MacBook Air 11" - Thunderbolt Display or base iMac 21.5?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by McF4DDEN, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. McF4DDEN macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2012
    Phoenix, AZ
    Hi, I recently bought the MacBook Air 11 inch i5 with 4GB of Ram and 128GB SSD. Now, I'm thinking about making a better desktop setup. I am a normal computer user; web surfer, email, iTunes, Netflix. My question is: should I spring out and get the Thunderbolt Display, or buy a base iMac 21.5 inch based on my needs? Is the Thunderbolt Display worth the money, as in in the performance worth the cost? My predicament is that I could get a full computer for just 150 dollars more or so. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!
  2. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    With what you do, you hardly need a second/better computer.

    And yeah, it may be $150 more for another computer, but you're losing 6.5in of screen real estate and taking a giant loss in resolution.

    I'd say, if you can't justify the Thunderbolt display's cost, try going with a 24in 1920x1200 monitor or so. It'd be a lot cheaper and a very viable solution.

    Of course, I'd go for the TBD in a heart beat haha. Trying checking out the refurbs at or maybe some other sites (amazon, macmall, etc). I saw an open-box one at Best Buy for $760 :eek:

    EDIT- Also, the MBA will feel a lot faster in most of what you do than a 21.5in iMac, assuming you don't upgrade the hard drive to an SSD. I often use my MBA more so than my 27in iMac for this reason alone.
  3. wetrix macrumors 6502


    Dec 1, 2006
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I'm a Core i5 4GB 11" MBA user with Thunderbolt Display and I highly recommend the set up. A small, HDD-based iMac will be both slow and annoying to keep in sync with your MBA. The awesome Thunderbolt-based docking more than makes up for the price difference with other monitors - you'll end up with 5 power USB ports available + ethernet!

Share This Page