MacBook vs MacBook Pro vs iMac


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2006
I've done some searches but can't seem to find the answer relative to my scenario. I'm a longtime PC user but I've been a Mac wannabe since the Ti G4s. Right now I have long-in-the-tooth 2.0Ghz P4 laptop.

Here's what I currently (and plan) to use my machine for:

85% in office / 15% portable

Tasks (in order of prevalence):
- Email
- Web surfing
- Excel
- Web authoring
- Print document creation
- Electronic presentation generation
- Video editing
- Rendering (mainly just like screwing around)
- Gaming

I was originally convinced that it would HAVE to be an MBP because the 13.3" screen size would be unbearable compared to my current 15" 4:3 1600x1200 display. But in the Apple store I realized that there really isn't that much difference. Also, even the MBP 15.4" seemed really small to me. I was also no ebay and I noticed that I can get $300 - $400 for my current laptop. So here are my 3 options, it seems:

Option A (Just a laptop):

- 2.0Ghz MBP - $1799
- Extra 512MB memory - $100
- Sell existing laptop for $300
Total cost: $1599

Option B (Laptop with home doc):

- 2.0 Ghz MB White - $1199
- Upgrade to 1GB - $200
- Wireless mouse and keyboard - $150
- External 20" widescreen 1680x1050 monitor - $300
- Sell existing laptop for $300
Total cost: $1549

Option C (iMac and keep my current laptop)

- 20" 2.16Ghz iMac - $1394
- Keep existing laptop
Total cost: $1394

Option A is what I was really thinking but then I realized for $50 *less* I can get a nice 20" workstation setup for the 85% of the time I'm in my office. Of course, there are two problems with this: 1. I lose the built-in iSight when I'm in "office" mode. 2. I'm stuck with the built-in video hardware.

Option C is interesting because it's elegant, integrated, faster and cheaper! But I will be stuck with my stupid PC anywhere but my office. No more surfing the web by the pool. No more writin emails out on the patio. No more having IMDB just a foot away when trying to pick movies on tv. I have a feeling that once I go Mac I'll never want to touch my PC again. Just my experiences at the Apple store and at my Mac friend's house left my almost unable to even look at my Windows box when I got home.

Video hardware:

I don't do any hardcore graphics apps and only play games a few times a year. However, something inside me tells me I'll kicking myself in a year or two if I get a computer with only 64MB of video ram and integrated graphics. In the past I've always upgraded the graphics card in any computer I've gotten, but in those instances it was always $100 - $150. In this case, the difference between MB and MBP is about $500 and that's just video hardware, slightly bigger screen, and an aluminum case. Is the integrated video as bad as I fear or am I stuck with beleifs about integrated video from the past?



macrumors 68000
Oct 31, 2005
Twin Cities, MN
stephenmeade said:
Is the integrated video as bad as I fear or am I stuck with beleifs about integrated video from the past?
In a word, yes. Modern gaming (with any sort of res/detail/frames) on an integrated graphics card is worse than Chinese water torture.


macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
I think option A would be best for you. The MBP will last longer than the Macbook in terms of resale value and it is just a nicer computer in general. It is very nice to have the portability of a notebook and a decent screen size- I, for one, notice the difference between the 15.4'' and the 13.3''. If the screen isn't big enough, you could always buy an monitor somewhere down the line and use that at the office.


macrumors G3
Aug 6, 2006
i wouldnt necessarily think mbp has longer resale value, but for your usage, MBP is a good option, since
1. its portable
2. it performs alot better in gaming.


macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2006
I'd say it depends on how much you'll use the laptop, and what you need it for. If basic word processing, email, surfing, mp3 etc, and you don't mind the form factor of your P4, then keep it and put a stripped down linux distro which should speed things up nicely. Then you can get a C2D iMac, which has by far the best bang for the buck of any computer available.



macrumors 6502a
May 2, 2005
If you're running any graphics-intensive games, option B should be out of the question. Option C would be my personal pick, although A is not far behind. It's because I notice significant difference between 1440x900 and 1680x1050 - the smaller one is a good amount of space, but making it a bit larger allows for me to accommodate two windows of Safri/MS Word/etc. at once. So long as you don't do all too much on your laptop (doesn't sound like it - 15%) having a nice big screen on a desktop plus more power plus more reliability (laptops are unfortunately more prone to problems) at a cheaper price is nice. With the money you save, and if you enjoy your iMac, you can start putting towards a used macbook on ebay for a better on-the-go machine.


macrumors G3
Jun 3, 2006
One Nation Under Gordon
I've been using a 17" MBP for the last few months as my primary 'desktop' plugged into to an Apple Cinema Display. In terms of power I've never felt it to be a problem, and due to the furnace-like temps it can get up to it's actually better used full-time on an iCurve than as a "notebook".

My own gripes with the MBP aside, if you're looking for decent power + portability then I don't think you can beat the flexibility of a Macbook Pro + Apple Cinema Display (or other external monitor - but the ACD is extra useful due to the Firewire and USB hub). The MBP has a 'proper' GPU, enough power and as for the CD vs C2D issue at the same clock speeds I'm not seeing huge improvements on the speed front. Having said that it might be worth hanging around for a bit for a speed bumped machine to appear of course.