In your opinion, which is the better purchase: MB or iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mattcube64, May 24, 2006.

  1. mattcube64 macrumors 65816


    May 21, 2006
    Okay, here's my situation. I'm gonna be a senior in highschool after the summer. I want to get my first Mac for several reasons. One, the family PC I use now is very slow with an early P4 and limited RAM along with weak graphics. I have to share with the family, and it's quite irritating. Secondly, I plan on pursuing a career in journalism. I currently use the G5 iMacs at school for working within InDesign. It would be great to transfer my stuff from home directly to the Macs at school. I first used a Mac two years ago in while in a journalism class, and absolutely fell in love with OSX. It is leagues beyond Windows in every way, in my opinion. My friends laugh at me that I support the Mac platform so much, yet I don't even own one.

    The problem is, I really want/need a computer now. However, I know I'll get another one next summer before going off to college. So, I'm constantly debating between my choices of what to buy.

    I originally wanted a 17" iMac. I figured it would be the perfect purchase. I'm sure I could talk my mom into getting me a desk for my room. After the inital purchase, I could add more RAM, seperate speakers, and more software throughout the year. Also, while I'm a console gamer at heart (Own an X360, and plan on picking up other consoles later this year), I would love the option of playing all those PC games I missed over the years by using Boot Camp.

    Then, the MacBook was shown. I LOVE the looks of it. If I were to pick it up, I'd likely by the 2.0GHz white model. I'm sure it could do everything I need it to do. Although, I'd be forgoing the larger screen of the iMac, and the ability to play some games here and there. Then again, it would be great if I could just bring my laptop up to school during deadline week of the paper to free up computers for other editors. Yet, portability isn't REALLY necessary, as I could just pick up a flash drive to move documents instead (Heck, I'd likely pick up a shuffle, heh).

    Both have their pros, both have their cons. But whatever I do, I'll buy the opposite next summer. If I purchase a laptop now, it'll be a desktop next year, or vice-versa. Which brings me to another point. Next year, will I want a brand new, really powerfull desktop, or a really portable, sleek laptop?

    Decisions, decisions. I've been contemplating all possibilities over the last couple weeks, and I just can't make up my mind. Now that I'm finally near having enough money, I should be able to pick either up towards the second half of summer vacation. Then again, I could save through the first month or so of school, and maybe get a 15" MB Pro. But then I could be cutting into my PS3 savings. Plus, my car is a bit unreliable, and I should be saving up for a new one. Ugh.

    So, this is my little rant. If anyone has any opinions, ideas, or remarks, I'd love to hear them.
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    Okay, well the iMac will be much better for gaming but if you haven't had a laptop before, then you'll love the freedom of a MacBook.
  3. kretzy macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2004
    Canberra, Australia
    Personally I'd go with the MacBook. I love the freedom of having a laptop, it's really handy for school related things and particularly if you want to use it for journalistic purposes. The other great thing about it, is that it's a very powerful little machine so while it may not be the best for gaming, it'll pretty much handle anything you need. If screen space is a real issue for you, maybe an external monitor for when you're at home. :)
  4. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816


    Aug 8, 2004
    America's Wang
    I've been thinking this over just like you. Which is more important, a better graphics card, bigger screen, and bigger hard drive, or the portability? If you aren't done with high school yet then I would get the iMac first because you will want to play games and it is a better gaming machine. However, for college the Macbook would be my choice because you can take it places and use it more. Although most schools have computers to use on campus, if you are like me, you don't want to spend alot of money on a computer that you can only use at night when you are home. To be honest, you don't want to spend too much time gaming if you want to make good grades anyway. I know WoW and Everquest before that affected my grades before I cut myself off.

    Personally, I decided to get the low end Macbook from Amazon for $999 (after $100 mail in rebate) with no taxes and free shipping. Then I'm gonna buy 2 Gb of Ram from Newegg for $85 a stick and finally a 160 Gb 5200 Rpm hard drive when Seagate releases them in July. (I might wait for the price to go down on this as it will be high at first). I decided that more storage is more important to me than having a 7200 RPM drive as I am worried about heat and battery life. Finally, I noticed that Crumpler's Moderate Embarrassment bag says that it will fit the 13" Macbook so I will get one of those to carry it in with my books in.

    Goodluck with your decision! I think I have made the right one for me but I may change my mind at the last minute. The good news is, that if I don't like it Amazon will return it.

    UPDATE: I changed my mind and decided to go with the iMac because the Macbook would only have a combodrive and I would rather have a Superdrive in an iMac for less expensive...
  5. mopppish macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2005
    Look at it this way- if you get a desktop now, then the laptop that you get next year will either match it or slightly exceed it in horsepower, leaving you with two computers that overlap somewhat speed-wise. If you get a laptop now and a desktop later, then the desktop will probably be more powerful than whatever laptop you could get at the time. I think that second option will overall allow you to have portability AND a place at home for extra juice, know what I mean? So, get a macbook now.
  6. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America

    The iMac and MacBook both have Intel Core Duo 1.83 and 2 ghz chips. The iMac chip says it has 2mb shared l2 cache, whereas the MacBook specs don't seem to say (I looked at each one at the Apple store online).
  7. mattcube64 thread starter macrumors 65816


    May 21, 2006
    Hmm, that actually makes quite a bit of sense. However, I'm expecting my budget to be a bit higher next year. Currently, from what I've heard, the MB Pro is more powerful than the iMac right now. So, if I bought a iMac now, then a pro line laptop next year, I would have an even more powerful laptop... I type this I'm having second thoughts...

    You're right, why does my laptop need to be more powerful than my desktop? Well, maybe if I'll be using my laptop 90% of the time and my desktop rarely. But I don't think I would...

    Also, I know it might sound kinda stupid, and it is. BUT, I get the "cool factor" of having a top of the line, current model Apple laptop in college if I bought it next summer. If I bought a desktop next summer, I wouldn't get to "feel cool" and show it off, lol. But that's stupid.

    Although, your comment does make quite a bit of sense, and I'll definitely take it into consideration.

    Anymore comments are greatly appreciated.
  8. faintember macrumors 65816


    Jun 6, 2005
    the ruins of the Cherokee nation
    The MBP has the option of the 2.16GHz processor, and the iMac tops out at 2GHz, not a big deal (at all). To clarify on the other posters ideas, if you buy the MB now, it will be fine for years, but in a years time you can buy a iMac or Power Mac (or whatever it will be called..) that will spank the MB. The MB might still be a great machine (i believe it will be) but the newer desktop will allow for more power if you need it. When you go to college, you will want a laptop, and the MB will still be fine for you note taking, music listening, chatting, etc. needs. Unless you plan on doing advanced video editing, playing games with high specs or the like the MB is fine.

    So MB now, Desktop/iMac next year (if needed).
  9. Play Ultimate macrumors 6502

    Oct 13, 2005
    Get a MacBook now.
    Then next year, sell it. Buy the MacBook Pro and an external monitor.
    I just don't see the need for both an iMac and a MacBook Pro in college where dorm/apartment space could be at a premium. The main advantage of the iMac over the MacBook Pro is price and screen space. It doesn't sound like price is an issue and an external covers the screen. :)
  10. mattcube64 thread starter macrumors 65816


    May 21, 2006
    Just a bump

    ...for the early evening crowd. Thanks for any and all suggestions.
  11. kevin.rivers macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2005
    I sold my Powerbook G4 to get a Macbook. However, I decided that the Macbook isn't really ready. I think in the next rev we will see a cooler more featured Macbook.

    Because of this, I decided to go for a 20" iMac. I use Photoshop and Aperture, I couldn't go back to having just a laptop and trying to edit on that teeny screen.

    Granted my needs are different. I'd rather go for a cooler more featured laptop later. The Macbook, in my opinion is NOT that right now.

    Also, my choice on the iMac came from the potential ability to slap a Merom in it when they hit. Which will leave a nice upgrade path for the iMac.

    I don't know if it will be possible. So don't quote me on that, I have heard some speculation and there is supposed to be some proof out there. I haven't found it yet.

    Anyhow, for you it comes down to "to be portable, or not to portable". Good luck to you with your decision.
  12. prostuff1 macrumors 65816


    Jul 29, 2005
    Don't step into the kawoosh...
    I would go for the desktop.

    that way when you start going to college the iMac can become the family computer and the laptop can be yours and yours alone.
  13. someguy macrumors 68020


    Dec 4, 2005
    Still here.
  14. xPismo macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2005

    Once you go portable, you'll never go back. :D Really though, unless there is a defined reason to keep a desktop model (like drive size, gpu, screen size, processor uumph) I really don't see a reason for anyone to keep using a pizza box.

    No matter how sexy that pizza box is. :)
  15. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816


    Aug 8, 2004
    America's Wang
    I agree, unfortunately the GPU and screensize are very good reasons to choose the iMac over the laptop if you need them. If you need portability then the Macbook is better. Otherwise, the iMac is better.
  16. iPC macrumors 6502


    Jul 22, 2003
    East Windsor, CT
    the laptops available now will be almost the same a year from now (probably just a speed bump or two) if we look at apple's history since os x came out. the new big kahuna desktop has not come out yet but will be here by your 2nd purchase.

    why not get a minimac and a kvm switch for now? or is the point to seperate yourself from the family computer now?
  17. h0e0h macrumors 6502a


    Aug 30, 2004
    West Monroe, Louisiana
    i vote for the Macbook... if you want to try and talk your mom into a desk, you could always hook up an external monitor and use it both as a desktop at home, and a laptop at school and between. Laptops are really nice. I got a 12" PB when i went to college and rarely took it to class. Now that i'm in the upper level classes the 12" isn't workin with multiple Excel workbooks and Word and all the other things associated with a business degree. I can't wait till Amazon can fill my 17" MBP order. The extra screen real estate, compromising portability which i can overcome, will be EXCELLENT
  18. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    South Dakota, USA
    My vote goes for an iMac. I thought that I would love to have a portable computer when I got my Powerbook and then I ended up selling it because it just sat since I used my desktop 95% of the time.

    I think you will find the new iMac to be a much more reliable computer as well. There seems to be a lot of issues with the MacBook right now. I am sure Apple will get them fixed, but for now, the iMac is a safer buy in my eyes. Better graphics, bigger HD, larger screen and for some reason desktops always seem to outperform notebooks.

    Anyhow just my opinion on this topic.
  19. vwguy60 macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2006
    Southern California
    Hi, this is my first post and I am also new to Macs but not computers as a whole. Here is my opinion, MBP! I have had mine for about a month, I love it and use it more than my AMD X2 desktop I just built.

    For the coolness factor, get the MBP, and when in college, get a 23" montor, bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you will not have to deal with transfering files. The MBP is good for games for now, plenty powerful for years to come and since some $$$ will be saved by not buying two computers, get the 23" monitor. Just my opinion... Best of luck with you choice, not a bad situation to be in.
  20. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    I can only guess that the iMacs you've used at school are older PPC models.

    You mentioned running InDesign and that may be your deciding factor, unless
    you can get your hands on a Windows version, running under Bootcamp.

    Adobe, OSX PPC applications on these new Intel Macs will require lots of RAM to counteract the RAM drag of Rosetta. 2 GB minimum and even then it will drag a bit.

    Adobe CS3 will not be ready for a while yet, so if you're primary use is for
    publishing, I'd go for the iMac adding 2 GB RAM and maybe add a Seagate Barracuda drive later.

    Since you'll be doing page layout, I'd upgrade to the 20" iMac.
    This will give you space for 2 full pages at once and the faster processor.
    You'll need all the kick you can get to run under Rosetta.

    Once CS3 is released, Adobe apps should fly on your new machine.

    Regardless of what you decide to do, it may pay to hold off until we see
    the Merom based Core Duo models.

    Good luck with your decision.
  21. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    I'd recommend waiting too, the Integrated Graphics are going to be improved with Merom (Core 2) apparently up to a 6600GT which isn't bad at all! I'd get the laptop, I have an iMac now at Uni and am going to go to a Macbook over the summer... You can always get an external HD, and bigger monitor for home, and it'll be almost as powerful as a desktop.
  22. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Laptop is better for you i think. You be able to bring it into schooln andthats one more computer for your team to finish what ever you working on. Also the MacBook is fast, plenty fast for you. However games won't even be an option on it(for you because if you use to the 360 the MacBook is make you cry when it comes to games)

    That said get a MacBook, and pick up a Wii later in the year. I have a laptop for school are it have saved my bottom a few times, and it lets me show off the power of Apple stuff:cool:
  23. Mac Hammer Fan macrumors 6502a

    Mac Hammer Fan

    Jul 13, 2004
    If I need limited portability (just moving the computer sometimes to a different room in the same house) would the Imac 17" still be the best choice? I know it's faster, and it's not that heavy, but if should moving it 10 times a week to a different place be avoided?
    A MacBook 13" (2.0) and a Imac 17" (1.83) cost approx. the same where I live.
    But the Imac seems to be more bang for a buck.

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