no yellow tint but I am not a color-pro.
    Some ppl expect a low-cost series from DELL to have the same colors as a 20k professional monitor, but as far as I am concerned - no yellow tint.

    Another explanation: if I remember right from some years-ago iPhone-Gate, there was some yellow tint on some iPhone 4 ( i think ) screens (first retina screens) which Apple said it was from some gas used in the manufacturing process and that it will go away in few days of use.
    Apparently it did for most users.
    As DELL is also an IPS panel it's possible some users experienced the same issue.
  9. edavidson67 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2015
    Thanks everyone!

    Moshu: Okay now I see your setup (was behind a firewall which prevented pics to appear :( Looks nice...mine will probably look similar. Later in the year I may opt for the external track pad...because i have long boney hands the magic mouse makes my hand cramp.

    campyguy: If I get more real estate on my desk I may opt for a 2nd monitor as well. Right now the 15’ – 27’ combo may work out (heck my external monitor now is an old 2006 17 inch and I think that’s great. I will probably freak out once I get a 27’!!!)

    Also thanks for explaining how Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. works between Mac/iPad. I will take a look again and explore.

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