Macbook & iMac or Macbook Pro & Monitor?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by grainhog, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. grainhog, Apr 8, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2011

    grainhog macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2011

    I am trying to decide between purchasing a Macbook and an iMac, or a Macbook Pro with a Monitor. I think both options are about equal in cost (depending on monitor) and within my budget of about $2,500.

    I am a professional cameraman who now wants the ability to edit my own video (my work is always edited by others). I am also an amateur photographer looking to turn that trade into professional work as well. And -- I write screenplays and have a ton of music. I look at these computer purchases as investments, and I want to make the right decision for my professional needs.

    My initial thoughts:

    Macbook solely for writing/music/internet. I travel a lot and this would be my take-everywhere computer. I feel this would also be suitable for light photo management while in the field.

    iMac solely for photo and video editing (commercials, music videos, shorts).

    I really love the idea of having two computers, and keeping my writing and music separate from my photos and video. Plus, with all my traveling, two computers is a critical advantage.

    Does this make sense? Or should I go with the Macbook Pro and Monitor?

    I think it'd be a no brainer except the iMac's glossy screen worries me a bit for photo/video editing. Is this a big problem? Maybe a solution would be to buy the two computers and then a 2nd monitor down the road?

    I would love to hear your takes on this. I currently own an older Macbook which I'm in love with but it's four years old and about to die on me for good.



    Specs for what I have been thinking:

    13" MACBOOK = $999

    2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB DDR3 memory
    250GB hard drive1
    8x double-layer SuperDrive
    NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics
    Built-in 7-hour battery2
    Polycarbonate unibody enclosure


    21.5" iMAC = $1,399

    3.06GHz Intel Core i3
    8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    500GB Serial ATA Drive
    ATI Radeon HD 4670 256MB GDDR3 SDRAM
    8x double-layer SuperDrive


    13" Macbook Pro = $1,699
    2.7GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7
    8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm



    I'd like to pay around $700 or less.
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008

    If you can stretch your budget by few hundred $, that is what I would get. Personally, I have 24" iMac and 13" MBA and I really like this combo. Of course, 27" iMac would be even better. 27" iMac also has video input so you can connect your laptop to it if needed.

    You said you travel a lot and I'm sure you would appreciate the extra lightness of the MBA. In the end, it's only 100$ more than the retail MacBook and MBA even has a 128GB SSD! Of course, I'm assuming you don't need lots of storage while on the go.
  3. grainhog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2011
    thanks for the response.

    i haven't thought of purchasing a refurbished mac. i'm assuming it's legit as you're recommending it, but is it really worth it? wouldn't the life of the computer be shorter? (forgive me, don't know much about computers).

    i'd love the macbook air but i don't think 128 gigs will be enough to support my music collection as it continues to grow. i'll look into it again, though.
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004

    Refurbished is fine. You get the same warranty and you are less likely to have problems. New Macs simply roll off the assembly line to you while the refurbished Macs had the once over by a certified technician.
  5. xdarkdragonx01 macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2008
  6. musique macrumors regular


    Apr 10, 2009
    Refurb concerns

    Just to reassure you another time, I've purchased several refurbs from Apple (Mac Mini PPC, Time Capsule, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini Server).

    All, including the PPC Mac Mini (now 6 years of age), are still working just fine. In addition, refurbs qualify for Apple Care if you decide to purchase it, just like new merchandise.

    Regarding your two purchasing options it appears you've brought up most of the pros and cons of each. One additional thing to consider is a refurb Mac Pro for video editing. Transcoding video is CPU intensive. Though FCP itself doesn't need to do it while you're editing, getting your video files in and out of FCP (as well as using Motion et al.) are time consuming tasks. The faster the CPU the better.

    Also, as you can read on the site, there are rumors about the update to FCS being introduced next week. Maybe it would pay to hold off on any decision until you see if there is an announcement.

    Good luck.
  7. opera57 macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    If you were to go for the MacBook and iMac route, I would definitely suggest at looking at the refurb MBP or MacBook air... Mainly due to the fact the aluminium MacBooks are quite a lot more durable than the plastic White MacBooks and don't mark or wear as easily. [​IMG]
  8. thepowerofnone macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2011
    might be worth waiting on the iMac?

    at present the macbook pros outpace the low end imacs so the MBP + monitor idea is not so stupid right now, but obviously apple are going to renew the imac line some time soon (am I right in saying June is the expected release?) which should see it get some very nice speed upgrades. I suppose the same would be true of the MB some time...

    If I were you I would wait for either the MB or iMac to get renewed then buy it, then wait for the other one so see its renewal and get it too. If you edit video having the Thunderbolt port might end up extending the useful life of your computers considerably.
  9. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    2.2ghz 15" MacBook Pro. With a Hi-Res Antiglare display because of the photo and video editing. This macbook pro outpaces the the imacs by far, i think even the low end quad cores. Another benefit is the Thunderbolt port, little "future proof" for external drives once they start to hit the market in masses :)

    Leaves you 150 for a screen, sadly that probs won be enough :( i did however get a 24" Full HD BenQ LED screen for 165 bucks, i use that for photo editing, it pretty darn good :)

    if you can stretch you budget by like 150 bucks (approx 70 more for a "better" screen, or if you cant find cheaper enough ones), and also get the 8gb RAM from OWC ($80) :)

    This recommendation is if you need the setup before August/September, and therefor cant wait for imac refresh like others have recommended.
  10. grainhog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2011
    i appreciate everyone's responses.

    i've decided the macbook air is not an option. compared to the macbook -- it is more expensive and has less hd space and no internal drive. not worth the 2lbs. lighter weight.

    since my 4+ yr old macbook is officially dead, i have to jump start this process. i will buy a new macbook today and then, hopefully soon, a refurbished imac unless the new ones prove to be worthier. the mac pros are out of the question for me.

    i'm still worried buying a macbook pro + monitor is the way to go, but ultimately having 2 separate computers with separate uses is important to me.

    thanks for the help!

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