Which to get: 2011 iMac or 2012 MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ranny2, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. ranny2 macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    Hi guys!

    I currently own a low-spec Acer laptop, which is really starting to annoy me when I am using iTunes or photo editing; so I decided that my next computer purchase should be a Mac. The problem is, I don't know which one to get! I am currently still at school, and will use this machine for the next 3 years I reckon until university.

    Option 1: Get the base model iMac (i5, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD etc) in September when I have raised enough funds.

    Option 2: Get the new MacBook Pro 13" when it comes out in early 2012. Portability is not really needed for me, as I use my iPad 2 a lot on the go, however it may come in handy at some point.

    Alternatively, I could get the current base model 2011 MacBook Pro 13" in September, however would I be annoyed when I see a newer, better model was released months later?

    If there are any other options that I haven't considered (Mac Mini or something), I would love to hear them. My budget is around £1000/$1200. Thanks everyone! :)
  2. nOw2 macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2009
    This isn't the answer to your precise question, but having been there and done that, I recommend you get something cheaper second hand. A 2006/2007 iMac would be a fraction of the cost and would last you for the next three years. Then do the same thing three years from now.

    Don't waste money before or during university. Like I said: been there, done that.
  3. ranny2 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    That is a possibility, however I would want it to still be powerful enough for my uses. The other problem I have is where to buy such a machine - is there any good and reliable second hand Mac sites?
  4. AnuCerFen macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2011
    How much power do you need?

    I would say it all depends on what your needs are ... are you just researching and typing papers or do you need the latest and greatest games :)

    I have a 6 year old iBook which has given me no problems at all ... I did get the memory (RAM) upgraded about a year and a half ago so I could get Leopard (the last OS to work on the PowerPC chips) and am waiting until next year or so before I buy new again ... of course I will keep my iBook for travelling as no one wants to steal a 6 year old laptop :D
  5. ranny2 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    Sorry, I should have mentioned this earlier.

    My uses are:
    Web browsing (YouTube etc)
    Document editing (iWork)
    Photo editing (Aperture)
    Apps from the Mac App Store

    I hope this helps. Also, I have though about this more, and I do not want to buy an older second hand machine. The oldest I would consider would be the early 2011 MacBook Pro.

    I think my options are:

    1. Getting the 2011 iMac in September (refurbished)

    2. The 2011 13" MacBook Pro in September (refurbished)

    3. Wait for the early 2012 MacBook Pro and get the 13" base model when it comes out.

    I just want to know which of these three options would be best.
  6. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
  7. ranny2 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    2013 Mac Mini? I can't wait that long!
  8. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Your uses aren't going to stress any machine that's currently sold by Apple. Go with what the above poster said: get an older, cheaper machine to use until you go off to college. Getting something new now when you aren't even doing intensive work would just be a waste as, and I'm sure you probably will, you'll want the newest thing as a new machine when you leave for your freshman year.

    There's nothing wrong with getting a new machine; I'm in my 2nd year now and just got a baseline MBP, but if you don't NEED it, why spend all of that money to get one?

    Don't get caught up in the whole Apple marketing thing or the idea that you have to buy a brand new machine. You aren't going to be doing anything intensive for years (and depending on your college major, I'd wager not then either unless you're doing design/editing/coding).

    Get an older model for a refurb from Apple's site if you can find some last gen or look around online. I mean, it's all good to get a new machine now; you could get it and use it for 5-6 years at least (any machine sans the MBA IMO). That's what I plan on doing anyway. My point being, you won't need all of that power.
  9. ranny2 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    I do see where you are coming from in terms of getting an older machine, however I would still like it to be very fast at the things I will use it for (the most intensive being photo editing using Aperture).

    What machine (iMac AND MacBook Pro) would you recommend?

    Also, where do you go about buying a second hand machine that is reliable and in good condition? I don't want to make a mistake in spending a lot of money on a scam or something!

  10. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    1) Thanks for actually listening to what we're saying and, although still pressing your original idea (which you should), you aren't just blowing us off and keeping only your initial idea in place. Kudos to you. More people should do that :)

    2) Baseline iMac, baseline MBP. As stated before, unless you really want to shel out for a larger screen, do hd rendering (and large projects too, not just short clips (even in hd)), or want to play games (in which you should just get a windows computer), you aren't going to need anything higher than the baseline.

    I can run Parallels, multiple browsers, Starfall (App store game), iTunes, Word, Excel, and have a TV show paused (what I had all running this morning) and I had no slowdown at all.

    3) A faster computer overall doesn't mean everything will be "faster". It only takes so much power to run applications.

    For example, I have a 2011 13 inch pro and I upgraded to this from an 06 black MacBook.

    2.2 C2D
    4 gigs of RAM @ .667(?)

    2.3 i5
    4 gigs of RAM @ <1000

    What are the results? obviously the machine is faster BUT for every day applications (word, browser, app store game, itunes, HD movies, text) all at the SAME time, the experience is pretty much the same.

    It doesn't take a fast computer to open all of those applications in a second or less. I was compeltely content with my blackbook; the only reason I upgraded was for the longer battery life (comes with pretty much 09-?? MBs with nonremovable battery) and the multitouch trackpad (same requirements as battery).

    So all in all, yea the machine will be faster but you aren't really losing anything by going with a slower machine.

    If you haven't yet, (and I suggest everyone do this), go to Youtube and just watch comparison videos. Most of the time the machines are within a second of each other at the most.

    Apple designes their hardware to be great, however they release new models every year with better internals and make it really, really appealing to get a new machine when it simply isn't neccessary. Because the machines are better at the SAME price, to the average consumer, it seems to be a no brainer.

    However, used Macs hold their resale value (sold that 06 BB WITH a cracked palmrest for 500) so you could virtually get any recent machine and sell it to upgrade; that's what a lot of people do.

    SO yea, all in all, you're going to get a good machine either way, and personally, I advocate getting a brand new machine and getting Applecare sometime down the line. However, as a 2nd year college student and a lover of technology for many years, I also know when it's worth it to upgrade and when it is not (spent 2 or so years in the high end audio business where you'll pay 400+ for a new pair of in ear monitors (without the amp or player) just to have a different sound signature.

    At the end of the day, the differences, sometimes and obviously this varies, are not worth the price you'll pay.

    Oh and for the second question, Apple has refurbs that are cheaper than new but, if you have read anything about them here, they come in prestine condition and work just as well as new ones. YOu also get the year warranty and everything included with a new Mac.

    I would also check eBay, however you have to make sure the machine has a warranty AND, well, you can't really check to see if it has water damage. Sometimes people spill something and it doesn't completely break the machine, however if you take it to get it fixed and Apple can see it's been wet, they won't fix the machine at all.

    So in order Apple Refurbs > Good, knowledgable people from forums (this one has a marketplace but you have to be a member for 6 months :/), > > > Ebay > Dying > Craigslist. (Obviously you never want to buy from there).

    And of course, if you have any questions about configs or things like that, feel free to keep this thing going :)
  11. ranny2 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    Hi, thanks for the in-depth response - it has really helped!

    I would only ever buy Apple refurbished, and never buy new - when I said in the original post about getting the iMac/MBP in September, I was referring to the refurbished prices; sorry I didn't make that clearer.

    Thanks again for the advice - I will let you know of any machines I see, and would love to hear your opinion. Thanks.
  12. njsa04playa macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    new joisey
    If I were u I would personally get the baseline iMac refurbished... They go for about 930 refurbished... This will last you through all of college and u will have a solid computer, but then for mobile, upgrade and get every gen of iPad by selling the one previously and you should be fine. Eventually iOS and os x will be merged so why buy a 2000 top of the line iMac or a 1199 Mbp when u don't even need portability ?

    Just my advice
  13. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Cool, and no problem man. If you want I can run tests on the machine (load it down) and tell you varying results based on what I do. I have a 13 baseline Pro so you could take that info and go from there.
  14. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2005
    As your most intensive use is Aperture, and you say you don't really need portability at the moment, I'd go with the iMac.

    The iMacs come with faster hard drives than the MBPs. You obviously also get more screen. And more for your money in pretty-much every other aspect too.

    Although you talk about getting a base model, seriously consider upgrading the RAM -- I've taken my 2008 iMac from 4GB to 6GB and can notice the difference when using Aperture, especially if I have anything else running. Upgrading RAM yourself is quick and easy and cheaper than getting Apple to do it for you when you buy.

    Don't forget an external hard drive for Time Machine backups. Budget another £50-100 for that.
  15. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    I completely agree. Just to reaffirm, RAM is dirt cheap. I haven't upgraded yet but I will definitely go to 8 in the near future once I get settled in at college.

    I also use an old 320 drive for TM. et a cheap external for 50 or so and set it up for time machine. Fast, efficient, and it's damn simple. I have only had to use it when I got my new mac; Migration assistant let me transfer everything back.

    If anything goes wrong though, all I have to do is send it in, get a new drive for free, and restore the machine. Easy.
  16. bumzo1 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 31, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    I disagree with everyone who suggest going used. I was about your age when I got my current iMac 2.5 years ago and it has served me well but I am already looking forward to upgrading to a new macbook pro next year before I go to uni. Technology moves way too fast to get something that is outdated now and expecting it to last another 3 years. My iMac, which was the 2nd highest model at the time, is still fast for average tasks such as web browsing and watching hulu but I can really feel the difference when editing video in FCP. That said even the base model MBP is now faster than my iMac. Thinking back if I were in your shoes I would go for the MBP, you say you don't need portability but sitting at a desk gets old after a while and every once in a while you'll want to take it somewhere to work on a project or something. Also the current generation of MBPs are plenty fast as it is for even what I do and the screen real estate from the iMac isn't worth the tradeoff for a student. If you do need more you can always get an external monitor anyways but you can't just unplug a cable and turn your imac into a laptop.
  17. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Let me just go ahead and pick apart this wall of text.

    1) "Technology moves way too fast to get something that is outdated now and expecting it to last another 3 years."

    You couldn't be more wrong. I just sold an 06 black Macbook with upgraded internals. The machine ran faster and better, overall, than my friend's stock, 2010 MB. We are getting to the point where you can get a C2D machine and use it for years.

    Yes things are better staying on the bleeding edge, but you obviously don't have experience with using mid-lower end machiens; either that or you grew up with somewhat good things and you don't know the value of things that are cheaper. Just because they're older doesn't mean they're useless or don't need to be used/replaced.

    I could edit pictures/video, watch 1080p videos, run Windows 7 in Parallels, and do much more all at the SAME TIME on that machine. And it is 5 years old.

    2) You edit video. For you, you're going to want something faster. That's obvious. However, just because YOU need to edit video at x speed doesn't mean everything under your machine is crap and/or needs to be upgraded. People have different uses.

    And yea, my baseline MBP is faster than your iMac. However, you don't see me sitting here telling you to get something better do I? You use what is good for you and that works in your budget. I'm not just going to go get a 15 inch when all I do is some light gaming (can still run Portal 2 on high with no lag), HD video, and college work on my machine.

    If HE isn't going to do anything intensive like editing video, there's no reason why he should go along the logic of "I'm going to get a new machine that's super fast because I can." That's just ignorant buying. (if he goes by that logic of course).

    If he can get a machine that's just as good for his needs for LESS, just to use for a few years until the new Ivy Bridge machines come out, that seems like the most RATIONAL, logical way to go about doing it.

    3) Because I love analogies; it's like knowing you're going to get a raise in 2 years. Instead of getting an economy car for 15k now that has great gas milage, you go and get a sports car KNOWING you're going to want to sell it and get something better when you get that raise.

    It's reckless spending.

    Now of course he can get the new machine; as I stated before I'm all for that, however I'm one for thinking rationally and logically about everything and I'm going to suggest the most cost efficient, convenient way for anyone to do anything.

    Yea it would be used. Yes it might have scuffs. However, if money is tight (or might be when he has to look at books and expenses for college (my books for my first year as a Micro Biology major were 700+), that extra 2-300 he saved from getting used might come in handy.

    Think of the future, not just what's right in front of you.
  18. crackberry99 macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2012

    right all of you listen, everyone has different approaches to every thing. if you think that you need a recent machine, i have no problem with that. and if you think you can get by with a 06 mac book, i have none with that either. just loook at i tin your own way. think about what you really want. not what other people want you to want. all though apple does do a very good job at making you want to want something new
    :apple: =(

Share This Page