New 2012 MBP or Old 2009 MBP + 2012 iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by moldy912, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. moldy912 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    I'm new to the forums. I've been reading the main site for a year or so though. I am in a special situation I think. I have a 2009 Macbook Pro that is nearing the end of its warranty this August. It's a great computer, but I am a power user and like to play games and have lots of menubar apps and regular apps open at once. My computer, sadly, is not holding up well. I've easily had over $1000 in AppleCare repairs done (thank you God!) and I'm afraid that once that warranty passes, unless I get a new computer or change my ways, another component will croak.

    A little bit about myself: I am a freshman in college. I bought this in high school as my first Macintosh I used personally. I like to play lots of games, especially ones that can be modded, like Minecraft, The Sims 3, and Bethesda games. This computer can handle these on medium to low settings, which is fine, but the more graphically intensive ones are fairly unplayable at low frame rates. My point is that I would like a new Mac that can play games from Minecraft to Skyrim with ease, even though I know this is somewhat of an oxymoron to Windoze fanboys. I know the 2011s' 6750M can play Skyrim on ultra settings, which is impressive, but I don't have the money to buy it yet. I will get back to this later.

    As a student, I have certain needs, but even in my case, I am somewhat special. Everyone thinks that a laptop is necessary in college, but nearly all the classes I am in I use good old pencil and paper (except one class). Because of that one class, I need at least a laptop in my possession, especially if I take similar classes. However, I know the MBPs cost ~$500 more than a comparable iMac (not including earnings from selling old MBP). Essentially, my thought is that if I can use the iMac as my "power" PC and my MBP as my mobile PC, then I should be fine. The MBP won't be used enough for it to wear down as easily, but it would be usable for work on the go or in class. The problem though is I can't guarantee myself that it won't break after a while. Then I would be stuck without a laptop.

    My preference at the moment is to get the 2012* iMac next summer after a few months of a summer job. I like the 2.7GHz 21.5" ($1400 education), and by the next refresh*, it should be even faster, ivy bridge, core i7, better graphics, etc. I think the price is just, and I can easily earn that much in a month or so if I find a job. If I have money left over, I would look into an iPad 3* to make up the trifecta of Apple computing.

    tl;dr: I have a 2009 MBP. It's warranty is up this August. I want a new computer this Summer. Replace 2009 MBP with 2012*? or supplement with 2012* iMac? Gaming and cost are important to me.

    *assuming inevitable spring/summer Apple Mac refreshes
     
  2. KylePowers macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    #2
    I'd say with an iMac, you're getting better gaming capabilities at a cheaper cost than an equivalently capable MBP. My vote goes for iMac.

    I have the iMac+MBA combo myself. I'm in my third year of college and I've found the desktop-laptop combination to have both advantages and disadvantages. I like it though.
     
  3. moldy912 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 11, 2012
    #3
    Thanks! Anyone else?
     
  4. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #4
    I question the durability of either of those. I don't think I've owned a Mac laptop that didn't have some issues. Your repair history on that machine sounds absolutely brutal. What went wrong with it?
     
  5. moldy912 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    #5
    Haha, a lot. I'll try to recall everything that has been replaced:

    LCD Assembly
    Lid
    Hard Drive
    Logic Board
    Power Adapter

    And, I still need to get the power contact repaired. The metal magnetic piece is loose and doesn't make contact with the adapter after a few tries. The first two were my fault because I fell on my laptop on the stairs, but the Apple store covered it for me thankfully. Basically, only thing left that is original is the processor, memory, graphics card, and lower shell. This kinda stuff makes me stay up at night wondering what happens next. My roommate/friend however bought his a month before me and has never had an AppleCare repair ever.
     
  6. 8281 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    #6
    Obviously not sure about your financial situation, but you could always sell your current computer (I got $250 for a 2007 Macbook with water damage on ebay) and purchase a refurbished 11" Macbook Air + refurbished iMac. If you want to wait until the end of summer, the 2011 27" iMacs will be considerably cheaper, which would let you purchase a model with the upgraded graphics processor.

    An iPad + iMac is clearly cheaper, but I also don't know if it would fulfill all your portable needs.
     
  7. moldy912 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    #7
    I guess I see what you are saying about replacing it with an Air or just any cheaper laptop, something newer and Apple refurbished would be nice and accountable hopefully. I don't really like the idea of a refurb iMac though, because I'd rather get it brand new and maybe customize a thing or two. That leads me to the fact that I really wouldn't want a 2011 iMac in 2012. I'm the kinda person that has to have the best and newest instead of being a year late. But, I do like the idea of a refurb Air + 2012 iMac at least. You are right though, just an iPad and iMac might not always work. The class I have this semester is Comp Sci and programming probably isn't easy on an iPad :p

    As for my financial situation, it depends on a summer job really! I have money, but I'm in college and I would rather spend that on books and food. Having a summer job will get me extra to spend on this.
     
  8. KylePowers macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    #8
    Yeah... you're not going to be able to program on an iPad lol. As an electrical engineering major, I was required to take two semesters of computer science. While both didn't particularly require having a laptop in class to practice and code with as the professor taught, it was still a nice option. The lab assignments were done on school computers, so again, our personal laptops were rendered useless. But going to office hours, to a library, or working with a partner at their place made having a laptop a necessity.

    So definitely have some sort of laptop before getting a desktop, would be my advice. If you have to have the latest and greatest, then wait and pick either the 2012 MBA or 2012 iMac. Who knows when they'll hit though.

    Refurbs are superb by the way, just in case you haven't heard. They're like new at a discounted price. But I've bought both my Macs new, so who am I to talk :p
     
  9. moldy912 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 11, 2012
    #9
    I don't think an new Air is what I'm looking for. I need dedicated graphics. Again, portability is necessary, but not super-featherweight-necessary. Do you have any specific stories about refurbished ones? I would think they would be top notch Apple quality, but I'm not sure.
     
  10. alexlovesmacs macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 23, 2008
    #10
    Refurb. mac's come with the same 1 year warranty as if it was a new machine, The only difference is that it comes in a normal brown box.
     
  11. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #11
    Quite a lot of refurbs are simply returned units. Once they're opened they can't be resold as new. This doesn't mean they couldn't include units that were replaced, but I haven't heard anything bad about refurbs relative to new ones. Personally I'd view the third party retailers too before making a choice. Some of them have great deals at times including extras included. I've seen things like Parallels included with the purchase of a new one. Given your interest in gaming, the gpu obviously matters.

    Both the imac and macbook pro come with mobile gpus. The one in the imac is the type you see in hugely bulky 17" laptops. You could always see what the performance differences are like with the next round. The Air will get a gpu bump too from the Intel HD4000, but currently Intel graphics are quite far behind the discrete gpus.
     
  12. FuNGi macrumors 65816

    FuNGi

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #12
    refurb.me can give you notices when the model and specs you want arrives in Apple's refurb store.

    I would consider getting a refurb 2010 Air with the 320M for light gaming and in-class work to replace your hopefully sellable MBP. Then go with the iMac for the power.
     
  13. moldy912 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 11, 2012
    #13
    Haha, well the parts are fairly new, so in that regard, it hopefully would!
     

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