iMac vs MBP, switching from PC

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by WannaSwitch, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. WannaSwitch macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    #1
    Hey everyone, I've been reading this forum for a while and looking forward to my switch, and now with the updates yesterday I'm almost ready to pull the trigger. I keep flipping on what might be best for what I'm going to use it for, though, and want to tap into the experience here to see if I should get the MBP update or wait longer for the iMac update.

    Here's where I am, I currently have a Dell Inspiron 1720 laptop that I absolutely hate. For as big as it is, it's a dog. I used to build PCs, but started using a laptop exclusively a couple of years ago. Gaming always sucked, graphics always sucked, but I loved the fact that I could sit on the couch, out on the porch, take it on vacation, etc. Over the last few years I've upgraded various times to try and get better storage and performance, however I think I'm to the point that I'm getting sick of the performance and storage hits you generally take on a laptop vs. desktop. A holiday project was converting old Digital8 videos to DVD, but the Inspiron reallllly sucked at trying to render any kind of video. Hence, thinking I wanted to switch back to a desktop system like an iMac, better performance. But, seeing the update on the MBP yesterday, I'm curious what the true performance difference might be between the MBP and the existing iMac (or anticipated update to the iMac).

    My primary use of the system is going to be school, papers, research and such. iTunes is big on my list, we tend to watch TV on the laptop as well from Tivo recordings (good thing about the laptop, we can watch in bed, at my wife's computer while she's working, wherever - be tougher to do with an iMac, obviously). Video editing and DVD creation will be a side project but important, and I might also put together some music recording again as I used to have an analog studio long ago, would love to get into digital recording someday. Some games, but not time for much, so not a huge deal there. I think I can get around without having to Parallels or Boot Camp into Windows, I think everything I need to use is available in Mac as well. If not, I'll just hijack the wife's XP machine to run it if needed.

    So, what's the real world performance hit I'm going to take with the new MBP if I'm trying to render video, imported DVI converting to DVD? Am I really going to notice that much more performance (especially around the updates yesterday) to justify a desktop system vs. a portable?
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #2
    The only thing "desktop" about the iMac is the hard drive. Everything else is made from laptop components. Sounds like you really want a laptop so I would suggest the MBP. I edit my own DV files on my MacBook (vintage Nov 06). The MBP should just fly.
     
  3. WannaSwitch thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    #3
    I really do like the portability, and I think it would really be something that I'd miss. I was just primarily concerned about the difference in performance when it comes to video files, I'm so jaded by the terrible performance of the Dell systems I've had over the last few years :)

    I think I'll put in my order today, then, for the 17" 2.5GHZ MBP. Upgrading to the higher resolution LED backlit display (I'm a sucker for the 1920x1200 resolution) is going to put it out 2-3 weeks anyway. I'll sacrifice a little internal drive storage for the faster drive (choose 200gb 7200rpm drive over the 250GB 5400rpm drive, I have a 750GB external drive with my video files on it anyway), and aftermarket a 4GB RAM swapout for $175 rather than the $400 upgrade from Apple. Going to get a great education discount on Office 2008 for Mac so I'll grab that for my school work. I can't wait until the anticipated June update, as every day goes by I just want to throw that Dell out the window.
     
  4. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #4
    The new iMac is an absolute joke in terms of gaming performance. The MacBook Pro's graphics card is a million times better.
     
  5. hankolerd macrumors 6502

    hankolerd

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #5
    i know for a fact the MPB isn't a million times better than the iMac at gaming. I haven't had any problems with my imac for gaming, I can run Crysis on low-medium settings just fine. But, the VC in the MBP is better at any rate.:apple:
     
  6. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
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    #6
    The latest drivers from ATI have made a world of difference for the new iMacs. Some framerates have more than doubled for me from the original bootcamp drivers.
     
  7. amac4me macrumors 65816

    amac4me

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    #7
    First off ... congrats on your decision to make the switch.

    I would urge you the get the MBP as it's a powerful desktop replacement. You'll love the portability option, the iMac has to stay at home on your desk! It will serve your use case perfectly.
     
  8. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #8
    I must try these. Are they just the regular ones from the ATi site?
     
  9. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
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    #9
    Yes. You may need to download Mobility Modder as well to tweak the drivers into thinking they are Mobility drivers rather than destop ones. I recommend the 7.12 drivers. 8.1 and 8.2 don't seem to make much of a difference.
     
  10. WannaSwitch thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    #10
    Thanks for the experience on the video cards, comparing between the MBP and the iMac. From the sound of it, my fears of slower video performance might not even be relevant now, especially with the update to the new NVIDIA 512MB cards in the new MBP vs. the ATI cards in the iMac.

    The trigger has been pulled, order is now in the Apple store for my new 17" MBP. Through corporate discount, I wind up with about $225 discount, so I went ahead with it. 2.5ghz model, went with the 7200rpm hard drive and will continue to use my 750GB Seagate for additional video storage (yea, I can finally use the Firewire interface on it!). I did opt for the higher resolution LED backlit screen, so I've got a couple of weeks wait ahead of me. I'll see how the 2GB RAM works for me, I might upgrade to 4GB and resell the old 2GB.

    Excited does not even begin to describe my emotion right now, ready to make the switch!
     
  11. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #11
    Congrats. I'm sure you will be happy with it.
     

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