Macbook Or Imac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Fredridge, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Fredridge macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Need some advice on making a decision

    Quick background

    I have always been a PC user, a few years ago I was starting a Masters program and wanted to get a new laptop. I almost went with a Mac, but 2 things swayed me to PC. 1. I have a friend who works for MS so I get software cheap and 2. A program I use quite a bit is windows only and Mac alternatives are limited.

    I ended up having a laptop built. While it was a good solid machine I was always disappointed in the form. It was a bit clunky, heavy and the power adapter was huge. But it was a 13" dual core with a dedicated 512 of video.

    anyway, I would still be using it, but I spilled a drink on it and fried it last year, pulled out an old single core desktop and been using that, holding out on buying new as long as possible.

    Here is my situation.

    I use my computer about 75% of the time at my desk. I do mostly basic stuff, from e-mails to word processing. I also do some basic video editing and graphic publications. Plus, I also like to play games

    No matter what I do I need to use windows for a couple of programs not available on Mac. I am guessing between windows and the 2 other programs I would need about 25 gigs of space

    The other 25% of the time is a similar breakdown, but could get away without video editing. But still need windows

    I would also need to have the "my documents" or whatever it is called in OSX to sync if I am using two computers.

    Here are my two thoughts

    Get a new macbook pro when it comes out soon. Maybe something like a higher end 15" and then down the road get a 27" display

    Or get a 27" Imac (when they get updated) and a lower end macbook pro or air now.

    Either way, when I am done I am probably looking at about 3k total.

    I could use the portability now.

    thanks
     
  2. Fredridge thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #2
    yep, that is plan A higher end 15" macbook pro with the 27" display or plan B the iMac with a lower end portable like an air or base 13" pro.

    Definitely need the portability. it is constantly an issue not having it now and I have been suffering through waiting to get something.
     
  3. DesignerGuy macrumors newbie

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    #3
    I was facing a similar dilemma this summer. My MacBook Pro was aging, and I found myself deliberating over whether to replace it or get an iMac. My experience has been similar WilliamPower83 - once I got the iMac, I found that between my iPad and iMac, I very rarely need the MacBook Pro.

    In terms of value all Macs that can do video editing or serious graphic work are > $3K. So if you are doing serious video editing at a desk 75% of the time, why not get a beast that can really handle that, and get something much lighter for occasional work. For the same $3K you'd spend on a MacBook Pro, you'll get a 27" screen, faster processor, way more hard drive space, and likely more RAM with an iMac. Then you can get a 13" MacBook Pro, or Air for light work on the road. In the end this is a little more expensive than MacBook Pro + screen, but you have 2 machines.

    Also, highly recommend SugarSync for syncing files across your devices. Its super fast, and amazing.
     
  4. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

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    #4
    yep, that is plan A higher end 15" macbook pro with the 27" display or plan B the iMac with a lower end portable like an air or base 13" pro.

    That was my thinking about a year ago. I waited and waited for the new MBP's to be released to replace my aging slow poke XP PC. The MBP's were well overdue (it used to be about 8 months and the cycle is now closer to 10 months) so I went with Plan B, 27" iMac and 13" MBP. For me personally, this was a mistake and in Nov I sold both and went with my Plan A and got the 15" MBP and a much better external monitor - zero regrets and I just wish I did this in the beginning.

    With the new MBP's expected tomorrow that decision will be easier. It is much easier to maintain one computer and 15" beats 13" but 13" is not bad but 15" is much more powerful. That is the key to having only one computer - is it powerful enough to do what you want and then some. The iX CPU's were much better than the C2D and with 8GB of RAM only about $100 my MBP flies. Of course there are strong arguments for both plans so it depends on the needs for the guy using it, you :D
     
  5. Fredridge thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    I can do most of the stuff now on this old HP 3.6mghz single core, except play games (Im stuck playing AOEII and not well) or do any kind of video.

    So I am guessing that a pro 15 with dedicated graphics would handle all my needs, I would definitely need a bigger screen. My old laptop would do everything I needed, but it is always nice to have more power
     
  6. vincenz macrumors 601

    vincenz

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    #6
    Go with the iMac + MacBook air since your budget allows for it. I wouldn't do the MacBook + display.

    I only have that combo myself because it's too late for me to change it without spending lots of extra money. Even if I sold my old ones.
     
  7. Fredridge thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    ok, let's see what the new pro's look like.

    right now I am leaning towards the new 13" basic macbook and then get an imac when they update
     
  8. Jswoosh macrumors member

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    #8
    Haha yeah those are the options that I'm looking at too. I currently have an 07 MBP that runs fine for basic stuff but when I use Adobe products it tends to lag out. I've convinced my self to buy the next Imac and keep my MBP for now and then maybe buy a MBA in the future when my computer is dead.
     
  9. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #9
    From a cost-for-performance perspective, a higher-end MacBook Pro plus an external display is nearly the same cost as a higher-end iMac plus a MacBook Air!

    15" Core i7 MacBook Pro: $2199
    27" Apple Cinema Display: $999
    (Or cheaper non-Apple, but still quite good display for $500)
    Total: $2700-$3200

    Base MacBook Air: $999
    27" quad-core iMac: $1999
    Total: $3000

    So compared to the Apple display, you're saving $200, or compared to a cheaper display, spending $300, to get an ultra-light computer to go plus a much more powerful computer at the desk.

    And, when the iMac is obsolete, you can always use it as a second display for whatever you replace it with. (And continue to use its processing power for other things, like acting as a render system, Virtual Machine host, whatever.)
     
  10. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Looks like the new MBP's may have significant processor upgrades like quad core in the 15 and 17" and i5 in the 13". We should know within an hour if the latest leak is true as the apple store is down for updates :D
     
  11. Fredridge thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    well, with today's upgrades it looks like it will be a 15" with the i7 and 1g video card.

    I will probably get the 500gig 7200rpm drive, unless there is a reason to go with a slower drive.

    Also, which screen do you go with? and does 8g of ram really make that much of a difference?
     
  12. Vantage Point, Feb 24, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2011

    Vantage Point macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Regarding the hard drive, the 7200rpm upgrade costs $50. Consider that you can buy a Hitachi Travelstar 500Gb 7200 (best because it is virtually silent) for about $62 on Amazon. Why not get that and use the stock drive as a backup since it will cost about the same but you get two for one. Waiting will bring the price down more. Hitachi already has a 750GB drive for about $95 and the 7200rpm version is due out soon - I'm waiting for that one.

    Remember, upgrading RAM and the hard drive is both very easy, their are videos, and does not violate the warranty.

    As for memory, depending on what you plan to do 8GB can make a big difference. I often go well over 4GB on my 15" - see screen shot below.. However, I would also buy just the 4Gb and then upgrade the RAM yourself. It will cost about have the price and you can sell the original RAM. That's what I did with mine. I bought 8GB for about $125 and sold my 4Gb for $40.

    As for the screen that is up to you. I don't like high res screen myself as they are hard on my eyes. I use my 15" with a external - see signature.

    One last point, assuming you get this without the BTO upgrades, you might find that you can save on the taxes (enough to upgrade the ram for free) by buying form a place like Amazon or B&H Photo, both places are also known to sell for a little bit less. I got mine from Amazon for $125 less than list plus no tax. B&H has just discounted the 2010 base 15" to only $1,549 which is a great deal
     

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  13. Fredridge thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Vantage, thanks for the detailed post.

    I did not know you could do that without impacting the warranty. I have a decent technical knowledge so if it's easy with directions I should be able to handle it.

    Maybe even an SSD would be nice - 500gig would be more than enough as an video editing would most likely be done in my office and I have plenty of storage there

    Anything I should know about running windows on it?

    even though I am an old guy I get the student discount and my school sells VMware fusion for $38 so I figured I would use that.

    I was also thinking of skipping the mac version of MS office and just completely using the windows version because I use publisher a lot too, bought the mac version in anticipation without knowing it didn't have publisher.
     
  14. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #14
    So you use a laptop mostly at your desk, but would like portability.

    New MacBook Pro should work.
     
  15. Fredridge thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Yep - I am the boss, I have a somewhat flexible schedule. I prefer to work in the office most of the time - if I am putting in an 8-10 hour day, there is a good chance 6-7 of those hours will be at my desk.

    I regularly take home work with me. Rather than working late in my office. I go home, hang out with my wife, do stuff and then work after she goes to bed.

     
  16. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #16
    My almost 4 year old MBP moves with me almost every day. Works great. Still more responsive than much more recent pc laptops.

    A good bag helps. And Apple power adapter is much easier to pack than pc power brick.
     
  17. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

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    #17
    Maybe even an SSD would be nice - 500gig would be more than enough as an video editing would most likely be done in my office and I have plenty of storage there

    A 500Gig SSD is very expensive, about 20x the price of a 500GB 7200 rpm hard drive.

    Anything I should know about running windows on it? even though I am an old guy I get the student discount and my school sells VMware fusion for $38 so I figured I would use that.

    I'm not as young as springtime myself and well past the half way point ;) I moved from Windows last year but did a clean break so I am not an expert but B&H Photo offers Parallels 6 for free on most of their MBP's

    I was also thinking of skipping the mac version of MS office and just completely using the windows version because I use publisher a lot too, bought the mac version in anticipation without knowing it didn't have publisher.

    When I made the move I tested the trial version of iWorks and loved. So I bought it - iWorks is Apples MS Office but at half the price, it includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote and each can open their MS counterparts and save in the MS format. I use Pages all the time and Keynote. You can not buy them a la carte from the App store for about $20 each.
     
  18. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #18
    heh. Yup. The updates make the choice a lot easier. (Once both the iMac and Air get updated, that pair might end up better, but right now, the MBP wins.)
     
  19. Fredridge thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #19
    Vantage - when I configure the machine there is no extra charge for the 500gig 7200 rpm drive(edu store). Also , the SSD and 500gig were different thoughts, I could definitely go smaller. Probably as low as 256 if it meant great speed.

    Also, should I get iwork or just wait until the '11 comes out? If it works out and is interchangeable with Office I could eventually switch our whole office to it.

    I have been operating under the assumption the applecare is a must, is that correct?

    I think I am there, just have to decide on a screen, but apparently I have 14 days to return it if I don't like it, so might not worry as much
     
  20. Fredridge thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #20
    just put it all together and it is $2500 with tax and applecare - not much left for a monitor:(
     

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  21. Ecelle macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Same dillemma here

    I have the same issue. I start online art school on monday and was looking at making a purchase today for a new iMac. I dont need portability becuase i'm doing all of my school work at home, and my current windowns notebook stays home and never leaves anyway.

    I've been on the fence about either the 27" iMac i7 or a 15" Macbook pro i7 for the last month but chose to go iMac becuase I didnt need portability and I couldnt wait for the macbook pro refresh. Low and behold when I go to the Apple store today it winds up being SAME exact day the refresh comes out.After alot of thinking I still went with the iMac but now im doubting my decision.

    I spent $2198.00 for the iMac with the apple care, and no tax becuase I drove to Delware to buy it. I have 14 days to change my mind, as the MBP is only $40.00 more.Spec wise the iMac is still more powerful(so I think Im not as comp savy as some of you mac vets) but lacks the new thunderbolt port.

    On the otherhand, I do have an awesome 27" screen versus the 15" screen, and atm can not afford to purchase a external display. I think Ill need the screen real estate for what im doing, but I just need some reassurance that I didnt make a foolish decision, or if I didnt I would like to know why, so that I can exchange my computer within the 14 day window. FML lol(also sorry for the novel of a post but Im really doubting my decision)
     
  22. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Vantage - when I configure the machine there is no extra charge for the 500gig 7200 rpm drive(edu store). Also , the SSD and 500gig were different thoughts, I could definitely go smaller. Probably as low as 256 if it meant great speed.

    I'd go with the 500g 7200RPM if there is no extra charge - it will also be covered under warranty. As for the SSD, that is not a guarantee of better speed across the board - just faster read/write times. Sure, the system will boot much faster and application will load quicker - I don't care if I can open Photoshop in 6 seconds or 2 seconds. I do photo editing with Photoshop. The time for heavy processing is based on the CPU and the amount of RAM - the latest version is 64-bit Photoshop which lifts the RAM restriction form 3 to whatever you have. Once the process requires more RAM then is available the software uses the hard drive as a scratch disk. SSD's make for very fast scratch disks but only make a difference once the RAM is used up which.

    The other advantage of SSD is consuming slightly less power and safer to use if your are moving around (you don't want to bang your computer while it is running as it has moving parts but not with an SSD). Apple SSD's are known to be inferior and can slow down over time unlike other brands like OWC. The question becomes speed vs storage since SSD's are currently extremely expensive. Perhaps it is best to wait for the prices to drop and upgrade later.

    Also, should I get iwork or just wait until the '11 comes out? If it works out and is interchangeable with Office I could eventually switch our whole office to it.

    My advice is to do the 30 day free trial (fully functional) and then decide as that will buy you time. Download the trial version when you think you will start using it so you buy yourself more time - and find the instruction videos on Apples site to help. The app store lets you buy the software a la carte now. I can't predict if iWorks 11 will be out in 30 days or 200 days. Last year I went through this waiting for iWorks 10 and that never happened but I loved 09 after a week of using the trial version and bought the a disk on ebay for about $40 so no complaints.

    I have been operating under the assumption the applecare is a must, is that correct?

    It depends on who you ask. The good news is 1) you can wait for up to a year to purchase it. 2) you can buy AC for MBP for about $100 less (the same price as your discounted price in your Cart)from trusted sites like B&H Photo instead of Apple. My MBP is 3 months old and I haven't decided you buy it yet but I did buy it after I bought a 27" refurb iMac - it was only about $120 from B&H so it was a no-brainer at that price.

    I think I am there, just have to decide on a screen, but apparently I have 14 days to return it if I don't like it, so might not worry as much

    14 days plus a restock fee!!! Go to apple store if you have one and see for yourself. There are strong opinions on this so it depends. I hate HD screens and have no problem at all with my regular 15" plus I use an external monitor as needed
     
  23. Vantage Point, Feb 25, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011

    Vantage Point macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Are you sure you want the higher 15" model - the new benchmarks are out and the base model is insanely fast. It may run a bit hotter with slightly less battery life but that may be irrelevant for you. With 4 cores it smokes the 2010 which smoked the 2009. The savings would be enough to get a nice IPS monitor like this one. You will need a Mini-display to DVI or VGA adapter for an external monitor - about $30 from Apple and can be added to your cart should you go that way
     
  24. Fredridge thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #24
    to be honest with you, I could probably get away with the basic 13", but my concern is the graphics power and wanting to edit video.

    If I would be sure it would handle it I would just get a 13" because I prefer the smaller size.

    other than video and games I can't imagine it would have trouble doing anything else I wanted from the windows stuff to graphics or anything else

     

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