iMac or Macbook Pro.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by nathanneuroticx, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. nathanneuroticx macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Hi Macrumors,
    After what seems like years of reading this forum, I've finally decided to make an account, so Hi.

    Here's my dilemma.
    I'm buying a refurbished Mac, and was leaning towards a 13.3" MBP, but now I see that a refurbished iMac is the same price, here are the specs:

    Originally released late 2009
    21.5-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
    4GB memory
    500GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics with 256MB memory
    Built-in iSight camera

    Macbook Pro:
    Originally released mid 2009
    13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
    4GB memory
    250GB Hard Drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    SD card slot
    Built-in 7-hour battery
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics
    Illuminated keyboard

    Both of these are just $1089.00 AUD, and I'm not planning on spending any more than that so please don't tell me about more expensive, higher spec models. I'd like a little bit of portability, perhaps when we travel or just around the house, I don't really like being chained to a desk. However, I do not need the laptop at school. I generally just browse the web, mainly Youtube and Facebook, however I'm an amateur photographer and find myself using Photoshop (and I plan to use iPhoto) quite frequently. I'm currently on a Windows 7 desktop, which I'm selling to my parents once I buy either the iMac or the MBP.

    I could possibly purchase an external monitor at a later date.

    But otherwise, which do you guys think I should go for?
    Cheers in advance.
  2. titatom macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2011
    Montréal, QC
    What are the CPUs ?

    In my opinion it really depends on the usage you are going to have of your computer. Do you need a laptop to travel about with for work or do you only check emails and the internet at home once a day ?
  3. nathanneuroticx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia.
    The CPU's are:
    MBP: 2.53 ghz.
    iMac: 3.06 ghz.

    Most days, I use my computer from about 4pm - 8pm on the weekdays.
    And on and off all day during weekends, so I'm quite a heavy user.
  4. titatom macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2011
    Montréal, QC
    Well, as you see, the iMac has a faster CPU, more storage and a bigger screen size. The Macbook Pro is a very capable computer and his mobile contrarily to the iMac. Both will run Photoshop well (it seems to be the most intensive task you do ?)
    Since you are an amateur photographer mobility can be nice for editing on the go but if you prefer to shoot and upload your pics to your home computer for editing after each session, you will enjoy the iMac's extra power.

    I would go iMac.
  5. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    If you're doing a lot of photoshop, I think you're going to be happier with the iMac. But if you've felt way too chained to your desk with your Windows desktop, the MBP will perform just fine.

    Another suggestion (and my current setup): Get the iMac and grab a refurbished iPad 1 later on for the portability?
  6. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I'd go Macbook Pro, and then buy a monitor if you want to use your laptop at your desk, but than again I love using my laptop anywhere. If you don't forsee yourself using your laptop to play music while cooking, for example, an iMac would work just fine.
  7. nathanneuroticx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Hmm, certainly food for thought.
    I used to game, playing World of Warcraft heavily, but I'm kind of over that now, although I'm sure the MBP would still be able to run it smoothly, perhaps at a lower graphics setting.
    I'd say Photoshop IS the most intensive task I do, however I generally run multiple things at once. For example, I'd probably have Word, Photoshop, Google Chrome, iTunes and perhaps iPhoto open at the same time, so I assume that would eat up the RAM quite fast. As for the storage space, I have a 500GB on this computer, and with everything I want on it.. I still have 350GB free. Plus, I'll be purchasing an external HD to dump pictures on and perhaps backup weekly. And for the screen size, I could always pick up a used Cinema Display or just a regular monitor and hook it up to that while I'm at home.

    Such a hard choice,
    I know that either way I'll have some regret in either decision.
  8. nathanneuroticx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Yeah, I just.. kind of don't like being in my room all day while my family is out in the living room and stuff, would be nice to move around.

    I don't like the iPad, at all.
    Plus I already have an iPhone 4, which is just a smaller iPad basically.
  9. nathanneuroticx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Yeah, I was looking at the whole external monitor thing, definately food for thought.
    I don't really see myself doing that, but I'd like to move around the house and stuff, and it would be quite flexible when I eventually go to university and need a laptop. It's just the flexibility aspect that if I ever want to move around, I can.
  10. rockarollr, Apr 21, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2011

    rockarollr macrumors regular


    Apr 3, 2010
    It sounds to me like you've already made up your mind to get the MacBook Pro and are just looking for validation. As an owner of both a mid-2009 MacBook Pro and a mid-2010 27" iMac, I can tell you with certainty that each one has its pros and cons. For photo editing and organizing, the iMac with a spacious external hard drive is going to be the better choice. However, the whole portability factor seems to be the most important thing to you (according to your comments) so it all depends on what you plan to do with your new Mac.

    Either way, you can't go wrong - you're switching from Windows to OS X. That's really the most important factor here.
  11. nathanneuroticx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Thanks for the reply, well yes, I had previously set my mind on the MBP until I saw that I could get the iMac for the same price, which kind of threw me off track I guess.

    Yes, either way it'll be a brilliant upgrade I'm sure.
    I think I'll purchase the MBP.
  12. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    I was going to suggest the MBP but as you've already decided, that's great :) You should definitely look into getting a larger monitor and a correlating adapter; monitors aren't "that" expensive now a days and being able to do your editing on that while having the "full" computer in front of you below it will be a big plus.

    As others have stated, portability is also a great plus to having the laptop; yes you do get a slight tradeoff in power but you'll have the ability to take your equipment anywhere, which will inevitably come in handy in the future.
  13. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    I'm a heavy Photoshop CS5 user that has owned a iMac and 13" MBP (2.4Ghz CPU) and now a 2010 MBP plus monitor - see signature.

    My advice is to consider the 2011 13" MBP. The CPU is almost 2x faster than last years models which is a good investment in the future - if money is a concern try to find or wait for a refurb of this model. Photoshop CS5, unlike CS4 or earlier for Mac is 64-bit and will let you use much more RAM which is performance bottleneck. So a base 13" 2011 Sandy Bridge MBP with 8GB Ram (upgrade yourself since it is cheaper and will not harm warranty) will offer you plenty of power - more than the C2D iMac will. This should satisfy you current and future needs very well.
  14. Michael383 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2011
  15. maccompaq macrumors 65816


    Mar 6, 2007
    You have already answered your own question.
  16. zapadeeboom macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2010
    Desktop machine for sure.

    I do a LOT of photography and I would not want to edit 400-800 images a week on a laptop. The larger monitor alone for editing real estate is worth every trade-off. Typically people have poorer posture when using laptops too. So if, as you claim, you're a "heavy user" you're going to beat up your body using a laptop as your only screen. I personally hate using touch pads and even though I use a mouse EVERY time I use a laptop, many people don't bother and I think that's a huge mistake. Long-term - it's going to mean cramping, and be a source of other hand muscle stress.

    If you're doing a lot of photography you should also consider Lightroom over Photoshop for 90% of your initial editing. Lightroom and Photoshop are also much better experiences on a faster machine with more real estate.

    Personally, I've found that I can do everything I need to do remotely on my phone and wait until I'm at a desk for "real" computing. If it's about looking cool at coffee shops once every week or two, I like the suggestion of getting an iPad when you can afford it in the future.

  17. i0Nic, May 2, 2011
    Last edited: May 2, 2011

    i0Nic macrumors 65816

    May 17, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    In late 2008 I bought the new unibody Macbook Pro 15" as I always desired a Mac laptop having previously owned desktops exclusively. I thought it would be great being able to use my laptop around the house and take my work and play with me wherever I went.

    It was great having the portability, and I would take it to uni and to my girlfriend's house occasionally.

    However at the end of that year, I finished Uni and so I didn't have much need to take it out of the house. I also stopped carrying it around the house, as my setup connects my MBP to an external display and it was cumbersome to have to unplug everything and replug all the time.

    My MBP has lived it's life chained to the desktop - I just prefer working at my desktop as I get stuff done there with the big screen and external mouse/keyboard. Where I once thought it would be fantastic working away from the desk, it just hasn't been my usage at all.

    With the iPhone and now especially with the iPad, I have even less reason to carry my Macbook Pro anywhere.

    My Macbook battery has just died as I always have it plugged in to power - draining the battery faster and prematurely dieing. That was the tipping point to decide that a desktop may be a better choice for me.

    This time, against my inner fears that the future is mobile and getting a desktop seems last century, I'll be getting an iMac as it just makes sense for me. I have my iPad and iPhone which I use extensively in mobile situations, as the whole procedure to disconnect and reconnect my large, cumbersome laptop to carry around is just something I don't do.

    For me, the best setup is an iMac + iPad. It's just how I work best.

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