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iMac vs. MacBook Pro

I want to first thank everyone who has offered their help and guidance. I really, really appreciate your time and patience, and the sharing of opinions. It probably isn't fun for you, so I'm really glad that you take time out to help me.

I'm still trying to decide whether to get a MacBook Pro or an iMac to replace my 2006 Mac Pro. Last night I was almost dead set on getting a MacBook Pro, but today the iMac is making a comeback.

The iMac has a few things going for it. First, it's less expensive. It includes the display. I can get it with a 2 TB internal drive (I could replace it with one of my 3 TB drives, too). It comes with up to a 3.4 GHz i7 while the MBPR comes with only a 2.7 GHz i7. It can take up to 32 GB of RAM instead of 16.

But the iMac is also 406 days old and I hate buying "old" tech.

With the MBPR, I'll spend a bit more money, but everyone in the house gets an updated computer and I'll have just one to use all the time - no more switching stuff around. My music library would fit comfortably, but it's 280 GB largely due to the movies (almost all free ones) that I've downloaded, which take up space. I could delete them. Nothing says I have to keep them inside of the iTunes library. My home drive is 1.07 TB currently, but my Pictures folder (Aperture Libraries, iPhoto Library) is 360 GB of that.

More in the rest of the entry…Quick Update on Storage
I think with the Pegasus 8 TB Thunderbolt drives, I'm told I can get 5.5 TB RAID 5. Regardless of which computer I get, I'd need two external drives. One would be a backup drive housing "other stuff" (videos and photos) and one would be a backup drive for Time Machine.

Two of my current 3 TB drives are backup. One's a bootable backup1 and the other is Time Machine. Because I exclude some videos from my backup and my Aperture Vaults, it still has 1.31 TB free space. That's a lot of Time Machine backups.

So perhaps rather than get the two 8 TB Pegasus drives, I get the Seagate 3 TB GoFlex with Thunderbolt instead. This would create a setup wherein I have:

1) Mac (MBPR or iMac)
2) External hard disk for "other stuff"
3) External hard disk for Time Machine backups

I could even mix them: get one of the GoFlexes for the "other stuff" and have a Pegasus for Time Machine.

Either way, this one isn't affected too much by the computer that's hooked up to the chain, except that if it's the MBPR, the "other stuff" on the first one will include my Aperture and iPhoto Libraries. I'd just have to make do without vaults, I suppose.

Tale of the Tape: MacBook Pro Retina vs. iMac
In no particular order…

Speed
MBPR: 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo up to 3.7GHz)
iMac: 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 (Turbo up to 3.8GHz)

RAM
MBPR: 16 GB
iMac: 32 GB

Age
MBPR: 1 day
iMac: 406 days

Portability
MBPR: Take it with me, plug it in when I am in the office
iMac: Still need my MacBook Air to take with me

Internal Hard Disk
MBPR: 768 GB is smaller, but the SSD is FAST
iMac: 2 TB (or 3 TB if I replace it), but slower

Display
MBPR: Have to buy one, but then own one
iMac: Included, can use as a display down the road

Offsite Backup
MBPR: Drobo
iMac: Drobo

In the End…
It almost seems to come down to a choice between a small upgrade with the iMac that keeps things similar to how they are now (desktop) and a large upgrade that will change the way I work (one portable for everything, albeit with a "docking station" at home).

I'm tempted to go the second route simply because I don't like buying a computer that's 406 days old, but it'll cost a little more. Cost isn't really an issue, but it is a little bit, too. 🙂

P.S. I'm probably buying this Thursday. It's unlikely Apple is going to bump their iMac line by then. 😀

P.P.S. You know what, maybe I just sit tight for another half a year. I'm still not sure whether I believe that the "new models" include the Mac Pro, but maybe I just suck it up and wait. I can use my MacBook Air to test Mountain Lion and just get by with Lion on my Mac Pro. I've said all along what I really, really want is an updated Mac Pro, so maybe I just wait for that. Or maybe I just buy an inexpensive iMac as a stopgap and run my Mac Pro in Firewire disk mode. 🙂 I can give the iMac to the kiddo or something when I'm done with it.

Footnotes

  1. It makes troubleshooting much easier.

2 Responses to "iMac vs. MacBook Pro"

  1. The iMac's 3.4GHz i7 has Turbo Boost up to 3.8 GHz. Check out the iMac's Performance page: http://www.apple.com/imac/performance.html

  2. Thanks Randy. I've added that in.


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