Macbook Pro OR iMac + Air ??

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by JR1993, Jun 19, 2011.


Which combination?

  1. Macbook Pro

    30 vote(s)
  2. iMac + Macbook Air

    31 vote(s)
  1. JR1993, Jun 19, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011

    JR1993 macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2011
    Ok, so im going to study maths at university in the uk next year. Up until now I was going to buy the Macbook Pro 2.2GHz with a 128gb SSD and AG screen. However, I just had an idea that for a little bit less money, I could instead buy the base iMac and a macbook air.

    I would use the iMac whilst doing work in my room. The macbook air would be used while around campus and back home for holidays, although in summer when I move back home I would have the iMac at home.

    So, I will add a poll, and the combinations are:

    #1: Macbook Pro, 15", 2.2GHz i7, Hi-res AG, 4GB, 128GB SSD

    #2: iMac 21.5", 2.5GHz i5, 500GB HDD
    Macbook Air, 13", 1.86GHz C2D, 2GB, 128GB SSD

    EDIT: A little list of what I use the computer for:
    - Web browsing
    - Word documents
    - Basic programming (will start to learn over summer)
    - Very light gaming (Counter strike source and browser games) (I intend to do as little as possible at uni)
    - Use MATLAB. This will be done at home, or if its not done at home, I will have university computers available.

    I think thats it, if I think of anything else I will add.
  2. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    You really just need to answer one question....

    Do you need the power on the go (in a portable machine)? If you do, get the mbp and an external monitor so that you can always have a powerful machine with you and use a large monitor when you are at your desk.

    If you are ok with having the powerhorse at home and an ultraportable for the road, then the iMac/MBA combo will save you some money.

    Personally, if the new Airs have what I'm looking for (namely backlit keyboards, option for more than 4gb ram) then I will be switching from a MBP to an Air/iMac combo.

    (I am voting for the Air/iMac, but with the caveat that you should wait until the Airs are refreshed imo)
  3. JR1993 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2011
    Thanks for that reply. I have to wait until I am accepted at uni, which is hopefully 18th August, so I have a while to wait and I hope by that time the new MBA is out.

    I will make a little list in the original post of what I will need to do.
  4. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    Yes, the refresh should be out by Lions release (July), maybe sooner so at this point I'd say it's worth the wait to get SNB instead of C2D.

    For your needs at a uni, the mba will be plenty fast and you will have your iMac if you need to do heavy work at home. There are not many fields or instances where you need a very powerful machine on the road (especially while still at school). Also, for most tasks, unless you are a power user who uses a lot of the CPU, the mba will seem faster than a macbook pro because of the SSD.
  5. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    It depends on how you use it.

    1) I take notes in class using pencil and paper (I learn better this way).

    2) I read on my iPad in between classes (I digitized all my books).

    3) I scan my notes into PDF form using scansnap when I get home, and throw them away (paperless lifestyle). Someone suggested I use Livescribe, but I am not sold on that expensive pen yet.

    4) I type up my notes later, if needed, but usually just stick the PDFs into Evernote. I review them on the iPad in between classes.

    Most of the time I don't bother to bring my computer to school. I'd recommend leaving it at home, because it's just a distraction from the whole point of being on campus (input--reading, listening, and discussing).

    So, I'd just get one computer for your room. I think the MBA or MBP would be fine.
  6. JR1993 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2011
    With the MBP I would get the 128GB SSD, but I see what you are saying.

    Im doing maths at uni. However im not sure exactally what I will be doing. If the iMac cant do it, then the MBP probably couldnt. And in that case, I would use uni computers in both instances.
  7. JR1993 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2011
    Doing maths, I imagine typing up notes would be a nightmare so I would use pen and paper. When I am using my computer as a portable one, I image I would be doing nothing intense, so the MBA would be fine. However at home I would want to do light gaming on a bigger screen, hence MBP or iMac.
  8. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    exactly, but I don't think you will run into any tasks that the new iMac's can't handle. They have VERY fast processors in them, any task that couldn't be completed on a new iMac would probably require a dedicated workstation that would cost thousands of dollars.... I don't think your uni is going to expect students to be purchasing the high end mac pros or similar...
  9. Surfing@Blacks macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2007
    Can't go wrong with either decisions. Like others have stated, if you need power on the go then you should get the MBP no questions ask. If you don't... you know what to do haha
  10. JR1993 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2011
    Yeah. However, I like both ideas so much, i dont know which to choose! I think they would both work.
  11. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I'd get the 15" MBP. It is portable if you need it (I do a lot of work at coffee shops). It has a large display, but you could always get an external monitor if it's not enough for you. And, it ought to have plenty of power. It seems like the safest bet. But, a refreshed MBA (depending on what that is) + external monitor at home seems like a good idea as well. The iMac is great, but I would at least want the option of portability.
  12. Surfing@Blacks macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2007
    I kind of like having 1 machine.. I am OCD in simplicity. That is why I choose to have a MBP, but DAM those MBA's are sexy. I just would hate bringing my imac back and forth from school or to apple store for some check ups.

    Dude flip a coin and go with whatever you hope it lands on while the coin is in mid air... that is my only advice haha.

    Good luck in your college career!
  13. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    i would easily go for imac + mba. i mean, it just seems to fit you better. the mba is much more portable than a 15'' mbp so that will be good for you when traveling and moving around campus. plus, the imac will be powerful enough to handle quite a bit with that 2.5ghz i5, so you won't be lacking access to power if you don't go with the mbp, your power just won't be portable. however, your needs don't seem to require power at all.
  14. JR1993 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2011
    A good point made by my dad was about when coming home for holidays, I would leave the imac at the uni for a few weeks. It would depend on the insurance that is included with the accomodation. If it was covered on a like for like basis, that would be fine because if it was stolen then it would be fine.

    I am liking the imac +mba idea a lot right now, but ive only considered it for the last 2 hours
  15. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    in the states, at least, the insurance plans covering accidents and theft are quite reasonable, and i would definitely get one. of course, nothing will probably happen, but the peace of mind is worth it. i'd get a cable lock for whatever you purchase if you plan on living in a dorm situation. obviously, these will not deter professionals, but they will discourage opportunistic thieves (unsavory dorm residents or their guests who happen to see your stuff unattended).

    i am straying off topic here, but one of the benefits of using cloud-based backup like sugarsync is that even if your stuff is stolen, you won't lose a minute of work. it also helps to sync between devices.
  16. JR1993 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2011
    Yep, I would be syncing them, and would probably keep an external HDD to back up every week or two. I am in the UK, but I think the insurance is similar. However, it depends on the university as they supply it with their accomodation.

    It will also depend on the accomodation I stay in, as some require me to move out at christmas and easter, whereas some dont. Although, it isnt too much hassle.

    We will see, as I have said I cant buy before August 18th, so see what the 'refresh' brings if it happens
  17. orfeas0 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2010
    Athens, Greece
    I'm voting for a 3d, cheaper combo. Get the 13" macbook air ultimate (4gb ram and 128gb ssd).
    That will cover your needs, unless you don't want that small a screen. In which case you can go with the 13" macbook air + external monitor combo.
    You don't need a MBP or an iMac for the things you want to do. Just get an external apple cinema display 27 inches for more screen real estate to the macbook air.

    edit: this can help you!
  18. JR1993 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2011
    Lol thanks for the link on the bottom.

    Im not sure about what you suggest. I know right now that the mba would do what I want it to do, but the imac isnt that much more expensive than the cinema display, and I dont really need that big. I will consider it. It makes more sense when I price everything up and see the specs.
  19. JR1993 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2011
    Got an idea:

    When the day comes (18th August), buy a MBA. If I understand correctly, I can return this within 14 days of purchase. Then, if it is enough, buy the Apple cinema display. If it isnt enough, buy iMac or return for MBP
  20. CampDavid macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2010
    Either will work.

    Personally I find the 13" MBP I have a pain to lug around so I'd probably go with the Air and iMac option.
  21. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    I feel that you are wasting a lot of money on the ACD imo.... you can buy large external monitors that aren't IPS. Since you aren't doing any type of serious work or need actual color accuracy, why not save yourself some money?

    Also, since the iMac's have the same screens used in the ACD. If you are fine with the 21" screen, you may as well get the iMac. Even the base 27" would come in at a reasonable price after edu discounts considering you have an entire computer (and a fast one at that) inside your monitor.
  22. JR1993 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2011
    Yeah I havent really considered the ACD for too long, I havent even seen the price of it yet.

    As im just going to get mixed opinions, it would be better for me to buy the air and see if it does what I want, then buy the imac if I need it, or if I would rather have the 15" then return the air.
  23. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    It's $1000.... very expensive for a monitor when you don't need the benefits of an IPS display that can accurately show colors. Look into a cheaper Dell or something and use the money you save for something else (maybe SSD, external drives, RAM, maybe school books, an iPad, or whatever else you are going to need for college.) You could buy a 50" plasma for less than the price of an ACD, and considering how expensive college is, unless you are a graphic designer, or a photographer, or the like, an ACD is a really big waste for a college student just to have the "cool looking" apple monitor.
  24. JR1993 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2011
    Ok. No ACD. Im from UK, but apple is £1=~$1 so thats about £1000, I can get an imac for that
  25. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    sorry forgot you are in the UK... it's £918.00

    Also, it is a 27" display, the iMac you could get for that price would only be a 21" (27" iMac starts at £1,399.00) but the ACD is still a waste imo, just wanted to point that out!

    Good Luck!

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