iMac or MBP, and when

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by T-bag, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. T-bag, Jan 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011

    T-bag Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    #1
    Hi all! I've been following this great forums for a couple of days now and decided to post my own thread. I'm hoping to get some help with my struggle to decide what machine to invest in.

    First a couple of things about me: Construction-engineer student (2.5/5 years completed), owns a very unstable PC with a 22" monitor (quad core q6600, built in 2007), owns a macbook alu unibody from late 2008 base model (still works as new).

    I need a computer for engineering purposes (cad, calculation), some gaming, photo and maybe eventually a little bit video. The PC is currently placed at my childhood home, satisfying my gaming needs when I return for weekends etc :). I like the idea of just having it there as backup too. And most importantly: I don't trust it as a workstation, it gets A LOT of blue screens! (I got my blood in its motherboard while building it :p).

    For a couple of months I've been thinking about getting a more powerful mac - mostly because of the dreadful resolution and screen size my MB (which is my current all over machine) has to offer. It is good for portability though, and I do some traveling and bring it to UNI (only when needed).

    I'm considering two options:

    1. Buy an iMac 27" i3 with 1gb of videoram, upgrade RAM later. Desktop machine of my dreams in my room, and my old faithful 13" on the go. Portability: check! Power: check! EDIT: Got the funds for a i7, so I may go for that one instead.

    2. Sell the 13", buy one of the new 15" or 17" MBPs when they get updated, and use it as my all-over machine. Hook it to a new monitor when at base. Portability: check...? Power: check...?


    I've figured out that these two options cost nearly the same. I feel that option 1 gives the most power AND portability (but the power is not portable). I don't really bring my machine with me everywhere either, and the huge 27 inch screen is good for movies etc. in my room. The thought of having just ONE master-machine (17 inch MBP) providing me with all the needs in one unit everywhere is tempting too though. What do you think?

    And also: If I chose to go for the iMac, is it safe to buy now, or are there coming some amazing upgrades soon? Would be great to have it for my work now. I know that the laptops are just around the corner (feb). I've heard some rumors about an early iMac update, but the macrumors guide says neutral cycle.

    All suggestions are most welcome. Sorry that the thread got so long btw :) .

    Regards, T-bag :apple:
     
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #2
    I'm an engineer, and I often use CAD - the big screen of the iMac is going to be your friend.

    If you need the portability, or feel pretty sure you will, get the MBP/monitor combo; otherwise, stick with the iMac.

    Then buy it now. Every day you wait is a day you don't have your new iMac. :cool:
     
  3. darknite38 macrumors regular

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  4. Bevz, Jan 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2011

    Bevz macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    iMac. I've just bought the same model you're thinking of getting... Trust me, the 27" screen will blow u away! My jaw is still on the floor after 3 days... It's MASSIVE :)
    Your second option has a flaw... Yes u have power on the go with a 17" laptop but you sacrifice portability... I'd rather carry a 13" MacBook around than a 17" one!

    I think buy iMac now, seems no reason to wait. You won't regret it... But I am a little biased ;)
     
  5. MACAPALOOZA macrumors member

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    Jan 20, 2011
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    Northwest Arkansas
    #5
    Definitely the MacBook Pro. I use mine as a main computer. I hook it up to my monitor that I had with my old windows computer. I LOVE my MBP! I am waaaay too mobile to get a desktop computer. I use my laptop EVERYWHERE! Go with the MBP
     
  6. T-bag thread starter Guest

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    Jan 20, 2011
    #6
    Wow, thats a lot of replies in short time!

    At the moment iMac seems the way to go. More power for the buck and bigger screen at home, and less screen on the go. Seems perfect. The glossy screen worries me a bit though. I don't like it that much on my MB. Is it worse on a 27"? Maybe it's better on a desktop when placed correctly...

    The MBP 17" doesn't feel that big to me, but I get your point. I don't think the power is needed that much on the go either. The applications required to run on the 13" is not very power-demandig today, but if it one day would be mandatory to do some cad at school - well that would be a bad day :eek:.

    There are so terribly many cons and pros fighting inside my head!
     
  7. Bevz macrumors 6502a

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    UK
    #7
    The glossy screen hasn't been a problem on my iMac but a lot of it is down to where it's placed in relation to windows / light sources I guess... Perhaps I'm just lucky where mines placed...
     
  8. T-bag, Jan 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011

    T-bag thread starter Guest

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    #8
    Sounds good! Almost hitting the final button now :eek: . Have been comparing prices and configurations for about two hours now :rolleyes: ! Think I'll go with the top base model. The price difference with student discount isn't much when I want the 1 gig videoram.

    I have one more concern: The screen/heat issues - have they fixed them since mid 2010? I've heard a lot about edges turning yellow, bad lightning on the bottom and a very hot area at the top. Does this happen to "everyone" or is it a rare thing you get fixed by apple if it against the odds would happen?

    EDIT: and, does it have a noisy fan that starts when for instance playing a game?
     
  9. lordjonny, Jan 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011

    lordjonny macrumors regular

    lordjonny

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    #9
    Firstly I dont't think the screen/heat issues are cause for concern anymore.

    My iMac is virtually silent, i never turn it off, ever! and i sleep in the same room, no problems. If there ever is smcfancontrol will sort it out. I game quite regularly on mine, granted its a few years old but i don't hear a thing when i start it up...

    Finally I think you should consider paying the extra to get the 2.93Ghz i7, it should prolong the life of the computer quite substantially considering the investment your already making. Ram and HD's can always be upgraded later but a processor and GPU are there to stay in these things and in the future it will surely make a difference having an i7 over the i5. A quick google will show the benefits even now, in terms of hyperthreading if your doing anything intensive you will reap.

    GL with your new purchase, JEALOUS!
     
  10. T-bag thread starter Guest

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    Jan 20, 2011
    #10
    Maybe I'll go for the i7, but I don't really see the use of it yet. I was kind of ready to settle for the i3 earlier. Where will the extra power up from i5 help me? I don't play any demanding games (WOW, SC2 once in a while). Picture-editing doesn't benefit that much from it (if I'm correctly). I may encode a movie or rip my DVDs once in a while, and MAYBE do some video editing. Is it really worth it? 150 pounds extra is a noticeable amount of money.
     
  11. lordjonny macrumors regular

    lordjonny

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    #11
    I didn't realise you were UK assumed you were US! not that it makes much difference just surprised!

    Lots of applications use hyperthreading already and more will follow very shortly I would imagine, Photoshop i know does and for mathematical purposes things like Mathematica also take advantage of it already. It will make the computer more future proof i imagine, i personally when buying a new computer/gadget believe that while the money is noticeable its best to extend the life of the product as far as possible. From your choice of model already I thought that was your intention.

    Handbrake for ripping dvd's will benefit from the i7 most certainly as well as any video encoding. Depending on how your paying for it the extra 150£ odd will make a bigger dent, but as i said it may be worth absorbing as the resale value may also be kept afloat more by it.

    I would see if anyone else weighs in on what i've said too, i've done minimal research on the matter so far and maybe someone has more experience on the matter. A day more consideration wont hurt nonetheless!

    EDIT: Just thought i'd mention that on the gaming side, I play a few myself similar to your own choices and i would assume that they envisage adding hyperthreading support to WoW at some point, mac's already struggle with the game as if youve ever compared the same computer with Bootcamp vs the mac os x the difference in performance is somewhat infuriating.
     
  12. T-bag thread starter Guest

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    #12
    I'm actually norwegian, just assumed you were from UK. Didn't think you would understand it to well if I said 1500 NKR :) .

    I get what you mean, and I think I agree. I've got the funds to go for the i7, and it might not be as overkill as I originally thought. Seams useful to have the additional virtual cores in the long run. Spending more money doesn't make it easier to decide to go for it either though.

    I think I have a problem with buying new expensive things - always ending up reconsidering if I really need them, even if I definitely do. I guess thats why I can afford a new iMac :D .
     
  13. Bevz macrumors 6502a

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    UK
    #13
    Have u considered getting a refurb? I got one and the saving made the difference between me getting a 21.5" and the 27" model as my budget was limited... Apart from the box it came in it's identical to a new computer... Well it looks identical, flawless and even comes with the plastic coating on display etc, all as new. Same warranty too, just about £200+ cheaper. On a limited budget it can make a big difference in the spec you get... Just a thought...
     
  14. Alvi macrumors 65816

    Alvi

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    Mars
    #14
    Get the iMac, It's such a great value, the Screen is gorgeous, it has great speakers, great peripherals and so on It's a great pack, MacBooks are nice too but they're not that good for Pro work (Ironically), at least I don't enjoy having a portable computer struggling for hours when I can have a desktop working well..

    EDIT: I really mean it, These things get really hot, like hot spots on the keyboard that aren't that nice to touch and quite a lot of noise, the iMacs are almost idle silent, even when they're working hard
     
  15. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #15
    Definitely get the iMac, it will work wonderfully for your needs (Esp. the 27" models). As a comparison, I have a 27" ACD (Student too :D ) - and I love it to death, wouldnt want to use anything else for work now, even a 22" Cinema seems small...
     
  16. sotomsays macrumors newbie

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    Jan 21, 2011
    #16
    im in the same position...i have a 13"mb 2009, looking to get a imac27 i7, im just worried that im going to buy the mac like next week and 2 months down the road a new modle comes out....your thoughts?
     
  17. T-bag, Jan 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011

    T-bag thread starter Guest

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    #17
    The MBP choice is currently on the shelf - if I invest in something now, it's definitely in the iMac 27. My MB is still good for some lightweight programs and general use.

    I have thought a lot about the sandy bridge update. Rumors about all the good things in this world being implemented in the next model, it's always like that. I'm guessing the updates will arrive after the MBP update - unless it's a small one. Either way - it's how the world of technology works. My new i7 wont get worse if a new model get released in april (at best). I think I'll lose more if I wait for that long (as mentioned by some of you). I understand the frustration of buying an "outdated computer" though.

    The price for the iMac 27 with student discount is a good value anyway.

    My concerns are more about the issues with the screen. I've read about condense markings showing up over time on the backside of the screen-glass, demanding to send the whole machine to apple for a swap. I hate thinking about that if it's a very common thing. And if they fix that in the next design, then I would regret not having that one.

    Thanks a lot for all the help so far :)
     
  18. gdeputy macrumors 6502a

    gdeputy

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    #18
    Sandy bridge IS nice, but the current i3, i5 and i7 are all very quick
     
  19. T-bag thread starter Guest

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    Jan 20, 2011
    #19
    I might order it today! :)

    I just have one final question about it. I need the iMac to fit on my desk (obviously), and still have room for a regular notebook in front of it. The depth of the machine is 20.7 cm according to apple. Is that the horizontal length from front to back (seen from above), or is it the depth of the stand only?

    Of course, if it's a problem i could just get a new desk...
     
  20. Rogue. macrumors regular

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    #20
    The depth of the base of the stand ;)

    You could always get a VESA adapter kit and wall mount it :eek:
     
  21. T-bag thread starter Guest

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  22. T-bag, Jan 22, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011

    T-bag thread starter Guest

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    #22
    I can't belive it! Just ordered the iMac 27" with the i7! Got good discount through a studentsite too. Man am I looking forward to getting it :D .

    Thanks to all of you btw. Don't think I would've "seen the light" if it wasn't for all the good help I got here.


    EDIT:

    Just wanted to end this post with how it turned out. Got the iMac one week ago.

    First impression was great, it felt perfect. Did everything wonderfully and the screen amazed me. A few things bugged me though: very hot components, sound from vibrating desk and the glossy screen.

    After a few days I stopped testing it (looking for flaws) and "officially" decided to keep it. As I started to use it for my daily uses (read main post) I started disliking the iMac for one reason: sound form the internal components. I may be a freak when it comes to sounds while working, and that some people don't notice them. All I know is that I'd never get used to it. The desk vibrating sound was the worst, but having a buzzing hard drive in the screen was an issue too. I know I could've gotten a new desk to minimize the noise, but after a few days with trying to get used to the "flaws" I realized what my main complaint with the iMac was - being stuck at the desk. This is very weird for me, I thought I definitely was a "base-person". Having a 13" Macbook for all my needs the last few years has made an impact on my life ;) . The enormous 27" reflective glossy screen was an issue for me too.

    I'm still very glad I gave the iMac a chance, even if it wasn't for me. Lesson learned. I wrote this so that maybe someone out there with similar questions like the ones I had can learn from my experience. :) If you find you made the wrong decision, you can always return it if within the 2 week window! Gotta love that!
     

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