Stick with 27" iMac or go with 13" Retina Macbook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by PatriotInvasion, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. PatriotInvasion macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #1
    So, I got a 27" iMac 2 1/2 years ago after having a 15" MacBook Pro prior to that. I live in a smaller apartment and didn't think I'd miss the portability of a notebook.

    After 2+ great years with this gorgeous 27" display, I find myself wanting portability more and more. I had an iPad 2 for that but found the combo of iPhone, iPad, and iMac to be Apple overkill and just too many devices to worry about.

    I'm thinking of selling the iMac and going with the 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display upon release. This will mean I'd be losing some power (quad-core iMac) and a ton of screen size in exchange for portability. What does the MacRumors community think of this move? Just curious:eek:

    ----------

    Also, getting the 27" Thunderbolt Display along with the Pro would be ideal, but EXPENSIVE.

    Plus, I'm afraid that the pixel density of the Retina MBP will spoil the appeal of the big external display since the PPI will be so much less.:(

    Once you go Retina, you can't go back. That's one of the reasons I sold my iPad 2 because that screen was an eye-sore compared to my retina iPhone at the time.
     
  2. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030

    yusukeaoki

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    #2
    I would go with the 15in Retina + updated Cinema or other display.

    The 13inR, which we dont know the specs or if it really releases, my biggest concern is the GPU.
    If it doesnt have the dedicated GPU, forget about the 13in.
    That thing would be useless.

    Upon speculation, 15in would still have better performance overall.
    Im not a big fan of Retina MBP but if you have to.

    Im guessing the 13in would only have dual core processor.
    And as you mentioned, you losing your power from quad core CPU is big.
    The 27in CPU and 15in MBP CPU uses different types (Desktop vs Laptop CPU).

    So I would highly suggest to get quad core mobile CPU.

    That being said with possible higher GPU on 15in as well, go with the 15in.
     
  3. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #3
    Well, I'm pretty sure the Retina 13" will have that dedicated GPU and SSD to justify the reported $500 premium over the non-retina model. We'll see on that but I don't want to spend over $2,000 on a notebook and that's what it would take for the 15".

    I could do a $1,699 price tag on the 13" and then sell my iMac for about $900 to help offset the cost. I'd then try to hold off on the Thunderbolt Display to see if there will be a retina version of it (unlikely I know).

    Hmmmm...I would really miss the 27" display for times when I don't mind being at my desk. Decisions, decisions...:rolleyes:
     
  4. Diode macrumors 68020

    Diode

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    #4
    I actually did the opposite a while ago and sold my macbook for a iPad (I had a macbook and a iMac) as I was mainly using my laptop for browsing and my iMac was mainly for real stuff - like photo editing etc.

    Now as my iMac is beginning to age I'm looking to replace it. Depending on what you do - the only way I'd consider another laptop would be with a external display pushing the cost way too high.

    I found photo editing on my macbook to be too tedious and suspect it would still be the same even with retina. If I didn't do anything where a large display would be beneficial I'd drop the iMac for a macbook in a heartbeat but for now the iPad fits my portability requirement.

    I also doubt the graphics chip in the 13 inch would be capable of driving a external 27 inch retina display - but I could be wrong.
     
  5. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #5
    If i were you i would keep the iMac and buy a well cared for 13" Air, you will then have the best of both worlds and you should be able to find one for less than $1K
     
  6. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #6
    Good feedback. I'm not ruling out going back to an iPad for portability and sticking with my 27" iMac for another year or 2 (I bought the top of the line $1,999 model in 2010 with quad-core to somewhat future proof it).

    The retina display of the new iPad is much nicer than the iPad 2 I owned and may be enough to relieve any device overkill issues I may have with that arrangement.

    That said, now is a good time to hop on a nice new Mac while still being able to get a pretty penny for my iMac. I just wish Apple could cut us a deal on the Thunderbolt Display with the purchase of a $1,500+ laptop. Adding another grand on top just for a display is too much for many of us to bear.

    ----------

    I see a lot of people on here with that arrangement. I don't get how people deal with the hassle of having 2 Macs with separate files, separate power cords, etc.

    Just seems messy and complicated. I'd much rather have a MacBook + Cinema Display but just need to be willing to eat the cost.
     
  7. skitzogreg macrumors 6502

    skitzogreg

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    #7
    I understand that the rumors point toward no dGPU, but I agree with what you're saying completely. Without it, and with a dual core, the premium isn't justifiable.
     
  8. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #8
    It`s really easy these days between Cloud access and synchronisation apps, i span my own data across two 15" MBP`s and a 13 " Air. i only sync what i am presently working on and reference material, other any other data data i pull remotely if needed and my internet connections are far from the fastest.

    If you are set on a 15" the Retina is fabulous, i have a base model without any issue or concerns fantastic performance for a portable, however as with all Mac portables it will run hot on an external display
     
  9. ImperialX macrumors 65816

    ImperialX

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    #9
    As sad as it is to break it to you, it won't. We can't dream forever.
     
  10. Davieis macrumors regular

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    Melbourne, AU
    #10
    I'd get the 15" Retina MacBook Pro for both portability and a powerful desktop replacement. Thats what I did..

    Only thing is, once you get used to a Retina computer you just can't go backwards.

    Every screen that isn't retina looks awful.
     
  11. boombashi macrumors regular

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    Feb 4, 2005
    #11
    I surprised nobody has mentioned it, but you can also use your iMac as a display for your laptop. You can switch back and forth between external display mode and the iMac with a keyboard shortcut.

    I would keep the iMac, it is probably worth less than a new thunderbolt display anyway. Then you get a monitor and have a extra computer.
     
  12. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

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    #12
    The way I see it, connecting and disconnecting all that stuff just means increased chances of hardware damage. Imac+ipad is also cheaper than retina MBP + cinema display, plus you get the versatility of having a tablet for use in situations where a laptop is just not feasible.

    Given a choice (and funds), I would invest in a refurbished mac mini to put at my workstation. That would mean imac at home, mac mini at table, plus air and/or ipad for whichever suits your needs better. Invest in a cheap wireless dongle and use your mini to create a wireless network because enterprise networks generally won't support BYOD initiatives. Unless you are working with extremely huge media files (in which case the retina MBP would suit your needs better), documents should sync quite effortlessly.

    Take me. I am an elementary school teacher using ipad + apple tv in my classroom. Most of my prep work is done at home on my imac, then sync'ed over to my ipad for teaching use. The things I do on my ipad in class simply would not be possible were I just using a single laptop.

    Most of my work can be sync'ed readily over dropbox and icloud anyways, so it is really little hassle. :)
     
  13. omgitscro macrumors 6502a

    omgitscro

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    #13
    But, the 15" rMBP carries about the same premium, yet it doesn't really have a faster processor or graphics compared to its non-Retina counterpart. It seems that the $400-500 premium covers only the new design and screen. If the 13" rMBP were to cost closer to $2000, then I could accept your argument.
     
  14. adnoh macrumors 6502a

    adnoh

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    #14
    @OP

    Going from a 27" imac to the 15rMBP would be an easier transition as they are both powerful machines with lots of desktop real estate. Granted the desktop will be more powerful than the laptop they have a lot of grunt.

    I would say the above is best if you want just one machine.

    The other option to consider would be to buy a refurb 11" air and keep the 27" iMac. Granted the air may be an older model but it will be a cheap on the go laptop that you can take anywhere. Use dropbox or google drive or a large capacity usb key to sync docs.
     
  15. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #15
    After playing with the rMBP in store, every other notebook screen in Apple's line is awful to look at and borderline unusable.

    Oddly enough, my 27" iMac with 109 PPI doesn't look nearly as bad as the other notebooks, but guessing that the 2560x1440 IPS display from a normal viewing distance is just better.

    ----------

    I'm just not interested in having 2 separate Macs, plus I'm not a refurb guy. Much rather pay the extra dough for the fancy packaging and knowing I'm the only person to ever own the device.

    It's down to these 3 options:

    1.) Ride this iMac for another few years and go with an iPad for portability (maybe a mini if it has retina which seems unlikely now) --- $

    2.) 15" rMBP as my only device (probably more horsepower than I need but that screen is so delicious) --- $$

    3.) 13" rMBP with non-retina 27" Thunderbolt Display (ideal set up) --- $$$

    Can someone assure more there is no chance of a retina 27" iMac/Thunderbolt Display. Like, they can't make a screen that is double 2560x1440 (5120x2880) right? No chance...
     
  16. theuserjohnny macrumors 6502

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    #16
    To be honest any of those 3 options that you've given yourself are great! For me I would go w/ option 3. The fact that you mention you don't need the horsepower just makes option 3 the best choice.

    I personally would not go for the iPad because for me I think the iPad is nothing more than just something for on the go web/email surfing on free time type of thing.

    Unless that's what you are looking for then I would see no choice than to have the 13 Retina.
     
  17. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 18, 2011
    #17

    I saw a rumor that the 13" is NOT going to have a discreet graphics card. To me, trading this iMac for the 13 is a real step down, better to just get an iPad since what you do portable is likely to be consuming media, writing/reading/email/messaging, or coding.

    ----------

    I think its a senseless call, but you'd have to tell us more about what you do.

    In my mind, you are giving up lots of horsepower (cores are getting more important as lots of apps i.e. Adobe stuff is getting smarter about using them).

    The 13" is rumoured to not have a discreet graphics card.

    You are paying a premium for the retina screen when you have the 27" monitor, and an iPad 3 has one already.

    I would argue keeping the iMac, maybe upgrading it at some point, and getting an ipad for field use. Unless you tell me one thing you can't do on the iPad that you can do on the 13". People code, picture edit, email, write, message, consume media, etc, all on the iPad.

    If you are video editing/photoshopping, the 13" isn't ideal at all anyway.

    Having it all on one device? Overrated.

    But you have to tell us more about what you really do.

    For me, I have a MBP 17" quad core, and even as I thought it was my everything machine I was wrong. I'm in film/video.

    I'm in the market for a second hand mac pro to fix up as a rendering station. And, sadly, an iPad as I realise that's cheaper than buying a physical mixer and i can use virtual faders on it to control my avid audio, for half the price of the mixers I was looking at I can get a second hand ipad and a 50 buck app. And I have to keep my 17" to ingest footage in the field.

    It really depends on what you do. If you are a coffeeshop blog jockey, maybe this makes sense but you really might find it limiting down the road.
     
  18. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #18
    As far as what I do on a Mac, I'd say the following:

    - web, email, Pages, Numbers
    - record/edit/encode 1080i/720p HD video via EyeTV HD and EyeTV 3 software
    - light iPhoto editing
    - some basic iMovie projects

    My Core i5 quad-core iMac with 4GB of RAM has handled all of that just fine for 2+ years (probably could have used 8GB of RAM and a SSD though).

    The iMac also has a 1GB discrete graphics card but, I honestly don't know if what I do even begins to utilize that card, thus, I feel like integrated graphics in a 13" rMBP that has 8GB of RAM and a SSD would be just fine. Thoughts?
     
  19. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    I just don't see what you get out of going around with the 13 that you don't get with the iPad, if you take a bluetooth keyboard with you even if you like. All of the actions you described bar the EyeTV are ipad-able. And that one will go better on your existing machine.

    You might even be dropping 2 cores by going to the 13, which will slow down your encoding. I just read this thought

    http://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2012/20121019_2-MacBookPro-Retina-13.html

    I think if you play games, you will definitely notice that card. Likewise in lots of little ways involving video and graphics that you aren't aware of now.

    Its up to you, but your iMac spiffed up would probably be more useable for longer, is my guess.
     
  20. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #20
    The iPad with a keyboard is clunky to me and goes against the core of the device. Plus, with no mouse/trackpad support, reaching and touching every link with a keyboard in the way is just, not ideal. OS X's capabilities extend way beyond iOS when it comes to things like downloading any file type I want and manipulating it from there. So, I'd prefer a notebook here over the iPad route.

    I'm still torn. I love my iMac, love my iPhone, but crave OS X portability. The answer for me is rMBP + TB Display but I don't want to spend that kind of money and am concerned the retina display will make the TB display underwhelming even if I did spend the dough.

    We'll see what Apple unveils tomorrow and I'll go from there. I suspect the 13"
    will be plenty powerful, but we'll see. Thanks for the advice all.
     
  21. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #21
    Wow, so that settles it. The 13" rMBP compared to the 15" makes no sense.

    With the low end 15", you get a quad-core i7, 2" bigger screen, and a dedicated graphics chip for only $200 more!?!:confused::eek:

    I just wish they updated the Thunderbolt Displays with a new thin design.

    Anyway, I think I'm going to go with the 15" rMBP and have a super powerful computer for years to come. If I decide that I really miss my 27" display, I'll fork over the money for a TB Display.
     
  22. MaxPower72 macrumors 6502

    MaxPower72

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    #22
    This is common sense! I agree 100%
    don't get caught in the retina fever.... spend your money wisely, the superpowerful computer will come up next year when hopefully we'll see a beefed up retina 15" up to the task of pushing the retina screen properly.
     
  23. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #23
    Despite my criticisms (mainly of the high-end 13" vs low-end 15") I purchased a 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display this evening. So far, I am extremely impressed with the fit, finish, and overall smoothness of the machine.

    While it was pricey, it is $500 less than the 15" and fits my needs just fine. After a thorough evaluation of what I need from a Mac, dedicated graphics and quad-core is overkill for 90% of my daily use. I also have a 1TB Time Capsule which will serve as not just backup, but as external wireless storage for stuff not needed on my 128GB SSD.

    Coming from a 27" iMac, I fully intend on adding a Thunderbolt Display to my desktop once an updated (and hopefully sleeker) version is released in the coming months. Really happy with my purchase thus far and once my TB Display is added to the mix, it will be exactly what I want.:D
     

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