New Quad-core 27" iMac or new Quad core MacBook Pro + 27" Cinema Display?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Crunch, May 11, 2011.

  1. Crunch, May 11, 2011
    Last edited: May 12, 2011

    Crunch macrumors 6502a


    Alright, so I've been toying with the idea of replacing my 27" iMac with a MacBook Pro plus the 27" Cinema Display in order to have "the best of both worlds". The obvious advantage is to be able to have a laptop when I need it and since Apple came out with the last Cinema Display refresh, I can throw together a pseudo-iMac in the 27" display which is the exact same display that is on the 27" iMac.

    The recent refresh of the MacBookPro's with its quad-core i7's have made this choice a whole lot easier and being that the new iMac's have almost exactly the same AMD Mobile Radeon 6000 series in them makes them even more on par with one another.

    There is yet another reason that would make this combination even more attractive. With the iMac, I literally cannot upgrade it or change any of its configuration after I receive it other than RAM. This is not true for the MacBook Pro's. Almost everything is easily accessible and the Cinema Display would look as good as the iMac.

    Price and the type of display are not at issue here. I just would love to hear if I'm missing anything as far as why the MBP + Cinema Display might be a bad idea for a reason other than the higher price.

    Thank you! :)
  2. Blipp macrumors 6502

    Mar 14, 2011
    So wait, how is a 17" MBP + a 27" ACD only a couple hundred more than a 27" iMac? Are you completely speccing out the iMac? I'd recommend not going with the ACD and look at something like the Dell Ultrasharp line of displays. Sure they may not be as sexy as the ACD but you're still getting an equally fantastic display at a significantly lower price, I paid $220 for my 23". Or you could just use your 2010 iMac as your external display as the panels are the same.

    Or better yet, what exactly are you using this setup for? It'd be easier to give advice if we new what your needs were.
  3. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    I don't understand how you think a 17" mbp and Apple Cinema Display is only "a few hundred more"

    The 17" mbp is $500 more than the high end 27" iMac by itself, and a whopping $900 more than the base 27". Then add an ACD, and there is another $1000, so it's not just a few hundred dollars more.

    And what are you talking about, in the macbook pro nothing is more accessible than in the iMac. Not sure where you heard that, but the only things you can upgrade on a mbp are the ram and hard drive. Same goes for an iMac, neither is meant to be upgraded by the user beyond those two pieces of hardware... :rolleyes:

    Also not even sure why you need us to answer this question for you. You already have an iMac, if you need the power on the go, sell it and get the mbp/display combo. If you don't need the mobility stick to the iMac. If you want a portable computer but don't need that much power why not just buy a macbook air? None of us know your needs, you are the one who has to make the decision. Why everyone needs the approval of other forum members is beyond me.
  4. Crunch thread starter macrumors 6502a


    My apologies. Apparently, my post did little more than cause confusion. "A few hundred bucks more" was supposed to have negated the price issue. I should have just said, "price is not a factor in this decision."

    I'm also set on the Cinema Display because on the lower end, something like the 23" Dell monitor likely does not have IPS and frankly, I don't want to go below 27". On the more expensive end, I found one of the "cheaper" NEC monitors (a 26" for around $1,300) and not only does it have IPS, but also a wide color gamut and professional-grade calibration tools, amongst other things that I don't need, but at the same time, it had a maximum resolution of 1920x1200. Ugh, nope although I appreciate the 16:10 aspect ratio, I like either 2560x1440 or 2560x1600. The 27" Cinema Display is actually priced pretty well for what it has to offer.

    I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't missing something. Maybe there's a reason as to why the MacBook Pro + Cinema Display is not a good idea because...

    (and that's what I was hoping to get an answer to, if applicable; I also edited my original post)
  5. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    If price is a non factor just state that, but you are looking at $1500-$1900 difference in price, not exactly "a few hundred dollars" You are talking about the difference of being able to buy another entire computer, potentially two.

    yeah it's not a good idea if you don't need portability, why spend (substantially) more money if you don't need mobile access to your workstation? I also don't understand why you want a 17" portable computer and a cinema display? Why not buy the 15" as it's more portable if it's going to be hooked up to an external monitor?

    Still not sure why you need our help with this decision... like i said, if you want a portable machine buy the mbp/external. if you don't buy the imac. asking members to "verify" you made the right decision does nothing... we aren't you we don't know what you need to do with the machine, and you still haven't even told us. Just make the decision based on YOUR needs, not what people here have to say... :rolleyes:

    and your original post is still wrong... the macbook pro is no more "upgradeable" than the iMac. Not sure who told you this but that is grossly wrong! No portable computer is considered "upgradeable"
  6. Blipp, May 12, 2011
    Last edited: May 12, 2011

    Blipp macrumors 6502

    Mar 14, 2011
    Actually the 23" Ultrasharp in indeed an IPS panel. If you actually look at monitor reviews the ACD is not all that impressive. The Dell U2711, for example, is the same same size, resolution, has more import options, has a matte finish and is an overall higher rated display.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with using an ACD with your MBP other than I think there are better options available for a high quality external display. Alternatively why not just use your old 27" iMac as your external display? It's got the same display panel as the ACD you're looking to buy and costs you nothing more than the mDP > mDP cable to connect the two.

    EDIT: Also you still haven't really told us what you're going to be doing with these machines making it impossible to give you proper advice between a MBP and iMac.
  7. JayMBP macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2011
    Surrey, BC
    I was on the same dilemma, I ended up picking up the 17" MBP and plan to grab a 27" ACD sometimes later.

    I think such combo offers more flexibility down the road. And if I happen to upgrade to newer MBPs, the monitor will be recycled.
  8. Chazn macrumors regular

    Mar 25, 2011
    Why get the 17"? It's like a few hundred more than the same spec-ed 15".

    If you want the best of two worlds, get the 15" + the monitor.
  9. JayMBP macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2011
    Surrey, BC

    Ask Apple why they don't release a 15" with 1920x1200 resolution.

    I am in e-business consulting... sometimes I meet clients at coffee shops... and I don't have enough estate to produce a full size website view while still have enough space to have an editor or Word open.
  10. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    seeing as how the OP still hasn't told us what his needs are... this thread is USELESS!

    Based on what we know so far he wants to know if a macbook in clamshell hooked up to an ACD is better than an iMac. If he isn't going to be bringing the laptop around with him, instead leaving it on the desk, there is no point in buying the 17" it's just more money, less power, bigger waste.

    Until the OP can at least clarify what he is looking for nobody can help him.

    I also still don't understand how one could need help with this question. It really just comes down to if you need portability or not. How the OP can't answer that question himself is beyond me!
  11. MartyF81 macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2010
    Chicago IL
    OP. Ignore everybody else turning this in to a drama fest.

    You are not missing anything. The difference is cost and portability. That is about it. If you don't care about cost, and want portability than do the 17" plus ACD. That is what I would love to do if I had room for a desk.

    You are not "missing anything".
  12. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    yeah he is "missing" the information telling us what he intends to use the machine for.

    How do you expect people to recommend a solution when we have no background information?
  13. MartyF81 macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2010
    Chicago IL
    Does it really matter what he will be using the Machine for? Both of them are going to be way over powered for the use of any average user.... especially one that has to come here to ask this question (no offense to the OP... it just facts).

    He is basically asking if going with the portable version is going to have any downfalls that he doesn't know about.... and the answer to that is "no" unless he is some kind of power HD Video Editor or running MAT-LAB.... which I doubt he is... because if he was he wouldn't need to ask this question.

    Even if he is... the difference between a Quad Core i7 iMac and a Quad Core i7 MBP is hardly any.

    This boils down to personal preference and wallet size. Everybody always over complicates things just to stir the pot up. 98% of the world doesn't use the full potential of their Machines.... yet for some reason everyone always turns the conversation into comparing everything at the most Extreme Tolerances and Capabilities of the machines.

    OP. If money is no object, get the system that fits best into your workflow. System performance differences are minimal.
  14. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    I never over complicated anything, I don't care what he plans to do as far as work goes, obviously both are going to perform very similarly.

    What we do need to know is if he needs a portable machine or not. I have already told him numerous times:

    If we don't know if he needs his computer to be portable how can we recommend anything. This thread is useless without that information.

    He wants to know if there are any drawbacks to a 17"mbp + ACD over an imac. I have told him, YES, if you don't need portability you are spending $1500-$2500 MORE than an iMac and the machine will be slightly slower, not as good of GPU, and less storage space. Now obviously if he needs portability the 17" will do him just fine.

    His inability to answer this question on his own is what shocks me.... you have $3000-$4000 but don't know if you need your machine to be portable or not?
  15. superfula macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2002
    The following phrase is more than enough information to make a recommendation.

    xxBURT0Nxx, if it isn't enough formation for you, then why are you still posting in here? Just leave and stop pulling the thread off-topic.

    Crunch...Keep in mind that an iMac is a more powerful machine, so if you need the absolute best that should be a consideration. If not, then it really just comes down to portability.

    I was looking into a similar choice between an iMac and a 15" Macbook Pro. In the end, I knew I'd be taking advantage of it's portability so the MPB was the best choice.
  16. dagamer34 macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    If you're getting an ACD, don't even bother with the 17". You're paying $400 for 1 lb of weight and no increase in performance. "Full size website"? Make the text smaller!
  17. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    I was one of the first people to post in here pal... that is NOT what his post originally stated, he has since gone back and edited it, so don't come in 5 days later acting all high and mighty.....:rolleyes:

    And it really isn't enough information for a recommendation. He is asking if he should get a desktop or a laptop....

    In order to answer that question, all you need to know is if you want a portable machine or want a machine for your desk at home. Since he still hasn't told us that information how can you recommend an iMac over a MacBook Pro or vice-versa?
  18. Crunch thread starter macrumors 6502a


    THANK YOU!!!!!! WTF is the matter with everybody (else lol)?

    Let me explain to the others so that you can maybe under-*****-stand this:

    Yes, I want the portability but I ALSO want a BIG screen (17") when I take my powerhouse with me. That is hardly the only difference between even the higher-end 15" and 17" MBP's. I like high-res screens and unfortunately, the 17" MBP is the only one that features a WUXGA (1920x1200 @ 16:10). display. The GPU on the 17" MBP is also more than comparable to the new iMac's Radeon 6xxx series because guess what, the iMac not only uses mobile SODIMM RAM, but now it even uses the MOBILE Radeon GDDR5 6000 series for its GPU's and the fact that they're all QUAD i5's (15" and 17"), it'll definitely beat my Core i3 DUAL (albeit at 3.2GHz and with HyperThreading which does make a huge difference).

    Next, how is this $1,500-$2,500 more expensive!????? When I said "for a couple hundred more", I didn't mean an additional $200.00 even, but I also didn't mean thousands. lol...(I'll do the math later)

    Again, I apologize profusely for asking such outrageous questions. As MartyF81 correctly inferred in his/her defense of me (thanks, by the way), I LIKE CAKE. And I like to EAT it, too! Come to think of it, I had some cheesecake last night that would make you want to buy $20k worth of Apple equipment, if ya know what I mean. Umm...bad choice of words. lol...

    Well, I know that MartyF81 knows what I mean but again, this is what I wanted to accomplish with this thread: I wanted to know if I was going to be "alright" in going with a setup like the 27" ACD along with a MBP (17" preferred because of aforementioned reasons) or if I was "missing anything", i.e. maybe there is something obvious that I am not thinking of and rather than finding out the hard way, i.e. AFTER having purchased the combination of equipment stated above, I'd prefer to find out BEFORE I pull the trigger with my credit card.

    There is one person (I'd writing this up quickly and I shall properly credit who it was when I have more time later on) who mentioned the upcoming MacBook Air refresh with Sandy Bridge CPU's (one would hope) and ThunderBolt which may just be a cooler way to go. SEE????? That's what I meant. That's a good suggestion for an alternative and I thank you for mentioning it! Anywho, let's relax and have FUN with this. :apple: :) :apple:
  19. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    Then buy the macbook pro? You aren't going to take an iMac with you so if you want portability why would that even be an option?

    Obviously you don't know what you're talking about... the high end 15" has the same gpu as the 17" Only differences are screen size and resolution.

    Ok, again you don't know what you are talking about.

    High end i Mac is $2000

    17" Macbook Pro is $2500. Apple Cinema Display is $1000.

    $2500 + $1000 = $3500, that is $1500 more than the iMac, even more expensive if you buy the low end 27" iMac which starts at $1700

    Yeah like we already told you in this thread, you are paying more money, getting a slightly slower processor and not as good of graphics. You are also missing 2 RAM slots and are getting a smaller hard drive.

    You need to determine your needs because a 13" macbook air is NOT a valid replacement for a 17" mbp. The mbp is infinitely more powerful than the air. If you can use an air in place of the macbook pro i'm not even sure why you are worried about any type of specs.
  20. jimmyhii macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2010
    Hi, just wanted to give my thoughts. If i were you (and money was not a concern), I would go with the MBP + External Monitor because of the huge added advantage of portability.

    However, I must agree with some of the other posters that the ACD really isn't worth the money, it's not that great a display and costs a lot more than many other comparable IPS displays. Sure, you may argue that the ACD is sexier but I feel that here the opportunity cost is way too high with the ACD. I could get a great keyboard & mouse combination and have enough money left for a decent speaker system :) Or better yet you could use it on your other hobbies, etc.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents worth. whatever you decide just make sure youre happy with it lol I think that's the most important.
  21. Crunch, May 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2011

    Crunch thread starter macrumors 6502a


    If you had read my post in its entirety, then you would have read that even the highest-end 15" MBP only has WSXGA+ and not WUXGA as its maximum resolution. This happens to be of utmost importance to me, so on that basis alone, it disqualifies all but the 17" MBP. The current MacBook Air's specs are not of any interest to me. I was merely saying that the idea would add a certain coolness factor but who knows what next month's (hopefully anyway) MacBook Air refresh will bring in terms of Sandy Bridge CPU's besides the obvious ThunderBolt port. The fact that they only come with a max. of 4GB of RAM is a true dealbreaker, though and I don't see that changing even for the 13" Air.

    I appreciate your calling attention to the amount of RAM, and 8GB is more than enough for me, but I wouldn't want to roll with less than 6GB, so again, the Air is a no-go.

    As far as portability is concerned, and again, if you read my post, you'd know that I have come accustomed to looking at a gorgeous 27" super high-res. display, but at the same time, I'd like to be able to take off for a few days (or weeks) and still have a BIG screen with HIGH resolution. It's called convenience and again, I am fully aware of all specs involved.

    In fact, thanks to the fact that ALL MBP's and ALL iMac's now have QUAD core CPU's means that from a CPU perspective (and to the same extent, the GPU as well), the new MBP's are actually comparable to the iMac's with the exception of the highest-end iMac. Having said that, it's no secret that I have the less expensive 27-incher which has a Core i3 550, a DUAL-core processor, albeit with Hyper Threading and a higher clock, so it's pretty powerful (for me anyway). Based on that fact, I'd say that ANY of the QUAD i5's will suit me just fine, no matter if it's an iMac or a MBP. The iMac that I would buy (if I were to go that route) comes with a Quad Core i5-2500S @ 2.7GHz and a GPU w/ 512MB of video RAM. The 17" MBP has a Quad Core i5 with 2.2GHz but it has a more powerful video card and DOUBLE the dedicated video RAM. I also like the fact that with a MBP, I can toss in a ferociously fast SSD, which will make an even bigger difference. Trust me, I've used solid state drives for almost 3 years and the difference between the fastest hard drive and even an average SSD is phenomenal.

    Alright, that's it. I think this going back and forth has been a fairly valuable exercise. I'm just waiting for Apple to start its annual "Back to School" promotion where they give away an iPod touch with every Mac purchase. If history is any indication, that should be coming up shortly. Last year, they started around May 25, if I'm not mistaken, which would be quite soon.

    At any rate, I thank you for your time, although I dare suggest that this exchange could have been less adversarial and much more fun. :apple:

    Hi jimmy, thanks for the advice. Yea, I was looking at reviews in the same price range and what other manufacturers have to offer. I haven't found that much to be honest. Do you have any specific examples that might be interesting to consider? I would definitely consider a different monitor but I haven't found any with what I'm looking for: Higher-than 1080p resolution.

    NEC makes some of the best monitors, according to some friends who are videophiles and there was a 26" one for $1,300 that had all kinds of high-end professional features that I wouldn't use and even that one only came with 1920x1080. There is also the added benefit of no surprise because my 27" iMac is exactly what I would get if I were to purchase the 27" ACD and I am crazy about this screen.

    However, Samsung just recently came out with some stunners like a 1440p (or close to it) screen for a 10.1" (tablet) screen. That will be coming to the iPad 3 as its so-called "Retina" display. I can hardly wait. lol :D

    Either way, I'm more than open to other manufacturers, so it definitely doesn't have to be an Apple ACD. And yes, I understand that Samsung and LG are major suppliers for Apple's humongous LCD needs. ;-)

    Thanks for your post!
  22. socialmarker macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2011
    The IMac is so beautiful! I'm thinking about getting one myself.
  23. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    umm did you read my post? I said the differences between the 15" and 17" are the SCREEN RESOLUTION and SCREEN SIZE.... not sure what you are trying to argue with me about here?

    I didn't say anything about the amount of RAM, you have 2 SO-DIMM ram slots in a macbook pro, you have 4 in an iMac. This means if you want 16gb of RAM, you will need 2 8gb sticks for the mbp (quite expensive) whereas you could buy 4 4gb sticks for the iMac (much much cheaper)

    I did read your post, I know you said you wanted portability, which means DON'T buy the iMac... it's not portable. I've said from the very first post I made:

    seems you are the one who failed to read.

    Wrong again, proving that you DON'T know all the specs involved (and if you do, why do you need our help? Stop acting like a know all and then asking for advice) The 13" mbp comes with a DUAL CORE, not quad core processor. Also, that's YOUR decision to buy an iMac with slower graphics, you could select a better graphics card for your iMac with 2GB of GDDR5, double that of the mbp. And why would you think you can't put an SSD in the iMac? Again proving your lack of knowledge thinking for some reason you are going to be upgrading a macbook pro more than an iMac?

    I tried being nice to you and provided you with all of the info you needed in my first post... you chose to keep posting false information trying to "justify" the macbook pro acting like you knew what you were talking about which is apparent you do not. Anyways you're welcome, hopefully you'll read some of the info I provided so you don't go around spreading the false misconceptions you have about the iMac and MacBook Pro. :D

    And I'm not sure why you want to waste more money on an ACD, why not plug your mbp into the iMac and use target display mode?
  24. Blipp macrumors 6502

    Mar 14, 2011
    Alright, I'll ask for the third time:

    If you already have a 27" iMac WHY are you buying a new ACD to go along with your MBP? Just use your current 27" iMac as your external display as its display panel is the same a what's in the current ACDs. I get that you've got the money to buy whatever you want but that doesn't mean you need to needlessly waste it either.
  25. Crunch thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Asked and answered with the exception of the money savings advice, which I never asked for. I appreciate your time.

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