Yet another question about the iMac versus Macbook Pro, but slightly different

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Forkjulle, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Forkjulle macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2012
    I've lurked these forums for some time, but this is my first post.

    I will be buying my first Mac soon, but I'm waiting for the new iMac (which, I believe, might occur before NASA sends humans to Mars).

    I am a professional illustrator who works digitally (Wacom), so I spend all of my time behind the computer. I currently use a 27" Dell UltraSharp (2500px resolution) and am doing fine on my i7 quad core and 6GB RAM. Naturally, I want to migrate to the iMac 27", for obvious reasons (and add some extra RAM if the new ones sticks to the 4GB default).

    But I'm intrigued by the Macbook Pro Retina and its high resolution and flash drive technology. I've got my eyes on the 512GB option (since I don't even use more than 500GB on my current desktop). I am not mobile (because I have a desktop), but there are moments when I'd love to work from the lounge or pack my computer and Wacom into the car and take it away with me when the wife and I go away for a weekend. The thought is very appealing, but is it worth the smaller screen?

    This is a very calculated call for me, since I can't "borrow" an iMac or Retina to test which I prefer. I can only look at them in the store and go by what friendly folks like you have to say.

    The high resolution Retina, according to many posts in these forums, seems to - in a way - trump the 27" lower-res screen. I "could" plug the Retina into my 27" Dell, but would I want to? Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the Retina purchase?

    What would you do? Any thoughts and opinions are helpful. :)
  2. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    Look up some rental places, in my city it is possible to rent a Mac for few days, it's a bit expensive but for two days its worth it before making large investment.

    You already have a high quality display so I don't think getting 27" iMac would be of any benefit, it all really comes down on how much you're willing to spend.

    • If you want to just "try out" Mac OS, Apple has a cheap computer for that - Mac mini. It's not a workhorse but for that price it's not a large investment either, you can buy it and see if you like it. If you don't, you can sell it and be happy that you didn't spend $$$$ on it
    • If you're thinking about being mobile I'd rather go with base 15" regular MacBook Pro and max it out on RAM and get an SSD. It's somewhat cheaper and if it'll be docked at your computer for most of the time there's no sense in buying premium for retina display that you won't probably use. I used MBPro like this and bought Twelwesouth Book Arc so it wasn't in the way.

    If it was 2010/early 2011 I'd just tell you to get a base Mac Pro but it is a terrible value now.


    Just to be clear: by getting RAM and SSD for base 15" MBPro I mean buying the RAM and SSD somewhere else and replace it by yourself or at repair center (official, you won't lose warranty). Otherwise if you use Apple built to order you can just probably go ahead and buy retina, they charge premium for additional components.
  3. sainsburys macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    If you are planning to use MacBook occasionally consider is it profitable to buy RetinaMBP. For occasionally usage maybe the normal one, without Retina, would be enough? And for saved money you can actually take your family for wonderful weekend, just when you new MacBook will arrive ;)
  4. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    If you have a system that is working fine, a significant investment in what sounds like a decent PC, a decent monitor (comparable to the iMac), graphics tablet and probably a lot of software what are the "obvious reasons" for wanting to get an iMac?

    Bear in mind that you may have to replace your software with Mac versions - which can be expensive if you're talking about pro graphics packages. If you went for the Retina MacBook, you'd also need to check which software takes full advantage of the retina display (I think some software still has to run in 'scaled up' mode).

    Also, if you're a Wacom user, I'd guess that you work with the tablet in front of you and the keyboard pushed aside. You need to ponder the ergonomics of that with a laptop. Bear in mind that the rMBP uses the extra resolution to display extra detail rather than expand the screen 'real estate'* - depending on your eyesight, the further back you push it, the less advantage you'll see over a larger, lower res screen.

    If you do decide to go down the Mac route, I commend the set up of a MacBook Pro + a large monitor (which you already have) and an external keyboard + mouse (which you probably already have, too). Stick the MBP on something like a Griffin Elevator stand so that, on the desktop, it serves as a second display screen (this might also give you more space for your tablet): even with a large monitor it's useful to have a second screen on which to "park" reference material or tool palettes.

    (*except in the sense that you can fit more information in a window at lower zoom settings - e.g. more of a photo will be visible in 'actual pixels' mode; icons, toolbars and other screen furniture are the same size as an old fangled 15" MacBook).
  5. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    Your current computer sounds like it is still going strong. I agree with the previous poster that if your setup works, changing over to a mac may be more trouble than it is worth. Maybe consider it a few more years down the road when your current PC is ready to kick the bucket and you are in the market for a replacement.

    Why exactly are you interested in a mac again? You say the reasons are obvious, so just humour me here? :p
  6. paul8 macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2010
    As an illustrator, I would think a 27 inch screen would be very important. I have a rMBP and I like it a lot. However, I would not recommend it if you are going to be doing most of your work in one place. Here's why: 1. the rMBP gets very hot; 2. it is more expensive than an iMac because you have to cram everything into a much smaller space.; 3. the screen is only 15"--you will need a larger screen to work on for illustration. If you don't really need the portability, why pay extra for it? In addition, if you buy the rMBP, you will problably also need to buy an external hard drive and an external optical drive. Repairability: the iMac would be much easier to repair if something breaks compared to the rMBP.

    My advice: wait for the new iMacs to come out (should be in Sept).
  7. Forkjulle thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2012
    Thanks for the comments. Much appreciated.

    Because I currently work in Ubuntu (and have been for years), but have found that, while open source is great, GIMP (and its cousins) are not keeping up with the "real" stuff. Photoshop's rendering engine is superior to (and quicker than) GIMP's, where 300DPI work is concerned. Also, Wacom support is not as flawless as Apple / Microsoft. I have decided that it's time to spend some money on quality, and I am not a fan of Windows. Ubuntu is similar to OSX, so the transition will be easier. Plus, I have an Android and iPhone, both of which play nicely with Ubuntu and Apple respectively.

    In short, my migration is certain. It's a matter of Microsoft versus Apple. And Apple wins.

    Which is why I was asking about the Retina's display, which is more accurate than my 27". That said, I have a Dell 27" UltraSharp (2500px by 1500px resolution), so would I be able to plug it into a Macbook Pro and work as I normally do? Or will my Dell become redundant.

    Plus, I do have external hard drives for current backing up (in the event that I opt for a Retina).

    And, to help with my migration (to a MBP or iMac), my current desktop is still operational and literally on the same desk (until it is no longer required).

    The only reason I'd opt for a MBP is if its resolution is better than my current 27". As it happens, the Retina is indeed better in that department. Which is why my world has been derailed. :)

    Here are my concerns:

    - Will working, 12 hours-or-more a day, on a rMPB (plugged in to the power source) be bad for the machine? Will it overheat and burn out? Or is it designed for occasional usage? The specs are certainly as powerful - if not more powerful - than my current desktop.

    - Can it be plugged into my Dell 27"?

    - What advantage would I have if I buy an iMac 27" (and end up with two 27" screens on my desk)?
  8. BPeter macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2012

    I read on the net posts from people who, like yourself, work with graphics (photos, illustration, magazines). They all say that glossy iMac display causes significant color oversaturation with prints. They all prefered standard non-glossy monitors that, allegedly, show much more accurate colors.

    I do not own iMac so I do not have personal experience with color-accuracy issue on a glossy display, but I think you as a 'pro' might be interested in investigating this further.

    On the other hand, you could buy MacBook Pro (non-retina) and hook it up to the high quality monitor you already own... That is something I'm planing to do today with my MBP because I find working with 27" monitor much easier -although for different reasons than yours (I write code and big, non-glossy screen is so much easier on the eyes).

    Of course, my thoughts are about current iMac model and nonoe knows what the new one might be like (- will it have a better display?)...

    Good luck,

Share This Page