MBP + Cinema Display > new iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by KimTwemlow, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. KimTwemlow macrumors newbie


    Aug 13, 2007
    Hi all,

    I'm making a purchase soon (bank account willing) and had been assuming I'd be going for a new iMac. But I've just been looking through the "Post Your Mac Setup" thread and was surprised by how many people are using a laptop and an external display instead of a desktop. I'd always been told (years ago, admittedly) that you should only buy a laptop if you really *needed* one - they were more likely to go wrong and were harder/more expensive to fix when they did. Now, I don't really *need* a laptop but it would certainly come in useful.

    In short, I'm wondering if I should go for a laptop and an external display, rather than a desktop - killing two birds, I guess. Even the lowest spec MacBook would be an improvement on my current G4. I'd appreciate hearing some general thoughts.

    Oh, one other specific question: Apple's own displays are wildly expensive - are they worth it? Frankly, I don't want a Dell (or other) logo on my desk in any event, but I'm still troubled by the price ...

    Any and all advice would be very welcome! Thanks in advance.
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    A decent MacBook Pro specced out, external keyboard, mouse and display is such a good compromise. Very versatile and powerful enough for most things. Doesn't take a lot of wear and tear when used in clamshell mode. Quiet and saves a lot of space too. My new favorite setup...

    I wouldn't dream of using anything else! :D

  3. giganten macrumors 6502a

    Jan 23, 2006
    I have a MBP, and I think I will go for the setup whit external keyboard + display.

    But the new iMac is cool too. ;)
  4. KimTwemlow thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 13, 2007
    Thanks for replying!

    Now here's an almost certainly dumb follow-up question - does the Apple Cinema Display have built-in speakers? I'm feeling increasingly tempted by the laptop/ext. display set-up but don't want to wind up with loads of separate pieces of kit all over my desk.
  5. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    I have a MBP 2.33 with 256MB of VRAM. Will this happily drive a 30" ACD at maximum resolution? Given the new glossygate, I am tempted to get a display.
  6. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    Yup, without a sweat.

    Nope, no speakers.
  7. giganten macrumors 6502a

    Jan 23, 2006
    From apple store:

    And here you have a link for the technical specifications.
  8. Gemylon macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2007
  9. Denali9 macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2007
    iMac vs MBP

    The iMac is a laptop that was not made to be moved. Almost every component within are from laptops and hence except for the HDD an imac = MBP.

    If you look at benchmarks from Macworld, you see that the MBP score is lower but very close to the 24 inch iMac. Hence you cannot go wrong with buying one or the other they are very similar and if you need mobility, you will be well served by an external screen for a MBP.

    On ACD
    A lot of people are buying Dell, they are equivalent and a lot cheaper. Apple has not updated the price or the specs in ages which make the ACD not a really good buy for your $$ until next update.
  10. Paulsan macrumors member

    Jul 30, 2007
    Maybe I'm missing something here but it would seem to me that unless you really need the mobility, the same money that buys a mid range MBP will buy you a mid range Mac Pro with a heck of a lot more versatility and power even in it's year old configuation.

    Edit: I did miss something. The OP said Macbook, not Macbook Pro.

  11. rest44 macrumors member


    Sep 24, 2006
    Apple Cinema Displays are gorgeous! I have one 20" (on a macpro that I use for audio editing and some photo editing) and it´s amazing. No reflections, good contrast, good true colors.

    They are expencive, but worth the price in my opinion.
  12. Heeriill macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2007
    I'm going to be getting a MacBook Pro coupled with an Apple 30" monitor in the next few months. I was also thinking of getting a Dell monitor instead of the Apple, but the Apple monitor has better picture quality, sharpness and the response time is instant. The only thing that worries me about the 30" would be getting a dead pixel...
  13. KimTwemlow thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 13, 2007
    Actually, I'm really not sure whether I mean MacBook or MacBook Pro! My current machine is a 1 Ghz G4 with 768MB of RAM and an 80GB HD - even a lowly MacBook would be an improvement (wouldn't it?!) and would leave some cash left over for fancy extras. On the other hand, I guess I should buy as much computer as I can afford. It will be effectively functioning as a desktop for most of its life, after all.

    One other specific question: the 1280 x 800 pixels that's mentioned in the MacBook specs - does that refer to its own screen or is that the maximum resolution it can generate on any display?

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply - I appreciate it.
  14. Heeriill macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2007
    That refers to the screen implanted into the laptop.
  15. teflon macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2007
    Actually, I would recommend iMac over mbp if you don't need portability. You pay a premium for having that portability. The top of the line iMac costs $2300 (2.8, 2gb, 500gb hd) while the baseline mbp costs $2000 (2.2, 2gb, 120gb hd). Factor in the screen and they will be the same price, unless you get an ACD ($600 for 20''). So for the price of mbp + acd, you can have a top of the line iMac and upgrade the ram to 4gb yourself, for a much faster, capable machine with a larger screen.
  16. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    I would not go woth a laptop over the iMac unless portabiliy is something you really want to pay for. If you are going to be using it as a desktop, get the desktop. The iMac has a great form factor and is a lot cheaper than the MBP and ACD combo. Plus there is no need to purchase extra speakers, keyboard, and mouse.

    But if you plan to start using your computer in places other than just your desk, go for the MBP. IMO there is no need to purchase the MBP unless you are going to take your computer out from under the desk.
  17. The Stig macrumors 6502a

    The Stig

    Nov 4, 2006
    On the track
    I agree with them all. I want my computer to be moblie, so i would get a MBP with a ACD, but I'm waiting. I want a 17 inch MBP with X1200 resolution so I get get a 23inch screen and run full resolution on it! Come on! Two screens are better then one right? Think of the duel screen option! With a iMac you only get one screen.

    This is only true with tower computers. Any iMac is just as hard/expensive to fix as a laptop. It is an all in one machine. It is just a laptop with a screen facing out and no battery. More or less. Fixing it is the same. So that is a non-issue

    All is all, I'd get a MBP. The only thing that you'd be looking to wait for really is new ACDs. I'm with you. I want a MBP and a display but I want an Apple one. I don't want a really sweet MBP running off a Dell screen :( I just don't want the logo really. I'm waiting for a ACD update. And some mbp updates too.

    My advice. If you can wait, wait for new ACDs or MBP. If you can't, buy a MBP with a Display. I wouldn't get a iMac, they aren't that much better.

    The Stig
  18. 2ndPath macrumors 6502

    Feb 21, 2006
    I use a MBP with an ACD too. When I bought the MBP I really needed portability, but today I would go with a Mac Pro. The price is similar, but it offers more performance and at least for me the best form factor. So if you are willing to spend the money for a MacBook Pro and don't need the portability consider taking a Mac Pro instead.
  19. sxl95 macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2006
    My dad simply covered the Dell logo on his display with a Mac logo. He got the logo from one of the dog tags given out at the Apple Store when they introduced one of the OS X revisions (probably 10.3)! I actually think his display is pretty nice, and with the Dell logo on the front covered up, you don't have to worry about it!

  20. teflon macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2007
    You can connect another screen to the iMac, which would make better dual screens because iMac itself has a larger screen.

    But you'd save on Apple care. iMac ($169) vs mbp ($349). Also, the higher pricing on Apple care on the mbp makes me believe that the iMac probably costs less to fix.
  21. giganten macrumors 6502a

    Jan 23, 2006
    So you say the cinema display and dell display are have same quality?
    Is the Dell UltraSharp™ 2007WFP a good dell screen or is a cinema better, love the design on apples displays.
  22. Heeriill macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2007
    The apple screen has much higher quality. The dell screen is cheaper for a reason. All of the Apple 30"s that I've seen are very clear, but all the Dell 30"s that I've seen have been fuzzy.
  23. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    Wanting Apple for months to come out with an aluminum iMac b/c I didn't like the white but loved the aluminum of the Apple display, I toyed briefly with the MBP or Mac Pro and display ideas. That was solved that week of course and I ordered a new iMac.

    1. Problem was the Mac Pro was overkill and I didn't want that monster in, under, or on my desk.

    2. The MBP is a laptop which means while you can use externals, it has a smaller drive and you pay a premium for a 7200RPM drive.

    3. Also the MBP in order to save space would have to stand on its side or sit on the base of the display and stick out.

    4. And the Apple display has no iSight, so for any ichat or photobooth you have to open up the display on the MBP.

    5. I wouldn't use the dual screen b/c I don't like shifting heights when looking from one screen to another and even an iCurve doesn't solve that entirely.

    6. I actually think the iMac looks better now than the Apple display b/c the iMac has aluminum sides vs. the white sides on the ACD.

    7. For me I want a desktop not a laptop as a desktop with drives, screens, etc. constantly plugged in and when you do want to move it to the other room, b/c it is primarily a desktop you have to unplug it all.

    8. And while the battery performance/charging is improved, I don't like leaving a notebook plugged in 24/7 but who wants to unplug it and vice versa to keep cycling the battery.

    IMHO get the new iMac.
  24. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    Maybe... just maybe... the people using the Dell computers didn't have the special DVI ports needed to run the screen at full resolution, or they were running at a lower resolution, and stretching made it look fuzzy.

    I remember people making a comparison between the original Dell 20" and the Apple 20" at the time. Many people commented on how much better the Apple screen was than the Dell. How the dell looking bad and that's why it was cheaper.

    I'm sure many were shocked when it was revealed they used the exact same LCD panel.

    I don't know about the 30" but i'd say the dell's aren't as bad as you say, they have gotten quite good reviews.
  25. KimTwemlow thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 13, 2007
    Would anyone countenance using a MacBook/external display as a desktop replacement? A 2.16Ghz/2GB/120GB HD MacBook is a decent machine, isn't it? I'm not a big gamer and don't need a real demon graphics-wise ...

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