MacBook Pro or iMac? help?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jimbaw, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. jimbaw macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2011
    hey, i am about to upgrade my HP G70 17" laptop. i will be getting a Mac. (First Mac :D) i am in a dilemma as i do not know which one to choose, all i know is laptops as i have never had a desktop. im looking at both the 21.5" iMac entry level or the 13" MacBook Pro entry level. i rarely use my laptop for portability (maybe once every 6 months) and i would love the extra power the desktop would bring. however, this year at school i may need to start bringing in my computer (not sure yet). im also going to be using whichever mac i get for web browsing, games, HD video editing, writing up essays etc.. does anyone have any help or tips they could give me? anything and everything is appreciated. thanks. - Jim
  2. MrCheeto macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    The base-line MacBook Pro will do all of those things well.

    The base-line iMac will do all of those things better.

    The ultimate decision maker is whether or not you'll need to take it with you, and nobody can decide that but you.
  3. PVisitors, Aug 20, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011

    PVisitors macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    I was in a similar situation to you. I decided on getting the 21.5" iMac then because I don't actually start University until 2012 I'm saving up for a MBA/MBP.

    However in your case if it was me, I'd get the iMac then save up for a decent portable Windows laptop just for note taking during class, I'm pretty sure you could probably buy a portable Sony Vaio for around £450. Even cheaper if you went for a company like Acer.

    Edit: Yep, found one. That's from PCworld so I wouldn't reccomend buying it from them as you could probably pick up the same model with an updated CPU for the same price via a Sony Centre.

    If you're from the states you'll be able to get that even cheaper due to lower tax/VAT :)

    Make sure you use your education discount too, can save about £150 off your purchase.
  4. jimbaw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2011
    wow thanks man! that was a really great anwser! yeah i think i'll go with the iMac due to not using the portability factor of a laptop enough. i like the way you think with the cheap windows laptop :) thanks for looking it up for me too :) im from ireland btw. overall your answer was that of a topLAD :)
  5. IllegalFun macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2011
    I have come to a similar conclusion...
    I am going to be starting an apprenticeship, and will be moving out for 2 years...
    I realised that I need power more often than I need portability, and due to costs, a desktop will last longer, because it will take longer for new laptops to overtake it! ;)

    I am intending to keep my 15" Windows Laptop until I get my iMac, but will get a little netbook or similar in the future to use around the house when I am at home, but also so that I can use it Cafe's and coffeeshops! :cool: (maybe even a MacBook Air if I can!)
  6. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Are you going to college? If so, you need a laptop. End of story. You're going to be typing papers, doing research, and a countless number of other things.

    Restricting yourself to school computers on campus is a nightmare and a no go. If you're out and you need to edit something before turning it in, running to the library or a computer room is sometimes out of the question.

    You also restrict yourself to working outside of your room. No coffee shops, no collaboration with other students on group work, and, overall, the MBP will serve your needs quite nicely.

    Now if you know you aren't going to be moving it, then get the iMac. However, both machines will last you the same amount of time. If you don't use up the resources on the MBP, what makes you think the iMac will last you longer?
  7. jimbaw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2011
    Well, I'm 16 so I'm not old enough for college yet. I am at the age however that I could need my computer for school but it isn't a necessity. I really like the portability factor of the MBP but I don't move my current laptop around enough (around my room for the most part). You also get so much more on the iMac for the same price. Both computers will do me fine but I like the big screen on the iMac.

    Thanks for your answer inreally appreciated all you guys helping me. :)
  8. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Well you are going to be going right? Or are you? If you are, you need to think about the future. It seems like you're thinking about just getting something super powerful now when you don't need it.

    To be honest, you don't. You're only 16. If you don't need a good computer for school, somebody could argue why get one then? Why not just get a used MacBook for now and get something really good 2 years later?

    If you don't use the full processing power of the laptop now, you won't use it in the future. People think "oh, get the highest storage,ram,etc. now and it will last longer". Not that simple.

    If you don't do more than light gaming (and it's light if you think about gaming on a Mac), photo editing (which people greatly over-exaggerate; I did it on a black Macbook from 06, and light movie editing (as in, slapping stuff together and not actually "making" something with effects), the baseline MBP will be more than enough with a stock (not i7) configuration.

    If you get an iMac now, you're going to want to sell it/upgrade it/get something different two years from now. That's a given. You are also going to "need" a laptop for school and you'll have complications there.

    Be smart. You have to realize you'll keep this (hopefully) for at least 3/4 years. You're probably going to college. Get a baseline MBP and an external monitor. That's the most logical thing you can do.
  9. jimbaw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2011
    Yeah I see where you're coming from. The thing is, I'm on a budget so I need to get either one or the other. I cant get a MBP and an external monitor because I don't have the funds. If I did have the money, I would most definitely be going for the laptop and monitor. Best of both worlds with portability and a big screen.

    I wont be going to college until I'm about 19 so I would still get the 3 years out of the iMac. That reply made me think though. I'm not so sure what I'm going to do now. The 13" screen is really small for a main computer though don't ya think?

    The iMac costs €1149 while the MacBook Pro costs €1199. The iMac is cheaper and has better specs, bigger screen, looks better. My thinking is that if i get the desktop computer now i still have my 3 yr old windows laptop for portability. Also, I can just get a cheap netbook for college i funds are low and i cant afford a MBP.

    I have put a lot of thought into this and I understand and respect where you're coming from (you've probably got a lot more experience than me in buying computers), but i still think that I can manage without the MBP at the moment as I already have a laptop.

    Thanks for your reply though it really made me think. I'm definitely going to give this a lot of thought. Thank you.
  10. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    No problem. Well yea, if you won't have money in the future (~150) for an external monitor, you'llh ave to think about that as well.

    I have always used laptops. Always. They're powerful enough to do 99 percent of what I want to do on them and, right now, I can do 100 with my MacBook pro.

    Seeing as your laptop now is 17 inches, I take it you like large screens? They're great for home use, but you can't really have anything larger than 15 when you're at college. For one, they don't give you enough desk room to fit a 15+ laptop plus pen/paper. It's also noticeably larger.

    You're on a budget, that's good; it means you won't overspend and get something you don't need.

    The iMac has higher specs and (if I didn't move, I'd get it over the MBP as well) but IMO, I don't see how anybody can do "anything" in this day and age without a laptop. That is if you actually have to use it for something.

    You COULD (and I think this would be the most rational thing) just wait. Use what you have now, wait 3 years when the really really good stuff comes out, and get a Mac then.

    It's a long time, yes, but if this is going to be your biggest spend ever (and my MBP was the biggest I've ever had, going from low end desktops to a netbook to an 06 MacBook to a 2011 MBP. It is a lot of money.

    So, and of course this is all just jmy opinion, I think you have three great options you could pick.

    1) Get the iMac now. Use the imac as your main and the 17 inch as your moble. To test this out, try taking the laptop with you to starbucks or something now and see if you can manage. Even if you don't need it, put it in a backpack and just take it with you throughout the day.

    It seems kind of dumb, but it's easy to just "assume" it will work without even trying it.

    2) Get a MBP now. You'll have an amazing computer that will last you for at least 5 years. I just sold an 06 black macbook that ran perfectly fine. 4 hour battery life, Snow Leopard, 2.2ghz and 4 gigs of RAM. Still better than a LOT of current laptops being sold right now.

    I got the baseline 13 inch as it's the cheapest (and most logical laptop right now out of all of them) with the student discount. Plain and simple. Upgradable (more RAM for cheap when I need it) and I'll probably put a SSD in there this Christmas.

    3) Wait until you go to college and see what comes out then. This is what I don't really suggest. If you play the waiting game, you'll always be waiting. You see people here saying "should I get now or wait?" when, in reality, what they do won't use 15 percent of the CPU and they're just overspending for no reason.

    If you don't need it, don't get it. If you can afford it, make sure it's a rational decision and not something you're doing just because you have the money.

    ^If more people thought like that we wouldn't be in the situation we are in now.
  11. jimbaw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2011
    Yeah I don't think I would have the money for a new external monitor. I have an LG HD 1080p TV though, do you know if Apple has a HDMI adapter for the mini display port?

    Laptops are able to handle most of my use too, however when i edit 1080i HD video and add effects etc., I don't think the MacBook Pro would be able to keep up; whereas the iMac would fly through it.

    Yeah, I love big screens, lets me have multiple windows open at one time. The 13" would hinder this slightly. I mean, its not a big deal but it is nice to have to extra space.

    Yeah I have a budget of roughly €1300 ($1850), that's including software and games that i might buy as well.

    I rarely move my laptop at the moment, I've taken it out of the house twice in the last year I'd say. I move it around my room mostly. I would really like the option of being able to take my new Mac with me but for the amount of use i would get out of it it would just not be cost effective.

    I don't think I could wait, my current laptop already is showing signs of giving up. The screen randomly messes up on it, battery dying and it switches itself off sometimes.

    I like the idea of getting the iMac now as I have never had a desktop and have always been hunched over a laptop screen. It would be nice to sit back and not have to squint to see the screen. I've tried taking my laptop out and it is ok but after a while I start to notice the weight of it. Again, no big deal, but its something to take into consideration.

    The MacBook Pro is a great laptop, I would love to get it, its just deciding if a desktop or laptop would suit my needs better.

    Thanks for the great and detailed reply. Thank you
  12. njsa04playa macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    new joisey
    apple does make an adapter for the hdmi input, and the macbook pro will be able to do what you mentioned just fine! here in the states the mbp is cheaper... 1199 not 1850... so you could use that money for some other stuff, if you came to the states and bought a computer from here!
  13. jimbaw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2011
    cool thanks :) I would go to the states and get one only the flights would make it more expensive if anything!
  14. IllegalFun macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2011
    You could always wait...

    if your current Laptop works, then might be able to hold on for a year or two...
    you might save up more money, or you might change your mind about what your future will be...
    I planned to go to University, but didn't like the style of learning (I could do the work, but prefer to do practical things rather than airy fairy thinking!)

    Now I am starting an engineering apprenticeship with a big company, and will only need my computer for work in my room + entertainment...
    whereas at Uni, the Laptop was kind of useful... but mostly for writing essays in coffee shops!

    You will either need portability, or sheer power...
    either way, think about whether you can hold off on the purchase or not...
    (I am now struggling to wait, as I have no decent photo software, but there is no point wasting money on Windows software!)
  15. thegod35 macrumors newbie


    Aug 22, 2011
    Zürich, Switzerland
    Well guys, I really like this thread and wondered, if anyone could help me too..

    I'm kind of in the same situation, only that i have two MacBooks already (a black one from '07) and a unibody one from '08). I'm giving the blackbook to my parents, because their old pc (a crappy compaq laptop) is broken.

    But now i want a new computer, since the unibody macbook doesn't really have enough power anymore to do what i want to do (after effect cs5, final cut pro X) and some other applications of that kind. It gets really hot and takes about an hour to render a 5 seconds long title sequence in ae cs5.

    Now my question:
    iMac or MBP?
    I'm 16 as well and i live in switzerland, where the school system is quite a bit different than elsewhere. I probably won't need to have a laptop with at school until i'm 19 or 20 (when i start university).

    I'm probably going to sell my current macbook and save up some more cash for a mbp 17'' or an iMac 27''

    Long story short, what would you recommend?:confused:
  16. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    ^Well if you don't need to move the computer around, why would you need a laptop?

    You also have a much longer time span before you went to college. In that time I think you would probably outgrow the iMac at that point, or just get the funds to buy a new computer, and then you could go from there.
  17. JonasDK macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2011
    If you don't need a laptop, get the iMac. I can only recommend getting the 27".. you won't regret it :)
  18. thegod35 macrumors newbie


    Aug 22, 2011
    Zürich, Switzerland
    ok thanks guys :)

    What a nice forum this is :)

    I think i'm gonna go with the 27'' iMac


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