Need help choosing my specs

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by AJ.G, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. AJ.G macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2010
    Hello Everybody,

    Ive been having a lot of trouble deciding between MBA, MBP, iMac, or Mac Mini.

    So to help me choose, id like to see what specs i need. I'm not very good, or literate, lets say, in the whole processor thing. So if you guys could help me choose which would be best for my needs, that would be great.

    My usual set up would be to have Photoshop CS5/ Illustrator CS5, along with itunes in the background, and google chrome for surfing/ MS Office for working, maybe the odd uTorrent (though i believe that isnt too processor intensive).

    Heres the catch, i would have CS5 on one monitor, and then Chrome/Office/whatever else, on the other display.

    So if i get a laptop- MBP, MBA, i would have the chrome open on that, and photoshop on the external monitor. This of course is for when im home.

    From what ive collected form other posts around the forum, is that dual monitors split the RAM? and CS5 love to eat up RAM.
    So im guessing the obvious would be to max out the RAM, hence MBA is out of the equation for it becomes way to expensive for me.

    So im left in the MBP, Mac Mini, and iMac spectrum.
    Any advice on which to get, with what specs, would be greatly appreciated.

    the maximum screen size i can afford is 15". or for imac 21.5".

    All the best,

  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Do you need/want portability? That is the most important question. If the answer is yes, then MBP is your best option. If it's no, then an iMac might be more suitable for your needs.

    Using an external monitor does not split the RAM by any means. RAM is used by your applications so the amount of free RAm depends on the apps you are running. Using an external will use more VRAM but the GPU either has its own GDDR or 384MB of your RAM is dedicated to the IGP (it's always 384MB, no matter what you are doing). I would still, however, get 8GB of RAM from aftermarket.

    IMO 15" MBP is now a much better deal than 21.5" iMac. It offers a quad core CPU which blows the iMac away.
  3. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    The iMac usually blows the performance of the macbook pro's out of the park with faster processors and hard disks, and the screen is much better. But they recently update the macbook pro's and not the imac's yet. I bet they would update the iMac's soon, which will be far better for photoshop purposes.
  4. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    dual displays only splits video RAM.

    right now is a funny time since the 15" MBP's can match or beat the quad-core iMacs in CPU power...what you'd be paying for in an iMac is the display and the fact that heat will be less annoying. it's easier to swap out parts in an MBP, though... I'd either buy an MBP now or wait for the new iMacs.

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