Should I trade in my iMac for a MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by TeddieBear, Aug 4, 2019.

  1. TeddieBear macrumors newbie


    Aug 4, 2019
    Hey everyone! Long-time reader, first post!

    I currently have a mid 2017 base 27” iMac. I’ve teaching myself coding, web design, photo editing, and I’ve been working on developing small games that don’t really require a lot of power.

    I also have an iPad.

    I’m going back to college.

    I’ve been thinking about getting a base 13” MacBook Pro for my internet classes.

    I figured this would be useful since I work full time and can work on my classes, teaching myself coding, and work on my games, during my lunch break or commuting, etc.

    But lately, I’ve been heading more towards a (somewhat) minimalist lifestyle and downsizing a bit.


    So here are a couple of options I’m considering:

    I’m thinking of maybe trading in my iMac at Apple for credit and using that (and $2200 of cash) to buy a (somewhat) spec’d out 15” MacBook Pro (or 16” if I decide to wait it out).

    I’d get rid of of my desk at home and just work from bed like I already do using my iPad with the Luna Display thing and I’d only have a small device instead of having two devices.

    I also plan on getting a 4K TV in the future, so I figured I’d use that as a monitor if I need a bigger screen.


    I’d keep my iMac, spend about $300 to upgrade the RAM to 32 GB, get rid of the desk and use my drawers as a standing desk for my iMac.

    And, spend about $1600 for a base 13” MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM?


    Your thoughts?
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Doing work on a bed doesn't sound too comfortable, and I don't know how a luna display setup will work on a bed. Its one thing to watch and chillax on a bed, another to spend a hours working - maybe I'm old fashioned but I don't see how that will be good in the long term.

    What are you doing that requires 32GB?

    To be honest, it sounds like you're trying to spend money for the sake of spending money, or change for the sake of change. A 13" MBP may be a good option to take to class, but I also see a lot of folks in the iPad forum using the iPad for classes.

    If you have clear cut mobility needs, then get the MBP.
  3. TeddieBear thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 4, 2019

    I spend 8 hours a day sitting in an office. It may seem uncomfortable, but at this point I prefer to relax and work on my home projects in bed than keep sitting.

    I can always use my drawer chest as a stand-up desk.

    As for more RAM, I just meant for whenever I’d need it. I like to edit a lot of photos at once and a couple of apps opened at once, but aside from a little hiccup or two, I don’t need more RAM right now.

    I guess you’re right. I can use whatever I have now and save some money.

  4. saudor macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2011
    Yeah you're losing out in so many ways with that plan. Pretty sure that Apple credit is garbage for such a new machine too. I used an iPad air 2 for school and was more than enough. 16gb is also overkill for basic Internet, coding and photos. I've worked with 1gb Photoshop files with a large amount of layers. My 16gb had tons of room to spare

    If you must absolutely need a MacBook, keep the iMac and buy the base 13 inch. Even 8gb is enough for most photo editing tasks
  5. jdiamond macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2008
    Just to emphasize, the iMac is so much of a better deal financially, i.e., what you get for what you pay, that if money is at all a factor to you, I'd use your iMac as the super power machine (since even top of the line Macbook Pros aren't all that impressive), and then figure out the minimum laptop you can get away with for school. For coding, the most helpful thing is a large screen, and you don't really get that on the move. And if you do decide to sell your iMac, consider trying eBay - you'll find most Apple products will retain about 80% of their retail value at that age.
  6. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    I swapped my MacBook Pro for an iMac, going the opposite way to you. The big screen is important to me for coding. You might find the smaller screen of the MBP a hindrance.

    What course are you doing at college? I'm guessing computer science related, but maybe not. Does the college have computers available for you to use? It is possible to do most of your college work on an iPad, but maybe not coding. College seems to be the reason for the laptop, but make sure it is absolutely necessary before you make the change.

    By the way, if you stick with the iMac, just add 16GB of RAM to give a total of 24GB. You don't need to throw away the old RAM that way. You should have the same RAM in a pair of slots, but both pairs do not need to be the same. The existing 8GB is should be in one pair, so add the new to the other pair. I have done that. It's great, and a lot cheaper than going to 32GB.
  7. travelsheep macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2013
    I have an 2018 MacBookPro 13 inch with 16 GB. I always have tons of apps open (Affinity Designer, Pixelmate Pro, Developer Studio, Pages, Numbers, Chrome, Safari, Developer Toolbar, multiple other tools, Amazon Music, sometimes even Blender... you get the idea). I look at the Activity Monitor often, just to finally get a justification that the 16 GB was worth the money spent. I usually use around 8-10 GB. Very rarely exceed 12 GB Memory Used. At 13 GB Memory Used Compressed is at about 1,5 GB and Swap Used at 1 GB. I never hit 16 GB Memory Used ever.

    What I would really worry about though is the super shi**y keyboard. It's so hard to type on and even after almost a year of using it DAILY I still make a whole lot of typos, wasn't like this before. And the arrow key layout is madness.
  8. pika2000 macrumors 603

    Jun 22, 2007
    Why do you really want to get rid of your desk? Maybe there’s another issue at hand.

    As for iMac vs MacBook Pro, in the end, it depends on where you do most of your computing. If at home, the iMac is more comfortable to use with its larger screen. If on the go, the MacBook Pro is a no brainer.

    I personally did replace my iMac with a MacBook Pro, when I ended up having to relocate and more on the go.

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7 August 4, 2019