notebook or desktop for primary machine?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by 86047, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. 86047 macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    I know, I know another macbook vs imac thread. But everyone has different situations and needs, so here I go:

    I've saved around 5 or 6 hundred so far. I'm working this summer, probably in the range of 1000 bucks by the end of the summer at minimum wage, working 15 hours per week for 7 weeks.
    i have a lot of [expensive] hobbies, like photography. I'll be running aperture or lightroom (most likely lightroom as i'm already familiar with it), as well as photoshop cs under rosetta.

    I also want to get into sound recording with my guitar and possibly a midi controller keyboard, you know learn to play piano (i'm quite musically inclined, just don't play too many instruments, I'm more of a singer, but piano and singing complement themselves a lot).
    I am a student, and my mother is a professor, so I'll be getting and education discount either way.

    I was looking at:
    2.16 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo

    - 2 gigs of ram
    - 160 gb hard drive (may also go for the 120 isntead, haven't decided yet, but photos take space)
    - superdrive (main reason for getting the 2.16 one instead of the low-end)

    TOTAL: $1424


    iMac (20")
    2.16 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo

    2 gigs of ram (would get 3, but expensive, plus symmetry adds for extra boost)
    250gb hard drive
    ATI Raedon x1600 w/ 256mb vRam (at 68 dollars extra, steal.)

    Total: $1625

    I currently have an ibook G4, so the upgrade will be a great one. I have much gotten used to having my notebook as my only machine, but I'm sure I could find a way to have both my little ibook (for web browsing around the house and whatnot, and bringing places), and have the imac for the more daunting tasks. I also think I would appreciate the extra screen real estate of the imac over the macbook, though I do have a 17" monitor, but it isn't widescreen, and it's not the best monitor to begin with, and I need decent color accuracy for photography. The macbook's screen is glossy too, which I'm not sure i'd like, or be good for color accuracy. Plus, how often am I going to be carrying my work with me? if i'm showing something to someone, I don't need my entire photo editing suite with me, just a folder of images and preview

    I love the idea of being able to stream HD video or Abc primetime shows in bed to watch with the macbook. something my little ibook can only dream of doing at full screen. but I'm sure I could view the imac from my bed, i would just have to get a wireless mouse/keyboard to control the video, or find a way to use the apple remote to do it, or even better, get up off my lazy a$$. Plus, I doubt the macbook's integrated graphics could handle hd streams to begin with, though I would onlyneed 720p for it's screen instead of 1080p.

    The only other issue would be where to keep my music.
    i love my itunes library, I'm constantly ripping cds, and I like having my music with me when I'm browsing the web. I guess I should keep all my music on the laptop, and have it stream over the network to my imac? otherwise, is there anyway to sync 1 library between two machines?

    How do you guys hold up with a notebook/desktop setup? Any beneficials or tips? I would love the macbook, but i just don't think it's got the oomph i need for aperture and whatnot. plus i might even be able to play a game or two if I felt like it and booted into Windows, not that it's needed with a 360 on my desk as well. I'm much more concerned with power for my craft.

    Thanks for your time, that was a long post :D

    EDIT: the other thing is, i plan to wait to buy the machine until leopard in october. would having a laptop still running tiger bug me if i have leopard on the imac? would my little ibook be able to smoothly run leopard?
  2. WillJS macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2007
    One thing I would do about the Macbook is get the lowest possible RAM and HD (on your 2.16 model) and upgrade those yourself (super easy). You can get parts from Crucial and OWC at cheaper prices than Apple's.

    Also, getting matched pairs of RAM on the Macbook will help it's Video card.. but (i think) 2GB (1gb x2) matched < 3GB (2gbx1 and 1gbx1) would benefit you more.

    Sorry.. I just have been researching the Macbook.. not so much the iMac.

    Edit: And if you decide to get the Macbook, you could also get an external screen. (keep in mind you will have to buy either Apple's miniDVI->DVI or miniDVI->VGA adapter, depending on which computer you'll use)
  3. MattJessop macrumors regular


    Apr 24, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    As far as I'm aware - Yes the iBook would run Leopard fine (I've seen no indication that it'll take up a lot more resources than Tiger so far)

    Like you've stated, there are several advantages to both a new Notebook and a new Desktop arrangement, it really depends on what you feel suits you better. If you were intending to keep your iBook as well, then I might be tempted to say that the desktop would be better suited, as you wouldn't want to have 2 notebooks, cause you'd only use one of them.

    However - you couldn't lug the desktop round as easily if you wanted to go to a friends, to say perhaps - record some music, so in that instance the Macbook would win for portability. - You could easily just take it everywhere with you, and I'm sure that syncing the music libraries would be easy with some kind of program for the Mac.

    What tends me to push you towards the iMac however would be the fact that you mentioned Photography. As you'll no doubt guess, a 20" is a smeg lot better than a 13" for photography, and the integrated graphics solution of the macbook would slow it down by a few seconds I'd be willing to guess with large high quality files.

    I'd strongly suggest a visit to your local Apple store :) that way you can play around with both solutions, and see which one fits what you need better.
  4. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2007
    Bristol, England
    Considering you already have a G4 iBooks the iMac might be better for you. Especially with the non glossy screen and dedicated graphics card.

    The matching RAM thing is only for computers using the GMA950 graphics card. The iMac has a dedicated GPU with it's own memory, so 3 gig would be better.
  5. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    the recording as of now is a secondary interest, and my ibook is capable of running even logic, and all I need is garage band
    so i'm most likely going for the imac, and I did visit the apple store, but they only had aperture installed on the 24" imac, and not the macbook, so I couldn't test performance
    I shoot jpeg, but might do raw in teh future, but either way it's a cpu based conversion, it's the visual stuff and rendering I'm more worried about.
  6. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Get the macbook. Your G4 ibook may be running ok now, but it won't last forever. If you sell the ibook now, you might have enough to buy extra RAM and a bigger HD without having to scrape your savings account clean.
    When it comes to being a student, portability comes above all.
  7. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    to be honest with you though, I'm only going into sophmore year, so won't be needing a laptop for college (REAL portability for taking notes in class, and creative multimedia work on the go) for another 3 years, and by then whatever machine I get now will be old, and I'll have enough for a new one. plus, the macbook just probably isn't going to cut it for the photos. i'll still consider it, but I think i'd be better off with a desktop machine for the graphics card (can't afford a mbp, and it's not portable enough for my tastes, maybe if they come out with a 12" mbp... again could be in the future when i'm off the college.)
  8. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    oooops my bad, i remembered reading about the matched pairs, must have been when i was researching the macbook
    doesn't it still help memory speed anyway? I guess not to a noticeable extent. After 1625 dollars, it's hard to find money in my budget for another gig of ram, maybe i'll upgrade one of the 1 gig chips to 2 in the future

    Yeah the dedicated graphics is really what i need, and the glossy screen won't be good for color accuracy.

    Like i said last post, i wish they would come out with a 12 inch macbook pro, that would be like my dream machine: portability and power, much like those 12" powerbooks i've tried and could never afford. I wonder if they'll keep the integrated graphics in the macbook next upgrade (not that I can wait 'til then anyway though...)
  9. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Ah, that makes sense then. I thought you were already in college, because you said that if you didn't use your edu discount, you would use your mom's. If you're in hs, then you have to use your mom's.
  10. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    sorry lol my bad, we've always used my mother's when she was a grad student, as well as a prof, so I never checked. I guess you have to be faculty in a high school. It's too bad, all of the schools around here are adopting windowsm achines, cause when they think "mac" they think of the oooolllld powermacs and g3s that are very slow and think "oh, pcs are much faster and better." Pretty much everything on the mac myth page on is true of alot of the beliefs of students and the schools. Hopefully as more and more people find out "Oh apple still makes computers?" then macs will be more widely adopted in the school system, as they once were.
  11. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Yeah, the EDU discount is for teachers of any level and college students.
    It is too bad that Macs aren't in schools as much anymore. I remember them having more prevalence back in my elementary school days.
  12. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    maybe if i saved up more i could go macbook pro? but you know, i don't really need it, or at least I don't think so.
    Oh well, by the time I save the money and leopard comes out, the lines will change, as well as my situtation, so for now, imac as first choice. possible macbook [pro]. only time will tell
  13. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Yeah save the mbp for college. By then, 10.6 will be nearing release too.
  14. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    now THAT sounds fun.
    Apple amazes me that way. I was going to buy an ibook with panther. Then I saw tiger,and was like, whoa, that's amazing. I didn't think they could come up with any more ideas to make it any better. But they did.

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