Imac + air vs. Retina +Thunderbolt display

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Ardash, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. Ardash macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2012
    I am torn between two different solution.

    I was thinking of getting a macbook air 13 inch for being mobile and primarily for school(college) nothing fancy, paired with a 27 inch imac for use at home for photo and video editing as well as gaming and storing all my music and movies. The only real draw back to this setup is that I have to manage files between two computers.

    The other option I considered was to get a macbook pro retina with a thunder bolt display. I would use external hard drives for storage.

    Does anyone have any of these setups above? What are your thoughts? What do you see as potential pros and cons?
  2. Scrub175 macrumors 6502


    Apr 25, 2012
    Port St Lucie FL
    I'm torn between this very thing as well... Excellent topic. My thoughts for the retina is the everyday toting and then all my home use as well, is it too much work for the one machine? I have had laptops as my only machine before, so it really shouldn't be an issue. Then I get to thinking for almost the same money I could get to viable machines rather than one and a display.

    I'm lost and look forward to this thread as my beacon of hope. Over dramatic I know but this has been a tough few weeks trying to decide.
  3. Kryptik.Kode macrumors member


    Mar 8, 2012
    Ontario, Canada
    I vote iMac + MBA. You can use iCloud or Dropbox to manage the files between them.
  4. stm378 macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2012
    Very interesting conundrum...I suppose it depends on what's more important to. Were it me, I'd go with the iMac plus Air because...

    1. Portability - the air will be a slightly more portable laptop for your everyday use
    2. Processor intensive work - for the more labor intensive stuff, assuming that you wait for the next iMac (fingers crossed for September) presumably you'd have a faster computer with the iMac than you would with the retina MBP.
    3. Backup - If, for some reason, the laptop breaks or you have to send it away for service, if you go with the first solution, then you'd still have a computer, if you go with the second solution, then you don't have anything.
    4. Price - If you go low end on all solutions across the board, the iMac + Air will be cheaper than the rMBP + TB Display. (27" iMac $1600+ Air $950 = $2,550) (rMBP $2000 + TB Display $1000 = $3000)

    Also you said that it was for school, so if you're a college student and you order before September 21 (I think) it's back to school and you get a $100 itunes card when you buy a computer, so if you bought 2 computers you'd get 2 of them (I'm pretty sure you can get up to 2).

    Lastly, it sounds like your main concern with going about it this way is having to maintain your data between the two systems, it also sounds like for the most part you'd just need the syncing for schoolwork, presumably a bunch of documents and spreadsheets and so forth, you could just sync that stuff over icloud and you wouldn't have to do anything.

    Let us know what you decide,
  5. rocanlover163 macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2012
    I was in this same situation about a month ago. I ended up going with the Retina + 27" TBD, and I am loving it. The retina is powerful enough to handle my video editing needs and I use it for school also. When I get home I just connect the computer to the display and within second it's up and running. I still have 2008 MBP that I am going to sell soon, because I hardly use it. Depending on what you are working on, working between two computers may be a bit difficult.

    Here is the thread I made when I was making my decision. Hope this helps!
  6. sectime macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2007
    I would ask the sales rep to connect a Macbook Air to the TBD run full screen video while running another program in the back round. See if you like the picture and performance. Try the rMBP same setup then decide. The weight difference is noticeable so that enters into the mix too. Cost wise and portability TBD + MBA if it works in demo for you. Have you considered an iPad + bluetooth keyboard + iMac ?
  7. Tankmaze macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2012
    I vote iMac + MBP 13. simple reason, you get two computers instead of one.
    you can sync using terminal with rsync, or as other has suggest using icloud or dropbox.

    and the price for 13 mba and mbp is the same now. I choose upgradeability and primarily as a backup machine.

    two computers really benefit a lot, especially when one is in need of a repair.
    mac is still a pc, it can fail.
  8. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    Simple solution: MBA 13" connected to the iMac 27" via Thunderbolt cable. Turn on the MBA using Target Disk Mode and boot off of the MBA SSD using the iMac. At home you get all the power of the iMac, on the road you get the portability of the MBA. In both places you have the same filesystem.
  9. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I'm not sure what to say here. You are spending a lot for the raw capability you will receive either way, but configuration options with Apple can be really really awkward when it comes to specific needs that fall toward the edges of their customer matrix (especially gaming). Typically I'll tell people not to budget for more than 2-3 year replacement cycle. It doesn't mean you can't keep it longer. Keep machines as long as they work as intended. It's just that this is a good way to budget. You may be extremely secure financially, but the majority of students on here seem to budget well above their comfort level, then obsess over the first ding in their new machine.
  10. DoghouseMike macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2011
    That's actually pretty damn genius. You could use carbon copy cloner to (automagically) clone the MBA SSD to the internal drive of the imac too, so you'd always have a second bootable machine with a pretty up to date version of your "system" in the event of some MBA disaster, with iCloud/dropbox handling the smaller document type changes.

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