Downsize to 2016 tMBP 13" or Replace iMac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by richard13, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #1
    Hey guys,

    I recently sold my current MBP to a relative and that means I need a replacement. The prior model was a late 2013 15" MBP, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, dedicated graphics. I bought this configuration as I wanted a fully outfitted laptop for whatever I may encounter. But after 3 years I realize I've never used this computer to its full potential. I mainly use my iMac for anything that requires a lot of horsepower and use my MBP for things like surfing the web, watching video, occasionally playing a game, and to just have something when on vacation. Based on this I think I should reconsider my former strategy and get something more lightweight and cost effective.

    First, I've decided to go with the 13" model for portability. I also would like the touch bar and the upgrades that go along with it. I am going to cut down on the RAM from 16GB to 8GB. The last thing to consider is if I should downsize from 512GB SSD to 256GB. The total used space on my iMac (has all my data, apps, etc.) is 350GB. So, this wouldn't fit on a 256GB SSD on the MBP should I decide to get rid of the iMac in the future or just want all my data on the laptop. But I wonder if this is a real concern.

    Any opinions here?

    On the other hand, I could instead get a fully decked out 15" MBP and get rid of the iMac as well. This may have been where I was headed years ago but never implemented it. However, there are some big negatives to this arrangement. The iMac already does a great job and has a 27" screen, 24GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, 4GB Dedicated Graphics. So this works well for playing games and any other heavy lifting I may need. In my experience, the MBP no matter how well it is appointed, isn't that great for playing games. I'd also have a bigger, heavier laptop to carry around. Worse, if it were ever lost or stolen I'd have no computer for a while (until replacement).

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. doitdada macrumors 6502a

    doitdada

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    #2
    Get rid of the iMac, get rid of peripherals and wires.
     
  3. ZapNZs macrumors 68000

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #3
    IMO, in order to match a 15-tbMBPr to your iMac, you'd likely have to drop $3,200, where as you can get a nice 13 with the upgraded i5 for $1,000+ less. Even then, you would still have less RAM, plus a larger form factor to lug around if you take the computer with you when on the go, and you still might have to invest in a display if the 15-inch screen isn't ideal for when using at home (and given the TB's capabilities, you would likely be tempted to opt for a 4k/5k display, which adds up fast.)

    It may be worth getting 512GB for the SSD. Since now it is soldered in place, and we no longer have the SD slot (where we could add 128-256GB of flash storage using one of the flush adapters,) it might be best to go a little bigger if the budget permits. When I sold safes, I had a lot of customers later come back and regret not investing in the size one up from what they bought...but I never had a customer come back wishing they went smaller!!! In many cases, they wound up selling that first safe to buy something larger, ultimately spending more money in the long run than opting for the slightly larger upfront costs. So, FWIW, the $200 premium for the 512 could wind up being cheaper if down the road you find that your usage changes and now you are considering an upgrade earlier on because the 256 isn't meeting your needs/preferences.
     
  4. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #4
    Thanks guys for your opinions. I especially appreciate ZapNZs analysis and insights.

    I think I didn't thoroughly consider the full cost of the 2nd option. While I think the cost difference between a top of the line 15" MBP and the 13" would be largely offset by the sale of the iMac I didn't think of the new monitor I would likely want to get as well. Never mind the logistical and technical issues that could arise. From my reading this forum it sounds like people are having some trouble with this arrangement (15" MBP with 4K-5K monitor).

    Still not 100% sure and will take the weekend to consider but I am leaning toward my original plan of getting the 13" MBP with 512GB SSD.
     
  5. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #5
    I had a similar setup to you, with a high-end 2015 5K iMac. It was overkill for what I do on macOS (app/website coding and the usual nonsense), and was always hugely underwhelming for gaming (as any Mac is). I also had a 12" rMB that I ended up using more and more - my favourite Apple purchase, I might add.

    And this is my new setup:

    1. 4K USB-C LG 27" monitor (not an UltraFine) - £500
    2. Self-built Windows gaming PC, capable of 4K gaming - £1,500
    3. 12" MacBook - to be swapped out for a 13" tMBP in April or whenever they're refreshed

    For me, it was a fairly bold transition. I mean, I bloomin' well went and built a Windows PC after ditching Windows over 10 years ago. And, fortunately, the setup works really damn well.

    My iMac was doing a bad job of everything - the hardware is far too weak for gaming, it was overkill for the rest of my usage, and it was just another device to keep synced up with my rMB. I was (well, still am) getting absolutely no value out of a relatively expensive piece of kit.

    Now I have individual devices that do a single job and that can be upgraded individually, more frequently, at far lower expense. My MacBook is for macOS at home, work and travelling. My gaming PC fills the time my girlfriend is watching trash TV with smooth 4K gaming. The monitor is for displaying content from any of my current or future devices.

    Just my $0.02. As you can tell, I'm dead chuffed with the result given the "risk" I took.
     
  6. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    #6
    Cool. Great point about having discrete devices for the specific task at hand. I think if I need to (and I may) get a real gaming rig I'll build a PC myself. Like you, I gave this up long ago but might be a good idea to try my hand at it again.
     
  7. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #7
    The 'individual device' route seems like the logical approach to me right now.

    Means I can just upgrade individual components in my PC every year to get a continually good gaming experience, rather than an experience that just worsens with time after you drop £3,000 on an iMac with a laptop graphics card in it.

    It also means my macOS machine is far, far less expensive and also portable.

    If you need a maxed out iMac for the stuff you do on macOS, it doesn't make so much sense - I would probably stick with just the iMac at that stage.

    I would add that your possible downgrade from your iMac to 13" MBP is quite significant. Make sure you put the MBP through its paces during your return window to make sure you're happy with performance.
     

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