Traditional: iMac 27" vs Mac Pro 15"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ctruzzi, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. ctruzzi macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2010
    I know the question has been asked often on these forums (found this forum through Google of that question) however my circumstances differ from all others.
    First, I graduated from a Uni at the end of last year and currently working as a Computer Engineer at a company in the same area as MS (muhaha). I have been a Windows user like most for my entire life until I joined this company where all the devs use Macs. I currently use a new 21.5" iMac at work which encompasses 40-45 hours of my day using SVN and GIT (personal) for projects. I have a 13" Dell XPS 1330 which was about as much as a new Mac Pro when I got it and still works well.
    My problem is that I have learned I love using Macs for software development and my job requires me to be on call every 6 or so weeks in-case of emergencies. I am looking at the 27" with 8gb of RAM and the 2.8GhZ processor (2,399) as well as the Mac Pro 15" 2199 with better display (2,349). Price isn't really a concern but I am unsure if getting a laptop is actually required even though I haven't used a Desktop for about 2 years because I love being able to move.
    Any suggestions, websites or thoughts would be of great help. Supposedly the iMac is due for an update and I don't require this now, so as well any thoughts as to when a new iMac will be released? Oh one last question: Is is easy to upgrade RAM in macbooks?
  2. lssmit02 macrumors 6502

    Mar 25, 2004
    First, I don't think the iMac is due for an update any time soon (it was just updated fall, 2009). Second, the iMac appears to be appreciably faster than the MacBook Pro, at least according to MacWorld magazine. Here's a quote from their review of the MacBook Pro 15":

    That's not to say it's not a great laptop, just that the current Core i5 and i7 iMacs are quite fast.
  3. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    The iMac is going to be the faster machine, but I think that it comes down to whether or not you want or need portability. Sounds to me that you like using a laptop, so a MacBook Pro is really the way to go. :)
  4. Christina1971 macrumors regular

    Jan 1, 2007
    "I know the question has been asked often on these forums (found this forum through Google of that question) however my circumstances differ from all others..."

    Your circumstances sound quite similar, actually, to the many, many, *many* people who have posted here debating between "power" vs portability. Sounds like you prefer portability ("...I love being able to move") so the MBP is your answer.

    So, that was easy.

    And yes, it's easy to upgrade the memory in the MBP.
  5. dazzer21 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2005
    Sounds to me like it might be a case of the portability factor against having a really nice large screen - a 27" is a pretty nice size to be working on, who *wouldn't* be tempted? If it was me, I think I'd go for the MbP and up the budget a tiny bit and invest in a 17" or 19" external monitor for about £100 - that way, you've got your screen real-estate and a very decent laptop for when you're on the move
  6. Christina1971 macrumors regular

    Jan 1, 2007
    I definitely understand the temptation! But the OP said "I love to move," hasn't used a desktop in 2 years, and didn't say anything about how a bigger screen might be appealing to his particular situation, just that the price of the iMac and the MBP are about the same.

    A MBP and an external monitor sounds like a great solution, to me.
  7. robzr macrumors member


    May 4, 2006
    Portland, OR
    Keep in mind the iMac has 4 DIMM slots, while the MBP has 2. If 4 GB is enough for you, then it's a wash. If you would benefit from 8 GB (or more) then it will be cheaper to go with 4x 2 GB in a iMac than it would to go with 2x 4 GB in a MBP as the 4 GB SO-DIMMs are very $$$ still.

    The hard drive in the iMac is going to be faster and larger with better options available for upgrade.

    I have a new high res 15" MBP, personally, I'd much prefer the 27" 2560 x 1440 display if I were using it as my primary machine and didn't require a laptop. That is more than double the pixels as a high res 1680x1050 MBP display.

    I like the MBP trackpad but the Magic Mouse is awesome.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd probably go for the iMac and then save your cash, sell your dell, and get a MBP for home and on-call :)


    PS - my 15" MBP is a Core i7 and I upgraded the HD to a 1 tb WD - even before the upgrade with the stock drive, performance was a letdown for me - theres no 2 ways about it, the laptop hard drives are a bottleneck. SSD is out of my budget, and I need space; so if you want speed consider going SSD if you can afford it and you go the MBP route. At the end of the day though, the iMac is going to be a lot faster and you will have way more screen real-estate and storage options. The ONLY reason to go with the MBP would be for portability; only you can decide if that trade-off is the right choice for you. The difference will be dramatic however.
  8. ctruzzi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2010
    I must apologize I know that the common question always is really between portability and power and while that is part of the problem my real problem lies in that I don't know if portability is an issue even though I love it. Having come to a point where I spend a large amount of time using my laptop on the couch I cannot easily develop there as it is easily more distracting then if I had a permanent place (I currently have no real place for a desktop).
    Do the MacPro's connect via HDMI to an external?
    To try and explain why size is important it is generally very useful for me to have as much space for my IDE's as possible. While using Eclipse/Visual Studio's I have a few side bars open that help with development and having more space makes that easier. As well I generally have 4-5 terminals open, 1 or 2 for different logs, 1 for database and 1 - 2 for commands/SSHing.
    This laptop/IMac I would get would be purely for development both commercial and for large web development (not design but backend).
    I plan on moving to a nice apartment in the near future that would actually have a place to put a iMac or a MacPro with a personal
    I currently don't use a PC because it's not in a great location but I want to designate this computer I am for pure development and not as much entertainment.

    Towards comments: 8GB is what I am looking at as I want it to last for quite a few years and paying the $400 extra for 4GB while not fantastic is livable and would be fine. Upgrading the RAM by yourself doesn't void any warranties aye? (I know some shady companies do that type of thing). I am also leaning towards the lowest SSD as 128GB if I where to get a MBP.
    I think my biggest problem is I don't know how important portability is and was kind of hoping others could share their experience (like robzr did) in if portability for them if they are doing dev work was worth the loss in performance. As well as the actual performance of say a 50 - 100 mb running on a server (Tomcat or Apache etc) while developing. I know this is kind of specific but I am sure there are some people who could add something either from own experience, something they read or just general advice.

    Sorry for a super long winded response but my last question is, how often do prices drop for Apple? I know the ram dropped $200 for the iMac recently but say in 3 months, any chance it could be cheaper? I know during the end of summer they give free Ipod's with the laptops because of college, since I don't need it right this day is there a better time to buy?

    Lastly, the only reason I asked if the iMac might have an update soon is via some website that takes averages on releases vs. last release and I guess a new iMac/Apple machine use to be released like every 250 days and we are at 400 something (website at home so these aren't specific).

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