What do you prefer? One computer or two?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jharvey71884, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. jharvey71884 macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Currently I have:

    2013 27' iMac - 3.2 Quad Core/24gb ram/1TB 7200 rpm/ 1 GB dedicated video

    2013 13' Macbook Pro - 2.4 i5 Dual Core/8 GB ram/128 SD

    But I'm really starting to hate having to worry about syncing files on both computers. I have an offer of $1250 for the iMac. Thinking of selling both and getting a 15 inch refurbished with 256 GB and 16gb of ram.

    What I will be using it for: Currently I'm a sports reporter, so I'm out in the field a lot. Edit a lot of interviews in Final Cut Pro (but nothing taxing) and also take a lot of photos and edit in Lightroom. In addition, I'm starting to take classes from TeamTreeHouse.com and am getting into more front end web design.
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    One for sure. I had an iMac and Macbook both up until 2012. Then I noticed laptops in general had become so powerful there really were not any noticeable speed tradeoffs any longer going with a portable for most tasks. Then the Thunderbolt Displays came out and that was it for me. Ever since I have been on 13" Mac portables and use it connected to the TB display when I am home. It works perfectly for my usage and has plenty of power.

    Having just one machine to keep up is much less work. I can't tell you how many times when I had both where I would see an OS update then install that on both and update both backups.... only to see iTunes and iPhoto updates or whatever popup 30 minutes later causing me to repeat the update and backup cycle on both machines. Arghhh...
  3. Algus macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2014
    Oh two. I tried the whole replace your laptop with an iPad thing. I also tried the whole use a chromebook instead of a laptop thing. Neither worked for me.

    My desktop is rigged up to do things my laptop can't do. More RAM for VMs. Eventually I will replace it with a quad-core machine that has something resembling a real graphics card (5k iMac I suspect). I'm happy with the dual core CPU in my Pro though.

    I'm sure I could dock my laptop and do a lot of the same things I use my desktop for. I have messed with gaming on my Pro though and I am unhappy with the fan noise, heat, and space gaming takes up. Even though the Mini has an inferior graphics chip, I feel like it handles that stuff much better.

    When I walk away from my desktop, whether its to park it on the couch in the living room or because I'm in a hotel room three states away, I want to have access to all of the same productivity apps and entertainment I use at home. And I don't want to have to mess with internet connections or remote access or any of that to get to it. Really, I'd probably trade in the desktop if I had to for the convenience of a laptop.
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I definitely agree with you there. I can't stand the iPad for much more than just casual news consumption or reading emails.

    From your description, it sounds like you need the power a desktop brings. My needs are much more modest.
  5. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Unfortunately, there is still no good way to synchronise the state between multiple machines. If you use your computer a lot, having one might be more convenient. I have just one 15" MBP which belongs to my company, but I have the permission to use it for basically everything, so its both my home and work computer.
  6. Closingracer macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2010
    I tried various things as well with my iPad and while it fulfilled my Web browsing in terms of replacing my laptop along with email I didn't find writing notes for college to be acceptable. I do have two computers at home. One is a 17 inch windows 10 laptop with a Intel i7 clocked at 2.5ghz with a turbo up to 3.5ghz, 8gb of ram, nvidia 970m gpu, 1tb 7200rpm hdd and slots to add another drive and a Macbook Pro 13 with 8gb of ram, 256gb ssd and an Intel i5 gpu at 2.6 ghz. One is my main device ( windows) and my other is a portable device to use on the go, college and whenever im in bed.
  7. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    I am greedy in that have 3.

    mini 2009/drobo pro for itunes/elgato pvr. Is on 24/7
    mac pro 2010 for video editing
    mbpr 2008 for when around the flat/away

    However I don't have to worry about synching files so that isn't a problem.
  8. c0ppo macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2013
    Back in 2011 I had mba 13, and a iMac 27. Both maxed out.
    After retina MBP came out, I bought rMBP15 with dGPU, after a while I sold my iMac 27 an MBA13.

    To this day I use only my laptop. I do some casual gaming as well (dota 2), and it handles it well even on 3440x1440 external monitor, everything maxed out.

    All I do with my MBP is programming, surfing, watching movies and a casual dota 2 game. It handles everything like a charm. And a LG 34uc87 with thunderbolt support makes it an awesome desktop machine as well. Way better then my iMac ever was.

    Wanted to get 5K iMac, but really didn't see the point. Except retina display. I will rather hold on and buy a retina thunderbolt display if Apple ever produces one. Or wait for other manufactures to make one.
  9. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2015
    I have both a 27" iMac and a 13" rMBP. I just use Dropbox to put all of my files on, and that way both are always in sync. I bye far prefer it that way. I used to use just my laptop (a MacBook Air from when they where more powerful than the MacBook Pro) hooked up to a display when I was home. However, having a dedicated desktop is very much preferable for me.
  10. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    Two. I travel with a late-2013 rMBP and have a co-located 2012 Mini Server in my office. The Mini hosts my important files in secure folders/directories and runs an Exchange Server in a Parallels Desktop VM, plus my iTunes media. I personally don't need a VPN and use a courier for business files/media as it's what my clients dictate (the latter isn't relevant to this thread FWIW). Having UL data on my 3 VZW iOS devices allows me to synch to my Mini when needed.

    I prefer my Mini Server with DAS to a NAS as it's a full computer that my clients can use when needed and I can run a VM that, in turn, runs services to run my business. I can't imagine using a NAS right now, but they're generally powerful devices that IMHO I'd call a NAS a computer anyway - so I'd be "running" two computers for my own needs, regardless of platform. Cheers!
  11. NavySEAL6 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2006
    I'm definitely debating this. I have a 15 inch MacBook Pro which is aging, and I'd love an iMac, but the laptop is just so convenient. Plus, I feel like the 15 inch was never truly portable.

    Has anyone had experience using back to my Mac? I believe it's a Remote Desktop like feature built into iCloud for free. I'd like to see how that runs. Then, you can have that as your base/server and keep the laptop as a tablet like device that always accesses your main machine.

  12. spaceballl macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    I have two computers and LOVE my setup.

    Personal: 15" rMBP maxed out.
    Work: 12" rMB maxed out.

    Keep things in sync. I have 4 root folders that I keep in sync w/ BTSYNC.

    Shared: Folders I keep in sync w/ my wife.
    Desktop: Files on my desktop
    Desktop Pictures: Background pictures (I have OS X automatically change to a new pic in the directory every 5 minutes)
    Documents: All my stuff

    It works great. 80% of the time when I'm at home, my MacBook Pro is hooked up to a 27" monitor, wireless keyboard, mouse, speakers, USB hub, blu-ray drive, etc. For the other 20%, I appreciate that I can take the powerful machine around when I need to.

    As for my rMB, I use it at work. At work, this machine is hooked up to a Dell 27" monitor w/ wireless keyboard + mouse. When I'm traveling via plane, it's small enough that I can put it on a tray table and still have room for a soda and a snack.

    The files I care about are in sync all the time. iCloud keeps the photo library / iTunes / iMessage situation in sync. Things like my Downloads folder, etc, I don't care about keeping in sync. Anyhow, that's my setup. Not saying it will work for everyone, but after the initial setup, it couldn't be more seamless to have everything in sync!
  13. Freyqq, Jan 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016

    Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    I have a late 2013 rmbp connected as a desktop and a 2010 mbp for more mobile use. I use a mix of dropbox and remotely accessing files on the rmbp. Basically, the rmbp becomes a NAS when not in use. The rmbp has a DAS drive for time machine backup, so all files are backed up regularly.

    Also, in the event of a computer failure, I like having a replacement ready to go that needs minimal tweaking to fit my workflow.
  14. pseudoware, Jan 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016

    pseudoware macrumors member


    Dec 20, 2015
    Definitely more than one. I need a back up ready to go in case something happens. Can't afford to be the weak link on my work team because of "computer problems."

    Understandable, but as mentioned, putting stuff in a "cloud" folder for the same acct synced on both machines, and also accessible from any browser or smart device just in case, has taken much of the pain away for me.

    If limited to just one, for me, the portability of a laptop wins out every time.

    FWIW, I have a 2015 13" rMBP and Lenovo ThinkPad T450s. I also have a Shuttle desktop I put together, and I keep a VM on AWS ready to run at anytime. If needed, I can work in any of these environments on any given day.
  15. noodle654 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2005
    Never Ender
    I have the same setup basically. I also run a Mac Mini as a server at home. Really like it. I was tempted to buy a Mac Pro but having both the power and portability of the rMBP is much better. The rMB is really great for travel and work, no need for an iPad and I can actually get work done.
  16. TechZeke macrumors 68020


    Jul 29, 2012
    Rialto, CA
    Using Dropbox does all I need to keep stuff synced across multiple computer. My bedroom is essentially a computer lab, and have multiple PCs and Macs, just because I like Tech. Might be picking up a Surface Pro 4 soon for note taking.
  17. nightcap965 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2004
    Cape Cod
    At least two. Between iCloud and Dropbox, things stay in sync pretty well.
  18. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    I prefer one, of course, anything to keep things simple. However sometimes thats not an option.
  19. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    Two I have a desktop and a laptop this will likely never change
  20. vinylretina macrumors member


    Dec 6, 2015
    Well, I guess I would honestly prefer to have only one, but it's just not very possible. My base 15" mid-2014 rMBP is the center of all of my devices, but I also use my iPad Air 2 about as much for school, creative endeavors, etc. I suppose in all actuality, I could lose both of my other computers and everything would carry on as normal, but I enjoy having an iMac on my desk for the purposes of a computer that is always on and ready to go. Even though it is aging, my fiancé and I use it all the time for quick web browsing when we're too lazy to go grab our other devices or to pull up recipes and things like that. It also runs Ubuntu 15.05 in addition to SL and I'd hate to give that up. Yes, I could just simply install Ubuntu on my laptop, but it's already dual-booting Windows 10 and, well, truth is that I already have a laptop running Ubuntu; my iBook G4. :p

    Sometimes I think that it feels like too many devices to keep up with and that I don't really have a justifiable use for having all of them around, but even if they don't all get used every day, I still have those times where I'll jump on either the iMac or iBook and have some fun with them and remember why I keep them around. eBay just hasn't drawn their number quite yet. :cool:
  21. easheer macrumors regular


    Sep 12, 2010
    I prefer two, have an iMac 27 and MBP 13 Retina.
  22. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    Two here: rMBP 15" and rMBP 13" -- the 15" serves as a desktop replacement and has taken the place of my previous 2012 iMac. For various reasons I think the the rMBP offers a lot of flexibility beyond what I have had with the iMac. The 13" rMBP is the one which travels with me (along with my iPad). Just getting used to this new setup now -- the iMac went to its new home today, actually. Through the years I've pretty much always had at least two machines, sometimes more than that, and I do prefer having two machines which pretty much mirror each other in terms of what they've got on them and what I can do with them.
  23. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I prefer having just 1 machine so keeping things in sync is not an issue. I prefer laptops since I've been using them for over 20 years. I've never needed super powerful computers so most mid to high end models are more than enough. Since I upgraded my 2011 to a SSD it has been plenty powerful.

    Most of the time my MBP sits on my desk in clamshell mode. When I travel it is usually for a few months at a time so a laptop is a lot easier to handle.

    The only change I might make to your plan is the amount of SSD. I consider 512gb a minimum and would prefer to have 1tb. I do have a lot of photographs that take up significant space.
  24. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    If you're only going to have one machine, yes, I agree that 512 GB SSD would be a much better way to go than 256 GB. Even at that be sure you also have an external drive or two for backing up and supplementing. 1 TB would be even better but that can run into a fair amount of $$$....
  25. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    As a side note I just recently got a Toshiba 3TB 2.5" USB 3 external drive for Christmas it was 129 Euro so it'd probably be that in USD it helps alleviate the need for a big internal drive

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