iMac or MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by intwo, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. intwo macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2011
    Four years ago I received my first Apple product, a MacBook Pro:

    2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    3GB 667 MHz
    160GB HD
    ATI Radeon X1600 with 256 MB

    It was great four years ago, but it's beginning to show it's age. I've been saving money for a new computer and it's time to upgrade. I'm either going to get an iMac or a MacBook Pro, but I'm unsure which is more suitable. I understand that it's essentially portability vs. power, but I'd like to get some input from people in similar situations.

    I typically spend 4-5 hours a day on MatLab and TeXShop for homework and Garageband during the weekends and study breaks. I plan on purchasing an Adobe Suite and Logic Studio for the new computer, so something that can handle hours of these programs is crucial. Logic will definitely be getting a lot of use next year.

    iMac 27-inch
    3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    2TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5

    MacBook Pro 17-inch
    2.3GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7
    8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    512GB Solid State Drive
    Hi-Resolution Antiglare Widescreen Display

    I don't need to bring my computer to class to take notes, so portability isn't a huge concern. It is a convenience, though. Would the MacBook Pro be able to handle Logic Pro? After about 30 minutes of Garageband on my current MacBook Pro, the computer starts to get loud... sometimes my microphones even pick up the noise.

    So iMac or MacBook Pro?
  2. jmpnop macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2010
    If you really don't need portability, go with iMac. iMac's screen is glossy, go to a store and see if thats a problem for you or not. If you're going with Macbook Pro, get the 15 inch as its more portable. The difference between 2.2GHz and 2.3GHz Intel i7 is not much, go with 2.2GHz one. Also I'd recommend OCZ vertex 3 over Apple SSD, they're cheaper and faster.
  3. intwo, Jun 17, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011

    intwo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2011
    Thanks! I am finding the Vertex 3 solid state drives for $1799.99 (480 GB model). The MacBook Pro comes with 512 GB for $990.00. I'm probably looking at the wrong item, though.
  4. jmpnop macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2010
    You really need 500GB+ SSD? If yes, its better to go with Apple SSD. Personally, I'd get 240GB Vertex 3 and an external drive.
  5. Michael383 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2011
  6. SPBMacintosh macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2011
    the raw power of the imac trumps the mbps especially if portabilitity isnt a major concern [​IMG] i've always had laptops until my imac and i dont see its lack of portability as much of a problem
  7. intwo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2011
    Thanks for your responses. I'm still on the edge though.

    I suppose the 500GB SSD might be overkill. I currently have 20GB of garageband projects and 10GB of documents and MatLab files. I had 100GB of music before my hard drive crashed, but that consisted of my cd collection loaded at 320kbps (possibly also overkill). I'd probably load half of them on the new computer at a lower quality. I'd also need space for future software: Adobe Design Standard (8.2GB), Logic Studio (47GB), and Mathematica (4GB).

    Has anyone had any issues running Logic Pro on a MacBook Pro or iMac? Any lag, noise, frustration?
  8. steeler macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2008
    I had a 15" Macbook Pro for several years and while I did like and use the portability, to be honest it didn't leave my desk often enough. When it was time to upgrade last year, I switched to a 27" iMac (core i5) and haven't looked back. I love the extra screen real estate. I did have an external monitor on the Macbook Pro but it just wasn't the same as what I have now.

    I do have a Powerbook G4 (bought it new 6+ years ago) that I can take with me, if needed. It needs a new battery to be an effective portable machine. It's great for some of the work I do, but obviously not as capable as the new iMac. :) Definitely good enough to take notes, use the web, write blog posts and update web sites.

    I suggest the iMac if you don't really need the portability, IMO, it will be more enjoyable to use the Adobe apps and Logic.

    If later you decide you want something portable, pick up an older Macbook that can do the note taking, writing, or whatever other work you might do away from home.
  9. applewins macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2011
    Either the MBP or the iMac will do their jobs very well, they're both very fast. With the MBP you'll be able to take it to another place where you can work with it - with the iMac you get some extra speed and of course the 27'' (or 21'' but I'd recommend the 27'') screen.

    If you buy the iMac I recommend buying the RAM from another online-store. I paid like 160 bucks for 4x 4GB (instead of like 700 if you buy it from Apple). Removing the RAM is very easy, it's done after 5 mins.

    As said before, a combo iMac + MBA (later on if you need it) will serve very well.
  10. Duluth Baptist macrumors member

    May 9, 2011
    Duluth, MN
    You have a laptop already, and portability isn't a huge thing? Get the iMac, you'll never regret it. Its hardware will handle new apps for a lot longer and you'll keep finding good ways to use the huge screen. For the times you really need to go somewhere, your old laptop will still handle most of what you need. Get the 27".
  11. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    fwiw, the specs you listed for each (esp the imac) are grossly overestimated. the 3.1ghz i5 to a 3.4ghz i7 for $200 is probably the only arguably decent upgrade, but it's still not worth it in my opinion. i doubt you'll need 16gb ram and the price is absurd, as is for the storage and graphics. why you chose the most expensive upgrades is beyond me, no sense in upgrading specs that won't be utilized.

    my suggestion? considering portability is not an issue: get the entry level 27'' imac.
  12. intwo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2011
    Unfortunately, my MacBook Pro has fallen apart. =[

    I think it's mostly out of frustration with my previous MacBook Pro. It was a great computer, but it began to lose steam when I worked on larger projects. It constantly locked up when I worked in Garageband. I assumed it was a memory issue, so I maxed the memory on the new machine. It lagged when I did not play games on lower than normal settings. I assumed it was a graphics card issue so I maxed the graphics card on the iMac. I had 100GB of music loaded and there was not much breathing room in the 160GB HD. I upgraded and thought that the SSD would be better since it's faster and more efficient.

    Last semester I used my MacBook Pro for about 8 hours straight every day coding in MatLab, writing in LaTeX, and finding/reading publications (simultaneously). Next year won't be as intense, but I'm planning on recording frequently. Plus, if I get a MacBook Pro I'm planning on using it for live performances and djing at venues.

    But if you think that is still too much power for my needs, I will downgrade and save the money. I'm going to purchase the RAM and perhaps the HD elsewhere. Any other ways I can cut back are appreciated. Thanks!

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