IMAC vs MBP entry level

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Aplin, May 3, 2018.

  1. Aplin macrumors newbie


    May 3, 2018
    Hi all,

    My MacBook Air (mid 2013) is struggling to run Final Cut Pro X - I'm kind of amazed it runs at all. I don't do anything too heavy - 5 to 10 minute vlogs. I also play a few flight simulators that mostly run fine on my Air (I am amazed at how well that 5 year old machine holds up!), but do suffer with stuttering if I go too fast.

    In terms of the entry level 2017 models...

    13.3-inch MacBook Pro 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with Retina display - Space Grey
    21.5-inch iMac 3.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Retina 4K display (1TB SATA)

    How much of a performance difference will there be in comparison to one another? The reason I ask is because my Macbook Air (mid 2013) is perfect for browsing and photo editing and documents and everything else, so I guess I could keep that and have the Imac at home if the Imac offers a vastly superior boost in performance.

    I know the SATA drives are reputed to be pretty crap, but either option I'd have use of a Samsung T5 (500GB) for video editing.

    Sorry for the long post... just interested to hear peoples' thoughts :)
  2. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    It's hard to answer "how much faster" questions without knowing exactly what you'll be doing the most of. iMac has a faster graphics unit and ~25% CPU advantage. The iMac drive is crap, of course. I'm not sure the T5 can match the internal MBP SSD but it's probably close enough most of the time for most usages that you won't notice.

    The real question of course is how much processing power do you need on the road, if any? If the Air can handle all your away from home work, get the iMac. If not, then you'll need to get a faster laptop.
  3. Phil in ocala Suspended

    Phil in ocala

    Jul 14, 2016
    Here is an issue you are not considering: If you spill coffee, coke, water on a keyboard of the much to fix it? If U do the same on an just buy a new keyboard.....
  4. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2017
    Since your MacBook Air is still good and should last you at least a couple more years I would go with the iMac.

    With the external SSD it should be fast enough. Getting an internal 256gb SSD and storing additional files on the T5 would be even better.

    Also, I'm not sure what's your budget but the 27" display is amazing :D
  5. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    I had a similar dilemma, with a 2013 MBP and a Mac Mini.

    I opted to upgrade the Mac Mini, sell the MBP, and get an iPad.

    Very happy with my choice, as the iPad does all the mobile stuff I need it to, and now I have a desktop (I don't use anything as powerful as Final Cut) at home to plug all my drives into.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California

    If you edit proxy files in FCPX even an older MacBook Air would be fast enough. Read up on how to use Proxy Files.

    It works like this: When you import the video you make a low resolution copy of the file. You edit these files then when you are all done FCP applies the edits to the full size files. This last step take a long time but you do it at night when you are sleeping.

    Yes it would be better to have a larger iMac. First off the screen is bigger. You can get a four0core i7 processor and a better GPU and very importantly you can stuff a LOT more RAM inside an iMac. But it will cost a bit because you do NOT want to base model iMac.

    I'dsay it depends on how much video editing you do. Don't spend $4,000 to save 30 minutes of your time a month but if you edit using FCP for hours almost daily it is an easy decision, buy the iMac. But pProxy Files will allow you to use some older hardware.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Keep the MBAir and get an iMac along with it.

    I'd suggest the 27" 5k, 3.5ghz "midrange model" (gives you a nice boost for $200 more), and get an SSD (even a 256gb) inside instead of the fusion drive.

    There's nothing that beats having a nice desktop AND a laptop, as well.

Share This Page