iMac or buy TB Display?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Aneres11, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. Aneres11 macrumors 68000


    Oct 2, 2011
    Hey guys.
    Fairly new on here - posted in the iPhone thread (Awaiting my 4s!) and the MacBook Air one.

    So i've just become the (very) proud owner of an 11" MacBook Air - which has replaced my 2009 MBP.
    I love love love the Air - it is fantastic and runs just as well if not better than my Pro did for what I use it for.

    The idea was for me to hook the Air up to a Thunderbolt display and create a desktop setup. I like the fact that the TD provides me with extra USB ports and also gives me the option of a wired connection - which I would use.

    My problem - and no doubt many other peoples problem - is the price...

    Now, I'm in the UK and the TB Display is £899.
    A 21" iMac is £999.

    That's £100 difference between what is virtually just a screen, and a full blown desktop computer - that comes with the wireless keyboard and mouse.
    The peripherals will need to be bought if I buy the TB Display and these include the keyboard, trackpad/mouse and the CD drive for the Air. Those three things total around £180.

    So that takes the TB Display setup to around £1080 - which is obviously more than the iMac...

    When I bought my Air - I saw the TB Display and to be honest, I was blown away by the look of it. It is absolutely stunning. And I much prefer it to the 27" iMac. Think it's the black glossy and much thinner surround that is around the screen itself.

    I understand here that the TB Display is much bigger than the 21" iMac I am comparing it to... But I guess I'm struggling with the idea that for less money, I can get the complete Apple desktop that contains everything I need (including an SD Card slot that the 11" Air / TBD cannot offer).

    Being honest, 27" is probably more than is needed anyway. I just wasn't blown away on the idea of having 2 computers to sync music, photos to etc.

    It may be like comparing chalk and cheese - and I know no one can make the decision for me, but I wondered if there was anyone else who has been / is in this position and what they're thoughts are on the subject.

    Any help would be great! :p
  2. Jeordeon macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2011
    I would certainly go with the iMac. As you acknowledged, it is a whole computer as opposed to a mere screen, so tons of bang for your buck. Also, it's kind of a rule of thumb for most to have a desktop first, and a laptop second - so having an iMac would probably be a good addition to your Air. Furthermore, in regards to the screen sizes, 21.5" is a splendid screen size for a desktop. If you want to use it to watch movies or TV, then you may want to consider the display, but frankly the iMac is large enough as it is.
  3. NikFinn macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2009
    You did come to the iMac forum, so you may get some skewed results, but my vote goes to the iMac too.

    Having a desktop, and an Air is the perfect combination of ultra portability, along with enough raw power and space for when you may need to do something that the Air might not be able to handle.

    My vote would only go for the TB display if you don't ever do anything CPU intensive, and are completely satisfied with storage, ram and general speediness of your system the way it is.
  4. obsidian1200 macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    I'd also go with the iMac. You can use the 21.5" in target display mode (or so I've been told) and use it as an external display for your '11 MBA. The only drawbacks in your comparison are screen size and resolution; sure, you'll be paying less for the iMac, but you'll also only have a 1080p 21.5" display compared to a 1440p 27" display. Just some further food for thought :)
  5. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    The iMac man... Its a no-brainer unless you really want a 27" screen. Only thing is that you won't get that cool dealy where you get sound, camera, charger and USB from the display :(
  6. 88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

    Jun 18, 2011
    London, UK
    How About a non Apple option.

    I suggest Dell 27" ultrasharp monitor between £600 to £700 online. It has the same panel as TB monitor with the ability to acept much wider range of video inputs. It also have memory card reader, USB hub and 3 years warranty.

    I'm looking to get one to replacing my broken imac, the reviews for the ultrsharp are very postive.

    Dell also make a 24" 1080p ISP ultrasharp monitor about £200 cheaper.
  7. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I guess it depends on how often you'd use the iMac and synchronizing files between them.

    The iMac can also only act as a display for your MBA (at least so implies, whereas the ATD acts as a display, an Ethernet port, a FW800 port, multiple USB ports, an HD FaceTime camera and sound.
  8. Aneres11 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Oct 2, 2011
    Ha, yeah i suppose posting to the iMac forum would kinda lean it in that direction.
    But I understand why.
    You all make good points so thank you.

    Part of me thinks that if I go for the iMac I will miss the extra screen that the TBD would have given me.

    I do like the fact that the iMac could be used as the 'storage' for all my media - leaving the relatively limited (but still capable) Air empty for just portable browsing and working etc.

    There is much to consider. I don't want to make the wrong decision.

    Another thing that I'm thinking is that the price of the TBD may be high - but I don't see it needing to be replaced as soon as the iMac would. I mean, the iMac is a computer at the end of the day, and advancements are happening all the time - i'd hate them to change the design of the iMac next year or add something that is a must have.

    At least with the TBD you've got that sized quality screen for a long time.
    Plus, I will always have an Apple laptop so there will always be the option for me to hook it to the screen.

    Aarggh. :eek: Dunno what to do.
  9. 88 King, Oct 14, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011

    88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

    Jun 18, 2011
    London, UK
    I would not get the 21” imac for storage since you can only get 500GB on the basic model and it’s not easy to replace or expend the hard drive, best to buy an external hard drive or NAS enclosure if you need storage or backup.

    Dell makes a 24” IPS monitor for £300, it uses cheaper E-IPS screen instead of the S-IPS on the TB monitor, but if you don’t need the extra space/res or doing any professional photo/graphic design it’s a great deal.

    If you got a £1K burning a hole in your pocket, than a TB screen is a good buy if you want to use it for a long time since it was just released.

    P.S. If you want to use the imac as monitor for your air, the whole machine have to be switched on, it’s really a waste of electricity.
  10. Aneres11 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Oct 2, 2011

    Can the display on an iMac be used in the same way as the Thunderbolt display?
    As in, can I close my MacBook Air but still control it using the iMac screen?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated guys. Thanks. :)
  11. Akack macrumors 6502a

    Mar 5, 2011
    On 2011 iMacs I believe you can use the 21 or 27 as an external monitor, but you need to have TB equipped your 2011 MBA.

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