Macbook or iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by XboxEvolved, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. XboxEvolved macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2004
    With the forthcoming announcement of a iMac (assuming it will have a quad-core) I am divided about getting a iMac for $1200-1500, or getting a $1600 Macbook (if I got the Macbook I would get the one with the illuminated keyboard that was some bullcrap the lowend has no backlit keyboard).

    The fact that the price of the iMac is much less, with a big screen, and more powerful is attractive, especially because I am very frugal, and my current Mac is well..really old. Also, I would finally be able to say "hey I got a Mac that isn't horribly outdated, and in fact just got updated like a month ago"

    However, the Macbook is compact, I can change a new desk into a painting/art/computer desk, and I can move about with it, etc. The way I see it, there isn't one program I could use that would make the thing chug, and etiher a Macbook or an iMac would last me a good 5+ years with fully upgraded RAM.

    The programs I use are: Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, iWorks, all of iLife, encoding between different video codecs, Adobe Premiere, various FTP clients and web browsers (dont know if that crap matters), and on Firefox and such I like to use lots of different add-ons. I am also interested in getting into 3D programs since I probably will get a WACOM tablet come tax season also.

    So what would you guys suggest?
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Well it comes down to how much do you really need the portability. If you find that having a mobile computer that is less powerful would be the best bet, then go for it. But if you would like more power then go for the iMac. I've also used laptops with bigger monitors as well, so you can go that route too. I think that portability would be more of a novelty to you from what you described and you should go for the iMac.
  3. Killyp macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    Also bear in mind, laptops simply don't last as long as desktops, and aren't as reliable.

    Having lived with a MacBook, two MacBook Pros, an original iMac and the current iMac I'm sat in front of, I would say go for the iMac, and get the lower-end MacBook later on. Unless you're looking at doing 'pro stuff' on the move, spending more money on a laptop seems a little pointless, especially when you've got an iMac at home which will last you for much, much longer.
  4. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    You will always get more with a desktop.

    Desktops tend to last longer since they aren't moved as much.

    The benefit of a laptop is portability. So if that is important to you, then there really is no choice.

    Note, you can move the iMac fairly easily with a convenient carrying case. But the iMac was not intended to be moved as such, so there is a higher probability of damaging the iMac.
  5. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    ... get the iMac and a net-book for moving around with - you'd still come out $$ in the bank...
  6. XboxEvolved thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2004
    Yeah I figured I would probably just end up getting a netbook eventually or buying a cheap Macbook,ibook on Craigslist or eBay..
  7. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    The old rule about a portable computer was that you got half the performance and features for twice the price. This obviously is not the case anymore, hence Apple's selling portables like hotcakes and desktop sales lagging, but desktops are still a better deal comparitively.
  8. numbersyx macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2006
    Definitely a question of whether you need portability. The iMacs are more powerful, come with a bigger screen and a better graphics card. The only thing they can't do is move. If you really need a portable then go with the MB but if you don't the iMac is a no brainer...
  9. gjw4u macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
    If you want mobility, get a MB ($$) or MBP ($$$).
    If you want performance & endurance, get an iMac ($).
  10. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002

    BTW, that rule is not that old. In the early days of laptops, it was even worse than the rule that you stated. :)

    FWIW, while performance is important, I believe that the increase in HD storage for laptops has greatly contributed to laptop growth as well.
  11. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    If you are really frugal then why get the $1600 Macbook OR the iMac when you can have both by getting the Macbook ($1300) + 22-24" LCD ($300). For the same price you get portability AND screen real estate. Plus, as a fellow cheap-o then a big reason why I'm not an iMac fan is because if the computer dies then you're throwing away a perfectly good monitor (and vice versa).

    As for your reasoning to get the $1600 Macbook, the only difference between the two is the speed and the glowing keyboard.

    Speed: If you're coming off a really old mac then you won't notice the difference between 2ghz and 2.4ghz because both will be a huge improvement.

    Keyboard: This is a gimmick. Sure, it's cool but if you can touch type then you don't look at the keyboard anyway. And if you must see a key in pitch blackness then the screen is plenty bright to illuminate the keyboard as well as the rest of the room.

    Good luck, and make sure you think this one through.

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