MacBook or iMac - Need Help Please - New to Mac's

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MattAKramer, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. MattAKramer macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2008
    Well I decided to make the switch and I'm getting a mac. This is going to be lengthy so I apologize, but I want to make sure I make the right decision.

    Long story short, my last computer from best buy was a lemon so I exchanged it for a MacBook. It is arriving today. I called the Mac store near me and they said if I don't open it have the option of exchanging it for an iMac.

    I am no longer in college so I don't need something to take to class anymore, but I do like the ability to move it around the house, take on vacation, etc.

    I would say 90 percent of the time I will be using it at a desk, but for the other 10 I'm not sure if I want to limit myself. For the same price, 1499, I could do an even exchange on the black macbook I'm getting today and get the iMac. I liked the 20 inch screen of the iMac, larger hard drive, and more USB ports.

    Do you guys think there is a big speed difference between 2.2ghz and 2.4ghz with the same amount of ram? I don't play games, except for stupid online flash games. Are there any other advantages to iMac over Macbook?

    I also was thinking I coud just buy an extrernal display and wireless keyboard for the macbook and then I would have best of both worlds, but an iMac would be cheaper than doing that plus it would look cleaner.

    Also, I plan on using this mostly for basic web browsing, music, home video editing, and personal photo editing (I have photoshop for PC).

    What do you all think? Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. pscoble macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2006
    Well idk if it would be a huge difference performance wise but you might be able to notice some kind of bump and if it is going to be on your desk for most of it life I would personally get the iMac for the reason's you stated. I love mine..even more then my MacBook Pro.
  3. MattAKramer thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2008
    Any other advise? I know I am being impatient but I really need to make a decision today/tomorrow at the latest.

    Any advise at all is appreciated.
  4. Neutral Gamer macrumors 6502a

    Neutral Gamer

    If you put a 7200rpm hard disk drive into the MacBook (which is supposed to be pretty easy on the MacBook) and get yourself an external monitor, keyboard and mouse, then you'll have everything you need for a desktop AND portable with performance pretty close to the iMac. You can upgrade up to 4GB on the MacBook if required in the future and you can always get a USB hub if you need more ports.

    If you downgrade from the black MacBook to the white one then you could spend more money on accessories such as an external disk for backup or software or even a nicer looking (and more expensive) Apple Cinema Display!

    Basically when you've finished working in your home office / study or whatever and want to go down and watch some TV in the lounge or carry on working out in the garden on a summer's day you won't be able to carry the 20" iMac with you but with a MacBook you would. Nothing like surfing the web on a couch while watching TV ... :cool:
  5. BlueZombie macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2008
    Your situation is very similar to what mine was. I had a PC laptop before and it sat on a desk at home for about 95% of the time that I had it. Portability is nice, but if you only need to take it out of your house a few times a year, it's not worth it. I am now typing this on my new iMac. I considered getting a MBP, but I saved a hefty chunk of change by getting the iMac and i'm so happy I decided on it. Also, look into buying from the Apple Refurb store as you'll save a good deal there. I went for the 24" 2.4 GHz Aluminum one and it handles everything I need, including video editing & graphic design programs. Bigger screen, better overall performance, and price difference were all factors I took into consideration between the MBP & iMac. Between the regular MB & iMac...go with the iMac! :D I'm happy I did.
  6. MattAKramer thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2008
    The refurb store is not really an option I'd say for me since I got the black macbook for free on the exchange from Best Buy. The mac store said I could do an in store exchange as long as it wasn't opened though.

    I'm really torn 50/50. Part of me says just get the iMac with bigger screen, pay nothing, lose portability. Then part of me says to get the macbook, buy an external monitor if the small screen bothers me, and upgrade hard drive later if necessary, costs more, but more options. Plus I don't really like glossy look on lcd screen for iMac, seems to eliminate purpose of having an LCD, but it does look nice and would not add cost.

    Any other ideas?
  7. Canadian Bacon macrumors regular

    Nov 27, 2007
    On the Baltic Sea
    I know how you feel.

    To make a long story short, it sounds like you really want an iMac, and I totally feel for you - I feel the same way. Look at it this way, if you get an iMac now when you don't really need the portability, you could always invest in a Macbook a year from now when you decide you really need the portability. Imagine what Macbooks will be available at the beginning of 2009 - they're only going to get better, faster, lighter and will all have LED backlit screens by then.

    Go iMac, enjoy it and don't look back. With Apple you can only look forwards, because they're simply faster than their customers are.
  8. MattAKramer thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2008
    AHHHH this is hard!! I was just thinking maybe I should just get a monitor and keyboard that way I can have both a big screen and portability. Crap.

    Are there any other benefits to iMac other than bigger HD, more USB ports, larger screen, 2.4 over 2.2(not sure that is even noticeable, maybe?)??
  9. Canadian Bacon macrumors regular

    Nov 27, 2007
    On the Baltic Sea

    Sorry... don't mean to torture you. I have to admit I've been fence-sitting on this for ages myself, so I DO really know how you feel.

    The iMacs have nice built-in speakers - the speakers on the Macbook aren't loud enough. You can barely hear them in the store, especially compared to the MBPros for instance.

    But the thing for me right now with the Macbooks is that Apple is converting its laptop line to multitouch trackpads, and backlit LEDs, and making them lighter, so I kind of think that I'd like to have that technology in six months, whereas what are they conceivably going to do to the iMac in that time... aside from a Bluray option I can't think of many compelling changes off the top of my head.

    I REALLY hope you can make the right decision for you.
  10. MattAKramer thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2008
    Thanks I know what you mean.

    I won't have the money/need for a lighter laptop so if I get an iMac now I won't be buying a new laptop for at least 3 years so I need to think of what will the best option for me for the next 3 years.

    Macbook I can use for portability and then expand later, at a cost of course, to have bigger hard drive if necessary and larger external monitor.

    iMac is cheaper considering it has monitor built in, looks nice, and would be less clutter on desk, but no way to make it portable.

    Speaker's won't matter too much because I have logitech z5500s and could always get another set if needed.
  11. foidulus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2007
    If you game at all, get an iMac, although the integrated graphics chip in the macbook isn't terrible, an iMac will still blow it out of the water in gaming.

    Otherwise, there aren't a whole ton of advantages to the iMac. You can put bigger hard drives in there, but with external HDs being so cheap, not a huge reason to need that. You get a bigger screen, but you can now get a 24" LCD for less than $400. USB ports can be increased with hubs.

    So again, unless you game(and the iMacs gaming performance isn't all that great anyway) I would go for the macbook.


    A proud macbook owner(with 4 gigs and a 7200 rpm drive, both relatively easy to install)
  12. Canadian Bacon macrumors regular

    Nov 27, 2007
    On the Baltic Sea

    Sounds like you should stick with the Macbook then. People do say they're blazing fast, so you should be satisfied in that respect.

    What I forgot to mention was that I have an aversion to laptops loaded up with messy cables and such. I've been spending time on Flickr looking at people's Mac setups to see how real Macusers work. The pictures that got my heart beating faster were the combination of iMac and Macbook on the same desk..., but there is a substantial money factor involved. In contrast, (most of) the pics of macbooks hooked up to external monitors, speakers, mice and keyboards seemed to tip the footprint of the computer over my personal minimalist limit.

    Having said that, however, you do admittedly get the best of both worlds with a Macbook and external monitor.
  13. MattAKramer thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2008
    I don't game but I will be doing video editing from my mini-dvd camcorder using iLife. Will the graphics card make a difference at that point from the iMac veruss the macbook?
  14. BlueZombie macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2008
    It's all up to you. I don't think anyone is going to say something that's going to make you decide one way or the other. If all else fails, go to the apple store that you mentioned and check out the iMac & MB in person. Bring your MB with you and keep it in your trunk just in case you decide to swap it. I know that I am way happier with my iMac than I was with my PC laptop, not just because it's a Mac either. I do use my iMac for a lot of home-based business work (office, photoshop, e-mail, web, etc), so it's good that I can't move it around like a laptop or I would never get anything done. Good luck and i'm sure you'll be happy with whatever decision you make! :apple:
  15. MattAKramer thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2008
    Went with the MacBook

    So I decided to keep the macbook. After having a laptop for 4 years I think I'd be really upset not having mobility. Plus I decided that down the road I'll get a larger external monitor. I guess we'll see how much uncle sam wants to give back to me first.

    Thanks for all the input and advice. This thing is so cool, just going to take a few days to get used to everything. I was/am pretty much a PC guru, havn't used a mac since I was in Kindergarden so this will be fun!
  16. Neutral Gamer macrumors 6502a

    Neutral Gamer

    Glad you went for the sensible decision; now you'll have portability as well as the feel and speed of a desktop when you decide to get your external monitor. As you haven't used a Mac for so long I'm sure you'll have plenty of fun checking out all the new features of Leopard as well as previous versions of Mac OS that you missed out on.

    Enjoy :)
  17. Mr. Mustard macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2007
    since you've recieved you macbook stay close to this site. there is a ton of useful information constantly being updated and will help make the trasition much easier, the new leopard tips and tricks is a good place to start. enjoi.

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