Is it worth it to have both MBP and iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by nporteschaikin, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. nporteschaikin macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    I just bought a 27" iMac with the QC i7. I'm excited, to say the least -- my last laptop was destroyed because I mishandled it. That was my initial reason for deciding to buy a desktop, actually -- I decided that I needed a computer that sits on a desk rather than one that I can throw around, at least as my primary machine. I do web development and graphic design, so the large screen coupled with the quad-core chip made the iMac seemingly make sense.

    I'm having second thoughts, however. I do think I need the portability -- in very limited circumstances, I need a computer. I used to do some work on-site, and while I could get away with not doing so, I at least want that option. Moreover, I will be returning to school eventually and I would like a laptop to bring around campus.

    The thing that intrigued me still about buying an iMac is that I could probably get away with a laptop like a 13" MBP or MBA for my portable needs (web development, internet surfing, light Photoshop). My prior workhorse was a 15" MBP and that was uncomfortable to carry around (I'm small and lanky -- I don't do well with significant weight -- but I enjoyed having a portable powerhouse).

    Does anyone own both? If so, would you recommend such a solution?
  2. eddy2099 macrumors member

    Sep 27, 2010
    I did go through that issue myself as I got the Mac primarily for software development.

    I ended up getting a 13" MBP. What I did was to hook up my existing 22" LCD monitor via the MiniDisplay Port to DVI cable. I got the external monitor set up in the Extended mode so have two display to use. The MBP monitor is used for my coding and the other one to do the GUI design and testing. It actually work better for me this way as I have more display real estate to play with and yet retain my mobility as I can just carry my MBP with me when I need to do some presentation or meet up with clients.

    There is no way I can carry the iMac with me wherever I go as it is just really not practical.
  3. nporteschaikin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    I thought of that as well -- but my one qualm was that the 13" wouldn't have had the optimal amount of power. If I owned one machine, I would have to own a 15".
  4. krimsen macrumors member

    Dec 15, 2005
    I'll trade in my iMac for a MBP for the same reason. I just don't want more than one machine, and for my uses, a notebook is still unbeaten.

    EDIT: I'll be getting the 15" if the 13" won't feature a real GPU und at least an i5
  5. davedev100 macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2009
    I think for a business having the two computers, laptop and iMac, is a good idea. I've been a contractor for a bunch of years and I've always had several computers. Here's some reasons for two in no particular order. Nothing is a killer reason, but benefits if you do get two CPUs:

    Allows you to keep your laptop "clean" without personal or sensitive info for when you go offsite (or onsite depending on your perspective)

    Allows you to keep your laptop "clean" as in not banged up so you can make a good impression for sales demos.

    Provides a backup computer for when your primary goes down, crashes, needs repair, or even if you want multi-task. Or if you need somebody to help out occasionally or don't want to share with spouse, roommate, etc.

    Usually the desktop is going to provide you more memory, hd space, screen space, etc. for cheaper.

    Makes it easier if you want to run a couple OS's such as versions of Mac OS (I do desktop development).

    Before a big fat HD and Time Machine, I used a second system to backup the first.
  6. jetjaguar macrumors 68030


    Apr 6, 2009
    I've gone through this before and am going through this again. My first mac was a 17inch mbp which I sold and bought a 15in mbp i7 and a 8 core mac pro with 30 inch acd .. ended up selling the 15mbp and got a 13inch mbp and sold the mac pro for an imac .. lol

    now i have a 13inch mba and my i7 imac .. and im thinking of selling both and getting a 15inch i7 mbp and just being mobile .. the mbp would handle any editing i needed to do plus school work with no issues ..
  7. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007
    Both Said Pooh

    On my desk I have a 24" iMac with a second monitor for video editing. Directly behind me is my 13" macbook Pro. I tend to use it for e-mail, extra web, and what not, especially while the editing machine is encoding, or uploading. I then network the machines so files can be accessed from either machine.

    Then when I need the Macbook, I drop it in by backpack and go. And it can even handle the video editing when I need it.

    When the new MacBooks come out, you'll get one. Just set it up so you can use both at once. Also, you plug the printer into one and you can print wirelessly from the other. It allows you to put your printer away from your iMac for more desk space if you want

  8. nporteschaikin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    I like what you're doing now and I may go for it (maybe a 13" Pro instead of an Air when they are refreshed). It's tough spending the money but I'm willing to if it's going to provide the best of both worlds.
  9. nporteschaikin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    I'm with you -- the thing too is that the iMac will last me five years, hopefully, as my workhorse machine plus my media manager (I have a TB of music/movies). I don't think there is a laptop in the world that will last me that long.
  10. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Certainly worth it!

    My 27" i7 iMac, with a second monitor attached, is unbeatable for speed, screen space and ergonomics. It's important to consider ergonomics -- a desktop system is easier on the eyes and hands/arms and potentially on the back as well depending where you use a notebook. A desktop system will last longer and is less likely to be dropped or stolen.

    So I also have a 13" Al MacBook I use for portability (teaching classes and on vacations). It is a secondary system in all respects and I use Chronosync to synchronize all the data files with the iMac.
  11. greenmountain macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2010
    I went to the sort of set-up you describe last year, retiring my high-end laptop and replacing it with a 27in Quad Core i5 (w/ a 2TB hard drive) and a MBA Rev C (this was before last year's MBA refresh). I have never looked back.

    The iMac is great for editing video, watching movies and working on projects requiring a lot of screen real estate. The portability of the MBA can't be beat whether I'm traveling or just want to work in a different part of the house. I find the combination of the two works perfectly for me. Because of the MBA's much smaller hard drive I store my media on the desktop, and have kept the Air fairly uncluttered.

    Of course, everyone's needs are different, but I have found that having a much more powerful desktop means I can make due with a somewhat less powerful laptop.
  12. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    I have a 24" iMac and a 17" MBP and love having "the best of both worlds". The iMac is the primary workhorse machine and used for networking etc. at home. The MBP can be taken places for portable use and does have the power to do anything I need it to do if the need arises.
  13. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007
    Go SSD

    Get an SSD and you might be surprised at how long the notebook will keep going because the speed is AMAZING and the upgrade is easy and costs are dropping..under $200 for the smaller SSD sizes. With file management, I'm able to get away with an 80GB SSD on the notebook with the bulk of the files on the desktop.

  14. jljue macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2011
    Brandon, MS
    I had a 20" iMac 2.4 GHZ C2D for a while and a Core Duo 15" MBP for a couple of months, and I ended up selling both and buying a used 2.4 GHz Unibody MBP recently because I was using the MBP most of the time and didn't see a need to have two machines anymore. The old iMac was still powerful enough with FCS2 for the 1-2 projects that I might have time to do per year these days, so I figured that I'd consolidate. Even though Sugar Sync and Drop Box do help with keeping files synced up, I still feel better about having everything consolidated to 2. If I edited video full-time, it would be a 13" or 15" MBP for everyday use and a Mac Pro for editing instead.
  15. Sodner macrumors 68020


    Jan 12, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    The only thing better than one Apple product is two or more of them.
  16. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008

    I, too, have a 13" Aluminum MB and will soon be adding a 27" iMac for business purposes, is Chronosync my best bet to keep the two computers synchronized, in your opinion. I don't know anything about how to go about this when the need arises.

  17. EazyWeazy3 macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2008
    Desktop and Laptop.

    I have both and don't see a problem having both.
  18. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    It's certainly the easiest I've found, if you don't want to go the DropBox route. I also have a Mac mini server that I use for address book and calendar sync, and I do use DropBox for 1Password sync and transferring small amounts of files.
  19. bassanoclapper macrumors 6502


    Mar 4, 2008
    iPad or MacBook Air depending on your 'on the go' requirements.
  20. kuebby macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2007
    I currently have an iMac and a MacBook but I'm thinking of trading in the MacBook for an iPad, it just doesn't feel necessary to have a laptop for on-the-go when I could just as easily use an iPad and BT keyboard for note-taking. Now that I've used 13" (MB), 15" (MBP), and 20" (iMac) screens though I'd never choose to go back to using just a laptop.
  21. epb87 macrumors member

    May 14, 2006
    I currently have a 21.5" iMac and a G4 15" Powerbook. I find myself still wanting to use the powerbook, even though my iMac is so much more powerful and fast. It's nice to sit in a comfortable place and browse. Also, I had my laptop through school, and I don't know what I would have done without it. I brought it to the library and worked on assignments all over campus. I highly recommend having one of each especially if you are going to school in the near future.

    I am looking into the new 13" MBP's that are rumored to come out this Thursday.
  22. Old Muley macrumors 6502a

    Old Muley

    Jan 6, 2009
    Titletown USA
    More the Merrier

    We have an iMac (early '09 24") and this past Christmas decided to add a MBP (mid '10 13") to the mix. Previously we had an older G4 iBook which was used primarily for media consumption (movies & music) as well as programming my model trains.

    The iMac is used for all of the "heavy lifting" tasks, such as video editing, main music storage, photograph editing and web design stuff. The MBP is more of a web computer but still gets used for some media stuff as well running my model train layout. Like a few others have shared, we keep the MBP "clean", using the iMac for document storage and sensitive things like tax preparation and financial documents.

    Where it really comes in handy to have two computers is with two middle-school students in the home. they always seem to have a homework project that requires either web research or document creation.
  23. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I started with a 15" MBP. Then I switched to an iMac/MBA combo. I completely stopped using the 15".

    If I was only going to have one computer, I would get a MBP. However, I like the iMac/MBA combo much better.

    BTW: My wife did the same thing as me. She also stopped using her MBP once she got her MBA. We do share the single 27" 2TB i7 iMac which works OK... but I think I will eventually buy a new iMac so we can each have our own.

  24. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    Been there, done that. I entered the Mac universe about a year ago with a 27" 3.06 C2D iMac 2009 and a 13" MBP. I do mostly photo editing work. Long story short, I sold bought last November and replaced them with a 15" i5 2.4 and 26" high end NEC monitor. No regrets at all. The new i5 CPU seemed slightly faster than the 3.06 C2D in my personal photoshop-type speed tests and about 50% faster than my 13" 2010 MBP. I use 8Gb ram and have plans to upgrade the hard drive to a bigger, faster 750GB 7200 RPM drive soon.

    It all depends on who you are and what you need. I took a bath selling my first Mac but I have a significantly better monitor (important for photographers and having prints match what I see) and portability with a very useful size screen. 13" was just too small for a photographer but fine for everything else.
  25. iMacThere4Iam macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2009
    Completely agree. The horsepower of the iMac and super portability of the MBA is the best overall combo.

    And if you can convince the little woman that you need another iMac, you're my hero! My GF is giving me a hard time about my pending MBA purchase.

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