MacBook Pro > New iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MarkW19, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. MarkW19 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #1
    I've got an early 2008 MBP (2.5GHz C2D/4GB RAM and 7200rpm internal HD), which is getting a bit on the slow/unresponsive side, particularly after upgrading to Lion (Finder/Mail/iCal particularly have lost their snappiness, with random pauses when doing just simple tasks), so it may be time for an upgrade to an iMac, as I've just got a MacBook Air for portability.

    Would you mind giving me your thoughts on the following; I know it's just speculation, but advice from people's experience would be appreciated, to help me make a decision:-

    1. Is the new base 27" iMac likely to remain at the same price point as it is now?
    2. Are the SSD drives likely to be standard on some of the new models, or a cheaper option than they currently are, if not?
    3. I have a 23" Aluminium Apple Cinema Display - I've yet to try a 21.5" iMac (I will this weekend): will the slightly smaller screen be a really noticeable difference? The 27" is nice, but I have a relatively shallow desk, and to be honest the 23" seems perfectly sized for my uses - 27" would be a good bit bigger, and I don't need the additional screen size.
    4. Assuming I don't get the SSD, would I really notice a huge speed difference in day-to-day use? The main things I do are Mail, iCal, Safari, iPhoto, and light use of Adobe InDesign/Illustrator/Photoshop (nothing too intensive or taxing). I occasionally also use Logic and other music apps, but, for comparison, my MacBook Pro handles everything I want with these absolutely fine.

    I'm just wanting some more responsiveness and speed from my computer - apps opening quicker, moving around in e.g. large emails (with attachments) quicker and without the delays I'm currently getting; Photoshop and InDesign more responsive and quicker/more fluid to work with. Is the iMac (without SSD) a good option? I'd love the SSD, but for an extra £400 at present (assuming the new ones are the same price), it's too much for me to pay.

    Any help welcome.
     
  2. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #2
    Apple ha mostly held the prices stable on the base machines while increasing what you get for your money.

    You guess is as good as anyones as to what the base system will include. If anything the price for the SSD options should be less expensive based on general pricing trends.

    The 23" display is 1920x1200 and the 21.5" iMac is 1920×1080, so you would be losing a bit of vertical resolution. For some applications, this could be an issue.

    An iMac with a regular HD will still be noticeably faster than your old MacBook Pro.

    For memory, I would suggest getting the base ram from Apple and buying a 8GB (2 x 4GB) memory kit from a third party to give you a total of 12GB of ram. That's based on today's pricing and system configurations. It doesn't sound like you need 12 GB, but the price difference from a 4GB to a 8GB kit when you buy memory elsewhere is so small, it's a good idea to just do it.
     
  3. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #3
    Thanks for the reply.

    8GB RAM (2x4) seems to be £32 at Crucial, so as you say I may as well just put 12GB in at least (I doubt I'll see any difference from 12<16GB at present). I assume all models (even the base 21.5") are upgradable to 16GB (even though it's not configurable to 16GB on the Apple Store)?

    Judging from eBay, it looks like I could sell my MBP and 23" display and just have about another £200 to pay for a £999 iMac (whatever specs the new one will be); so I hope there's a 128/256GB SSD option on the new ones for a couple of hundred on top of that, which would suit me fine.

    I also think it'll be the 21.5", but I'll have a look at one in person at the weekend before fully deciding.

    My MBP has the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT 512 MB in it - judging from the base 21.5" iMac as it is now (presumably this will be improved with the new models as well), how will the graphics performance differ in e.g. InDesign/Photoshop, and 3D games, from my current MBP?
     
  4. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #4
    16:10 vs 16:9 is the whole display difference. Like you said, same horizontal with an adjusted vertical. These things are always labeled by diagonal measurement which really came from older displays and televisions which varied far less on proportion.

    Photoshop makes use of OpenGL, but it's a rather bleh implementation no matter what card you use. 2d graphics really aren't much to ask of a gpu. One person on here mentioned that the integrated graphics found in the 13" laptops and the minis were an issue with this in terms of lag under Lion. I think that's more of a driver issue than a raw hardware problem though. For gaming neither card is going to be amazing. I would imagine the imac one is faster but I haven't looked at benchmarks. The top 27" does have a significantly faster card. If by some chance you decide to look at that, look at the refurb section. They're often discounted by 15% which is really quite good.
     
  5. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #5
    With Lion and a desktop system, just load up on RAM, start the apps and don't close them (just close the windows- Cmd-W instead of Cmd-Q). Then program start times are immaterial as opening a new window is instantaneous.

    I sleep my iMac when not in use and only reboot every 2-3 weeks when I have to.
     
  6. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #6
    I replaced a 2011 Macbook Pro 17" ( sold it at a substantial loss ) and replace it with the upper end 2011 iMac 27".

    The iMac is faster, naturally and about to become a bit more faster in the near future.

    I had the 17" Macbook Pro for about 9 months and really couldn't adapt to it very well. I liked the larger screen, then on my older 15" MBP but the 17" was not as 'readable' to me as the 15".

    I am happy with my new iMac.
     
  7. burnout8488 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    Endwell, NY
    #7
    If all you want is snappiness, put an SSD in your MBP. I've got a 2006 iMac + SSD with far worse specs than your laptop and it tears through Lion with no problem.

    It sounds like processing power isn't the problem, but the bulk of Lion is requiring more out of your HDD than it can give.

    An SSD will breathe new life into your laptop.
     
  8. classicaliberal macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #8
    switching out an ssd isn't something most people can do.
     
  9. yashi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    #9
    Definitely. When I bought my iMac, I took the SSD out of my old desktop and put it in my 2009 13" MBP. The thing is running like a champ again.

    ----------

    For iMacs, yes. That is definitely not true for MacBook Pros, however. It's only slightly more work than swapping RAM sticks.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1f7wotR_CQ
     
  10. burnout8488 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    Endwell, NY
    #10
    Who ever said anything about the OP's skill level? It takes 30-60 minutes and a screwdriver set, and there are numerous guides on the internet the OP can follow to do it. If you can follow instructions and take your time, installing an SSD is a piece of cake.
     
  11. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #11
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    I do keep most of my programmes open rather than closing, and only reboot when necessary (probably about once a week); but I still have noticed a definite speed and responsiveness drop in Lion (I don't think I have with a previous OS X upgrade). Mail immediately felt a bit laggy and unresponsive, it's lost the snappiness of the previous version, and is a lot less fluid, and takes a while to load big emails/"conversations" etc. The "elastic" scroll animations etc. in the OS are very choppy at times, and everything just feels a lot less smooth. Even text edit feels slow when opening and closing documents. Opening documents in InDesign/Photoshop takes longer than it used to, and I definitely miss the general speed at which I could get around the OS before, switching from (open) app to app, it just isn't there anymore. I've freed up a lot of HD space recently (50GB) which has helped a good bit, but it's still a way off from the general speed of Snow Leopard. I wonder which element would most help these issues in the base 21.5" iMac: the SSD (unlikely to get it if it's still £400), better processor, 12GB RAM, slightly better graphics card?

    I've done hard drive changes before, so should be able to do it in my MacBook Pro pretty easily; though, judging from eBay I'll get £800 for my MBP and 23" monitor, while the new iMac, if it's the base model, will be only £199 more for me at £999. For that difference, I may as well do the swap, as I no longer need the portability due to having the Air? I think perhaps the deciding factor may be how much the SSD option is on the new iMacs, as that may be what will make the biggest difference to me in daily use? Given the choice, I think I'd prefer to upgrade to the SSD if it's around £200-£300 rather than the £400 it's at now; and rather than upgrading to the 27" screen. The 27" would be really nice, but I honestly feel my 23" is big enough, so if I'm only losing a bit of height, I think I could more than live with the 21.5"; so the SSD would be more beneficial I think, if I had to make the choice?
     
  12. mellofello, Feb 20, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012

    mellofello macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    #12
    I honestly regret getting, an imac. If the 27 cinema display was out at the time I would have just gotten one of those, along with a high spec MBP. As was said before upgrading a macbook takes a half an hour, and a torx screwdriver. Upgrading an Imac takes a huge leap of faith, and suction cups.

    If you want to make your macbook more snappy just throw in a SSD, and load up on ram.

    These HDs are on the market now

    http://gizmodo.com/5886057/seagate-...ive-lightning-review-a-taste-of-ssd-for-cheap

    SSD plus spinning platter. Not sure how much they run in GBP but over here they are $175 shipped. They have glowing reviews on Amazon

    Then $45 for 8 gigs of ram

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/8566DDR3S8GP/



    Do a CLEAN install of Lion, and you now have a machine that will probably smoke a modern base model imac. Plus you can just unhook it from the monitor, and continue to work outside, or at the coffee shop.

    My 2010 macbook air is much snappier then my 27 inch imac in many processes. I think just upgrading what you have is the better move.

    Look how close the benchmarks are.

    http://www.primatelabs.ca/geekbench/mac-benchmarks/

    I would gladly lose 7-8% of performance for the upgradability, and portability of the MBP.
     
  13. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #13
    Thanks, I've not seen those SSD/HDD hybrids before, looks interesting!

    The benchmark on that site of my MBP is 3291, and the current base iMac is 7257 (with the new one presumably being even more), which is a 2.2x increase. I'm also able to put up to 16GB RAM into the iMac (vs 4GB in my 2008 MBP, which it already has in it), and the graphics card is a bit better: would just swapping to the hybrid SSD/HDD in my old MBP really make more of a noticeable improvement to overall snappiness/responsiveness/speed than the other advantages of the newer iMac?

    I think I'll wait to see the spec of the new iMacs, and in particular how much the SSD option is. If it's £250 or less ill go for it; if not, I may either go for the hybrid SSD/HDD in my MBP, or get a full 128 SSD and the Optibay to house my current 7200rpm drive. The full SSD will presumably be a better option than the hybrid?
     
  14. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #14
    I keep mulling over this myself. I currently have a 1st gen 27" i7 iMac and a 13" Al MB (just before it became a 13" MacBook Pro). But I've considered the move to a top end 15" MBP (with hard drive since I need the capacity) and a "docking station" 27" thunderbolt display. I never do midlife upgrades except for adding RAM so upgradability isn't a factor.

    The problem always boils down to economics and cost/performance. Using benchmarks of applications and not synthetic benchmarks, the 2.4GHz 15" MBP has the same performance as my 2.5 year old top-end iMac. So overall gain at the desk would be slight. The MBP has twice the performance as my maxed out Al MB. So it's a big gain there.

    Ignoring potential discounts for buying refurbs or education store or the discount I can get using my Discover credit card, and the aftermarket RAM I'd buy, the costs tell a different story:
    15" 2.4GHz highres antiglare display with applecare and thunderbolt display -$3697

    Yipes!

    A purchase of the base 13" MBP and standard high end 27" iMac with Applecare which gives across the board performance improvement over my holdings: $3616. And this gives me a backup computer and a portable that smaller and lighter.

    Anyway, I'm going to stick with what I've got for the time being and probably won't go with the single MBP solution even though it would be convenient.
     
  15. mellofello macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    #15
    For me i consider the 27 inch cinema display a one time purchase. I foresee buying a few MBPs in the time it takes me to go through one display. It would also be nice to just be able to plug in my MBA and work on the large screen. Right now my air is my GFs defacto computer unless im on the road. Whenever I get back it would be nice to have all my files right there instead of having to transfer everything over from the MBA.

    Since the benchmarks are so close it really seams like it is worth a few extra bucks for the flexibility.

    I usually upgrade every time AppleCare runs out so I'm thinking I will dump the iMac, and go for whatever the highest end screen available is. If there is some super high res apple tv, or retina quality cinema display out next year then it will make the decision even easier.

    For the OP upgrading ram, and drive really will give your old machine a new lease on life. The processor really only comes into play in intense apps like photoshop, or handbrake. If you are just casually using the computer it may not be worth it.

    I am fortunate that I get to write off my apple addiction. Otherwise I would probably keep them much longer.
     
  16. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #16
    Thanks guys. I have actually decided to go for the 21.5" iMac, base model.

    I looked into putting an SSD into my MBP, and seeing as the cost of the drives is the same/similar for the MBP and iMac, and an Apple authorised service centre will install an SSD into the iMac for me for £120+£50 for the installation, I've decided to do that. The drive is a Corsair SATA 6: I wonder how this will compare in performance/speed to the stock SSD in e.g. the 2011 MacBook Air?

    Judging from current eBay prices/recent bids and auctions, my MBP will fetch around £450, and the 23" Cinema Display £300-£350, which will only leave around £130 to pay (new iMac from Amazon is £72 cheaper than from Apple).

    For the big improvement in processor speed, RAM (16GB max. rather than 4GB max. in the MBP), larger HDD, better graphics card and presumably improved display with it being LED/IPS, I think that's very much worth it? I don't need the portability of the MBP anymore as I have the Air, so I'd prefer to have a more powerful desktop computer for the same money as the current setup I have.

    I went back and forth on the 27 vs 21.5, but using my current 23", I honestly can't see me getting much extra benefit from the larger display, as the 23" has enough horizontal space for everything I want to do (inc. Logic), so losing a bit of height (from the 23" to the 21.5") won't make much of a difference to me I don't think. I'll save the extra money and put the SSD in the 21.5, and max it out to 16GB RAM, which will make much more of a day-to-day difference than the larger screen to me I think. My desk is relatively shallow, so the 27" may even have been a bit too big in the position it would have had to be in, though it would have been nice to have!
     

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