Replace 2011 27" iMac and 2011 13" Macbook Air with 15" rMBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by weezin, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. weezin macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2012
    I have two computers:

    2011 iMac 27" base (1 TB HDD, 12 gb ram, etc)
    2011 Macbook Air 13" base

    I'm considering selling both and replacing them with one computer:

    2012 Macbook Pro Retina 15" Base

    Newer chipset (faster?)
    USB 3.0
    Gorgeous, high res screen with option to add an external monitor
    Better GPU then both iMac (?) and Air
    Larger SSD than Air

    No large, beautiful 27" screen
    Lose potability of Air
    No DVD drive

    I use my computer for:
    Fairly heavy Lightroom image editing (currently with multiple USB 2.0 external drives). RAW files, scanned TIF files (50-100 mb), etc.
    Web browsing, iTunes, etc
    Very occasional video editing
    Occasional gaming

    Thoughts? Why wouldn't I do this?
  2. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    IMO, the Lightroom editing needs a larger SSD than 256 GB. 512/768 would be more ideal, but if you have USB 2.0/3.0 drives, then that should be fine. Really, there is no reason you shouldn't if you will not miss 12" of screen space on the diagonal. The screen is better on the rMBP, and portability is great as well considering what you get. It will be faster with better GPU and CPU.

    MY only concern would be price. How much could you get for the iMac and Air? Base model of rMBP is $2200, so any less and I would say it is not worth it. You still have great computers that are only two years old. I would wait for the next revision of the rMBP if I were you. Should arrive by August/September at the lastest. That way you get the newest hardware, and since you have two computers (one for power and one for portability) you should be able to wait.
  3. weezin thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2012
    Thanks for the input. Let's just say that I can probably MAKE a little money on the deal :)
  4. fortysomegeek macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2012
    Here is my take.

    I have a 2011-2012, 27" iMac. I think base. It is base. 2.5GHz (Work issued for remote VPN). 1TB, 32GB RAM. Gorgeous screen.

    I also have a 2012 new 13" Macbook Pro w/ USB 3
    and now a 2013 15" Macbook Retina 2.7,16/768.

    I don't even use my 27" iMac anymore. The 1TB drive is dog slow. I resorted to booting off a Thunderbolt Seagate Desk Drive because it was much, much faster. In fact, my 13" Macbook is much faster w/ a 512GB SSD installed.
    The only thing going for the iMac is the large screen.

    You will definitely benefit from the USB 3.0 with Lightroom.

    I have the 2.7 MBPR and it almost doubles the geekbench of the 27" iMac. 8000 vs 1350. The base MBP 15" will get higher geekbench. I believe it is also a quad, 8 thread. Lightroom flies with no hesitation.

    You have to remember one thing. The iMac is really a laptop machine with a large screen built in.

    If you are worried about disk space, invest in some drives. USB 2.0 is just pitifully slow.Even a Seagate (Desktop or portable) Thunderbolt adapter with newer 7200 rpm drives will be faster than what you have now.

    As for the screen real-estate 2560x1440, you can always run third party utilities on the retina macbook to unlock the 2880x1800. That is what I do.

    I also have a few Dell 27" monitors and work with 30" monitors at work so I am no stranger to the high res. And this is my take. The retina screen is so sharp, I can't even stand to look at any other monitors now; including the 27" iMac and my new Dell U2713HM screen.

    But if you need a large screen, 27" Dells are pretty cheap now. $550.
  5. weezin thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2012
    Thanks, that helps. A thought I had was to buy an external Thunderbolt SSD and boot the iMac off of that to speed things up (like you mentioned).

    Currently, the lack of Thunderbolt accessories is hurting me, combined with the fact that I don't have USB3.

    Lightroom seems to be a little slow on my iMac, but I'm guessing that's mainly due to the HDD and not the lack of GPU power.

    I'm wondering if, because of the screen real estate on the rMBP, I could live without an external monitor. I'd technically have more room than on my iMac, but it's all shoved into a smaller space.

    This is very tempting, still not sure what to do.
  6. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    I would wait to see what Apple does at WWDC, and you can see if the 2013 update is enough to upgrade your 2011 machines. Consolidation is always good, and it does feel like you are getting the best of both worlds: relative portability and power.
  7. fortysomegeek macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2012
    I think you are better served with a faster drive set-up.
    I was doing Lightroom off a 3 year Core Duo Macbook a few years ago and the biggest improvement was always the disks. I shoot RAW and my photos are roughly 20MB each. Lightroom needs to cache those thumbnails and that requires fast disk I/O.

    The Lightroom editing itself is not as CPU intensive as Photoshop. Basically, how big are your files? If you are editing single layer RAW, I doubt they are bigger than 30 MB each. To me, big files are 500-800 MB tiffs.

    This is what I do. Whenever I embark on a Lightroom project, I save them to a dedicated 128 to 256GB SSD.I do all my editing off the SSD (external) and when I am finished, I archive to regular 7200 rpm drive along with the catalog folder. If you set it up correctly, you can re-open the catalog file on whatever location and it will be all brought back.

    SSDs have IOPS in the thousands. E.G. 40,000 IOPS (I/O per second) vs a hard drive which has IOPS in the 80-200 IOPS.

    You see this when you thumnb through your preview thumbnails.
  8. weezin thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2012
    Thanks for the opinions.

    I went in to the local Apple store today to play with the rMPB, Air and iMac side by side. I realized that I would REALLY miss the 27" screen size for editing and that replacing both the iMac and Air with the rMBP would be a mistake for me.

    Yes, the rMBP is fantastic, but the idea of constantly using a laptop (while coming from a great desktop) doesn't sound so great.

    In order to speed up my Lightroom performance on the iMac I think I'm going to up the RAM from 12gb to 16gb and investigate an SSD solution.

    fortysome - I typically don't work in layers, so my regular RAW files are no more than 20 mb. However, I do scan a lot of film, so my TIFF files generated from those are anywhere from 50 mb to 200 mb. Your method sounds interesting. Separate catalogs for each Lightroom edit? Not sure if I could do that. The best I could probably do would be to use a catalog per year :)

    Anyway, thanks for the tips. Now I need to figure out what route to go with an SSD for my iMac, be it internal or external.

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