iMac 5K, nMP, and rMBP Decisions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MarketingGuy, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. MarketingGuy macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2010
    Hillsborough, NJ
    For the first time, I'm at a loss as to which computers I should use / buy. So, I'm hoping to turn to the fantastic MacRumors community for some help.

    A little history:
    I've had both a desktop and laptop since the mid 90s. For example, I moved to Macs in 2004 -- with a Power Mac G5 and a 17" PowerBook. Then, in 2006, I moved from the PM G5 to the first gen Mac Pro. In 2010, I moved from the 17" PB to a 2010 15" MacBook Pro. And, lastly, in 2012, I moved to the new 15" MacBook Pro Retina (old MBP broke) and 27" iMac (because the Mac Pro was long in the tooth) -- both are BTO and fully loaded.

    Current usage:
    I own a marketing agency and use my computers mostly for work, watching some movies / TV shows, listening to music, etc. Mostly, it's reviewing / annotating large PDFs from my designers (comparing documents on screen), doing some work in Adobe CC (Photoshop, InDesign, etc.), occasionally editing client films in Final Cut Pro X, coding on web development, and the requisite MS Office time. And, of course, lots of emails, web browsing, and iTunes time.

    The issue:
    I used to purchase a desktop and laptop because I felt I got received longevity that way. With a Mac Pro, I got to use it for a while for all the heavy lifting and the laptop is only really necessary when visiting clients (2x per week). The 2012 iMac is just too similar in performance to the rMBP that I have and I was wondering what my next steps should be.

    Which of these scenarios would you recommend:
    1. Keep my current 2012 15" rMBP and upgrade from the iMac to the latest 2015 27" 5K iMac. I don't need more portable speed, since I don't do video editing or a ton of Adobe CC work on the go, but I would like get the boost when I'm at my desk. Love the quality of the iMac display, but hate that it is attached and was hoping for something bigger than 27", but not so big as added another display.
    2. Keep my current 2012 15" rMBP and upgrade from the iMac to the next generation Mac Pro (whenever that comes out and likely something smilier to current 6 core). That would give me more longevity on the desktop side, but the new Mac Pros are expensive and may be overkill for me. Although, it would give me the ability to get a larger monitor, like the LG 34UC97.
    3. Upgrade from both current systems to a new 15" rMBP and just buy an external monitor like the LG34UC97 and external Thunderbolt dock from OWC. But, I'm concerned that the lack of ram would be an issue (I multitask like crazy and it's not usual for me to be working on several Adobe CC programs at once or the occasion FCPX memory hog).
    Sorry for the short novel here! So, which of these options would you recommend? Is there anything that I'm missing from my consideration? Love the iMac displays (colors pop nicely, good uniformity, no noticeable light bleed and I actually don't dislike the glass surface), how does the LG34UC97 compare in your opinion?

  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    I would reccomend you bite the bullet and make a decision, nothing anyone here will say should make any difference to you, you have done your homework, considered your options and need no one elses input on something only you can decide.

    I will give you one more option though, don't buy anything new at all. Those maxed out 2012 machines are much the same performance wise as what you can buy today I would give it at least another year before you consider anything new.
  3. Steve121178 macrumors 601


    Apr 13, 2010
    Bedfordshire, UK
    Based on your current hardware, don't upgrade anything. I struggle to see what you will gain from it.

    Revisit the idea in 2 years time.
  4. MarketingGuy, Oct 21, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015

    MarketingGuy thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2010
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Thank you for the feedback! When put that way, I agree waiting makes the most sense. I don't really have a performance issue right now (except maybe on large FCPX projects that start to chug), but I guess I was just lusting after the extra workspace of a 34" LG ultra-wide monitor (tried adding one of my old 24" Apple cinema displays to my iMac , but it felt awkward and clunky to use).

    Again, thanks for the input -- it helped put it in perspective!
  5. doitdada, Oct 21, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015

    doitdada macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2013
    Actually bought a new rMBP 2015 with M370X since it supports 5k monitors. Will use it as my only computer. Hooked up to an external monitor at home, moved around the house for work in the sofa and of course on the road showcasing.

    Even though I use the cloud for most projects, I like to "invest" both time and effort into the same computer. Downloads, applications and their settings always need to be duplicated if you own two or more computers. I use a Thunderbolt dock from Belkin that just uses a single lightning cable along with the magsafe power adapter to hook my rMBP to an external monitor. Keyboard, trackpad and mouse standing ready on my desk as well.

    The only concern for me is the weight whenever I move it around. It doesn't feel as free to run around with as the new Macbook. I am still more productive on the road, due to the bigger screen on the rMBP. Again, I prefer the one computer philosophy. Keeping all your eggs in one basket isn't a problem if you have backup and cloud storage.
  6. MarketingGuy thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2010
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Appreciate the response! That's pretty much in line with my option #3. I use Dropbox to sync all of my files between my iMac, rMBP, iPad and iPhone. But, like you said, it's sometimes hard to make adjustments / keep things current between machines. For example, entering FTP information between two different computers.

    I'll have to look at benchmarks to see how the 2015 rMBP compares to my iMac. The other flip side is the monitor. I really do love the iMac monitor, so I would have to have something as good or better to jump to (would love to see that LG 34" beast in person). Likely will wait until the 2016 rMBPs come out. Hopefully they will have 32GB of RAM (which would make the rMBP as my main machine a no brainer).
  7. whodatrr, Oct 21, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015

    whodatrr macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2004
    Sounds like my work is about like yours, and I've also switched between a consultancy and W2, over the years. Here's the conclusion I came to:

    Big iMac for the main system
    Small Macbook Air and Surface Pro for the mobile (just because I already own them)

    I'm typing this on a maxed out new (Apple Refurb) rMB 15 that I just bought in the hopes of switching form an iMac to a MPB, as my main and only system. While there performance is good, it's just not working out for me. Here's why:

    1. Real Estate - I love screen real estate!!! My iMac has had three 27" displays for years, and I just can't go back. I tend to have one screen for communications, on for the content I'm creating, and another for source materials or research. believe me, I will take screen real estate over performance any day, when it comes to productivity. I just can't go back. While the new iMac supports its 5k along with two 4ks, the rMB will only support two external displays, and I only thing one of the can be 4k. That's simple not enough space for me to work with.
    2. Portability - While it's nice to take the power and screen of a rMB 15 with you, it's just too big and bulky for 2015. YMMV, but I even hate carrying this thing around the house, when I have such lighter systems around.
    3. Portable Accessories - If you're trying to make a MacBook into a workstation, you need to spend on accessories. The display that comes with the iMac, and external drive or two, a dock, more expensive Applecare, Extra keyboard and mouse, etc. If you're just using it as a portable system, no biggie. But if you plan on making it your main workhorse, gotta cough up for the extras.

    I also tend to refresh every 2.5yrs. Macs hold their resale value really well, especially if they're still under Applecare. If you're patient enough to buy refurbs, you can save even more (sometimes seeing systems for 70% of what you paid for them. And, as you well know, you can write it off for your insulting business.

    For my main Mac, this time, I got too lazy to wait for the reforms to come out. I pulled the trigger on 27/i7/395x/3TB, etc. Fusion drive is a great choice as it reads ~95% as fast as an SSD. While it only writes at about half the speed, we'll rarely if ever be impacted by that.... this years dives are blazing fast! The 1TB SSD is just way to expensive, and I have too much data for it anyhow.

    Currently using my 13 MacBook Air as a work portable, and I hate it.. I hate its screen. So, I fall back on the Surface Pro 3 a lot, which is better. Either way, I have systems to travel with , present, or work when I'm not in my home office.

    Honestly, look at getting an iMac 27 and a 2015 Macbook. Make your main workstation a workhorse, and your mobile truly mobile. You can now find MacBook refurbs for under $1,000 (I just bought one for my woman and I want to steal it). It's no workhorse, but you'll have your iMac for that. The MacBook is certainly powerful enough for Office and light CS. It's a nice little machine with a stunning little screen. Another benefit of the Macbook is the fact that you can plug a cable into just about any USB or portable battery to recharge it. It's a truly mobile device.

    Oh, regarding the Mac Pro, definitely not the current gen. I know you said you'd wait, but I still don't know if the kind of work you do will benefit from that system, especially at the price. The new iMac will be screaming fast, especially with a GPU/CPU/RAM bump. If you're spending hours a day doing video production, the Pro might be worth it? Me, I'd only buy the Pro if I also had the money to buy a few more display.... 3 27" screens are nice, so 6 might be better? But seriously, I think three large displays is about the practical limit for me. beyond that and I'm rolling around in my chair too much.
  8. spacebro Suspended

    Oct 1, 2015
    For what you do, you should upgrade to the newest macbook pro, skip the imac, and get a large 4k display. The latest macbook pros with radeon cards are the first to drive 4k displays without pissing you off. A large display around 42" makes more sense than multiple monitors, you still can't see the pixels at that resolution. It is as if you had quad 21" 1080p monitors except all in one surface, one connection, and no bezel disturbing your most prime viewing space. The 4 finger gestures make window management in one screen effortless.

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7 October 21, 2015