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New Quad-core 27" iMac or new Quad core MacBook Pro + 27" Cinema Display?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Alright, so I've been toying with the idea of replacing my 27" iMac with a MacBook Pro plus the 27" Cinema Display in order to have "the best of both worlds". The obvious advantage is to be able to have a laptop when I need it and since Apple came out with the last Cinema Display refresh, I can throw together a pseudo-iMac in the 27" display which is the exact same display that is on the 27" iMac.

The recent refresh of the MacBookPro's with its quad-core i7's have made this choice a whole lot easier and being that the new iMac's have almost exactly the same AMD Mobile Radeon 6000 series in them makes them even more on par with one another.

There is yet another reason that would make this combination even more attractive. With the iMac, I literally cannot upgrade it or change any of its configuration after I receive it other than RAM. This is not true for the MacBook Pro's. Almost everything is easily accessible and the Cinema Display would look as good as the iMac.

What do you guys think? It will cost me a few hundred bucks extra, because the one MBP that I've always wanted is the 17". Who knows, maybe I'll go with the entry level 15" instead, seeing that they are ALL quad-Core i5's and i7's now and that goes not only for the 15" and 17" MBP's, but also all of the 21.5" and 27" iMac's. No more dual core CPU's and no more Core i3's, although I must say, the Core i3 with HyperThreading enabled and with that, running 4 virtual cores with two at up to 3.2GHz is just about right for me. I could use just a hair more horse power.

Excited to hear your opinions and expertise.

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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post #2 of 19
Thunderbolt Macbook Pro 15

Hooked to Thunderbolt 27" iMac.


When you're home you have the option of using the iMac alone or as a Target Display Mode
for the MBP 15.

My next setup will be a 11.6 Macbook Air followed by the next refresh of the 27" iMac. That way I have full computing power that can be leverage remotely when i'm on my MBA.
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
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He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
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post #3 of 19
I currently have a 15" MBP and an iPad. IPad is getting to the point where it may very well handle all of my portable needs. So I'm thinking seriously about getting a desktop machine. That is probably more than a year away so who knows what Apples line up will be like then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crunch View Post

Alright, so I've been toying with the idea of replacing my 27" iMac with a MacBook Pro plus the 27" Cinema Display in order to have "the best of both worlds". The obvious advantage is to be able to have a laptop when I need it and since Apple came out with the last Cinema Display refresh, I can throw together a pseudo-iMac in the 27" display which is the exact same display that is on the 27" iMac.

Honestly I think you will suffer performance wise. I'm totally acknowledging that the current MBPs are fast but they also heat up very quickly and do run at a significantly slower clock rate.

Also having a laptop hooked up to a desktop monitor is really not the best of both worlds. If you travel at all with that laptop it becomes a pain to hook it up constantly. You end up with an installation that simply isn't as nice to use as a desk top. Speaking from experience here as my MBP is my first laptop that is functional as a desk top replacement.
Quote:
The recent refresh of the MacBookPro's with its quad-core i7's have made this choice a whole lot easier and being that the new iMac's have almost exactly the same AMD Mobile Radeon 6000 series in them makes them even more on par with one another.

Not really! You still have performance differences.
Quote:
There is yet another reason that would make this combination even more attractive. With the iMac, I literally cannot upgrade it or change any of its configuration after I receive it other than RAM. This is not true for the MacBook Pro's. Almost everything is easily accessible and the Cinema Display would look as good as the iMac.

This is bogus, the iMac just requires better tools! If you are a man you should always be looking for reasons to buy more tools.
Quote:

What do you guys think? It will cost me a few hundred bucks extra, because the one MBP that I've always wanted is the 17". Who knows, maybe I'll go with the entry level 15" instead, seeing that they are ALL quad-Core i5's and i7's now and that goes not only for the 15" and 17" MBP's, but also all of the 21.5" and 27" iMac's. No more dual core CPU's and no more Core i3's, although I must say, the Core i3 with HyperThreading enabled and with that, running 4 virtual cores with two at up to 3.2GHz is just about right for me. I could use just a hair more horse power.

Excited to hear your opinions and expertise.

I can't say for sure I'm leaning towards a desktop supplemented with an iPad myself. I can actually see a resurgence in desktop sales as iPad software firms up and the platform becomes more powerful. Of course that depends upon ones personal mobile needs, so you need to ask yourself what would a laptop do for you. In the end I don't know what I will do myself when it comes time to upgrade.

All I can say is don't rush. Unless of course you have lots of spare cash. Speaking of cash you might want to consider that the dollar goes farther buying a desktop.
post #4 of 19
Without question, I would go for the 27" iMac with Thunderbolt and a 13" MacBook Air with Thunderbolt (arriving June).

This gives you the perfect mobile solution when you're travelling and marries it to a perfect and more powerful desktop solution for when you're static. It really is the best of all worlds.

As much as I respect Wizard69's knowledge and wisdom, I don't think the iPad is a great mobile system. I certainly don't like using it for generating, reviewing and editing Word, PowerPoint or Excel files. It is best suited for email, calendar management, and surfing the web. I also prefer a proper keyboard.

As the marketing hype suggests, the new MacBook Air gives you iPad functionality in a highly portable laptop.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

Without question, I would go for the 27" iMac with Thunderbolt and a 13" MacBook Air with Thunderbolt (arriving June).

Well let's hope it arrives in June. The new AIRs are certainly impressive and the models coming soon should be even more interesting. However the combo is very expensive.
Quote:
This gives you the perfect mobile solution when you're travelling and marries it to a perfect and more powerful desktop solution for when you're static. It really is the best of all worlds.

I think you are expressing the same point I had. There is a reason desktops still exist and that has to do with usability and convience.
Quote:
As much as I respect Wizard69's knowledge and wisdom, I don't think the iPad is a great mobile system. I certainly don't like using it for generating, reviewing and editing Word, PowerPoint or Excel files. It is best suited for email, calendar management, and surfing the web. I also prefer a proper keyboard.

Actually I agree here but not everybody uses a laptop for that sort of work. Also I tend to think that an iPad combined with a bit of external electronics could make for a very good presentation system. Maybe not the place to generate those presentations but for the right lecturer and subject a good tool for delivery.

This is why I stressed putting a little thought into the decision making process. In the end the poster needs to buy based on his personal needs. I might be biased towards a desktop, but that is me today. Today highlights another fact, your needs can change a year after buying your hardware anyways. At best you can only buy for current usage patterns and short term guesses.
Quote:

As the marketing hype suggests, the new MacBook Air gives you iPad functionality in a highly portable laptop.

Actually it isn't at all like an iPad, an AIR is a far more powerful machine in many ways. However constant 3G connectivity with an iPad is a wonderful thing. It means being able to respond to E-Mails or this thread anywhere. I really think the AIRs are a solution to an entirely different problem than the iPads. The attachment of the keyboard makes them highly usable for the production of massive documents while at the same time they aren't highly communicative devices.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks, guys, I really appreciate it and two weeks after the last post to this thread, I'm still holding out and may continue to do so until at least June 6 when WWDC '11 is set to start off. In addition, let me put out a couple more thoughts:

Would it be wise to buy a used 30" Cinema Display on Craigslist and how much do you think that I should spend if I were to go that route? Before you answer, I understand that most will not have warranty and there are probably plenty out there that are from 2006 and I'm not so sure that I should buy a 5-YEAR old monitor that may have seen heavy use under ANY circumstances, no matter how attractive the price may be. Decisions, decisions. WHat say ye?

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crunch View Post

I'm not so sure that I should buy a 5-YEAR old monitor that may have seen heavy use under ANY circumstances, no matter how attractive the price may be. Decisions, decisions. WHat say ye?

I'd say no, the quality of the picture is heavily influenced by the brightness and the newer screens can burn your retinas out but the older ones won't have as strong or as even a backlight. Plus if any of the parts fail, you have no warranty and very expensive to get fixed.

They may modify the current models to support Thunderbolt and it would be a good idea to do this but who knows when. I'd personally buy a 23"/24" 3rd party IPS screen as they are a fraction of the price:

http://www.amazon.com/EA241WM-BK-24-...660772&sr=1-34
http://www.amazon.com/ViewSonic-VP23...660804&sr=1-59
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice, Marvin. I've decided against the 30" ACD. I'm amazed at how much people on Craigslist, for example, want for their 3-5 year old displays, but ok, it did used to be almost $2,000 by itself in a lot of places once sales tax is considered.

Thanks again!

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crunch View Post

Thanks for the advice, Marvin. I've decided against the 30" ACD. I'm amazed at how much people on Craigslist, for example, want for their 3-5 year old displays, but ok, it did used to be almost $2,000 by itself in a lot of places once sales tax is considered.

Thanks again!

Simple by virtue of the Apple logo used monitors are grossly overpriced. Even new that is true, but at least with new you get a warranty and the like.

When it comes to monitors in general, it really pays to shop around. Unless you are obsessed with the Apple logo there is no reason to at least consider alternative monitors. Especially in the context of used monitors where being open to brands can sometimes offer up huge bargains. I wouldn't pay much more than 1/10th the cost of the monitor when it was new though, especially if the warranty is expired.

Some might think 1/10 th is a little stingy but you need to realize that all monitors age over time. Beyond the aging standards change rapidly.
post #10 of 19
Hi Crunch,

I am in the same boat as you, I am looking to update my rig as my old MBP has been dropped and the battery case won't remain latched and I really need something better for travelling. Since the Cinema display came out I have wanted to get a MBP with a cinema display and then I have a portable imac.

But after what wizard69 said, I am almost certainly going his route. One the MBP do heat up very fast when doing any kind of photo editing or video work on them. Second I am a minimalist kind of person, and having a place on my desk where I have to park my MBP whilst using my display is a pain. And after configuring a MBP with a cinema display against a 27 iMac with an 11inch MBP, there is about 100 dollars difference. And keep in mind, not only do you get a back computer in case something really bad happens to one, you also get a super portable one that can handle emails, proper word editing, and file management. And I think with iCloud syncing all the documents you are working and airdrop for bigger files, you have the perfect setup.

But that is just my take on it, and I will probably be going that route when I get around to updating my rig.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

Hi Crunch,

I am in the same boat as you, I am looking to update my rig as my old MBP has been dropped and the battery case won't remain latched and I really need something better for travelling. Since the Cinema display came out I have wanted to get a MBP with a cinema display and then I have a portable imac.

But after what wizard69 said, I am almost certainly going his route. One the MBP do heat up very fast when doing any kind of photo editing or video work on them. Second I am a minimalist kind of person, and having a place on my desk where I have to park my MBP whilst using my display is a pain. And after configuring a MBP with a cinema display against a 27 iMac with an 11inch MBP, there is about 100 dollars difference. And keep in mind, not only do you get a back computer in case something really bad happens to one, you also get a super portable one that can handle emails, proper word editing, and file management. And I think with iCloud syncing all the documents you are working and airdrop for bigger files, you have the perfect setup.

But that is just my take on it, and I will probably be going that route when I get around to updating my rig.

Actually, you don't have to park your MacBook Pro/Air in front of the monitor at all. You'll have to get a keyboard, though, as well as a mouse or one of those Trackpads that Apple came out with last summer. I still had the Trackpad from my iMac days and my days using a mouse were over on day 1 of using that incredible Magic Trackpad. I also got one of those BookArc stands that you can pop your MacBook Air (or Pro) into and simply connect it to monitor that way and you'll be doing it with style at that! lol

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ok, so after a long search, I came upon an insane deal on a lightly used 30" Apple Cinema HD display yesterday. There is not so much as ONE single scratch or ding or whatever to be found on it and I've looked! The screen is also immaculate without even one little bitty dead pixel. Even the darn box it came in looks like it just came off a shelf in an Apple store and the manuals have that new "shiny" look to them. (knocking on wood wildly) So I'm happy BUT.....\

I do have one issue, however, and that is once again the enormous heat generated by my new 17" MacBook Pro. It's already annoying that running my 3 browsers with 15 or so tabs open in each at the same time produces enough heat to kick the fans into going at speeds exceeding 5500rpm. Now, however, the very SAME thing is happening but with ALL of my browsers shut down. In fact, I shut down all applications, all but ONE which is playing an HD movie, but instead of playing it on the 17" built-in display, the MBP is playing it on the Cinema Display! That's it. Nothing else. And once again, the MBP is brutally hot with both fans running at full capacity! It sounds like an airplane was just cleared for take-off right in front of me. The processor shows as being 90+% idle most of the time and the AMD Radeon 6750M graphics card is only using about 20% of its 1GB GDDR5 discrete memory.

I like my big 17" screen on the laptop, but this heat and those fans are a real issue now. Might there be a software fix forthcoming??? I didn't see anything in Software Updates. I must admit that I'm impressed with how seamlessly the laptop runs the 30" display. Hypothetically speaking, if I were to get a 27" ACD instead, would the MBP likely have to work significantly less hard to drive that monitor maybe because it doesn't have to run it through the Mini DisplayPort to dual-link DVI adapter/converter??? Any ideas???

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Simple by virtue of the Apple logo used monitors are grossly overpriced. Even new that is true...

Here's where everyone points out the 27" Cinema Display being cheaper and more fully featured than any other 27" display with the same panel.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Here's where everyone points out the 27" Cinema Display being cheaper and more fully featured than any other 27" display with the same panel.

I think you might have forgotten to embed a link to whatever site you're referring to. I do agree with you, though. I took some of the respondents' advice and researched other 27 and larger displays and there are good ones out there if the reviews are to believed. HP, Dell, and a relative newcomer called DoubleSight. ALL of them are MORE expensive as compared to Apple's 27" monitor. ALL of them!

So much for the so-called "Apple tax" or "Apple logo fee" hypotheses, but it was interesting (and gratifying) to find out!

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crunch View Post

I think you might have forgotten to embed a link to whatever site you're referring to. I do agree with you, though. I took some of the respondents' advice and researched other 27 and larger displays and there are good ones out there if the reviews are to believed. HP, Dell, and a relative newcomer called DoubleSight. ALL of them are MORE expensive as compared to Apple's 27" monitor. ALL of them!

So much for the so-called "Apple tax" or "Apple logo fee" hypotheses, but it was interesting (and gratifying) to find out!

I'm not referring to any site. Anyone can go to any reseller's site and see that Dell, HP, etc. monitors with the same panel are more expensive.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'm not referring to any site. Anyone can go to any reseller's site and see that Dell, HP, etc. monitors with the same panel are more expensive.

Yea, the Dell U2711 for example. It's uglier, too. Apple must not care much about serving up this monitor (now that there's only one model anymore) to anyone who is not using a Mac. That's unlike was the case when they sold the 30" ACD. It even says "Windows Ready" or something like that on the box.

Not that I care, but it goes to show that Apple doesn't care either. With iOS devices being 2/3 of the company's business and on the Mac side, 3/4 of Mac's sold are MacBook's of one kind or another. It's probably simply not worth pursuing the monitor market.

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

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post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crunch View Post

I do have one issue, however, and that is once again the enormous heat generated by my new 17" MacBook Pro.

I shut down all applications, all but ONE which is playing an HD movie, but instead of playing it on the 17" built-in display, the MBP is playing it on the Cinema Display! That's it. Nothing else. And once again, the MBP is brutally hot with both fans running at full capacity!

I like my big 17" screen on the laptop, but this heat and those fans are a real issue now.

Do you have the hardware-accelerated Flash version installed and is hardware-acceleration enabled? You can right-click the video and go into settings to check. If it's 1080p Flash video, I'd expect it to run fairly poorly. If the video is on Youtube, you can try switching to HTML 5 video and it should run better.

If you shut it down for a while, perhaps overnight then boot up the next day and look at what istat says, what is the idle temperature of the CPU:

http://www.islayer.com/apps/istatpro/

What does it go up to when you play the HD video?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crunch View Post

Hypothetically speaking, if I were to get a 27" ACD instead, would the MBP likely have to work significantly less hard to drive that monitor maybe because it doesn't have to run it through the Mini DisplayPort to dual-link DVI adapter/converter??? Any ideas???

No, the 27" ACD would be the same.
post #18 of 19
I actually have this set up - a 17" Macbook Pro (2010) hooked to a 27" Cinema Display. Sold my 24" iMac for it.

Don't do it.

It heats up too much - I have it with the Macbook closed which exacerbates the problem (although if you have it open, it's not at the right height or resolution to be really used as a secondary monitor) - and this makes the Macbook under perform.

I intend to get rid of the set up soon.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark W View Post

I actually have this set up - a 17" Macbook Pro (2010) hooked to a 27" Cinema Display. Sold my 24" iMac for it.

Don't do it.

It heats up too much - I have it with the Macbook closed which exacerbates the problem (although if you have it open, it's not at the right height or resolution to be really used as a secondary monitor) - and this makes the Macbook under perform.

I intend to get rid of the set up soon.

Maybe you just need one of these…

Bretford Mobile Pro Combo

Late 2009 Unibody MacBook (modified)
2.26GHz Core 2 Duo CPU/8GB RAM/60GB SSD/500GB HDD
SuperDrive delete
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Late 2009 Unibody MacBook (modified)
2.26GHz Core 2 Duo CPU/8GB RAM/60GB SSD/500GB HDD
SuperDrive delete
Reply
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