Retina iMac vs. rMBP + monitor

Discussion in 'iMac' started by kzhlin, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. kzhlin, Oct 20, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014

    kzhlin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    Hey guys,

    I bought a 27" NEC PA272 monitor to use with my rMBP recently, and now I don't know if I should return it and get an iMac instead.

    After adding the upgrades (i7, 16GB ram, 512 gb flash, m295x), the Retina iMac comes out to $3600 including tax and AppleCare. The NEC monitor was $1200.

    Since I'm not experiencing any lag when driving the NEC off my late-2012 rMBP, the only reason I want the iMac is for the screen, and I don't know if an additional $2400 for a prettier screen (and computer) can be justified.


    My uses:
    - programming (80% of the time)
    - photography/video (10% of the time)
    - web browsing and other non-intensive things for the remaining time


    Does anyone have any thoughts? Are there pros/cons for desktop and laptop vs. laptop and monitor? The pros I can see from the NEC are the color accuracy and the lower price (without considering that the iMac is also a computer).

    As for the iMac, are there noticeable differences when upgrading to the i7 and m295x? I like the flash memory since it runs cooler, is faster, and is quiet. As for the ram, I don't even know if I'm using more than 8 GB (out of my 16) on my rMBP right now. What would require more than 8 GB?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Malus120 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2002
    #2
    The answer to this question is both simple and complex and only you can decide for sure.

    That said here's some things I think you should ask yourself before you make a decision.

    1. Do you actually need the portability that the retina MacBook Pro offers?
    If the answer is yes and you can't afford to get both then I would say just keep the monitor. If the answer is no then you can sell your MacBook Pro and return your monitor, and come out fairly close to even if you're willing to go with the base model retina iMac.

    2. Does your current retina MacBook Pro meet your needs speed wise?
    Whether it does or not keep in mind that even the base retina iMac will be much more powerful than your retina MacBook Pro. While I would definitely suggest going for the high-end iMac if you're going to do it the base model is an alsi an option if you're low on cash
     
  3. OatmealRocks macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #3
    I would get an additional monitor for the real estate. iMac while nice is not necessary. I am rMBP + TBD but iMac does offer a lot of value and resale will be good. So actually now I think about it, maybe you should get it. haha:confused:
     
  4. kzhlin thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    1. Thanks for the response. I do need a portable machine so the rMBP definitely needs to stay, but the monitor (or iMac) would be mostly for working at home. Since I do a lot of coding, the larger screen size is nice. As for affordability, if I return my NEC (still within return policy), then I can afford the iMac. The only thing is that I feel like I'm wasting an additional $2k.

    2. I have the fully upgraded late-2012 15" rMBP right now. Speed wise, I am satisfied, and I didn't even know that the base retina iMac is more powerful!

    ----------

    Right now I have my rMBP docked and closed to power my monitor.

    The main thing right now is if I want to have a separate laptop and desktop combo or to have a single laptop/desktop combo (docked rMBP).

    I'm curious to see how good the iMac display is in terms of color accuracy. The NEC I bought is calibrated and really accurate, and one of the few things holding me back from buying the iMac is the color accuracy.
     
  5. Serban Suspended

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  6. kzhlin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
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    Los Angeles
    #6
    How is the iMac screen color accuracy? I do some photo work and would like to have a relatively accurate monitor.

    Is the iMac screen more or less the same quality as the rMBP screen?
     
  7. pasadena macrumors 6502a

    pasadena

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2012
    Location:
    Socal
    #7
    There's no way to know the color accuracy until early adopters get theirs and publish reviews.

    The screen is supposed to be the same quality as the rMBP, although the technology might be different ?

    If I were you, and provided your monitor's return window is still good in a couple of weeks, I'd wait until I could see one in an Apple Store.
     
  8. kzhlin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #8

    Thanks for the response, but my monitor return is up in about a week! Did you also say that the base model of the retina iMac (even considering that it has to drive the 5k display) will perform better than my 2012 rMBP?
     
  9. Charlemagne, Oct 21, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014

    Charlemagne macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #9
    Been also thinking about this - but coming from a 2009 Mac Pro with a 27" Viewsonic monitor. Could either sell both and get the iMac or just sell the Mac Pro and get the rMBP (but only use the 27" screen). I don't really need portability, but it is convenient to have something easily movable and small. Though an iMac would take up the same room as the monitor.

    Question is - will 5K not only just be overkill, but also hinder performance of apps (non-gaming, but like Photoshop, Pro Tools / Logic). It's version 1 tech to a certain extent.
     
  10. leenak macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #10
    I have a mid rMBP '12 (aka guinea pig) and although I love it and plan to continue using it, I'm getting the 5k iMac. Partially because I can but mostly because it is easy to utilize both now with Cloud drive, icloud and other tools (github for programming). I wanted to use one seamless screen rather than use dual monitor mode and I knew I'd need to buy a monitor and spend a good chunk of change on it. I think I will still always want to maintain a laptop but I'd prefer if I had a smaller laptop. In the future, once my 15' rMBP goes, I'll switch to something like an air. I think though that my rMBP should last a while, but my iMac will be used for most of my primary stuff (personal research, stuff for my grad classes, programming, playing games, etc).

    The cheapest, stop gap solution is to just buy a monitor but I've also just got really used to retina and other screens (like my work computer) look fuzzy to me. So it is mostly a splurge but I think it will be fun to utilize and last quite a few years.
     
  11. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #11
    I love programming and doing stuff with multiple monitors, so even a high resolution single monitor would not cut for me. I suppose that an iMac and your existing rMBP would be tolerable, but sometimes I get confused in those situations and try to use the keyboard/mouse to control the *other* computer. :D
     
  12. kzhlin thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 5, 2012
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    Los Angeles
    #12
    I'm in the same boat. But one of the things I'm worried about is how the files are going to sync. I guess I can store everything onto Dropbox, but yeah, that retina display on the rMBP has spoiled me! :p

    ----------

    But that 27" retina display is BEAUTIFUL!! haha. :D
     
  13. macmee Suspended

    macmee

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #13
    Dude, your situation is EXACTLY the same as mine, down to the 4k monitor running off your new rMBP, and typical use case of programming!

    I caved; I'm getting the 5k iMac SO LONG AS it's able to power both its own internal 5k screen as well as an external 4k at 60Hz.

    I'll keep my rMBP and use it for google hangouts and other things.
     
  14. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #14
    Since that's your plan, I've got a question I couldn't get answered here. In short, if you're doing two 27" super high rez monitors, how are you gonna keep them in view without tons of head swiveling? If you back up, you might as well go two 4k monitors or even 2560x1440.
     
  15. macmee Suspended

    macmee

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    #15
    Good question. I have my current 27" iMac on my desk next to my 4k monitor hooked up to my rMBP right now. I don't have to turn my head THAT much. I sit a few feet away from my monitor.

    I still notice the retina! Although I have 20/20 vision so that might help.
     
  16. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #16
    To get optimal retina (the point where you're closest and pixels begin to resolve for 20/20 vistion) on the riMac would be a touch over 16".

    For 4k it's 22" (28" monitor).

    For regular iMac it's 32".

    So if you were at 36" you'd be wasting your time with 4k or 5k, although I expect that "few feet" is probably closer than 36". But you see the point (or not, depending on your distance). Even a 1080p HDTV is "retina" at some distance.
     
  17. macmee Suspended

    macmee

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    #17
    Compelling points. I can tell it's 4k though, so I must be sitting closer than 36" :D
     
  18. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #18
    For me I can tell it's retina, and that I'm sitting closer to it, because I have so much less under my rear in my wallet.... :eek:
     
  19. glxyjones macrumors regular

    glxyjones

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    #19
    What 4K monitor do you use? It really sucks going up in screen real estate but down in pixel count on my external display. I want output my rMBP to a 4k 27"+ (or higher) screen but the options appear limited.
     
  20. macmee Suspended

    macmee

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    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
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    #20
    I have the ASUS PB287 Display, but I think it wouldn't run well on my macbook if not for my rMBP's dedicated graphics.
     
  21. kzhlin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #21
    SO TEMPTED to get the riMac.

    One of the other threads posted that the m295X was a MONSTER. :eek:
     
  22. curtoise macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    #22
    I'm in the same boat as you, currently I'm using a late 2013 i7 16GB 512SSD rMBP with a 4k ASUS PB287Q 4K Ultra HD monitor with 3840 x 2160 HiDPI and everything looks "retina".

    I just assume that the iMAC screenful be better as it will have better higher quality build and components and better color accuracy as it is IPS instead of TN but the ASUS is pretty good too, not sure if the screen on the iMac is good enough to spend an extra $3000, I do work about 12-12 hours a day coding php and css so it will be probably easy on my eyes.

    The return window for my monitor will close next week.
     

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