What do you think is a better setup?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by FYDave, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. FYDave macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2011
    Hey guys,

    So I've got a dilemma at the moment. I need to decide between two setups for photo/video editing.

    Setup #1: Top of the line 15" 2.7/16/768 rMBP


    Setup #2: Reasonably specced 27" iMac (Probably in the ballpark of 3.4/16/1TB/2gb video card + 11" or maybe 13" MBA

    I can't quite decide which might be a better setup and was hoping for some feedback from you guys on the matter. Many thanks in advance!
  2. Valkyre macrumors 6502

    Dec 8, 2012

    if you want to go mobile with your workstation then go rmbp.

    if you dont care about portability and just want a desktop, go for the imac ;)
  3. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Naturally the iMac is better at the tasks.
    A MBP only makes senese if you want to be mobile. If you don't want to rely on a secondary MB Air or something for your mobile needs. Many just want one stronger machine and rather plug in an external screen than deal with more devices.

    The iMac is faster and doesn't get as noisy if you throw some work at it. The Air is lighter on the road but syncing actual work is different. You can sync mails, cal, and such stuff easily. But edit some stuff on the Mac than continue on the Air isn't working.

    I always preferred one machine because I don't have a place where I can setup a desktop and always come home to. Taking an Air with me would annoy me I basically want to setup wherever I am with the whole thing.
    If you mostly work on one place and only occasionally need a mobile device the iMac is clearly better. More speed, better screen, less noise under load.
  4. mirrorbox macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2010
    I would go for the iMac because of the larger working space on the desktop.
  5. uhslax24 macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2012
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA
    I'm a part-time video editor with a rMBP -- I love my workstation (especially when I use my rain stand).

    If you can make it work, it might be worthwhile to cut costs on the 768 SSD and save for a thunderbolt display. Short of an unreleased Mac Pro + Thunderbolt display, that's the dream workstation right now...
  6. FuNGi macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
    I would go iMac and MBA. You'd have more screen real-estate, a faster processor, more storage at a lower price (get Fusion Drive), the option to go mobile, and a redundant machine if the iMac needs to go into the shop.

    ^ Um...why not sync with Dropbox, Sugar Sync, Skydrive etc.? I easily transition workflows, albeit academic not video, between two computers.
  7. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
  8. FYDave thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2011
  9. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Thats up for you to decide.

    A maxed out rMBP isnt worth the Cost:Value at all. The 2.3 GPU is plenty sufficient and capable, add 16GB and a 512GB SSD and its a beast and you save lots of $.

    Get a 24-27" Non-Apple external monitor if needed with the savings and an iPad.

    I have a 15" rMBP w/ iPad Mini and Love it to death, but thats me, Im not you. Only you can decide what will be best for your needs, regardless of what others recommend.
  10. FYDave thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2011
    Oh, what I was asking was based on the needs I mentioned how the iPad was going to help with the workflow. I didn't realize you were breaking it down from a cost to value perspective.
  11. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Well either #1 or #2 will suffice for video/photo, its whether or not you ever want to be mobile. If you do, then go for a lower spec rMBP and 24-27" external monitor and maybe an iPad for video/photo portfolio showing.
  12. Justinhub2003 macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    Cincinnati Oh
    Why not go rMBP AND a nice 27" or 24" monitor?

    You will get the best of both and still only be using machine.

    I have a 13" MBP w/ 500gb SSD and 16Gb of ram and a 24" HP monitor that gives me the best of both worlds.

    I use BookArc Macbook Pro stand and a cable manager to keep all the cables in one place.

    However if you have some serious jack to spend, then get a thunderbolt display to go with a rMBP
  13. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Define better. What are your criteria? Others have mentioned that it's fairly obvious if portability is a factor but you haven't chimed in on that or any other areas. You posted the specs yourself so you can easily compare from a specs and price standpoint.

    Better is always subjective. Don't just assume that your notion of better is universal.
  14. FYDave thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2011
    Ah, I see. I hadn't really considered using an iPad for portfolio display.


    Well, I didn't make a list of what I thought may or may not be better because I wanted to see the perspectives of others. A lot of times people raise points that I hadn't considered.

    Portability is important but not to the point where I absolutely have to perform all of my editing on a mobile device.


    Yeah, I'm giving some serious thought to just picking up a Thunderbolt display with the rMBP.
  15. Essenar macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008
    Thunderbolt display? I'm shaking my head.

    You have some serious cash to spend, but you're doing it all wrong. Unless you can afford the absolute best, I wouldn't throw a Thunderbolt Display at anything unless it was the 100% best specced hardware I could get. I'm talking fully loaded Mac Pro, not a Retina MBP even fully specced.

    I love Apple laptops, iMacs and iPads but I think the Thunderbolt Display is a waste of money. The money you spend on it could buy you two 27" HDMI based displays with the same resolution and you'd still have $200 left over to go toward your computer.

    In terms of iMac vs Retina: The iMac will smash the Retina in performance, 10 times out of 10. We're talking performance, not display drool points. Sure the Retina looks better. That's not even arguable. But performance? An over-clocked high binned 650M versus a GeForce 675MX or even 680MX? A 2.3 or 2.6 Quad Core mobile versus a 3.2 GHZ at minimum quad core desktop CPU? It's no contest. Might as well try to race a Dodge Viper in a Mustang GT. Sure the Mustang is fast but the Viper will just pull away.

    My vote: Get the 27" iMac and a 13" Pro. It sounds like you're not even sure how much you'll be mobile and if I were computing at home and had the money for it, I would LOVE to add an iMac to my arsenal. (I have a 13" Pro base model and I upgraded 8GB and added an SSD myself).
  16. lulla01 macrumors 68020


    Jul 13, 2007

    I have owned a lot of computers, I currently own a high end retina macbook pro. My 2010 27" iMac was my favorite computer I have ever owned. I can only imagine owning the new one and getting it decked out. I am trying to restrain myself from ordering one and holding out for haswell so I can justify keeping my retina macbook pro and my iMac.
  17. FYDave thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2011
    Haha, I'm sure this thread might lead some to thinking I've got cash for days. I don't. I'm making this purchase to replace a laptop that died recently.

    I am actually on the go quite often but despite being out of the house, the split between editing at home versus out on the go is probably a 60/40 split.

    I was reading reviews on the 27" iMac and Slashgear, at least, had a Geekbench result of a little over 14k where as this rMBP benchmarks a bit over 13k. It's an improvement but it doesn't seem to be earth shattering.

    The other thing I did note is that the iMacs don't use desktop cards because of space limitations based on the new design. The higher end mobile card, faster base CPU, and room for up to 32gb of RAM should add up to more of a difference than the Geekbench scores let on.

    I do appreciate your recommendation though. It's something to seriously consider.
  18. LeeM macrumors 6502a

    Jan 1, 2012
  19. Snowshiro macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    I'd also go rMBP and external display (although not necessarily the thunderbolt which is seriously pricey).

    The rMBP is comfortably fast enough for desktop use and has the flexibility to be fixed or go portable when needed. It just seems to be the obvious answer, which probably means it's the best one for you.

    I might drop the 768 GB to a 512 GB SSD and buy some large USB 3.0 external disks instead with the money you save (which you'd keep back at your office/home for archival). That is unless you're absolutely going to need the extra onboard space at all times.

    I'd also get the 2.6 Ghz instead of the 2.7. Very few people I know have got the 2.7 unless they have money to burn. $250 for a really tiny increase in clock speed is a pretty poor bang for your bucks. You could pay the lion's share of the external display with the money you save.
  20. ZhenyaF macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Very solid advice
  21. AndyDiamond macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2004
    The Black Lodge
    it wasn't the extra .1 processor speed that convinced me to go for the 2.7 - it was the extra 2MB cache...

    Someone mentioned these monitors as a good companion for MBPr
  22. FYDave thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2011
    I originally went for the maxed out rMBP because I figured it'd be a machine I'd keep for some time.

    The price difference between the 768GB and the 512GB SSDs is significant but I purchased the machine in store and they offer three tiers in store.

    External storage isn't a tremendous concern to me because I'm current sitting on 7TB of external storage space not including cloud storage.

    I think a nice external display is what I'll end up shooting for.

    Are there any displays, aside from the Thunderbolt display, that you guys would recommend? I already have a 21.5". I'm thinking something closer to 30" or so this time around.

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