iMac + MBA combo: 11in or 13in?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by KylePowers, Jul 23, 2011.

?

Which iMac + MBA combo are you using?

  1. 21.5in iMac + 11in MBA

    2 vote(s)
    7.7%
  2. 21.5in iMac + 13in MBA

    6 vote(s)
    23.1%
  3. 27in iMac + 11in MBA

    11 vote(s)
    42.3%
  4. 27in iMac + 13in MBA

    7 vote(s)
    26.9%
  1. KylePowers macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    So I thought living the 27in iMac + iPad 2 combo would be an acceptable lifestyle (I sold my laptop to help pay for my iMac)... but I miss having a laptop. I've been waiting for the new MBAs since the 2011 MBPs came out (13in disappointed), so I'm thinking about selling my iPad 2 for an MBA.

    I mainly miss lounging in my bed and around my apartment with a laptop... and I'd like to be able to program (Xcode mainly) without being tied to my desk (don't get me wrong, I LOVE my iMac's 2560x1440 resolution and wouldn't trade it for the world). Plus, I'm a 3rd year in college. I didn't typically take my laptop to class, but sometimes I'd go to the library or office hours... and that'd be inconvenient with an iMac and impossible with an iPad.

    I prefer the 13in (base model), but I'm just wondering if already having an iMac makes it not worth the extra cash and I should just go with the 11in. So for those with iMacs, which MBA did you go with and/or recommend? Thanks!

    Cheers,
    Kyle
     
  2. i0Nic macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #2
    What about selling your iMac as well and getting a MBA plus cinema display?
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #3
    I have 24" iMac and personally I went with 13" MBA. I feel that 11" is too small for comfortable use and I also like to have many windows open.
     
  4. GeekGuys macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    #4
    +1 with Hellhammer. I have a 24" iMac and 13" MBA Rev A and iPad 1. Just thinking about upgrade options. Would love a new iMac but 27" is too large and 21" is too small. I also have 24" 2nd display. Just the peerfect size so will hold off till Apple increase to 24" and 32"!!!!

    MBA is a dream but now thinking I can upgrade to 13" as well

    iPad is great for movies on flights or easy carry presentations, lectures etc but I would say 90% of the time I end up taking iPad for flight, MBA for working and sometimes a client Windows laptop as well... Travelling light!

    Long and short.... 24" iMac and 13" MBA Is perfect combo, plus iPad for pure consumption purposes
     
  5. KylePowers thread starter macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    #5
    Definitely an option, but not a route I particularly would like to go. I enjoy and require the extra umph my 27in iMac provides (quad-core CPU, dedicated GPU, slew of necessary ports, Superdrive, etc). Plus, I have about ~400GB of files that would obviously not all fit on an MBA.

    I guess comparatively, if I just got the new ACD ($1000), I'd have to get a new keyboard ($70), a new trackpad ($70), the super drive ($80), and maybe an external hard drive (~$80)... so that's $1300 right there. So we're basically looking at a $300 difference between the MBA + ACD setup vs an MBA + iMac setup (I don't want to have to rely on the MBAs trackpad and keyboard). So I guess it comes down to whether the quad-core CPU, dedicated GPU, and 8GB of RAM are worth the $300? Plus, my iMac came with a printer and the $100 App Store promo, which the ACD doesn't qualify for (I'd imagine).

    Hmm, so what do you guys think about that? An iMac can do everything an ACD can do, plus more. And who knows how much of a loss I'd take if I'd try to sell it, ya' know? Also, if I went ACD + MBA, I'd probably upgrade to the 256GB; where as, if I stuck with the iMac + MBA, I'd just go 128GB... which is a $300 difference.

    But to Hellhammer and GeekGuys, it sounds like the 13in seems to be the one of choice. Sorry I didn't add the 24in in the poll, silly me! I wonder if I should have put this thread in the MBA subforum, as I think we'd see a lot more results and differing opinions (there's a lot of 11in love there).

    Question though, how does everyone keep their files relatively synced? And will Apple's cloud solutions help with this? Or is that strictly between iOS and Lion and not Lion to Lion?

    Thanks though everyone! I'd love to hear more opinions.
     
  6. solowmodel macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    #6
    I have a 27" iMac + 11" MBA mainly.

    Currently a MSc student, but don't do anything extremely taxing. I love this combination.

    The 11" MBA is roughly the same length as a pad of A4 paper, and hence extremely easy to carry around. The screen size is surprisingly useable for me (YMMV), and even though my MBA is the base 2010 version, I have no complaints whatsoever. Would consider the 13" if it were my only computer, but the 11" complements the 27" perfectly :)
     
  7. i0Nic macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #7
    Does your iMac have an SSD?

    I'm in the same boat as you, I came to a similar rationale that getting an iMac is more cost effective than the cinema display - however, that would only be the case with an iMac without an SSD. Once you factor in the SSD, it boosts the costs significantly.

    I can't justify having a portable with SSD yet my main desktop not. The SSD provides a big performance jump, and my little MBA would feel speedier than my desktop.

    So if I purchased 27" iMac+SSD along with a MBA, the costs become far greater than a bumped up MBA + cinema display - even taking the added cost of extra peripherals.

    Just my thoughts..
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #8
    Dropbox does that for me and the free 2GB version has been enough. I only sync my documents; music, videos etc I sync manually depending on what I want. File sharing is also brilliant so I rarely need to transfer anything when at home.

    iCloud should help music sharing but atm it's limited to music so no videos or other stuff.
     
  9. KylePowers thread starter macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    #9
    My iMac doesn't have an SSD, just the standard 1TB HDD. I did this because I couldn't justify the extra four or six hundred (whatever it is) to add the SSD. I'd rather just wait a year or two and get one when their price per gigabyte is a lot more reasonable... whether I install it internally or via Thunderbolt, it doesn't really matter to me. But I do see your point that an MBA would probably feel faster in most every tasks because of the SSD... I mean, even now iPhoto opens because I leave my SD card in my iMac and it beachballs forever -_-
    Yeah, I have about 8GB I think on Dropbox through education referrals... but I was hoping for a better solution (my documents folder is about 10 times as large or more). Hmmmm....

    So yeah, not sure what to do yet. It seems as if most people have a 13in (8 people vs 3 people if you count the 24in owners I left out). Pretty interesting, I'd say.
     
  10. Obscurelight macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    #10
    Just get both sides of the spectrum :rolleyes: smallest MBA and biggest iMac :cool:
     
  11. KylePowers thread starter macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    #11
    Definitely a possibility... I just fear that my casual programming (along with whatever I may run into in my classes) and casual photography (SD Card) will make having an 11in somewhat inconvenient, ya' know?

    I definitely think I'm going to go 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD... so it really just comes down to the $100 difference between the upscale 11" and the base 13". Erm, not that $100 is the problem... just the whole size argument, that is.

    I know the .1GHz clock frequency doesn't make any noticeable effect in the CPU (especially on casual usage), but does the 50MHz difference in GPU clock frequency abide by that same principle?
     
  12. i0Nic macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #12
    I'm still trying to decide too. Let us know how you go!

    I'm leaning towards the 11" as it just seems so portable. Though the lack of SD card slot is a drag.
     
  13. KylePowers thread starter macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    #13
    Yeahhh, it's such a difficult decision. I'm starting to lean more toward the 11in, because I know if I got the 13in, I'd be more likely to ignore my iMac.

    And I guess I can justify the 11in not having an SD card slot with the fact that I'd probably store all my photos on my iMac's 1TB HDD anyway.

    It's a tough choice. And which route to go about buying it also adds to the craziness. I went Apple with education discount for my iMac... think I might go Best Buy in a tax-free state with their matched education discount + $100 BB giftcard this time.

    Gahhh, I wish I could just play with both of them for a week and decide lol
     
  14. Airforcekid macrumors 65816

    Airforcekid

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    United States of America
    #14
    21.5 i7 with 11 inch i7. Perfect setup both have SSD drives!
     
  15. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    #15
    I had a 27" iMac + 13" MBA combo, up until yesterday when I sold the MBA. I did however, order an 11" MBA to replace it. I think the 27" iMac + 11" MBA is an awesome combo, and I'm not surprised that it's the popular choice on the poll.
     
  16. KylePowers thread starter macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    #16
    So if you count the two people in this thread who have 24in iMacs and got 13in MBAs, the total comes up 10 (13in) vs 11 (11in). So it's pretty neck and neck, overall. But just looking at those with 27in iMacs, 11in is the clear winner.

    I've definitely gotten mixed responses when posing this question in the MBA subform... sooooo I have no idea lol.

    I guess I'll just play with the both of them and just get which ever feels better?
     
  17. Onimusha370 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    #17
    i think you'd value the extra screen space over the small increase in portability.
    go for the base 13", great machine.
     

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