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  1. #1
    cheapest mbp vs. cheapest imac

    Member Since
    Apr 29, 2010
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    21
    Specs:
    2009 imac 21.5", 256mb radeon card, etc
    cheapest mbp vs. cheapest imac
    hi, I've decided to get a mac. Mobility isn't a huge issue for me, I've got an ubuntu netbook that's fine for most purposes.. Just looking for something to keep at home and stay mostly on my desk.

    I just had a few questions that might help me choose between the computers, which seem to cost pretty much the same (though I'd get bigger education discount on the notebook)...

    Longevity: is it likely that the imac will last longer? Desktops generally do have lower failure rates, I think. I want this machine to last 5 years.

    What I want: This will be mainly for editing photos and watching movies/online video. I hope to play some older pc games via bootcamp as well, but I could definitely live without that. How will these two computers fare with those tasks? Will either be able to handle full-screen hd hulu without stuttering?

    Hard Drives: Will I notice the difference between 5400 rpm on the mbp and 7200 on the imac?

    Operating noise: which one runs quieter?

    Do you think either machine will be able to handle starcraft 2 when it comes out?

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    cheapest mbp vs. cheapest imac
    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
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    U.S.
    Posts
    31,467
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.7.5
    Quote Originally Posted by cerberez View Post
    hi, I've decided to get a mac. Mobility isn't a huge issue for me, I've got an ubuntu netbook that's fine for most purposes.. Just looking for something to keep at home and stay mostly on my desk.

    I just had a few questions that might help me choose between the computers, which seem to cost pretty much the same (though I'd get bigger education discount on the notebook)...

    Longevity: is it likely that the imac will last longer? Desktops generally do have lower failure rates, I think. I want this machine to last 5 years.
    The lowest cost MacBook costs $999, the lowest cost iMac costs $1199.

    With the lowest cost iMac vs. the lowest cost MacBook you get:

    - 4 gig of ram instead of 2 gig
    - a 3.06 ghz processor instead of the 2.26
    - a 500 meg HD instead of a 250 gig HD
    - iMac max. ram is 16 gig, MacBook max. ram is 8 gig
    - you get a 21.5" display on the iMac, only a 13" display on the MacBook

    Since mobility is not an issue...for $200 dollars more...you get a HECK of a lot more computer for the money with the low-end iMac than you do with the low-end MacBook.

    Since you want this computer to last 5 years...the 3.06ghz processor & 16 gig max ram of the iMac is definitely better than the 2.26 processor & 8 gig max ram of the MacBook.

    The bottom line is (IMHO)...given your needs...the low end iMac is DEFINITELY the better buy!

    To make things even BETTER. Instead of paying $1199 for a new low-end 3.06ghz iMac...you can currently get it refurbished from the Apple Store for $999...a terrific price!!!

    Refurbished iMac 21.5-inch 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - Apple Store (U.S.)

    Hope this helps,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  3. #3
    cheapest mbp vs. cheapest imac

    Member Since
    Apr 29, 2010
    Posts
    21
    Specs:
    2009 imac 21.5", 256mb radeon card, etc
    Hope this helps,

    - Nick
    thanks! I was, specifically, thinking of the macbook pro, but you do have a point there. Also, I bet I could make myself a really nice case for the imac for those times I will want to move it.

    I was also kind of envisioning it as a tv replacement... rather than buy a tv I might shell out for one of those things that lets you watch tv on the mac.

    Does anyone have experience with those? How well do they work?

    thanks!

  4. #4
    cheapest mbp vs. cheapest imac
    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    31,467
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.7.5
    Quote Originally Posted by cerberez View Post
    thanks! I was, specifically, thinking of the macbook pro, but you do have a point there.
    Sorry...your right...you did mention "MBP" in your Title...I missed the "P"!

    Between the cheapest MacBook & the cheapest MacBook Pro. With the MacBook Pro you get a:

    - slightly faster processor (2.4ghz vs. 2.26)
    - aluminum computer housing instead of white plastic.
    - with the 13" MacBook Pro you do get a better graphics card..the Nvidia 320 instead of the 9400m in the MacBook
    - and you get a longer lasting battery in the MacBook Pro (10 hours vs. 7 hours).

    Most of everything I mentioned earlier still applies. You do get some improvements with the cheapest MacBook Pro compared to the MacBook...but for the long term/future...I think that the 3.06ghz processor & 16 meg max. ram of the "cheapest" iMac are important parameters.

    Since you mentioned using the iMac's display as a TV...I would actually recommend you getting the low-end 27" iMac. This is an awesome computer with it's large display..and it comes with all sorts of better "bells & whistles"!!!

    New the low-end 27" iMac sells for $1699...but you can get a refurbished one for $1449! A really really great price for what you get!!!.

    Refurbished iMac 27-inch 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - Apple Store (U.S.)

    The 27" iMac far exceeds the low-end MacBook Pro in terms of specifications...and will certainly last longer into the future than the MBP.

    Hope this helps again,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5
    cheapest mbp vs. cheapest imac
    blackmac11's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 16, 2009
    Location
    Tecumseh, Ontario
    Posts
    498
    Specs:
    iMac 20" 2.4 GHz Dual Core 3GB Ram 320GB Hard Drive 10.6.2 :: Ipod Touch 8 GB :: Beastly Gaming PC
    I would go with the iMac

    l
    I’ll keep it short and sweet — Family. Religion. Friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business. -Monty Burns

  6. #6
    cheapest mbp vs. cheapest imac

    Member Since
    Apr 29, 2010
    Posts
    21
    Specs:
    2009 imac 21.5", 256mb radeon card, etc
    would I regret not spending the extra hundreds of bucks to get a version with a discrete graphics card, or would the integrated solution (320m for the macbook, 9400m for the imac) suffice. The only games I want do play are in the vein of half-life 2 (would the integrated cards give me decent performance at full resolution?). maybe starcraft 2.

  7. #7
    cheapest mbp vs. cheapest imac
    blackmac11's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 16, 2009
    Location
    Tecumseh, Ontario
    Posts
    498
    Specs:
    iMac 20" 2.4 GHz Dual Core 3GB Ram 320GB Hard Drive 10.6.2 :: Ipod Touch 8 GB :: Beastly Gaming PC
    Half-life and starcraft 2 will run perfectly fine on the integrated. Because the games are older, the integrated graphics will go way above the game requirements from back in the day.

    But if you want this computer to last you 5+ years, it would be worth it to get the most recent technology inside it.

    l
    I’ll keep it short and sweet — Family. Religion. Friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business. -Monty Burns

  8. #8
    cheapest mbp vs. cheapest imac

    Member Since
    Jul 18, 2009
    Posts
    473
    Specs:
    Macbook Pro 13"
    The integrated graphics may be a little bit iffy for StarCraft 2, because it just came out.

    If you are getting an iMac, get one with a dedicated card.

    Mac StarCraft 2 System Requirements
    Minimum System Requirements
    Mac® OS X 10.5.8, 10.6.2 or newer
    Intel® Processor
    NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600M GT or ATI Radeon® X1600 or better
    12 GB available HD space
    2 GB Ram
    DVD-ROM drive
    Broadband Internet connection
    1024X720 minimum display resolution

    Recommended System Requirements:
    Mac® OS X 10.6.3 or newer
    Intel® Core 2 Duo processor
    4 GB system RAM
    NVIDIA® GeForce® 9600M GT or ATI Radeon® HD 4670 or better

  9. #9
    cheapest mbp vs. cheapest imac

    Member Since
    Apr 29, 2010
    Posts
    21
    Specs:
    2009 imac 21.5", 256mb radeon card, etc
    necessary) idioms
    Quote Originally Posted by alexsd123 View Post
    If you are getting an iMac, get one with a dedicated card.
    The price-difference for the better card in the iMac is just way too much! They're already at the upper range of what I'd be willing to pay.

    Also, I don't really know how to read benchmarks - how would the performance of the 320m card in the basic macbook pro compare to the 9400m in the imac?

    edit: though they do have a refurbished imac with a separate card for just 1299 right now. I might be able to swing that. Let's hope they still have one in a month or so when I can buy one.

  10. #10
    cheapest mbp vs. cheapest imac
    blackmac11's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 16, 2009
    Location
    Tecumseh, Ontario
    Posts
    498
    Specs:
    iMac 20" 2.4 GHz Dual Core 3GB Ram 320GB Hard Drive 10.6.2 :: Ipod Touch 8 GB :: Beastly Gaming PC
    oops, sorry! I somehow thought starcraft 2 was the original starcraft...

    l
    I’ll keep it short and sweet — Family. Religion. Friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business. -Monty Burns

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