iMac 5K vs 15" Pro

Discussion in 'iMac' started by culverh0use, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. culverh0use macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2014
    Having trouble deciding which is best for me. I don't need the computing power of either, however I would like a Retina display and something with more screen real estate than my 13" Air. I realize that the 15" Pro has the same effective resolution as my Air, but it can be scaled. I'm just torn about having something mobile. If I get the iMac, I'll keep the Air for now and maybe get a rMB in a couple of years. The other issue is price. I can afford spending $2099 on the iMac (not getting the base model because I don't want an HDD) with my student discount but I feel a little guilty about it. If I got the 15" Pro for $1899 I would sell my Air for around $500, so I would effectively save even more money. I've considered an external display but am not sold on it. Also, I feel like the 15" Pro is getting a little dated and the 5K might be a better investment. Any input? I feel like the 5K is the obvious choice, but I'm used to my main computer being a laptop and haven't had a desktop in probably a decade, however I don't need the portability at this point in time.
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    These posts come up almost daily, the answer is ALWAYS the same. If you need or want a laptop then get it, that is the ONLY decision you have to make.
  3. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    If you are used to having a mobile computer, then just get the MacBook Pro. When you have money later buy an external monitor and you will be good.

    I personally prefer an iMac to everything else out there, but this is just me though.
  4. Orr macrumors 6502


    Oct 8, 2013
    Ask rhetorical and you shall receive. Just get the iMac as you've already rationalized it.
  5. omenatarhuri macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2010
    It seems like your not in hurry. Both models may get updates in the next 2-3 months. I wouldn't buy either before that.

    MBP may take longer though.
  6. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    It's possible to use the 15" MBP as a desktop, but it's impossible to use the iMac as a laptop.

    And you can always add a second monitor, keyboard, etc. It doesn't compromise much on speed, or even on storage these days. And it has better ergonomics. WAY more versatile.

    And remember retina is all about your viewing distance. You give up bigger dimensions, but you still get the incredible detail. Just on a smaller canvas. But unless you need to view stuff at 1:1 in full size that's not a big deal.

    And do get an externa display; IPD 2.5 monitors are pretty cheap these days. And really useful.
  7. culverh0use thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2014
  8. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    Also depends on whether you want a larger display. I went from a 15" MBPr to an iMac, it didn't take me a moment's thought. The rMBP is the first time I've ever had a laptop as a "main" machine, and although it coped admirably (using a 30" Dell monitor usually) it was always a compromise. The minute the iMac appeared on the apple store I ordered it.

    Although the rMBP has a great screen (for a laptop), it's simply not comparable to the retina iMac for usability.

    You already have a portable machine, and a good one. It will depend on your requirement for your portable machine to be more powerful than the one you have.

    The iMac will never be portable, sure. But the rMBP will always be a poor relation to the iMac as a desktop.
  9. Rabid Cattle macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2015
    I'd go with the iMac if I were you. I have a 13" air and a 27" iMac and the difference in screen real-estate for mobile vs at home is so so so enjoyable.
  10. aevan macrumors 68030


    Feb 5, 2015

    iMac is more powerful and it has a great screen, but if you don't need the computing power, a MacBook Pro 15" (or even 13") can be hooked up to a 27" 4K screen in "Retina" mode. While it won't be as sharp as a 5K display, it will still look really good and use Retina assets, and you get to use the MacBook as a laptop as well. And for the latest MBP 15 (with the M370X), you can even get that Dell 5K display as well, although it costs quite a lot.

    I love the iMac, but in your case, a MBP + 4K display + selling the MacBook Air is a more logical solution. Still, you can't go wrong with either, so let me give you some advice: choose what you feel like buying more. :)
  11. warrenl macrumors member


    Jun 23, 2015
    You have to decide between a great screen or portability. Performance of the two is similar.
    I have just recently done the Real World Photoshop test on both my computers and for similar results:

    I have tested both my Macs, and found them similar in performance.

    1. On OS 10.10.4 I averaged 9.85 to 10.9 seconds, with 10.11 Beta (15A243d) i averaged a little slower 10.66 to 11.1 seconds
    iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014)
    Processor:3.5 GHz Intel Core i5
    Memory: 24 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    Graphics: AMD Radeon R9 M290X 2048 MB

    2. On OS 10.10.4 I averaged 10.2 to 10.4 seconds
    MacBook Pro (Retina,15-inch, Mid 2015)
    Processor:2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
    Memory: 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    Graphics: AMD Radeon R9 M370X 2048 MB
  12. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    If you don't need portability, or can get by with the Air, I would recommend the iMac 5K. I have one and use it a lot more than my retina MacBookPro.
  13. Slevin macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2007
    New York
    I'm looking at replacing my macbook as it just sits on my desk 99% of the time but I'll be taking a new job soon that I may need a laptop for. So I was wondering is there an app that I can use that'll keep both macs in sync?
  14. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    No.... you'll have to do a fair amount of setup and use cloud storage for files to truly sync them up well.
  15. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    Don't agree with this. I have never used a desktop and laptop "together" requiring them to be in sync before. But when I got my rMB, I rearranged files such that absolutely everything I need on all machines is in a "Filing" folder (it's under Documents, but you could use your Documents folder instead if you prefer). Then download Bittorrent Sync (the free version is fine) and tell it to sync that directory. And do it on your other computer/s. I have it on my media PC too, which means the media PC contains another backup of all this information.

    It's seamless and quick. I run accounting software under Windows which simply refers to data structures in this folder, and it works perfectly and means I can do all my work whether I'm on holiday or not. I can temporarily turn off the sync (should I be working away and only accessing the internet through my phone, to save bandwidth). It's very quick indeed -- completely unnoticeable in normal use.

    So every file of 150Mb+ is available to me wherever I am.

    I don't yet sync music or photos, but I might think about adding those.

    So you don't need to do a "fair amount of setup" nor do you need to use cloud storage at all.

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