SHNXX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 2, 2013
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I currently have an Intel MacBook Pro from last year and a 2011 iMac 27” which is slowly becoming unusable (quite frankly I’m impressed I used it this long).

I get the allure of the M chip series, as I have an iPad Pro which I’ve never seen slow down.
But I need the versatility of being able to run Windows, either boot camp or virtually, so an Intel iMac is still somewhat useful.

so I had a crazy idea— what if I bought a 21.5” iMac that was spec’d out, refurbished, as my travel companion for longer term travel where I will be working remotely?
My current solution of taking a MacBook Pro and iPad Pro don’t give me enough horsepower or screen real estate and there are some nice traveling cases for the Intel 21” iMac for people as crazy as me.

my questions are as follows:
1. Is a refurbished 21” Intel with good specs a good purchase?
2. Is it a good idea to buy it for long term traveling?
3. Will I regret buying a 21” iMac with Intel chip, despite its niche usage as a travel PC and ability to run windows natively?
 

Gregintosh

macrumors 68000
Jan 29, 2008
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Chicago
What’s your definition of longer term travel? I would say travel with the MacBook Pro (maybe the upcoming m1x which should be plenty of horsepower) and if you’ll stay somewhere for 6 months or more just buy a monitor there. You can always sell it for half price before you leave.

If you always go back and forth to the same destination you can probably leave it with a friend or figure something out also.

There are cases for the iMacs but I think the hassle and stress of checking it in and possibly having it be damaged outweigh the convenience.
 
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ThunderSkunk

macrumors 68040
Dec 31, 2007
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The 21 travels fairly well in std config but is even better with the vesa mount instead of the stand. The built-in stand is what makes any imac a bit of a chore to move, and without it, you can quite easily transport that computer in a small padded bag safely & quickly. In use you can either put a couple rubber nub feet under it (cabinet door bumpers) and lean it up on something, make a simple easel for it, or set it on your lap and work fairly comfortably. While on your lap, a slim wireless keyboard can velcro to the chin. The imacs miniscule footprint, voluminous cooling performance and nice big display make it a considerable step up from a skinny notebook with a giant footprint, especially since windows still likes to waste a considerable amount of display real estate with blank toolbar space, shrinking the effective content window down to a few inches on a notebook. Of course it also has USB ports so whoever, or whatever you run into out in the world can plug into it without worrying about where a usb-c adapter disappeared off to. If you’re a designer or engineer (who needs to use CAD) it’s a great solution, since the M1 macs make macs a non-starter and apple irrelevant from here on out.
 
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PBG4 Dude

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Jul 6, 2007
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colodane

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2012
911
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Colorado
I'd say it is worth considering if your travel was via car. I would not want the worry and hassle if you are flying.
 

thingstoponder

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2014
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It’s not a bad idea if that’s what you want, you don’t need our approval. 👍 Just get a sturdy carrying case to protect it.
 

SHNXX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 2, 2013
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What’s your definition of longer term travel? I would say travel with the MacBook Pro (maybe the upcoming m1x which should be plenty of horsepower) and if you’ll stay somewhere for 6 months or more just buy a monitor there. You can always sell it for half price before you leave.

If you always go back and forth to the same destination you can probably leave it with a friend or figure something out also.

There are cases for the iMacs but I think the hassle and stress of checking it in and possibly having it be damaged outweigh the convenience.

By longer term, I mean from 2 weeks to 3 months.
For shorter than 2 weeks, I'm okay with using iPad as my 2nd monitor, but I find it pretty inadequate for longer use, and also need to carry a keyboard because my 2020 MacBook pro get so hot.
 

Macky-Mac

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May 18, 2004
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By longer term, I mean from 2 weeks to 3 months.
For shorter than 2 weeks, I'm okay with using iPad as my 2nd monitor, but I find it pretty inadequate for longer use, and also need to carry a keyboard because my 2020 MacBook pro get so hot.
Are you talking about a short term relocation? Or will you be on the move for any significant amount of time?

I've relocated my iMac for short term work assignments, and it wasn't a problem. But in my situation I just put it in my car, drove to my destination and set it up at the other end.

When you say "travel", that suggests you may be changing locations fairly frequently and using less convenient transportation than a car.

If you're going to be on the move frequently, I think you'll regret lugging an iMac along.
 

SHNXX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 2, 2013
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Yes I do mean that I'll be relocating relatively frequently and I'll be traveling primarily by air, not by car.
Perhaps an external is a better solution, although iMac with its 21" screen seems entirely doable.
 

Arctic Moose

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2017
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503
Gothenburg, Sweden
even better with the vesa mount instead of the stand
This is a great idea, and removes basically all of the drawbacks compared to a large laptop, except for not being able to quickly mobilize it on the road. (Personally, I think a 15-16” is too clunky for this anyhow, so for air travel I’d leave it in my bag and just use an iPad anyhow.)

Get a decent foldable VESA stand and you’re good to go.

I wouldn’t even mind doing this with a 27”, it will fit fine in checked luggage.
 

SHNXX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 2, 2013
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This is a great idea, and removes basically all of the drawbacks compared to a large laptop, except for not being able to quickly mobilize it on the road. (Personally, I think a 15-16” is too clunky for this anyhow, so for air travel I’d leave it in my bag and just use an iPad anyhow.)

Get a decent foldable VESA stand and you’re good to go.

I wouldn’t even mind doing this with a 27”, it will fit fine in checked luggage.
Any suggestions?
I didn't know 21.5" iMacs are able to take VESA mounts?

EDIT: NVM, i guess i now understand how those work.
 
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poked

macrumors 6502
Nov 19, 2014
250
125
I’ve actually had this dilemma myself. Because of how portable the iMac is id the back stand is removed, I could theoretically carry it anywhere, since I work at two locations seven days a week. But I don’t have a carrying case for it and I don’t know where I’d find one that doesn’t stand out as I would be carrying it. At that point I’d rather just get a pre-owned laptop for work, but that defeats the purpose of having the iMac except at home, and would de-incentivize me to work at home as well as at my job locations. (Can you tell all I do is work? Whoops.)
 

Nguyen Duc Hieu

macrumors 65816
Jul 5, 2020
1,187
303
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
I’ve actually had this dilemma myself. Because of how portable the iMac is id the back stand is removed, I could theoretically carry it anywhere, since I work at two locations seven days a week. But I don’t have a carrying case for it and I don’t know where I’d find one that doesn’t stand out as I would be carrying it. At that point I’d rather just get a pre-owned laptop for work, but that defeats the purpose of having the iMac except at home, and would de-incentivize me to work at home as well as at my job locations. (Can you tell all I do is work? Whoops.)

To carry the iMac around, the cheapest solution is to use its original box and re-inforce it with glue, a layer of durable cloth, add another layer of cardboard. This might last 1 or two year and you can always make another cheaply.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
22,222
8,270
OP:
"Yes I do mean that I'll be relocating relatively frequently and I'll be traveling primarily by air, not by car."

Even if you can find a case, you're going to quickly tire of this routine. It's gonna "get old" fast.
And high possibility of damage if the iMac is continually passing through airline luggage systems.

If you need to travel frequently, use a laptop.

Or, perhaps a Mini that you could easily pack in your luggage, along with keyboard and mouse (get a display when you "get there", or perhaps pack a small "portable" external display).
 
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Macky-Mac

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May 18, 2004
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Yes I do mean that I'll be relocating relatively frequently and I'll be traveling primarily by air, not by car.
Perhaps an external is a better solution, although iMac with its 21" screen seems entirely doable.
you might survive the ordeal ....maybe lol

Looking on Amazon, I see there are cases with shoulder straps which will allow you to carry the iMac around.

OP:
"Yes I do mean that I'll be relocating relatively frequently and I'll be traveling primarily by air, not by car."

Even if you can find a case, you're going to quickly tire of this routine. It's gonna "get old" fast.
And high possibility of damage if the iMac is continually passing through airline luggage systems....

I hope he isn't thinking of taking the iMac as checked baggage.......damage, lost luggage, and theft are all potential problems. Discovering that all the luggage has been unloaded, but yours is nowhere to be found is not a happy moment.

Too often while waiting for my flight to depart I've watched out the window as the baggage handlers load suitcases into a plane. It's not unusual to see bags get tossed to the loading conveyor, literally thrown, and they don't always land where they're expected......and it's not at all unusual to see bags fall off the conveyor on the ride up into the plane.....ack!
 
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m0nkeyb0y

macrumors regular
Jun 16, 2009
136
98
I currently have an Intel MacBook Pro from last year and a 2011 iMac 27” which is slowly becoming unusable (quite frankly I’m impressed I used it this long).

I get the allure of the M chip series, as I have an iPad Pro which I’ve never seen slow down.
But I need the versatility of being able to run Windows, either boot camp or virtually, so an Intel iMac is still somewhat useful.

so I had a crazy idea— what if I bought a 21.5” iMac that was spec’d out, refurbished, as my travel companion for longer term travel where I will be working remotely?
My current solution of taking a MacBook Pro and iPad Pro don’t give me enough horsepower or screen real estate and there are some nice traveling cases for the Intel 21” iMac for people as crazy as me.

my questions are as follows:
1. Is a refurbished 21” Intel with good specs a good purchase?
2. Is it a good idea to buy it for long term traveling?
3. Will I regret buying a 21” iMac with Intel chip, despite its niche usage as a travel PC and ability to run windows natively?
I don't take it on a plane, but I've often done my car travel with a 32" 4k monitor, which I connect to my 2019 a6" MBP. A 21" would be pretty easy, relatively speaking.
Can't speak to the other aspects.
 
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