iMac or MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ranny2, Oct 24, 2011.


Which should I go for?

  1. Refurb iMac, 21.5" 2011 2.5GHz i5 = £849

    11 vote(s)
  2. New MacBook Pro, 13" late 2011, 2.4GHz i5 = £940

    8 vote(s)
  1. ranny2 macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    Hi there,
    I have finally saved up enough money to buy a Mac, which I am delighted about.
    I will start by stating that I already own an iPad 2.
    My two options are:

    Refurbished 2011 21.5" iMac 2.5GHz quad core i5

    New late 2011 2.4GHz i5 MacBook Pro, with a student discount

    My uses are:
    Web browsing
    Document editing
    Photo editing
    Light video editing
    Movie watching, DVD ripping

    Before you ask, I don't really need portability at the moment, but there are two things I like about the MBP: a) I may need portability in the future. b) I love the form factor and the fact that it is easy to upgrade the harddrive, add a second one.

    I really have no idea which to get. Please, I really need your help. Thanks.
  2. cheesygrin, Oct 24, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011

    cheesygrin macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2008
    I have both a 27" iMac and a MacBook and do pretty much the same stuff as you do. Since I got my iMac, I have barely touched my MB. My MB is fine, but honestly, using the big iMac display is such a joy that for me there's no contest. If you don't need portability yet, worry about it when you do (or use your iPad) and enjoy that big, amazing display in the meantime. That would be my advice, for what it's worth. :)

    EDIT: I know you said a 21.5" iMac, not 27", but what I said still stands - it might be a tad smaller but it's still one heck of a nice display to use. Managing on a 13" screen for everything is not something I want to go back to now.
  3. will waters macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    Great Britain

    I would go for the iMac, you already have an iPad, so portability still should not be a problem, also much better graphics and CPU speed on the iMac and a bigger screen, do i need to keep going?

  4. ranny2 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    Cool, thanks guys.
    I also like the speed, power and screen size of the iMac! One of my concerns though, is in the future I plan on getting an SSD. I would be perfectly comfortable installing it in a MBP, however not in an iMac. Any suggestions?

    Other question, would there be any merit in waiting a couple of months until we see the iMac refresh, hopefully the Ivy Bridge then buying one with the student discount then?

    Thanks very much!
  5. dlimes13 macrumors 6502a


    May 3, 2011
    Perrysburg, OH
    Ivy Bridge won't be for a while and if the iMac does get a refresh, it'll be like the MacBook Pro today. If you're not comfortable upgrading in an iMac, the MBP is still an excellent and more than capable machine (plus new).
  6. ranny2 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    Yea, that's a good point. The current iMac is perfectly adiquite for my needs (as is the MBP) so I shouldn't bother playing th waiting game!
    Thanks all.
  7. BanterClaus macrumors regular


    Feb 19, 2011
    I think iMac. I kinda regret getting a MacBook as I don't use that much away from my desk. Its just easier to take your iOS devices I find...
  8. lc25 macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2009
    I fell into this one, get the iMac as you already have a great portable device.
  9. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    Buy what you need now, not what you think you need in the future. So get the iMac.
  10. ersk99 macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2011
    I'm going to be the lone detractor and tell you to get the MBP. The hardware component that is going to fail in a computing device is going to be the one with the moving part, your hard disk. The iMac is nearly impossible for a lay person to upgrade. Apple has also made it really difficult to do even if you were brave enough. The MBP is very easy to upgrade and modify. I've got a 2008 MBP that I've upgraded with a second SSD recently for around $100 as my boot disk and apps, removing the optical drive and I've swapped out the old 250GB drive to a 600GB drive around a year ago which I use for my data. It boots and launches programs as fast as the new Macbook Air which my wife uses and this "old" thing is still a joy to use. I know when the hard disk is around 3 to 4 years old, I know I can swap it out with a bigger and faster hard disk and I can keep going.

    Apple has made sure that the iMac is a "disposable" computing device in its latest incarnations. Except it doesn't cost much like a disposable device. If you are a bit of a DIY-person, I'd go with the MBP. If you want the big screen, connect your MBP to your TV. :)
  11. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    It's not really that expensive to have someone changing the hard drive for you, and to be honest it's not that probable that the drive will fail him before he has gotten a new computer. Also, hard drives are less likely to fail in a desktop since they're not being carried around...

    Do you honestly feel it's worth having a weaker machine just to save maybe 50 dollars every "3 to 4 years"?
  12. ranny2 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    There are some more options which I have just noticed:

    Mac Mini, 2.3GHz i5, 4GB RAM refurb
    If I got this + monitor + mouse and keyboard = £650

    Early 2011 MBP, 2.3GHz i5, 4GB RAM refurb
    = £779

    Your thoughts on these would be greatly appreciated.
  13. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    If you get that whole pack for 650, go for the mini.
  14. ranny2 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    Do you think the spec of the Mini is sufficient for the likes of photo editing (using Aperture and possibly PhotoShop, light video editing using iMovie, web browsing and DVD ripping? Thanks.
  15. bpaluzzi macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2010
    Add some more RAM and you'll be fine. I'm using a C2D (2.66 GHz) Mini + 8 GB RAM as my primary work machine, and Adobe CS5 runs fine on it.
  16. cheesygrin macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2008
    I'd still say hold out for the iMac. You can always get an Apple authorised repair centre to replace / upgrade to SSD drive for you, and if you get the Mini, you'll lose out on the fantastic display. My work PC uses a couple of standard 21.5" monitors, but they're just not a patch on the Apple display. Seriously, for what you do, I'd say the most important thing by far should be the display - and for that you can't beat the iMac.
  17. cheesygrin macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2008
    I'm sorry but that part is complete rubbish. For starters, the iMac may not be very user serviceable, but I would hardly call it disposable - any Apple authorised repair centre can get most things sorted no problem if you don't fancy tackling it yourself. Once they've removed the glass with special sucker things most components are accessible. And as for using the TV as a big screen - well, let's just say that the TV is fine while it's sitting over at the other side of the living room playing videos, but when you want to get close and do some serious photo or video work, you need a decent quality MONITOR - not TV. TVs don't have the quality for proper work. Remember all the hype when HD TVs came out? We'd been using "HD" resolution (and higher) monitors for YEARS before that!

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