MBP as Desktop

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by krause734, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. krause734, Aug 11, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017

    krause734 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2010
    Since there's no new Mini, anyone thought of using a new MBP w/ 7th Gen i5 as a Desktop/Laptop. Any drawbacks to this? This would support a 4k display @60hz. It's costly if you're not going to also use it as a laptop but it's definitely more up to date than the 2014 mini.
  2. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Looks like the 2017 non-touchbar i5 13" MBP is not a whole lot faster than the 3ghz 2014 mini, less than 20%


    I still use my 2013 MacBook Air i7/8gb/512gb as a desktop, but that wouldn't make much sense if I didn't also want it for a laptop. When it's time to replace my 2012 quad mini, I will probably go with an iMac unless there's a new mini with decent specs.
  3. krause734 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2010
    SSD (vs 5400 RPM spinner) and Kaby Lake (4k@60hz) is a big upgrade from the Mac Mini. Although I don't really need a laptop right now, I would consider selling my Mini and doing this if I did need one.
  4. Trusteft macrumors 6502


    Nov 5, 2014
    I never owned a macbook and my mac mini doesn't see enough work to call it a main computer of mine, for now.
    BUT, I do use laptop computers as desktop replacements for about 16 years now, with a couple of breaks here and there.
    I am going to say a few things about the whole idea and take it as you wish.

    Using a laptop as a desktop replacement can work just fine for a long time now. There are advantages. For me the largest was the small space required not just when you move/travel but also on the desk/home. I am sick of large PC style cases (no matter what the OS). Too much space, and no matter what, always look either down right ugly or crass.
    I am not going to talk about advantages of real desktop computers as if you are looking for an Apple desktop...well, most of them go out of the window. (talking about the specific advantages, not that the machines are not good)

    After all these years of using mainly laptops for main computers....here is the thing, IMO, they are not worth it. I reached this conclusion of the last couple of years. Not only they are far more expensive for each performance point, they can also be far more noisy than desktop systems, at least when they are on full load. There isn't much room inside of them to adequate cool without having the fan(s) go loud loud louder and stay there for longer than if you used a desktop machine. It's not their fault, there is just not enough space to have a powerful machine and also a quiet one.
    If you value your peace and hate noise and going to use the machine for lots of heavy duty stuff, consider a desktop, be it a mini or an imac.

    If you do need it to travel/carry it with out often and/or your tasks are not that demanding and money is not a problem then yes I would suggest getting a macbook pro.

    If I had the money right now I would definitely buy an iMac.
  5. AFEPPL macrumors 68030


    Sep 30, 2014
    I always use GB4 numbers, I'm not claiming they are better or more representative in anyway..

    I7-4578U gets 3900 Single and 7390 multi
    The i7 with the 2.5 I7-7660U gets 4900 Single and 9900 Multi
    The i5 with the 2.3 I5-7360U gets you 4500 Single and 9400 Multi if you wanted to save some money.

    So by my math thats 25% on Single and more like 35% on multicore on i7 and 15% Single and 22% Multi with the I5-7360U. I use a MBP as a desktop device, Not had any issues. What does it matter what the box is - you have a keyboard and a screen still but with more upto date hardware/connectivity inside. Why not? You can buy stands to hold it too.
  6. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I have something connected to every port on my Mini, external 1TB SSD, 500GB SSD, 5TB HD, audio interface, keyboard, mouse, firewire DVCAM deck, thunderbolt Blackmagic interface with Sony studio monitor, HDMI adapter with Apple Cinema display. It would take some kind of dock to support all of this on a laptop.

    I tried doing that with my MacBook Air but couldn't get it to work properly and that's when I got my 2012 quad Mini. Just going by geekbench scores, it should be 1.5x faster than my MacBook Air. But in a Handbrake rendering test, it clocked 2.5 times faster. I think that is due to thermal throttling on the laptop.

    So I am happy having a separate laptop that is light with great battery life for travel, but in my case it really wasn't what I needed to work with video. I suppose I could be happy with a quad 15" MBP, but that's rather expensive. Someday I might go that route, but it would be a lot bigger and heavier to lug around away from home.
  7. gsurf123 macrumors member

    Jun 1, 2017
    I have used a notebook on my desk with an external mouse and keyboard since the late 90's. There were some Windows computers in the mix early on because the PC emulators were not fast enough. Once the move the Intel was made it was all Mac. I work two different places and both have Thunderbolt monitors, keyboards and mice so I can get right to work. I do not use the MBP's monitor while using the monitor.
  8. 576316 macrumors 601

    May 19, 2011
    I used to use my MacBook Pro with dual monitors as my main desktop machine, until it stopped being capable of the work I needed it to do for uni. Now I'm using a custom build PC. But it worked perfectly fine, and many people have that set up.
  9. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    I have tried to do this with laptops time and time again.

    it is always a compromise.

    you end up with a large, hot heavy laptop if you want it to be "good" at desktop stuff (and still WAY, WAY behind what even a cheap desktop can do), or an underpowered overpriced desktop if you want it to be primarily a good portable.

    With the release of the ipad pro i have decided to try and switch to the ipad for portable stuff, junk the idea of the laptop (as i generally only do computer stuff at a desk anyway) and buy a desktop for the heavier stuff.

    I'm not saying you CAN'T do it. If you really must have only one machine, then sure... you can try it.

    But IMHO, after trying to do it repeatedly with both work and personal machines since the early 2000s, it's always been crap.

    YMMV, but that's how it has worked out for me. Now there are genuinely pretty powerful tablets available, for me the laptop is mostly dead, at least as far as personal use goes.

    Sure there are some times where i'd miss my Macbook, but they're becoming less and less.

    This will of course depend on what you actually use a desktop for. But for me, that is high end 3d gaming, large quantities of virtual machines (network / wan lab simulations i run can consume 48 GB of RAM plus quite easily), etc.

    A laptop chokes on that. YMMV.
  10. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    I'd love to be able to just us an iPad for most things but iOS still has a ways to go before I can get to that. So your dual device suggestion is a possibility.

Share This Page