Should I buy an iMac 5k or a MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GooBoyGle, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. GooBoyGle, Apr 1, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2016

    GooBoyGle macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2016

    Since my old laptop broke I need a new machine to do my daily tasks on. I've been wondering which device I should get, either the iMac 5k or MacBook Pro 15 inch. I don't have the money to max them both out so the price needs to be around 2000 euros. I mainly do light tasks like watching videos in 4k but I also want to game on the device once in a while (like Rise of the Tomb Raider or Cities Skylines). Portability isn't such an issue since I will do most things at home anyway, but it's nice that you can move around in your house with a laptop.

    These are the models that are currently on my mind:

    • 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor
    • Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    • 8GB (two 4GB) memory, configurable up to 32GB
    • 1TB Fusion Drive
    • AMD Radeon R9 M390 with 2GB video memory
    • Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display
    MacBook Pro:
    • 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor
    • Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz
    • 16GB 1600MHz memory
    • 256GB PCIe-based flash storage
    • Intel Iris Pro Graphics

    Which machine do you think I should get? If you suggest the MacBook Pro I could wait for the new model which is rumored to launch in June.
  2. npolly0212 macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2015
    The main question is, will the MacBook sit at a desk every day like an iMac, or would you use it to take places with you?
  3. GooBoyGle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2016
    I'll usually have it at home on my lap, not really taking it outside my house. Just moving it between my desk/bed.
  4. npolly0212 macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2015
    Well that's the first thing I would think on before deciding. If you wanna be able to have something to move around or you want a desktop that's just gonna sit there and it's the only spot it can be used lol.

    Honestly, I love my MacBook Pro 13", but I would LOVE to get an IMac. I had one in the past and I love it way more for the tasks I do with the daily browsing/Photoshopping/and anything else I do.

    But I wouldn't be able to purchase one unless I still kept my MacBook
  5. shftoptk macrumors member


    Feb 25, 2016
    Remember that you pay for portability in a laptop. The iMac is going to be marginally better at just about everything, except that you can't set it in your lap at a coffee shop. You will benefit from the beefier gpu in the imac and the 5k display. The macbook will obviously be portable and still has good specs. Both choices are good, it's really whichever you prefer. portability vs. power.
  6. GooBoyGle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2016
    Is the iMac listed above more powerful than the MacBook Pro below it?
  7. GooBoyGle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2016
    I could also buy an iMac and a cheap Windows laptop.
  8. cruisin macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2014
    The iMac has a much better GPU but the i5 CPU doesn't have hyper threading like the i7 does. Unless you need 8 threads (if you don't know you probably don't) the 4 threads on the i5 are fine and they are 1 GHz faster. The i5 has less cache, but in general it will be faster than the i7. Plus you cannot watch 4K video unless your screen is at least 4K.

    Maybe get a tablet for doing stuff on the couch?
  9. dwfaust macrumors 68040


    Jul 3, 2011
    I am here => [•]
    The screen on the 5K iMac is beautiful, but it's a bitch to take to the coffee shop.

    I just upgraded my MBP to the 5K iMac and could not be happier.
  10. GooBoyGle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2016
    Is it worth putting an i7 4Ghz into the iMac?
  11. cruisin macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2014
    Games don't really use that much CPU compared to the GPU. I doubt you will see much benefit based on what you will use it for. However if you have the budget and you plan to keep it for a long time it might be worth it.
  12. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    Do yourself a favor and get the Macbook Pro, you can't go wrong with portablility and your tasks are minor enough where the iMac is not necessary. Apple has a 14 day return policy (in the US at least) so you are able to try for a week or two and take it back. Being able to watch movies in your bedroom, or use your laptop on the couch, etc is worth it!

    iMac + Cheap windows laptop you will just be mad at maintaining two computers and two OS's iTunes libraries etc. And wish you just got the Macbook.
  13. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    You've described in this post that you want an iMac. Portability not an issue and gaming current gen games (graphics card necessity).
  14. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    If you can spend more money, I'd go for adding third party RAM (I can find 16 additional GB for less than £60), and switching to the 2TB Fusion drive, in that order. That gives you more than the 4GHz processor for your money.
  15. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    It ends up being really your choice here and we all have different tastes. I am not a fan of the iMac but from what you say it might be ideal for you given your tasks and potential use in the future. Btw, there are "hospital" style mobile tables meant normally for putting food trays on and slid over a bed. These can also serve as small tables for laptops and some desktop all-in-ones (like the iMac) if you really need to work over your bed (just get the sturdy ones).
  16. h9826790 macrumors G3


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    If you want to play RoTR, I think you better go for the fastest CPU (even though the CPU usage is low, t's single core performance still highly related to the final gaming performance), and the best GPU.

    This game is a hardware killer (of course, depends on your setting, but if you want to play it on low resolution and settings, why not do that in console? Overall cheaper and better experience).
  17. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    Just make sure you buy the Mac that has upgradable RAM slots (I think the 21" does not allow upgrades). I usually pick up extra RAM at OWC.
  18. shftoptk macrumors member


    Feb 25, 2016
    That is what I did. This is the laptop I bought. It's almost always on sale for around $350 which is a good deal for what you are getting. Or buy a chromebook and hack windows 10 on it, or make a linux machine. Or buy a tablet... so many options for portable devices these days.
  19. jonen560ti macrumors member


    Dec 29, 2015
    considering its almost guaranteed to reduce the clockspeed in order to avoid melting anyway. i would say no.
  20. Nunyabinez, Apr 6, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016

    Nunyabinez macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2010
    Provo, UT
    It depends on your use and other issues. I can help a little because I have a 5K with the i7 at home and a 5K with the i5 at work. I my i7 also has an SSD and my i5 has a Fusion drive. In daily use, I don't see any difference at all. The only time I do see a difference is when I am transcoding video. The i7 is much faster. However, I only do that occasionally. I probably would have been better off getting the i5 at home, but I wanted top-of-the-line to future proof.

    If you were making money doing tasks that they i7 does faster than the i5 then it would be worth it, but generally, the average person is just not doing things that they "need" an i7 for. I also wish I had gone the fusion drive route as I wouldn't have to have any external storage on my i7 and I haven't really noticed any measurable performance advantage with pure SSD.

    Also, I know I'm a bigot in this area, but gaming should be a very low consideration in Mac purchases. Any Mac is going to be a marginally OK game machine. If you don't care about AAA games and high settings, then gaming on a Mac can be tolerable (using Boot Camp) but if you are at all serious about games you need a dedicated Windows box. Just my opinion of course. I play a little on my iMacs and the sound of the fans trying to keep the mobile GPU from bursting into flames makes me worry that I'm going to wear it out.
  21. Forsyth Analytics macrumors newbie

    Forsyth Analytics

    Apr 6, 2016
    I would wait until Apple releases the 4th Generation MacBook Pro series the week of June 13th, 2016.
    Using DDR4-2133 Memory, P3 Retina displays, Thunderbolt 3.0/USB-C ports, 3D Touch Trackpad and a possibilty of up to 2TB flash storage (on the 15-inch model).

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