Do you use your Macbook Pro as your only computer?

jagooch

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 17, 2009
551
149
Denver, co
I currently have an iMac 2015 Retina and Macbook Pro 2015. I mostly use the iMac since I do most of my computer work at home , and only use the Macbook Pro when I go to a coffee shop or am traveling .

But it takes extra work to maintain both computers, make sure that they have the same apps and files so that I can do my work on either. Also, it's seems a waste for the Macbook Pro to sit on the shelf most of the time collecting dust until I need to take it on a trip.

I'm considering consolidating down to just a Macbook Pro. It would need to be beefy enough to replace my iMac. I figure that I can connect my dual monitors to the Macbook Pro with out much hassle, so it can serve the role of both workstation and portable computer pretty well.

Here are the specs
27" iMac Retina Late 2015: CPU i5 3.2 , 16GB RAM , 1TB Fusion drive
13" Macbook Pro early 2015: CPU i5 2.7, 8GB RAM, 256GB HD

For a replacement, I'd sell my current computers and replace them with a used/refurbished Macbook Pro 2015

Deal will vary, by my local Craigslist has this:
2015 Apple Macbook Pro 13 Maxed Specs, 3.1Ghz i7, 16GB, 512GB SSD - $1200

Has anyone else made this kind of switch? Did you like it or did you regret and buy a Mac computer to use at home?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Update 20180528

  • I disconnected my iMac and started using my MacBook pro as my main computer.
  • Perhaps because of the SSD vs Fusion drive, but everything I do seems significantly faster than when I was using the iMac. I'm glad that I switched!
  • I bough iStat menus and am watching resource utilization. CPU is fine, Memory pressure hits 31%, and the SSD is at 78Gb free. I think I'll buy the Macbook Pro I saw on Craigslist with twice the memory and storage as mine. The seller will be back in town on 5/31.
  • I ordered speakers and external display ( Dell P2715Q ) to make the docking experience better. \
  • I might buy a vertical Macbook Pro holder to put it in clamshell mode while saving desk space.We'll see. Something like a TwelveSouth BookArc would work.



 
Last edited:

TiggrToo

macrumors 68020
Aug 24, 2017
2,313
5,065
Out there...way out there
I currently have an iMac 2015 Retina and Macbook Pro 2015. I mostly use the iMac since I do most of my computer work at home , and only use the Macbook Pro when I go to a coffee shop or am traveling .

But it takes extra work to maintain both computers, make sure that they have the same apps and files so that I can do my work on either. Also, it's seems a waste for the Macbook Pro to sit on the shelf most of the time collecting dust until I need to take it on a trip.

I'm considering consolidating down to just a Macbook Pro. It would need to be beefy enough to replace my iMac. I figure that I can connect my dual monitors to the Macbook Pro with out much hassle, so it can serve the role of both workstation and portable computer pretty well.

Here are the specs
27" iMac Retina Late 2015: CPU i5 3.2 , 16GB RAM , 1TB Fusion drive
13" Macbook Pro early 2015: CPU i5 2.7, 8GB RAM, 256GB HD

For a replacement, I'd sell my current computers and replace them with a used/refurbished Macbook Pro 2015

Deal will vary, by my local Craigslist has this:
2015 Apple Macbook Pro 13 Maxed Specs, 3.1Ghz i7, 16GB, 512GB SSD - $1200

Has anyone else made this kind of switch? Did you like it or did you regret and buy a Mac computer to use at home?
I'm actually thinking of getting an iMac or equivalent in addition to my 2015 MacBook Pro. :)
 

nahkampfwombi

macrumors member
Jan 7, 2016
77
76
Just got a 2016 MBP 13 TB.
Works out as my daily working-machine.
My girlfriend has a Tower-PC. Im just playing Starcraft2 with this.
Other than that, we both use my Macbook for everyday stuff :p
I would even switch to a 12" Macbook.
 

Glmnet1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2017
953
1,054
I'm still using a 2011 MBP 15" as my only work and personal computer. While shopping for a replacement a few months ago, I was shocked to realize that I could get a 27" iMac + a base MB or MBA for the price of a new MBP 15" and a decent monitor... So that's what I plan to do on the next updates. I might even wait until my MBP completely breaks to replace it.

I see a lot of advantages to having 2 computers (ideal backup with no downtime, much better specs on the iMac, smaller lighter laptop, cheaper laptop so less worrying about it being dropped/stolen etc.) and the only downside is, as you mentioned, having to sync files on both.

I think you currently have the best of both worlds with your setup. If you really want to simplify I'd say try to use only your MBP for a while. That way you'll see if/which specs need to be upgraded for you to use it as your main computer. Maybe you'll decide that you can keep it as is and simply sell your iMac.
 
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EugW

macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
8,431
5,794
An external Retina screen would be a good match for the MacBook Pro for use at home.

However, I personally hate using a laptop as my main machine. It's often kludgy. I personally use a 2017 iMac Core i5 with 1 TB SSD and 24 GB RAM as my main machine, and a 12" MacBook Core m3 with 256 GB SSD and 16 GB RAM as my portable machine. I don't usually have super CPU-taxing computing needs on the go, so that works for me. Once the CPU is half-decent, memory is generally more important to me than CPU speed, so that is why I have a Core m3 and 16 GB RAM. (The Core m3 is 2017 is pretty decent, unlike the Core M in the entry level 2015 MacBook.)
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
I replaced a 21.5" 2012 iMac with a 2015 15" MBP and have never regretted it. Yes, I had to make some adjustments as far as utilization of my storage capacity, since I was dropping down from 1 TB to 512 GB, but I sorted all that out and use external drives for items I don't need to have on the computer's internal SSD. I had intended at the time to get an external monitor but found, surprisingly, that I am perfectly happy with the 15" screen as it is. I use Apple's BT mouse and keyboard with the machine propped on a stand. In a matter of seconds I can unplug the machine, close her up and carry her off somewhere else if need be.

I don't miss the iMac and I doubt that I will ever purchase another one. At the time, my primary reason for the switch was that I was frustrated with the dog-slow 5400 rpm platter drive on the iMac and also wanted more RAM. I had waited to see the specs on the first 21.5" retina iMac and was disappointed, so that prompted me to think of a different approach. I realized that the specs on the 2015 15" MBP fitted my requirements and so experimented with my 2015 13" MBP, which I had been using most of the time anyway while the slower iMac just sat there. The speedy SSD in the 13" MBP really spoiled me!

That said, this 15" MBP is not my only computer. I have two others, the previously-mentioned 2015 13" MBP and a 2017 12" MacBook. I use the 15" MBP as my primary machine, though, while the others are supplementary. The 12" MacBook travels with me and is used in the bedroom in the evenings. Initially after I had set up the 15" MBP, and again after I bought the 12" MacBook, I intended to sell the 13" MBP but have never gotten around to it and have in the meantime found it to come in handy on many occasions. All three machines have the same specs (512 GB SSD, 16 GB RAM) and the same apps, and are set up pretty much the same. When I am using the MacBook or the 13" MBP and download something new, I just plug in an external drive or a thumb drive for transfer to the 15" machine later. I keep most data and image files on external drives rather than on the computers and this has worked out nicely.
 
Last edited:

terminator-jq

macrumors 6502
Nov 25, 2012
297
351
I haven’t made that sort of switch but I do use my MacBook Pro as my only computer. My main uses include: 3D modeling and rendering, app development, sculpting in Zbrush, animation and photo editing (in addition to the usual web browsing and text editing). I have the 15” 2017 model so the i7 has plenty of power for CPU task. The built in GPU is decent enough.

For a boost, I have an external GPU with a GTX 1060 that I can connect to for desktop quality graphics power when needed.

Depending on what type of work you do, I’d definitely recommend looking into an external GPU enclosure just to give yourself some extra power when your at home.
 
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diggy33

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2011
616
660
I used to, but I only use it now at the beginning of the month to pay bills. For most of my daily computing, I'm using my Samsung Chromebook Plus.
 

duervo

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
2,319
1,042
No. Mine is a mere tertiary system at this point. Windows 10 Pro PC that I built is primary. Thinkpad T430 with Windows 10 Pro is secondary.

I use a Synology NAS for keeping files sync’d to everything, including the MacBook Pro and Mac mini.
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
5,920
2,990
SF Bay Area
No. I have several computers. My deskside system is a I7-4770K with Nvidia graphics cards, 27 and 24 inch monitors, 32 GB of memory, multiple SSDs running Windows 10 and Linux on a sit-stand desk.

My portable computers are 2015 15" MBP with dGPU, Surface book with 1TB drive and Nvidia graphics, and a 2012 MBP 13" with SSD and 16GB that I really no longer use.

Netgear NAS with 12TB for Time Capsule, Windows Backup, and file serving. Backed up to cloud.
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,659
7,493
I also have both an iMac and a MacBook Pro, though the MacBook Pro is an older 2012 15" Retina. Managing two computers can be cumbersome at times, but really isn't that hard to do, and in some ways is actually more convenient (no need to plug or unplug external monitors, keyboard / mouse, ethernet, external drives, etc. from the MacBook Pro, though docks help with this). I prefer to have a full desktop with a 27" screen.
 
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Hanson Eigilson

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2016
222
217
Sometimes I use my MBP 2015 with m370X graphics with 2 external display's and it's OK, but not that great.
Just driving the display's doing nothing does put some load on the graphics so the fans are super quick to speed up with any additional work. To mitigate that i use Volta to limit package power + a slight undervolt.

Doing the same on a XPS it feels like I have a ton of more headroom before noise becomes an issue and there are much more options for controlling how much power is consumed, but it's not ideal either.
 
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leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,984
5,492
I have been using the MB as a sole computer for years now. I tried pairing it with a desktop machine, but I found out that it didn't make my work any easier.
 
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Saturn1217

macrumors 6502a
Apr 28, 2008
986
245
I have 2 computers currently but I only really use my MBP (other is a MacBook Air that I have loaned to the husband). I personally find the ability to have all my work in one place vastly preferable to having a desktop + laptop. I use my MacBook Pro at both home and work docked to 2 monitors much of the time. But it also helps to be able to work away from the desk easily without worrying about syncing issues, different accounts, settings etc.

Unless my work started requiring specs that a laptop just didn’t offer (like huge amounts of ram or graphics power) I don’t think I would ever want a desktop.

I guess it depends on what you do. I am a web dev and former research scientist and i’ve personally never needed or wanted a desktop.
 
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Closingracer

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2010
3,992
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I currently have an iMac 2015 Retina and Macbook Pro 2015. I mostly use the iMac since I do most of my computer work at home , and only use the Macbook Pro when I go to a coffee shop or am traveling .

But it takes extra work to maintain both computers, make sure that they have the same apps and files so that I can do my work on either. Also, it's seems a waste for the Macbook Pro to sit on the shelf most of the time collecting dust until I need to take it on a trip.

I'm considering consolidating down to just a Macbook Pro. It would need to be beefy enough to replace my iMac. I figure that I can connect my dual monitors to the Macbook Pro with out much hassle, so it can serve the role of both workstation and portable computer pretty well.

Here are the specs
27" iMac Retina Late 2015: CPU i5 3.2 , 16GB RAM , 1TB Fusion drive
13" Macbook Pro early 2015: CPU i5 2.7, 8GB RAM, 256GB HD

For a replacement, I'd sell my current computers and replace them with a used/refurbished Macbook Pro 2015

Deal will vary, by my local Craigslist has this:
2015 Apple Macbook Pro 13 Maxed Specs, 3.1Ghz i7, 16GB, 512GB SSD - $1200

Has anyone else made this kind of switch? Did you like it or did you regret and buy a Mac computer to use at home?

Yes my MacBook Pro is my only computer now. Did have a Windows Gaming laptop which I basically used to just play video games.


For that price thats a steal. At new you could of gotten a base model only and on a sale.


Honestly I have been exclusively on laptops for about a decade now.
 
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MrGunnyPT

macrumors 6502a
Mar 23, 2017
999
601
Err.. How am I gonna explain this?

For work related & browsing random stuff? Yeah, sure.

At home I use my gaming desktop with a ultrawide monitor thou
 
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robvas

macrumors 68040
Mar 29, 2009
3,078
532
USA
No. I have a 13 and 15 2016, and a 15 2013, Lenovo x220 and a Dell laptop for work
 

jagooch

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 17, 2009
551
149
Denver, co
I'm glad that I ordered the 15" Macbook Pro 2015 after doing disk read/write tests this morning. I wanted to give the iMac a 2nd change and until I saw the results.

iMac
Disk Speed Test iMac 20180603_small .jpg

Macbook Pro
Disk Speed Test Macbook Pro 13 2018603_small.jpg


Just a small difference in r/w performances. /sarcasm
 

bluecoast

macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2017
1,233
1,046
Yes, I use a 2017 13 entry MBP & it's definitely fast enough.

Of course, it always depends on what you want to use it for, but I find that there's absolutely no slowdown with the stock 8GB of memory - you can keep on opening and opening new Safari tabs and it just keeps on going.

It's hard now to think of scenarios where a MBP wouldn't be preferred - about the only things that I can think of are games and any intensive graphics, video or audio work.
 
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0002378

Suspended
May 28, 2017
675
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For long hours of computing at home, there is nothing like a desktop computer with a big screen. And of course for travel, there is nothing like the portability of the MBP.

Keep both, sell neither :)
 
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cambookpro

Contributor
Feb 3, 2010
6,760
2,358
United Kingdom
I've used a MacBook Pro as my only computer for at least 10 years now without issue. I don't do anything super heavy on it, the worst day-to-day is iOS development in Xcode and Illustrator/Photoshop. I occasionally create short animations with Motion or After Effects and it can begin to struggle (13" 2016), but I don't do it often enough for it to be annoying.

The biggest limitation isn't the power but the screen size: at home, I use a 27" external monitor which is much better.

I think eventually I'll end up with a desktop and a tablet in a few years when I'm settled in a job & house, but I'm at university at the moment so a desktop isn't very practical.
 
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EugW

macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
8,431
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For long hours of computing at home, there is nothing like a desktop computer with a big screen. And of course for travel, there is nothing like the portability of the MBP.

Keep both, sell neither :)
Yeah but the question is how portable you consider the 15", and how much power and screen real estate you need on the road. I found even my 13" a bit awkward on the plane, so my current setup is the 27" iMac (with a second external 27" screen), and 12" MacBook. However, my needs on the road are pretty light.
 

jagooch

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 17, 2009
551
149
Denver, co
Yeah but the question is how portable you consider the 15", and how much power and screen real estate you need on the road. I found even my 13" a bit awkward on the plane, so my current setup is the 27" iMac (with a second external 27" screen), and 12" MacBook. However, my needs on the road are pretty light.
I had the same experience on the plane. Right now I bring an iPad on the plane to read book and watch movies, an the Macbook gets used at the travel destination.

The iMac sat at home with a dual displays for home computing.

I'd really like to reduce the devices I currently have -
iMac
Macbook
iPad
iPhone

To this
Macbook
iPhone

But I think the iPad will keep it's role as media consumption device.

I had a similar dilemma with smart speakers where i had
2 home pods
3 Sonos speakers
2 Amazon Echos

But I'm preparing to get rid of the Echo's and Sonos speakers.

1st World problems, right?
 
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