rMBP as desktop or 5k iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by tirexstorm, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. tirexstorm macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2007
    I recently purchased a late 2013 Retina Macbook Pro on ebay (2.6GHz, 1 TB SSD, 16 GB RAM.) My new Dell 27" IPS 4k monitor arrives tomorrow.

    My plan was to use the rMBP as a desktop with the option to take it on the go as needed. I like the 1TB SSD. In theory, I like the ability to take it with me, but I don't travel that often and I do have an iPad.

    I don't require too much power, but I do need a lot of screen real estate. I am starting to wonder if I am better off with a 5k iMac instead. My biggest concern is that the 4k monitor will not have enough real estate in "best for retina" mode (looks like 1080p) and I assume that at native resolution the 4k monitor with be difficult to read text.

    Cost of MBP was $1950. Monitor was $620. Laptop stand $50. ~$2600 total. iMac would be around $2800 (512 SSD, i7 processor, student discount, no tax in Delaware.) plus cost of aftermarket RAM upgrade.

  2. mjfutures macrumors member


    Jun 17, 2014
    I have a mid-2014 RMBP and a Dell 27 4K P2715Q and love the combination. I don't take my laptop with me often but I do like the capability of doing so if I leave town for a weekend. The 4K screen is amazing and I run it @ 2560x1440 and it still pops. When using it in "best of retina", I find it to be a tad bit big not leaving enough real estate for my needs. I've had iMac's in the past and always regretted buying All In One's... I'm either keeping the RMBP/4K or just going with a late 2013 Mac Pro base model to pair with my 4K, iMac definitely not in my future.

    Good luck with your decision!
  3. UniDoubleU macrumors regular


    Aug 14, 2014
    If you need screen real estate in Retina mode then nothing really tops the iMac 5K at the moment. You're also getting much faster CPU and GPU. But the rMBP will give you portability which won't ever happen with the iMac.

    What is more important to you in the time period that you're looking to use as the main machine?
  4. mjfutures macrumors member


    Jun 17, 2014
    I was using a Samsung 32" 2560x1440 and that thing was awesome for hugeness/screen real estate but I am so impressed with this Dell 4K, they really got it right with the P2715Q, and I have a 5YR warranty on top of it, all for $546/shipped.

    The screen looks "retina" scaling it to 2560x1440. I also have a NEC IPS 27 2560x1440 and this Dell blows it out of the ballpark and cost almost 1/2 as less.
  5. gooser macrumors 6502a

    Jul 4, 2013
    as i see it the answer is simple. hook everything up when it all comes in, play around with it a while and see how satisfied you are.
  6. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    If you plan on using it almost exclusively as a desktop, the iMac would obviously be a better option. However, if you need a laptop and do tasks that can't be done on the iPad, the 4K monitor setup should work just fine.

    It would help if you explain what you normally do with it.
  7. masotime macrumors 68020


    Jun 24, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Retain your rMBP, you don't need the retina iMac. The main advantage of the retina iMac is unsurpassed sharpness at the 27" size for consumers. Your main requirement is real estate, which makes the sharpness secondary.

    Simply set your rMBP to run at 2560x1440 on the 4k display, and you'll get a good mix of sharpness (1.5x as opposed to 2x on the retina iMac) and screen real estate.

    I use a company supplied rMBP at work with a 28" 4k monitor and I also own a personal retina iMac, and I am completely fine in both configurations. Sure, the 4k isn't as sharp, but it is sufficient for work while still retaining 1440p real estate.

  8. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    I had a 15" rMBP and sold it last year to get an iMac. I missed the screen estate and also loved the design of the iMac. I also could not be bothered all the time plugging in things and repositioning app windows all the time, so I didn't decide to go with an external monitor and an rMBP. I prefer having a big desktop, where all of my peripherals are connected all the time. It is much more convenient for me. I now have a Retina iMac and I am loving it.
    I think it all breaks down to this: Do you need to work mobile? If yes and if you don't want to spend extra money for a second computer for home, then keep your laptop. If you don't work mobile, then an iMac is the better choice.
  9. andeify macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2012
    I bought a retina MacBook Pro because I like to use the machine in bed, on the couch and occasionally take it places (friends/brothers). Id love a 5K iMac but it doesn't fit my needs.
  10. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    I've used a maxed-out rMBP with a 30" Dell monitor since June 2012, just sold it and replaced with maxed-out iMac 5k. Way more power, and of course the screen doesn't even compare. Would never go back. Will probably order a Retina Air the day it comes out as I do have a small need for a lightweight low-power portable now, but this is my main computer.
  11. MacGurl111 macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2010
    I have both. I have the rMBP and the iMac.
    I just got the iMac a couple of weeks ago. I have been using it instead of the mbp. Could be the "newness" factor but I find that having multiple screens open in one space is awesome. I was able to write, have my journal open, and my bible software. Makes it every easy to work, rather than me having to switch between space. I did that with my rMBP and I didn't like it. If the screen estate is important you won't be disappointed with the iMac.

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