Macbook Pro or iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Dubois, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. Dubois macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2013
    Hi all,

    First, thanks for taking the time to view my thread - I greatly appreciate it as I'm in a bit of a pickle at the moment.

    I'm faced with a decision of whether to purchase an iMac or Macbook Pro.
    I cannot afford brand new versions (or even the refurbished ones from Apple), and so I am looking more so at purchasing one off Ebay.

    The year of Mac within my price range is:

    Macbook Pro 13" - Mid-Late 2010
    Macbook Pro 15" - Late 2008/09
    iMac 21.5" - Late 2009
    iMac 21.5" - Late 2010

    I'm wondering which of these would be the best option for me.

    I currently own:

    > iPhone 4 16gb
    > iPad 4th Generation 16gb (WiFi only)
    > Sony laptop
    > HP desktop

    Here are some criterion that I'd use the machine for.

    > As it stands, I very rarely use my desktop PC favouring my iPad and (current) laptop. I find it too much of a bother to sit at a desk rather than on a comfy seat for a computer that is very much equal to the performance of my current laptop. If I purchased an iMac, who knows, this may change, but I cannot say for definite that it would.

    > I am looking to play two games on the computer. Minecraft, being the first one, and RuneScape, being the second. I don't personally think either game is very demanding, though I have noticed with RuneScape that my current laptop (which is only 1 year old) is struggling to perform at High Graphics, and so I have had to reduce them to near-nothing (though I am perfectly fine with playing on the lowest graphics settings on RuneScape, I'd prefer some flexibility with Minecraft).

    > I already have an iPad for portability/mobile use, though it tends to lack when I want to play one of two games or write sections of novels. This may be able to be resolved simply by purchasing a third-party keyboard case for the iPad, as I purchased "Pages" last year for it (the gaming, I'm not as concerned about as I only really go out of the house when going to my grandparents EVERY weekend from 6pm-9pm (approx.).

    > Next year I'll be studying Chemistry, Computing, Maths and either Biology or Electronics at A-Level. It may be of some use to be able to take a machine with me to the sixth form, though it's not entirely necessary as they provide laptops for one period (2-hours long) and also the iPad may do all that I need it to do.

    > I wanted to try out some amateur video/photo editing as well as App development in the future.

    > Of the used-items I've seen on Ebay, the iMacs are almost always in better condition than the Macbook Pros (most likely due to them not being dragged about the house/outside and having the increased possibility of being dropped), and I tend to obsess about scratches on the screen of my devices.

    (It's a bit extreme, I know, but I seem to find the scratch and I can see that it's actually distorting some of the pixels and it crazes me to the point where I have to put the device down).

    This is all I can think of at the current moment that would help decide what device to purchase. If you require any more information feel free to ask and I'll do my best to deliver.

    I just really need some help deciding what device to purchase. I only really have one shot at getting one this year, then I have to wait another year or two to purchase a new one.

    Many Thanks in advance.
  2. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Can't you buy a 2012 or 2011 Mini for the same money? Get that! 2011 or later is offering much not found on older models, like Thunderbolt, SATA 6 and USB3 on 2012+ models.
    Even a second hand HP LP2065 monitor for 50 bucks outperforms any iMac 21 or MacBook screen.
  3. Shift Option K macrumors regular

    Shift Option K

    Nov 26, 2013
    You sound like a student, so you can probably get a student discount from Apple on a new Mac.
  4. businezguy macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2003
    Since he said he can't afford a refurbished mac, and since a student discounted mac costs more, we can rule that out.

    I'd suggest he go with the 13 inch laptop. He can get a large monitor when he has the money, and he also has the portability of needed. He also gets a somewhat more updated machine then with the 15 inch version.
  5. macspectrum macrumors newbie


    Nov 30, 2011
    15 inch laptop - u cannot upgrade screen size
    ram and hd are upgradeable
  6. Dubois thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2013
    Hi all,

    Thanks for the responses.

    I have already looked at the education discounts and all, and the only computer within budget is the Mac Mini, but I'm kind of put off that mac due to having to purchase a screen, keyboard and mouse - and the screen I have at the moment will need to be replaced soon (it's nearing 10 years old!), which would bump up the overall price to above my budget.

    My budget is around £600 +- £50 for postage/condition. I'm concerned about the smaller 13" screen of the Macbook Pro, but is that sacrifice worth it for a longer-life span before the machine no longer receives OS updates?

    My criteria for this machine is basically what I posted previously, but it has to last at least 2 years with the latest OS - this is the duration I'll be at sixth form so I need a machine that would at least be able to handle the workload there.

    Ideally it would last 3-4 years which would give me time to save up for a brand new machine.

    I'm concerned about buying a pre-owned Macbook due to the battery charge cycles - but can the battery be replaced at a later date?

    Thank you for all the replies so far - It's just a case of getting most bang for buck at this point, which I know people will most likely say is very hard in the Apple Verse - and the reason I don't want a PC anymore is that the past two laptops I've bought (and they've been pretty expensive) haven't lasted. They deteriorated after the first year, and the current one I have has a crack in the chassis. I want a machine that's likely to be able to stand up to being used without falling to bits as soon as I pick the machine up (a bit of an exaggeration, but still, you see my situation).

    That's why I originally had the thought of purchasing the iMac instead - it's guaranteed (the one I can afford anyway) for at least 2 more OS updates going by Apple's track record, it's likely to be in better condition when purchase, but also it will survive the test of time.

    I honestly don't know anymore. Is an iPad enough for portability etc? Would it be a better portable machine if I were to, say, purchase a keyboard case?

    I primarily watch youtube videos or do general browsing when out and about with my machine - so would the iMac be the better option?

    Grrr. :(
  7. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Also don't forget if you need to work in a library, it's a bit of a pain lugging an iMac around. I work all day on a MBP, okay it's the 15" one, but I did used to have an older 13" MBP and that was fine. The screen size is less of a limitation if you use virtual desktops and gestures to flip between them.
  8. PicnicTutorials macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2013
    How big is your screen on the current desktop? Because mine was 21 on the windows xp. Bought a macbook pro. Even though it was a awesome machine it seemed like a downgrade in a way because of the loss of screen real-estate. So i bought a 27 iMac instead.
  9. cammyg123 macrumors regular


    Nov 18, 2013
    United States
    An iMac would be a device you could just walk around with, it's a desktop?
  10. Dubois thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2013
    By me saying that I watch YouTube videos when out and about, I meant would the iPad be sufficient for it and should I just purchase an imac instead?m

    My current desktop screen is ridiculously small, smaller than my current laptop. It's a square 15" screen, my laptop is 15.4".

    I've tried out iMacs before and the 21.5" is a godsend when compared to my other devices - the only trouble being that I'm not sure whether I'm really a desktop person because, as I said before, I rarely ever use the desktop I have at the moment.

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