MBA or MBP or even iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jesseleeroy, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. jesseleeroy macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2005
    Hello all,

    I am debating to upgrade my mac mini (early 2009 model) and looking to the budget of under 1500. I use my mac mini for some graphic works, (mostly adobe illustr. but also some photoshop) and photo retouching work. (aperture). rarely do videos, if ever, no heavy music apps either. So honestly i dont really need an upgrade in a sense because my set up is pretty good to go for next year or two.

    But i got an apple giftcard to spend away and the portablility has been a bit of an issue for me. i had to carry my mac mini, kb, mouse, AND monitor to some locations for work and it's been a hassle since i used to use powerbook g4... but this happens about 4-5 times a year at max.

    so I looked at MBA 11", loved it but kinda questioned the graphic card and no major upgrade from my current mini ( didnt want to spend $1000~ for just portability).

    and with $200 extra (+tax) i could get MBP 13" with bit more powerful machine. still not liking the graphic card though.

    then i looked at iMac 21", which is the same price is MBP and the spec upgrade is major. I also was planning to get a new monitor anyways. but it brings me back to one of my major reason why i wanted to upgrade. the portability.

    So i circled around with this question for a week now, discussed with friends, all equally tied at this moment.. So i wanted to throw this question out there and see what you guys think.

  2. cperry2 macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2011
    Depends on what kind of monitor you currently have, but you can get the 27" imac on budget, used (2010 or lower-end 2011). I mention this because your main use is photography, and obviously the 27" gives you a major screen advantage. (IPS, 2560 x 1440)

    I think that if you have to move it around 4-5 times a year at most, it would be far more advantageous to get an all-in-one.... think about it.... 5 days a year contending with moving your computer, or 360 days of settling with specs you didn't really want?

    And, since you are placing importance on the graphics card - only the 15" and 17" macbook pros have discrete AMD graphics. You could go that route, but you would be going a bit over budget and you'll have to use the same monitor (which you could have sold).


    On the other hand, if it's truly impractical to move the 27" for off-location work/ portability is that important, and you would have an advantage in being able to work off-location more often, the 15" or 17" would be of benefit. Depends on just how important being mobile is/ would be to you, I guess. Good luck
  3. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Well look at it this way. You don't need the performance upgrade. You know that, I know that, we all know that. SO, the only logical option for you is to buy a laptop. Because you want portability.

    You have 1500 bucks. I edit photos using Aperture all of the time, some video work as well, on my baseline 13 inch MBP. I love it.

    What I would suggest would be the best option for you, given your budget, is to get a 13 inch baseline MBP. 1200 without tax. Then buy 8 gigs of ram for 50 and a 128gb SSD online.

    That would give you an insanely fast machine that's portable and going to handle the work you throw at it.

    Now of course it has the integrated HD3000 but if you're only doing photo work and you throw a SSD in there, you'd be set.

    That's my take on it anyway.
  4. jesseleeroy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2005
    I am really torn between a big nice monitor that iMac gives or the portability of MBP... very true that if I go with iMac I will end up with a better computer and that I don't need to carry my comp but few times a year. But also laptop gives so much more flexibility and that i dont need a major upgrade from my current computer..

    @Young Spade how is your experience with the intel HD 3000? some people say that some very similar colors are indistinguishable. is it for videos mostly? or will graphic design/photo be affected also?

    heck, only if i had an extra 1000, i would just get the ACD with a laptop!! :p
  5. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Well for "serious" coloring, I cannot fully comment as I only do photo touch ups using Aperture or Photoshop. I could upload a quick before/after photo if you'd like, I don't do any intensive work; I suggest asking or reading other threads to get confirmation on that :)

    But the HD3000 is great, no problems at all. When i edit photos, I'm editing photos with around a 12 meg/pix resolution, fine quality point/shoot cameras. No serious dslr work; but when I do edit, I never have to wait on the machine to apply those edits either. It's instant.

    I plan on putting 8 gigs of RAm and a SSD in the machine as well to further increase speed later on this year. As for games, I can play any game I throw at it (Oblivion, Portal 2, etc.) on med settings with no slowdown at all; those games are run in Bootcamp Windows 7 though.

    HD 1080p video from multiple streams plays flawlessly though, as always.
  6. gigapocket1 macrumors 65816

    Mar 15, 2009
    To me, it sounds like your mind is already made up.. If I was you, I would go with the base 13inch.. Keep your monitor that u have currently with your mini and basically use it as a desktop when needed..

    I know the guy above recommended going with 128 hard drive. I just can't do it personally. Yeah it's a lot faster. But I can't survive off of 128 gigs. But I would upgrade the ram to 8... Also. U really don't need that much processor power if your going to be editing photos in photoshop unless your dealing with HUGE photos..
  7. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    What all do you have on your drive that constitutes the large amount of space? I guess for somebody who edits media, having all of that storage on hand is necessary, but if one were to bring an external drive or flash drive when he needed to work in the field, it could easily be done.

    Not saying anything is wrong with what you're saying of course, just wondering what you do in particular that warrants the larger drive.

    I myself have a 45 gig iTunes library... so aside that and the large amount of applications I have installed, there isn't much I can do in terms of space and storage...

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