iMac vs MB Pro + external monitor

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by progfusion74, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. progfusion74 macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2008
    Not a unique question for these forums, but reading the responses only confused me further.

    The decision has come down to a 20" iMac with a 320GB hard drive or a 15" Macbook Pro + External Monitor/Hard drive. The iMac is more cost effective, has a gorgeous screen and looks cool. The MB Pro is powerful and gives me mobility options (and a 5400 rpm drive) although I can upgrade to a 7200 RPM drive.

    What am I going to do with it?

    1. Videocasting (just using the iSight for now), but I plan to do some more video in the future. Nothing fancy, interviews and the likes.
    2. Audio. I record electronic music (mostly using Cubase, Reaktor and Kontakt)
    3. Programming .. this will be my main programming box although I will use a Linux server for any heavy duty computing and as a dev environment.

    Any suggestions. I think I change my mind every 20 minutes. With the iMac I can always add on a macbook, because with the MacBook Pro I will need to buy an external monitor and other peripherals.

  2. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    My vote is for the MBP. They are pretty close in power, so mobility is a plus. My MBP makes a great laptop, and then a desktop replacement when I hook it up at home.
  3. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    I also vote for the MBP and external monitor. This way you get to choose a decent "non-glossy" screen that will show true colour .. :)
  4. amiga macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2006
  5. i0Nic macrumors 65816

    May 17, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    Yeah I'm debating the same thing too. I've been using a macbook + external display for a while now, thinking of either upgrading to a MBP or keeping the macbook and getting an iMac.

    Here are my pros/cons of using a laptop as a desktop replacement with an external display and peripherals.

    - Simplicity. All your files go with you wherever you are, no need to sync between computers. Syncing can be a real pain in the ass.
    - Cost effective. Personally, I don't ever want to be without a laptop, so a laptop will always be in my setup. It is cheaper to sell the macbook and replace it with a MBP than it is to buy a 24" iMac.
    - Up to Date. Main computer will be the latest MBP, rather than lugging around a dated white macbook (these are my personal pros/cons).

    - Carrying all your files with you wherever you are. Sometimes if you are showing something to someone on your computer you don't want them to see those questionable bit torrent files you left on the desktop, or if they're using your laptop to open up iPhoto and see all those raunchy pics from that trip to Spain. Personally, I can see the benefit of having a seperate computer for work related files rather than carrying all your personal stuff with you all the time.
    - Laptops are more prone to failure than desktops because they're always moving around. If your laptop is your main computer with all your important files on it, it would be a big blow for the hard drive to fail and lose everything (Happened to me, pre Time Machine). Time machine makes it a bit easier to deal with thankfully, but I always have it in the back of my mind the worry of something happening to my laptop and I'll be without a computer for who knows how long.
    - Can't leave it on all the time. (edit- technically you can, but moving it to another location like to work it will have to go to sleep, whereas an iMac will sit there downloading away)
    - Having it connected to your monitor and peripherals usually means that if you want to use it around the house you usually can't be bothered untethering and stay at your desk.
    - Don't have a beautiful iMac that's always there, always on, and always ready for you. Instead you have to deal with a mess of cables constantly plugging them in and out when you move the laptop. When you take your laptop to work/uni all downloads etc have to stop.

    edit- The way I'm going to decide is like this, which option could possibly f*ck me up the most if I end up making the wrong choice. And right now I'm thinking it's the iMac+macbook option even though the MBP option has more cons, because I really want that setup mainly for the aesthetic value of the iMac. Although it has it's practicality, if it came to a point where I hate syncing and I ended up using the old macbook more than the new iMac I'd really be kicking myself. The worst thing that could happen with going the MBP route is that I wouldn't have something as pretty to look at on my desk, and also not really using a laptop as intended (desktop replacement).
  6. dotdotdot macrumors 68020

    Jan 23, 2005
    i0Nic, why can't you leave your laptop on all the time? And why do downloads have to stop?

    I have a MacBook, not Pro, thats on 24/7, hooked up to an external monitor, always downloading things to an external hard drive and is hardly ever off.

    The only thing I don't like about a laptop as a main computer is how much backing up I feel I need to do - and how much I feel like I haven't backed something up. I'm looking forward to getting a Time Capsule so I can back up wirelessly.

    I think that for what the topic starter wants to do, the MBP + External monitor is great. I have a MB and Samsung 226BW, and it's amazing.
  7. i0Nic macrumors 65816

    May 17, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    When I take it to uni for example, can't have downloads going if your laptop is sleeping and you're on the train. Sounds like you are using the laptop heavily as a desktop replacement and not moving it around at all?
  8. tangledweb16 macrumors regular


    Nov 29, 2007
    Well, if you want portability get the MBP, if not, get the iMac.
  9. progfusion74 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2008
    Watching this discussion and doing some more thinking, strongly leaning MBP now. I know I will want a laptop eventually, and the MBP is good enough to be the main hub. I will get a good external FW drive + a monitor. The mobility is just too big of a draw.

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