Help needed buying first Mac- Macbook Pro 13" or iPad 3G+ iMac 21.5"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Ankit.Chauhan, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Ankit.Chauhan macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2011
    Hello everyone,

    I'm from India and currently applying for Ph.D in Virology/Microbiology.

    At present I own a Compaq desktop (& my only computer) that I purchased in 2004. It has become very sluggish from past few months and sometimes can't even do basic task of web surfing, music via iTunes & video playing. Not to mention few layers in Adobe Photoshop CS3 strains it to an extent that it becomes almost unusable.

    I've planned an upgrade which was something like that:-
    1-Buy an iPad 2 3G 32/64Gb for research work, reading my technical pdfs which includes lab manuals & text books, web surfing and music purpose.;
    and 2- Later buy an iMac 21.5" as soon as I get enrolled for Ph.D and start to receive my fellowship.

    The reason I considered iMac 21.5" as a later option was that Apple is giving much better hardware specification as compared to current baseline Macbook Pro 13" and at the same price tag. (62000 Indian Rupees for MBP 13" but 57000 for iMac 21.5")
    Also iMac comes with a dedicated gfx card as compared to MBP base model which I think will be a real benefit in gaming and Photoshop.

    I want ur opinion on my plans of upgrade.

    ->.Is it good getting an iPad for portability and iMac for some serious work like photo and video editing? or should I just opt current Macbook Pro 13" with i5 and 8gb RAM?
    -->. Can iPad be a good device for reading technical books, writing documents (don't worry I'm not considering writing research paper on it), preparing and delivering presentations, and web surfing till I get my iMac?

    I do a lot of Film & digtal photgraphy also and learning post processing with Photoshop CS3 right now and will be buying a Canon 550D too so that mean in few months I'll be editing RAW files and 1080p videos too.

    To sum-up all my requirements I do Photoshop, Documents/Report writing, Pdfs (Text books, Research Papers, Lab Protocols), presentations, Web surfing, Music and Movies.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. cr2 macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2011
    Ever thought of 15"

    iPad is great for reading book and light writing, emails. I have been using it for these two things. I actually transfer my PDFs to iPad for reading. Besides it is also great for various other things.

    I would go for MBP, you may want to go for 15inch if you really need quad core but 13" is great and portable. A nice addition would be get the thunderbolt display.

    Ever thought of using Aperture, it is great and for $79 (or even cheaper with discounted iTunes cards). I switched from Photoshop to Aperture. 99.99 % of the times, I don't miss photoshop. Photoshop is good but only for a real heavyweight pro photographer. Try Aperture, I think you can get 30 day trial.

    All the best!
  3. iRCL macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    Hi Ankit congratulations on going for your PhD

    I would strongly recommend you consider where you're actually going to be most of the time. If you're studying for PhD you could find yourself at university a LOT. In this case, it would be ideal to always grab your portable MBP and always have it with you. Almost every person at my school carries a laptop and its almost a requirement. Specifically if there's any kind of software you use for school - for instance any kind of simulation or analysis software that you may be working with and need to bring to show someone else for help, and so on. In this case you would never need to worry about having the files and software only available at home, as on the iMac.

    For all the things you're talking about, a MBP i5 is going to be great. I've got that machine and I don't even need all the power (computer engineering phd student) and am dropping down to a Macbook Air 13" slower i5 because it's sufficient and even easier to bring around with me. I currently have 8GB of RAM but I rarely need it, only when using Virtual Machines and so on.

    If for your degree you simply read CONSTANTLY and that's all you basically do, then an iPad may be great though. I don't know how you study and work. Good luck
  4. Ankit.Chauhan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2011
    @ cr2 --- thanks for your valuable inputs.
    To me the price of MBP 15" seems to be very high as I'm just a research scholar. So it's completely out of consideration at present. But your idea of adding a second display on MBP 13" seems interesting to me. It will help a lot when I'm working in photoshop.
    And about Aperture for post processing, as I said earlier that I'm just learning post processing. Once I've my Mac I'll consider using it asap!

    @iRCL--- thanks a lot dear!
    Well almost everyone including my friends & my mom are against my idea buying iMac+iPad. They say laptop can do both work.
    Even though here in India bringing laptops are not allowed in University library, but still your idea of getting MBP 13" seems good to me.
    I don't run any simulation software but will be using some Bioinformatics tools for designing & analyzing Nucleic acid sequences. For rest of work, our labs have separate PCs for each instruments. Moreover, personal laptops are not allowed to connect to these lab equipments.

    Anyways many thanks to both of you. I really appreciate ur valuable inputs.
    Today I going to visit a Apple Education Expert store. They called me for a demo of all the available Macs. Plus they told me to bring my pdfs and documents i'll be using on ipad.
    I'll tell u how it was once I return from Apple store.
  5. szolr macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2011
    London, UK
    If you can afford it get the iMac and iPad. You sound to already be familiar with the desktop experience and don't require power for moving around a lot-so a laptop's not on the cards.

    Aperture is not a Photoshop equivalent. It's a Lightroom equivalent. There is no true equivalent to Photoshop. Quite simply, like the iPod holds the mp3 market in its grasp and the iPad IS the tablet market, Photoshop IS the only real solution for pro photo editing. You can't draw from scratch in Aperture!! It's just photo organisation and touch ups. :p
  6. Ankit.Chauhan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2011
    Visited Apple Education Expert yesterday and my experience over there was wonderful.
    I took some of my pdfs of lab manuals, papers and biochemistry books over there. They copied that on iPad for me and I used it for reading them for a while. Manuals, paper & books looks great on it and actually enjoyed reading them on it.

    The Education expert also thinks that my idea of buying iPad for portability and iMac for serious work is better than buying just a 13" Macbook Pro. He also said that if I go for 13" MBP, I can save the money of iPad2 as it would be waste of money buying iPad with a MBP.

    They showed me Core2Duo Macbook and iMac but they didin't have any i5 machines for demonstration. I tried running Photoshop CS4 on both and found that the load time and the overall experience was same. iMac's mouse and it's larger display was the only difference I felt after using both.

    What my colleagues and other research scholar, who uses iMac, MBp and iPad, suggesting me is that MBP 13" is better option as iPad alone is not sufficient to handle day to day lab work.

    I think I'll be considering a MBP 13" with a good quality usb/bluetooth mouse & later going to add a secondary display of atleast 19" to my MBP 13".
    And if after buying Canon 550D i think i need power to edit 1080P videos I'll buy an iMac.

    So goin for MBP 13" now!!!!

    Thanks everyone for your kind help. I really appreciate that.

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