HELP! Need pro and cons of iMac and macbook pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Morty11, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Morty11 macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2008
    My team is going to get new machines. We're all graphic designers, and I do some heavy video editing from time to time.

    I'm hoping you guys can give me pros and cons on the new iMac and macbook pro.

    I'd like to get the laptop so that I can take it with me to meetings, as well as bedding able to work from home, but I need info to back that up. Need this today. Yes, I'm also doing my own research, but would love to hear your thoughts! Thank you!
  2. halluxsinister, Jun 10, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019

    halluxsinister macrumors regular


    Oct 17, 2017
    Do you have family? Friends? A social life outside of work? (I mean an actual one, not a fake one lived on computers.)

    Then get the kind you can’t take home. Leave your work where it belongs. AT WORK.

    Unless again you have no life. Or you’re the boss, and you’ll work wherever whether you have the right equipment or not. In that case... It’s kind of a tossup, really. On the one hand, with the Macbook you don’t really have the ability to upgrade once you’ve bought it... on the other hand, with an iMac you ALSO don’t really have that anymore either.

    OTOH, if you’re willing to entertain the idea of buying a basic unit, the eGPU option could work for you. Of course, if you’re using it at work and at home, unless you’re prepared to schlepp the eGPU and any required wires, power supply cables, etc., all around with you...

    Unless it were truly necessary, I don’t know that I’d buy either at this point. Of late, Apple seems to have lost track of what it is they’re trying to do, apart, (obviously,) from separate you from the greatest possible quantity of money per unit money spent making the thing you just CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT...

    Apple, Inc., has gotten very good at blurring the lines between WANT and NEED so that you can’t even figure out for yourself WHICH category any criteria fall into.

    If you’re going BOOK, you’re sacrificing screen real estate (smaller screen) and adding the expense of a battery. If you’re going iMac, you’re paying more for the larger screen, but get no built-in UPS and/or portability. Probably you get more bang for your buck with the iMac, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    You’re asking the entire Macrumors readership base for advice without providing any info, which is why, hours later, this appears to be the first response. From me. Someone who has been, especially in the last few years, REALLY critical of Apple as a company.

    If you want some advice, really, and not just for random strangers to give you the excuse you need, (or if it makes you feel better, “rationalization”) to buy whatever fun, new, overpriced toy you’re itching to get... you should probably provide some specifics.

    Like... what software do you need it to be able to run? How large are the largest files you work with? Round to the nearest terabyte.

    I don’t use any of this stuff, but I can tell you that your question, (and I’m not writing this to hurt your feelings or puff myself up,) would be like me asking you what kind of bed I should get.

    You’d have to KNOW a few things about me to make ANY KIND of decent recommendation. For example... am I a tiny middle-aged school teacher who has trouble making tea because that darned teapot is so HEAVY, especially with 6 to 8 ounces of water in it, (goodness gracious me!) or am I a 350 pound, 7’2” bodybuilder/linebacker, etc.? Do I sleep alone, or with a few good friends? Is my back wrecked from 20 years of driving a long-haul tractor trailer, and hand-unloading 50,000 pounds of freight a few times a week?

    Do I like waterbeds? Or am I from one of those countries that scoffs at anything that isn’t made from sticks of bamboo?

    You’d need to know a bit about me to make any kind of decent recommendation. Similarly, we’ll need WAY more specifics to even have a snowballs chance in heck of telling you anything even remotely useful.

    Just my fiftieth of a dollar.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 10, 2019 ---
    Here’s a crazy idea... make a list of your favorite things about your current setup. And the things that most bug you. A list of things you HAVE TO be able to do with whatever replaces it, and things you wish you COULD do but cannot. Take that to your nearest Apple Store, or if you don’t have one, go to and start looking around. At some point, if there isn’t a popup asking if you need help, try looking around the site . Somewhere there’s probably a link to someone who can help you. Tell them what you need and let them do the legwork of figuring out what to try to convince you to buy. Then ask yourself... do I need THIS, (it’ll almost certainly be the new MacPro Cheese Grater Edition, and they’ll want to load it up so it’s about 26,000,) or whatever it is, MORE than I need the (however much they’re asking for it)? Is there anything else that will do the same job for less, (I’m assuming here despite the lack of info that you’re not made of money, even if you have a lot of it laying around, burning a hole through your pocket, and you already own a Porsche or two...) and if not, there you have it.
  3. Morty11 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2008
    Hi, halluxsinisterhalluxsinister! Thanks for your reply. I created this thread on my mobile device and decided to keep it short. I wanted to see if the Mac community would have any helpful feedback, which is why I posted this earlier. Yes, I left out some helpful information, but here's a bit to back up this thread.

    My team and I use the usual Adobe applications, PS, Illustrator, Indesign, Dreamweaver, Premiere, After Effects, and so on. We are using 5-year-old iMacs, but I've been trying to see if I could justify in having us upgrade to laptops instead. Most of us are on board, but not everyone likes the idea.

    Although I mentioned working from home, we wouldn't be required to work a full day at home or anything, only when there are emergencies. Still, that IS working from home, but you get the idea.

    I understand you can't upgrade Macs. That's how Apple makes their money.

    After doing my research, I've concluded that we'll most likely stick with our iMacs, and for those who want to know why, here you go:


    • Less expensive to build compared to a laptop. I created a mid build on apple's site, and it's around $3,099 with 64GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.
    • Has a more powerful graphics card, although you do have the option of purchasing an eGPU for the laptop, but who wants to pay an extra $700 for that?
    • Bigger screen, obviously.
    • Less prone to be broken since it just stays at work.
    • Will last longer since most laptops usually fail faster than a desktop.
    • Has the ports you need, such as USB, SD card reader, lightning ports
    • Not mobile. No brainer.

    Macbook Pro

    • You can take it anywhere, to meetings, conferences, or at home.
    • You can hook it up to external monitors, which is what we planned to do if we went this route, but the cost of purchasing monitors that would give us accurate colors would definitely add up.
    • I wouldn't have to use my own machine at home when emergencies occur.
    • Expensive! $3,500! Needing to upgrade the graphics card to the highest option killed it for me. That also included the 32 GB of RAM.
    • Will most likely break down faster or have more issues down the road, although that depends on how well you baby it.
    • There are only Thunderbolt ports on the 2019 versions. WTH, Apple!
      • This means you'll have to buy some kind of adapter if you want the ports the older models have.

    Anyway, I hope this helps someone else out there who's looking to compare the two to see which route to take when it comes to working full time in the office or being able to work in the office with the occasional option of working from home.
  4. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    The trouble is - that's a piece of string. A lot of 2D work, or occasional editing of non-4k video, isn't really demanding and, frankly, performance-wise your 5-year-old iMacs are probably good enough for the job (there are other reasons you might want/need to upgrade, of course).

    Gone are the days when a new machine would be twice as fast as a 2-3 year old one. Yes, new machines will still be faster, but its more like 10-20% faster these days (...for example, if you currently have to leave a job running overnight because it takes 5 hours, there's little value in an expensive GPU upgrade that knocks off 20 minutes)

    The 'night and day' speed boosts are going to come from (a) SSDs (if you don't already have them) and (b) the extra cores in the 8th/9th gen CPUs (but how much difference that makes depends on what software you're using).

    So, unless money is no object, before pricing up new machines with the maxed-out CPU, GPU and RAM (which always adds a hefty premium) you really need to do a bit of analysis on your current machines - what are the tasks that are slowing people down, and what does Activity Monitor tell you about the bottlenecks - are they lighting up all the CPU cores? Is the memory pressure or "swap used" going into the red?

    The iMac will give you more bangs-per-buck - if you need it. It also has user-upgradeable RAM so you don't need to max it out (at Apple's usurious prices) 'just in case'. No keyboard problems (I'm not a great fan of the current 'Magic Keyboard' but its not the train wreck that is the MacBook keyboard). As you say, the MacBook Pro will cost more, especially with the extra displays (although you don't have to get the expensive 5k ones, and you might prefer a 32" 4k one).

    On the other hand, I used a MBP as a main machine for a long time and it did work well. Couple of special cases, though:
    1. It was the old-style MBP that could take a ton of storage - I ended up with a fast-but-affordable 512GB SSD as the system drive and the original 720GB HD in the optical bay.
    2. I was developing 'active' websites with test servers configured on the MBP, relying on tweaked files in /etc/ and so on, so just being able to grab the laptop to demo stuff at a meeting and have it 'just work' was a great time-saver. If it were just a case of 'conventional' documents then it would be quick and easy to just sync them to a laptop, or even an iPad. The problem is not even insoluble with code (, internet access in meeting rooms is almost mandatory so that the boss can get their GMail and content-free Sway presentation, so I'd probably have a demo server running somewhere in the cloud).
    3. There was some expensive software on the MBP only licensed for single machine, so it was economical to be able to carry that around on a laptop. However, its increasingly common for the software to be either open source or on subscription with a per-user rather than per-machine license.

    So you have to look at your workflow and see how much use a laptop would be - how much work could you realistically do on a laptop without your large display (or are you going to get one for home as well). What else will you need to carry around - external drives (you'll probably need them for video unless you're going to blow the bank on 2TB SSDs) - maybe you use a graphics tablet... Or would a cheap laptop or iPad suffice for 'emergency' stuff or meeting demos?

    I think, 5 years ago, I'd have gone the MacBook Pro route (well, I did) but today would go for a iMac + either a MacBook Air or iPad (what with Photoshop for iPad on the way, and new iPad/Mac integration features coming).
  5. Morty11 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2008
    While I agree with you that our current machines can continue to run just fine, my workplace has a policy that requires us to upgrade our machines every five years to stay up-to-date on technology.

    Although the other designers don’t work on the more intensive programs like I do, such as Premiere and AE, we’re also required to have the same configuration—That is really more of a precaution in case I am out sick and someone needs to work on my projects on their own machine.

    Your questions of what are the tasks that are slowing people down, and what does Activity Monitor tell you about the bottlenecks - are they lighting up all the CPU cores? Is the memory pressure or "swap used" going into the red? brings up good points to consider. Honestly, I don’t think we really run into any bottlenecks because all of our work is saved on a server and not on our machines. Therefore, when things slow down, it’s because the server we’re using isn’t saving or opening our files fast enough for us to access. Why spend the money on all that RAM then, right? Well, my workplace just wants the best for us to ensure we get our job done.

    If we went with laptops, then we won’t need a lot of storage space. We’d just be logging into the server and saving on there instead if we were out of the office. The RAM and GPU would be the two cost factors when it comes down to the getting the MBP.

    I agree with you that the iMac will give us more bang for our buck. Aside from the magic mouse, our keyboards are all wired, which is what we all prefer. The magic keyboard is too small, and it’s difficult to type on, so we don’t care much for it either.

    If we did go with the MBP, I also agree with you that getting a 4K monitor would be best. At this point, it doesn’t make sense to get a MBP, but my team and I will be discussing our options on which direction we want to go.

    Thanks for your input, the luggage.
  6. MRrainer macrumors 65816

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    The new iMacs - and especially the top-end 8 Core machines - are really much faster than the last generation.
    This time, it's worth it.

    The 2019 iMac is great in almost any aspect, except for one: the bezels are a bit too large compared with other displays on the market.

    I really regret that I don't need one or I'd buy one right now ;-)

Share This Page

5 June 10, 2019