iMac or 15" MBP?

guydude193

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 15, 2009
652
0
MI
Hey all,

I currently have a mid-2010 13" MacBook Pro. I do heavy audio editing (podcasts for a media company) as well as medium photo editing with Photoshop. Each podcast can last up to an hour and a half, so you can imagine my frustration with the speed I'm getting on the wimpy C2D. Plus, it's my only computer. If something fails and I have to send it in for repairs, I'm effed.

I have a $2500 limit on what I'd like to spend on my next Mac. I've looked at the entire line of i7 iMacs, and also the base 15" MacBook Pro with an antiglare coating (just so you know the price I'm looking at). Regardless of which machine I pick, I will be upgrading the RAM to at least 8GB from OWC.

The 21.5" iMac with a 2.8GHz i7, 256GB SSD, and 4GB of RAM is $2,199.00, while the base model 15" MacBook Pro with nothing upgraded besides the antiglare screen is $1,949.00. My assumption is that an SSD would give me better performance overall (including encoding times?) and that the MBP would end up being cheaper with a RAM and SSD upgrade, right? Especially if I waited for SSD prices to go down since that component is user-upgradeable.

So, for the price, which would give me better performance? I just want the machine to be as fast as possible for the price I pay.
 

KaiserEduard

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2011
8
0
It really comes to to mobility. I would pick the MacBook Pro for your situation. I would also upgrade the SSD myself. You could pick a faster SSD for your laptop than Apple's standard. However, if you think you need more power go for the iMac cause it will be more powerful. If you really wanted to go crazy you could build a hackintosh with i7 2600k, GTX 570, 256gb Corsair Force GT, with a 27" monitor for less money. Hope this helps.
 
Comment

Votekinky06

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2011
320
0
I would go with the macbook, but that's because i need portability, you should go with what suits your needs best.
 
Comment

guydude193

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 15, 2009
652
0
MI
I would also upgrade the SSD myself. You could pick a faster SSD for your laptop than Apple's standard. However, if you think you need more power go for the iMac cause it will be more powerful.
The whole thought of being able to replace/upgrade more things myself is why I am leaning towards the MBP, especially since it would essentially be less money to get more performance in the long run.

I would go with the macbook, but that's because i need portability, you should go with what suits your needs best.
I will be keeping the 13" that I have now as my mobile machine, but I'm concerned about the price/dollar ratio that I feel I would get more of from the MBP, especially with its user-upgradable HDD.
 
Comment

robbie12345

macrumors 6502
Nov 5, 2011
400
0
United States
i would go for the 15 inch mbp then upgrade the ram to 16 or 32gb which can be faster then iMac and upgrade to a sad 3x as fast as apple and the same price that is jut my opinion also consider the 27inch i7 for 2200 because the 27inch screen is worth 1k if u want to buy a monitor and trust me it is beautiful
 
Comment

guydude193

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 15, 2009
652
0
MI
i would go for the 15 inch mbp then upgrade the ram to 16 or 32gb which can be faster then iMac and upgrade to a sad 3x as fast as apple and the same price that is jut my opinion also consider the 27inch i7 for 2200 because the 27inch screen is worth 1k if u want to buy a monitor and trust me it is beautiful
I've already got a monitor that I've hooked up to my current MacBook Pro, which is what I'll do with either one of the machines I purchase. I'm seriously leaning towards the 15" because of the ability to open it up easier for the HDD and even the RAM, to an extent.
 
Comment

jmpnop

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2010
821
34
I've already got a monitor that I've hooked up to my current MacBook Pro, which is what I'll do with either one of the machines I purchase. I'm seriously leaning towards the 15" because of the ability to open it up easier for the HDD and even the RAM, to an extent.
Since you already have the MBP for portability, go with iMac 27" with 8GB RAM BTO. That'll be a lot more powerful than MBP 15".
 
Comment

guydude193

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 15, 2009
652
0
MI
Since you already have the MBP for portability, go with iMac 27" with 8GB RAM BTO. That'll be a lot more powerful than MBP 15".
The 27" is way out of my price range. With an i7 processor and 256GB SSD (without BTO RAM, as I would never buy RAM from Apple) already costs $2,699.00, and the only reason I would be buying an SSD for the iMac from Apple is because I don't think it's user-upgradeable.

I guess my big thing is SSD, which I feel would give me better performance than a higher processor.
 
Comment

jmpnop

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2010
821
34
The 27" is way out of my price range. With an i7 processor and 256GB SSD (without BTO RAM, as I would never buy RAM from Apple) already costs $2,699.00, and the only reason I would be buying an SSD for the iMac from Apple is because I don't think it's user-upgradeable.

I guess my big thing is SSD, which I feel would give me better performance than a higher processor.
You'll have to pay $2500 for MBP anyway - MBP 15" ($1950) + 256GB OCZ/Intel SSD ($450) + Crucial RAM ($50 for 8GB). The extra $200 for BTO 27" iMac is definitely worth it.
 
Comment

guydude193

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 15, 2009
652
0
MI
You'll have to pay $2500 for MBP anyway - MBP 15" ($1950) + 256GB OCZ/Intel SSD ($450) + Crucial RAM ($50 for 8GB). The extra $200 for BTO 27" iMac is definitely worth it.
I was planning on a 120GB SSD for now until prices go down, actually. I mean, one of the big things I like about the MBP is that I can upgrade to a bigger/better SSD down the road when they get cheaper/I have more money.

So this one is just $169.99, and then you add $50 for RAM from OWC, which would make the price just $2169.99, unless I'm forgetting something.
 
Comment

jmpnop

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2010
821
34
I was planning on a 120GB SSD for now until prices go down, actually. I mean, one of the big things I like about the MBP is that I can upgrade to a bigger/better SSD down the road when they get cheaper/I have more money.

So this one is just $169.99, and then you add $50 for RAM from OWC, which would make the price just $2169.99, unless I'm forgetting something.
Thats $500 difference then. Performance wise its actually worth it but if you can't afford it, MBP is the way. By the way MBPs aren't bad at all, just that iMac offers a lot more value if don't need portability.
 
Comment

guydude193

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 15, 2009
652
0
MI
Thats $500 difference then. Performance wise its actually worth it but if you can't afford it, MBP is the way. By the way MBPs aren't bad at all, just that iMac offers a lot more value if don't need portability.
I just feel that the SSD will get me more performance per dollar that I spend in the MBP, since it's cheaper to get one from somewhere else for the MBP than it is for Apple's SSD for the iMac which I'm pretty sure I can't replace without messing up AppleCare.
 
Comment

Eddy Munn

macrumors 6502
Dec 27, 2008
292
66
http://store.apple.com/us/product/G0M37LL/A

Refurbished 17" MacBook Pro 2.3GHz quad-core Intel i7, from Feb. 2011 for $2169.
+
OCZ Vertex 3 Series 120GB SSD & 8GB RAM.

It's in your budget, it has a 1920x1200 screen perfect for anything you will need and will be stupidly quick by any standard for a few years yet. Keep in mind that the SSD is easy to fit and will be much quicker than the SSD Apple include. You could sell the 4GB RAM for a few extra $ too.
 
Comment

guydude193

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 15, 2009
652
0
MI
http://store.apple.com/us/product/G0M37LL/A

Refurbished 17" MacBook Pro 2.3GHz quad-core Intel i7, from Feb. 2011 for $2169.
+
OCZ Vertex 3 Series 120GB SSD & 8GB RAM.

It's in your budget, it has a 1920x1200 screen perfect for anything you will need and will be stupidly quick by any standard for a few years yet. Keep in mind that the SSD is easy to fit and will be much quicker than the SSD Apple include. You could sell the 4GB RAM for a few extra $ too.
I'll keep that in mind, too, but when me and the team head off to CES again, I think I'd like something that's a little closer to the size I have now for keeping in the hotel and carry my 13" around on the show floor again. That way I keep heaviness down.

Portability isn't that important, because if I purchase an iMac, I would be using Apple's Remote Desktop software.

Also, this one has the antiglare screen, which I would prefer.
 
Last edited:
Comment

Eddy Munn

macrumors 6502
Dec 27, 2008
292
66
I'll keep that in mind, too, but when our team heads off to CES again, I think I'd like something that's a little closer to the size I have now for keeping in the hotel and carry my 13" around on the show floor again. That way I keep heaviness down.

Portability isn't that important, because if I purchase an iMac, I would be using Apple's Remote Desktop software.
I have a 15" and have never had portability issues, +2" couldn't hurt, right? I'm looking at what I suggested and wishing I was in America, similar refurbished setup in the UK will cost me £2100, ~ $3,300.

Edit: Go for anti-glare! I spent ages comparing the two and couldn't see the difference, but must overlook the glare!
 
Comment

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,708
267
Oregon
Everybody is saying MBP here. Let me make a pitch for the iMac (I currently have a 13" Aluminum MacBook and a 27" iMac):
  1. Dollar for dollar, the iMac will have greater performance
  2. For Photoshop work, the IPS display in any iMac is better than the TN display of any MacBook Pro
  3. I suppose processing audio might be disk bound (making having a SSD important for performance) but photos and video (expecially video) are heavily CPU bound. So much so that the desktop i7 processor available in the iMac (the mobile i7 isn't as good) is far more important to performance than the SSD. In other words, you would get far better performance with a hard drive equiped 27" iMac with the i7 option than any SSD equipted 15" Macbook Pro.
 
Comment

guydude193

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 15, 2009
652
0
MI
I suppose processing audio might be disk bound (making having a SSD important for performance) but photos and video (expecially video) are heavily CPU bound. So much so that the desktop i7 processor available in the iMac (the mobile i7 isn't as good) is far more important to performance than the SSD. In other words, you would get far better performance with a hard drive equiped 27" iMac with the i7 option than any SSD equipted 15" Macbook Pro.
Well, for photos and the incredibly light video work that I do, I basically just add watermarks and cut a few small things (in the case of videos). But I'm always hitting errors in Logic Pro and GarageBand (for the smaller projects) about the disk being too slow. That's why the SSD is very important to me.
 
Comment

NutsNGum

macrumors 68030
Jul 30, 2010
2,851
324
Glasgow, Scotland
I went from a 27" i7 iMac and 13" MBA to an i7 17" anti glare MBP.

I love the sharpness and size of the screen.

In your case I'd recommended the base 15" with the matte screen and a dell u2211h or u2311h. Best of both worlds, and those monitors use panels comparatively similar to the one in the 21.5" iMac. I doubt I'll ever go back to a straight desktop arrangement. Mobile CPUs are becoming insanely powerful these days and the benefit of being able to take your work anywhere is a real plus.
 
Last edited:
Comment

Santabean2000

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2007
1,792
1,799
Sounds like you've thought this through pretty well already, and I agree with your reasoning, except, I think you've overlooked one factor. Thunderbolt.

I have an iMac 27", from 2009. First i7. A beast in its time. But I prefer using my 13" MBP (hooked up the 27") for a lot of things, because of the self-installed SSD. SSD does make the world of difference. I can't be bother trying to pull out the glass on my iMac to get one in there.

But now you don't have to get inside; Thunderbolt hooks you up for SSD external possibilities, (esp in the coming months).

So, I would have suggested MBP, but I'm now leaning in favour of an iMac 27". More power. More real estate. And now more expandable. #
 
Comment

guydude193

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 15, 2009
652
0
MI
But now you don't have to get inside; Thunderbolt hooks you up for SSD external possibilities, (esp in the coming months).
Oh yeah, Thunderbolt. But when I remember the prices for Thunderbolt stuff isn't it ungodly expensive? Plus, if I do take my new MBP around with me, too, it would be nice to have an SSD in there already.
 
Comment

jennyp

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2007
469
67
I bought the top of the range 15 inch mbp because I thought I'd have both the power plus the portability, but when I started using it I just could not get on with its native screen res - it's just horrible. Apple generously changed it for a 27 inch iMac 3.4 GHz Intel Core 17 with 2GB vram, which was less money. I upped the iMac's ram to 12GB and it handles anything I throw at it. Plus, the screen and its native res are probably the best I've ever worked with. I don't know much about the iMac's ability to handle intensive audio, but do take a long look at the mbp's native screen res in comparison to other machines. You'll have to stare a lot at the thing whatever you use it for.
 
Comment

emac82

macrumors 6502
Feb 17, 2007
396
0
NB, Canada
I would buy the iMac..It's a fantastic machine, and you won't be disappointed! If I'm not mistaken, you're keeping your MacBook until it quits (which could be 10 years from now), so you'd still have a machine for portability if you need it..
 
Comment

Similar threads

  • Pinkly Smooth
15
Replies
15
Views
335
  • pendingmac
2
Replies
2
Views
163
  • Haeven
0
Replies
0
Views
92
  • Rudah Silva
0
Replies
0
Views
165
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.