How to choose beteen iMac and MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ApplePie427, May 18, 2010.

  1. ApplePie427 macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    Hey guys,

    I've recently made the decision to take the leap of faith and switch to Mac. Not many people I know use Macs so it's kind of hard to get real-life opinions. Basically I'm stuck between an iMac 27 and a MacBook Pro 13. It would be great if anyone could give me some advice as to which one to choose.

    I'm a fairly casual computer user, one of those typical just e-mail, web surfing, photos, and music kind of person. But while I don't do anything intensive like mix my own records or edit videos, I do have a substantial amount of music, photo, and video files just from everyday life, and I especially enjoy viewing and sharing them with friends and family, which is why I'm loving the huge 27" screen.

    Right now I'm sharing a big studio apartment with another girlfriend, so I do have the space available for an iMac 27, and I tend to use my computer mostly at home. However, I'm not sure if I'm going to be moving around in the future. The MacBook Pro 13 is really a lovely little package, and I'm sure that spec-wise it's more than enough for my needs, but I have my worries that I'll find the 13" screen to be a bit too small for everyday use.

    Oh and lastly, do the MacBook Pros suffer a performance hit when compared to the iMacs? I know the hard drive will be a little slower, but otherwise, is it going to be like PCs where the laptops are lagging all the time?

    Thanks guys!
  2. noodlemanc macrumors regular


    Mar 25, 2010
    I own a 13" MacBook Pro and its a great machine:cool: It runs really fast, even when multitasking, with 4GB of RAM. I've used 24" iMacs at someone else's place, and they don't seem to be any slower than my MacBook Pro. The processor on them was the same, and so was the RAM. I don't think there's a whole lotta difference in preformance.

    I reckon both are lovely machines, but it just depends if ya want a desktop or a laptop. Good luck!
  3. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    At first, I felt the 27" on the iMac is "too much". Then, I visited my local Best Buy store 3+ times and gave the 21.5" & 27" models a try. During a few test trials, I realized the large screen is 27" wide but when opening windows, one doesn't need to maximin the entire 27" of monitor space. By using myself, I can have 1 application window open on the left (like a text document) and have an Internet Browser window (like Safari) open on the right. With 27", both windows are read-able. I tried doing the same on the 21.5" iMac and both open windows are much harder to read (because they are smaller in size). It would be near impossible to read both open windows on a small 13" screen - on a small laptop. For viewing multiple applications at the same time (in side by side view), I now realize the 27" is perfect - for my needs.

    Long post short... Do visit your local Future Shop, Best Buy or Apple Store and give each model a try. "Pull up a chair" and use each model for a while. Works great for me...

    Good luck...

  4. JoshBoy macrumors 6502


    Oct 12, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
    As you can see below I own a 13 inch macbook, a 15 inch macbook pro and a 24' iMac. I would say go the imac, it will be faster due to the drive been 7200rpm copmapred to 5200 (not by much) I love using my imac and i am now considering in the next 6 months getting the 27" i7.
    The only reason I chose the macbook pro was I was travelling all over the world for work and needed something to take with me, if i didn't I would just stick with the imac. You will love it!

    ( I also run a second monitor on mine, you can never have enough screen space :) )

    Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions

    Good luck
  5. ApplePie427 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    Thank you, noodlemanc, for clearing up the performance issue! I heard that iMacs used MacBook Pro parts, but I also heard that desktops outperform laptops, so I didn't know what to think!

    Right now I'm leaning more towards the MacBook Pro. It's just so small and wonderfully thin, and its design even outclasses the iMac's (which isn't to say the iMac looks bad).

    Another thing I considered is that the iMac 27 is really heavy and in the case that I change apartments or need to get it repaired, I probably wouldn't be able to move it without calling in the cavalry.

    Giving up that 27" screen sure is hard...
  6. ApplePie427 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
  7. lasuther macrumors 6502a

    Feb 13, 2004
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    I have both the 27" iMac i5 and a 13" MacBook Pro, and the iMac is much better. It uses a destop processor and hard drive while using a mobile graphics card. Benchmarks at show the significant performance increase of the iMac to MBP.
  8. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I've got the 27" iMac and a 13" MacBook. The iMac is well over twice as fast, but in your case that won't matter since you aren't doing anything that is processor intensive.

    I only use the MacBook when I need portability. Nothing beats that 27" iMac display. If I needed portability but could only afford one computer I'd get the MacBook AND and external monitor. Best of both worlds.
  9. Pachang macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2009
    The main difference between them for you will be the screen size.

    With a 27" screen surfing the web will be very comfortable and easy to navigate. with a 13" screen you will have to minimize websites email and generally be like "oh where is that website/window I was looking at before did I minimize it or close it or somehiting.....hmmm".

    with the 27" you'll be able to have multiple websites on the screen and navigate between programs with ease

    Not to mention the imac is much more ergodynamic.
  10. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2004
    Well, the main difference is if you want to carry your mac with you or not :D

    The iMac is MUCH faster when used to it's maximum abilities, but for most things you won't find much of a performance hit. If you're doing stuff with video, even just ripping DVD's and encoding them the iMac will be much better.

    If you are mostly surfing the web (which is what 99% of us do anyway, even professionals) then you won't notice much difference.

    The iMac can take twice as much ram and of course has a much nicer screen. But again, the main thing you need to ask yourself is if you want to take it with you. If you're ok with leaving it at home then go for the iMac, it's a better value for a non-mobile system.
  11. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    If you don't need portability, you don't need a laptop. In general, you will pay a premium for the portability (more expensive, less screen, less drive capacity/speed, graphics...). The 27' iMac is 30.5 lbs, so unless you are an invalid (or planning on moving it alot) the weight should not be a factor.

    However, from the tone of your post you less want us to help you decide, than to validate your decision to buy the MacBook Pro. For your money (and your stated use), the iMac is a better buy.
  12. DerricP macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2010
    I'm in a similar situation. I currently have a macbook pro that is going on 4 years old and I am looking to upgrade to either a MBP 15'' i7 or a 27'' iMac i7.

    I work as a university researcher and use both mac and windows applications - especially geographic information systems. I would love to improve the ergonomics of my workspace by adding a desktop display - I've just used my MBP display until now.

    So do I get a MBP with 24'' display or a 27'' iMac and use my old MBP for my portable needs?

  13. noodlemanc macrumors regular


    Mar 25, 2010
    Go to someone's profile page (by clicking their username on the forum) and you can PM them from there.
  14. Star4Ever macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2010
    I think you may need to make your decision based upon your life style. From reading your post you "appear" to be a younger person, more mobile and not set up in a fully permanent living situation (ie: home). The Airport Extream is a wonderful wireless router and allows you to share a printer on your wireless network (or a disk drive even).

    That said, the Macbook can easily move with you from the desk to the sofa and so on... not so with the iMac. With the iMac you need to go to IT. IT does not move around with you, either within the apartment or when you are on the move, work, school, vacation or visiting folks.

    So that all said, I would suggest that you should look at your life style to make the decision on the platform. Go to IT or take IT with you...??

    As an aside...When I visit my 23 year old son at his home, he and his friends are sprawled out on the couches in the living room with their laptops, pads and phones all ablaze.... while watching TV and whatnot. They feel that stationary computer systems are ... ahem... "old school tech". (But they like the 27" display on my iMAC!)

    (BTW the small Macbook pro does give up screen space that those larger screen versions have, but at the expense of weight and $)
  15. Tankfantry macrumors regular


    Apr 21, 2010
    Houston, Texas
    You can do like me and just buy both. My iMac is the hub of my house with the wife (her work computer is a MacBook) using it for all our personal stuff (bills, reciepts, accounting, etc) & my MBP is my personal/work computer.

    And they love each other very much so there is NO jealously if I use one more then the other.
  16. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    Personally I feel you are deciding between to very radically different computers in terms of just raw power. If you are debating about getting an Macbook Pro 13in then clearly the i7 core iMac is massive and I mean MASSIVE over kill for your needs.

    Personally I would suggest choosing between Macbook Pro 15in verse the iMac 27 inch. The 15in is pretty portable and offer compatible computing power.
  17. SamTheeGeek macrumors 6502


    Jan 12, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Hmmm My Opinion...

    Hello :) ,

    First those 2 machines are great the imac 27" and the Macbook pro 13".

    I Would recommend the iMac 27" over the macbook pro 13" for a couple of reasons,

    * You get the amazing 27" Display
    * 1TB Harddrive For All your Storage Needs
    * i5 and i7 Option ;) Much better than the C2D
    * Great computer for use at home ;)

    So yea the imac is great ;) go for it :D
  18. Simple2Do macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    Northern Ireland
    Alternatively why not go for the Macbook and buy an external display?
  19. ApplePie427 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    Obviously the best solution would be if Apple could engineer an iMac 27 that could transform into a MacBook Pro 13 when I want it to, but that's just wishful thinking.

    Yeah, I admit I'm leaning more towards the MacBook Pro 13. Yes, perhaps it's because I'm of a younger crowd (24) and more mobile and so on. I just wanted to know what I was giving up by picking one over the other. Also, I was afraid that Apple laptops would have a significant performance difference when compared to their desktops, like PCs usually do.

    I think I'm going with the MacBook Pro 13. A deciding factor for me was that it's almost half the price of an iMac 27, so it's a safer (i.e., less expensive) way to test the waters. I expect to love my Mac, but just in case Apple doesn't work out for me, it will be a smaller loss.

    One day though, when I have a more permanent place of my own, I am definitely getting a huge iMac!

    Thanks everyone, for your suggestions!

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