20in iMac+External Monitor?

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Okay, here it goes without starting a "glossy sucks!" thread:



Here are the facts:

1. I'm a designer who can't afford a MP with 4GB of ram (cheapest priced out at $3200)

2. I really don't like designing on a glossy screen, net surfing etc is fine, but it is just my preference.

3. My only other choices seem to be between a MBP 2.2 + monitor + 4GB for around $2600 w/edu discount

OR

a new 20in iMac 2.4 + external matte LCD. for about $2100



I know the 24 in are much better but I know I couldn't work on one all day long with reflections (lots of windows) while doing photo work. ( I know people who can, sadly I am not one of them.)



So after all of that is it even worth it, or should I just wait it out and pray that 'something' comes out in the next few months or pony up cash for one of those options? Or another I failed to address?



Any advice would be helpful, thanks!



PS. My wife will love you if you help me solve this so she can have her computer back.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    cubitcubit Posts: 846member
    I know this will not really help, but I suspect that within weeks we will see screen overlays available to create matte out of gloss. Indeed, this is such a matter of taste that the question is quite reasonable. I have never run an external monitor off an iMac, but I do regularly on my glossy MBP 15" and it is an interesting contrast.
  • Reply 2 of 39
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Are you pretty much chained to your desk or could you envision working in a more 'mobile' setting?



    If you could benefit from mobility I would get the MBP with the external monitor.
  • Reply 3 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backtomac View Post


    Are you pretty much chained to your desk or could you envision working in a more 'mobile' setting?



    If you could benefit from mobility I would get the MBP with the external monitor.



    I did look into that but I can't see myself taking it out with me often, and a MBP/4GB/ ExternalLCD is getting pretty close to a Mac Pro in terms of cost, my budget is trying to hover close to 2k.
  • Reply 4 of 39
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,162moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DdubRes79 View Post


    Here are the facts:

    1. I'm a designer who can't afford a MP with 4GB of ram (cheapest priced out at $3200)

    2. I really don't like designing on a glossy screen, net surfing etc is fine, but it is just my preference.

    3. My only other choices seem to be between a MBP 2.2 + monitor + 4GB for around $2600 w/edu discount

    OR

    a new 20in iMac 2.4 + external matte LCD. for about $2100



    Any advice would be helpful, thanks!



    The only advice really is for Apple to make the products that people are asking for and you are one of a huge number of people who need a configuration they don't offer.



    All you can really do with the new iMac is pull the screen off - it's held in by a magnet. That way you get a matte screen. It's not a great solution but the only one - getting a separate display would be kind of defeat the purpose of the iMac and working on an extended mode display isn't a great idea and mirrored could get annoying.



    I'd say all you can do is look for the old model iMac (possibly in the refurb store) as the GPU is faster and you'd get the warranty but you'd only get 3GB Ram maximum or go for the MBP. I'd probably go with the MBP myself, it's one of the few Mac products that I actually like these days.
  • Reply 5 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    The only advice really is for Apple to make the products that people are asking for and you are one of a huge number of people who need a configuration they don't offer.



    All you can really do with the new iMac is pull the screen off - it's held in by a magnet. That way you get a matte screen. It's not a great solution but the only one - getting a separate display would be kind of defeat the purpose of the iMac and working on an extended mode display isn't a great idea and mirrored could get annoying.



    I'd say all you can do is look for the old model iMac (possibly in the refurb store) as the GPU is faster and you'd get the warranty but you'd only get 3GB Ram maximum or go for the MBP. I'd probably go with the MBP myself, it's one of the few Mac products that I actually like these days.



    It is frustrating! I really don't need 4 hard drive bays and 32GB of ram, but I also don't want a 24in mirror (yes I don't like it as much) for photo editing. I've been trying to find the best cost/speed option between the mini and and the Mac Pro, and driving myself crazy doing it.



    the MBP 2.2/4GB/20in LCD was around $2600, where the new imac was 500 less and the old white refurb is around $900 less. I just don't know if the extra 5% boost is worth the MBP cost difference.



    I appreciate the advice though, since I have never owned an iMac nor used it in either mirror or extended mode.



    * forgot to add, if I did decide to take the mobile desktop MBP option, would I benefit from the 7200rpm upgrade on the HD?
  • Reply 6 of 39
    I'm a great fan of dual monitors so I'd go for a 20" iMac and an external 20" or 24" LCD.
  • Reply 7 of 39
    mac voyermac voyer Posts: 1,282member
    Buy the iMac + external monitor. (Spanning works great.) Use the external for you design work. Use the iMac for enjoying everything else. Best of both worlds.
  • Reply 8 of 39
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,162moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DdubRes79 View Post


    the MBP 2.2/4GB/20in LCD was around $2600, where the new imac was 500 less and the old white refurb is around $900 less. I just don't know if the extra 5% boost is worth the MBP cost difference.



    It's not worth it for speed but you get the benefit of the portability and the laptops retain their value more than the desktops. Plus you have the assurance that in the odd occurrence of a power outage, you can get work done or even have some form of entertainment. If none of those things matter then it's not worth spending the extra money because the extended warranty is more expensive too so you'd be better with the refurb iMac.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DdubRes79 View Post


    I appreciate the advice though, since I have never owned an iMac nor used it in either mirror or extended mode.



    If you were using a second display as the main one, the only option would be mirrored because the menu bar and dock stay on the main display so you always have to keep jumping back and forth. Mirrored can be annoying though if you are seeing two screens doing the same actions all the time - I guess you could turn the iMac away from you but you'd always feel you've just paid for a screen you're not using.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DdubRes79 View Post


    * forgot to add, if I did decide to take the mobile desktop MBP option, would I benefit from the 7200rpm upgrade on the HD?



    Yes, you'll get about 15% performance increase for a small price. A fast drive is very good for opening/saving large documents and for memory intensive apps like Photoshop.
  • Reply 9 of 39
    imickimick Posts: 351member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post


    Buy the iMac + external monitor. (Spanning works great.) Use the external for you design work. Use the iMac for enjoying everything else. Best of both worlds.



    Does anyone have a recommendation for a nice white LCD monitor, to somewhat match the color of the white iMac?

    I'm ready to buy one right now, or, better yet, maybe I'll sell the white iMac and buy a new one, therefor having a much simpler option of finding a matching second monitor. I know, it's a lot of money just to make it look better, but then again, these ARE Macs and NOT pc's.....

  • Reply 10 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by OldCodger73 View Post


    I'm a great fan of dual monitors so I'd go for a 20" iMac and an external 20" or 24" LCD.



    I didn't know you could mix and match monitors because of the resolution differences. (1680x1050 vs 1900x1200).
  • Reply 11 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    It's not worth it for speed but you get the benefit of the portability and the laptops retain their value more than the desktops. Plus you have the assurance that in the odd occurrence of a power outage, you can get work done or even have some form of entertainment. If none of those things matter then it's not worth spending the extra money because the extended warranty is more expensive too so you'd be better with the refurb iMac.







    If you were using a second display as the main one, the only option would be mirrored because the menu bar and dock stay on the main display so you always have to keep jumping back and forth. Mirrored can be annoying though if you are seeing two screens doing the same actions all the time - I guess you could turn the iMac away from you but you'd always feel you've just paid for a screen you're not using.







    Yes, you'll get about 15% performance increase for a small price. A fast drive is very good for opening/saving large documents and for memory intensive apps like Photoshop.



    I completely understand where you are coming from but I just priced out a MBP/160GB 7200RPM/4GB/Dell 21in LCD (non TN screen) and it is almost $2,900 dollars. For that price I could just get a MacPro, but anything over $2,300 is pretty much over my budget unfortunately.



    As for now I'm leaning towards a refurb 24in or the 20in + LCD, since both options are within my range. Hopefully it will last a couple of years then I can pass it off to my better half and upgrade to a MBP or MacPro or whatever they come up with in the future. (hopefully not anything too shiny!)
  • Reply 12 of 39
    mrtotesmrtotes Posts: 759member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DdubRes79 View Post


    I didn't know you could mix and match monitors because of the resolution differences. (1680x1050 vs 1900x1200).



    On iMac G3, iMac G4 and iMac G5s the external display resolution had to match one of the available internal display resoltions because Apple crippled the PowerPC iMac's firmware (some models can be hacked).



    This is not the case in any other dual display set-ups.



    Do you really need a 7,200rpm drive in the MBP? Why not add a 7,200rpm FW800 drive at a later date? Are you adding Apple RAM? it's seriously overpirced - stick with the 2GB for now and go for a far far cheaper after market 4GB if you need it.
  • Reply 13 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrtotes View Post


    On iMac G3, iMac G4 and iMac G5s the external display resolution had to match one of the available internal display resoltions because Apple crippled the PowerPC iMac's firmware (some models can be hacked).



    This is not the case in any other dual display set-ups.



    Do you really need a 7,200rpm drive in the MBP? Why not add a 7,200rpm FW800 drive at a later date? Are you adding Apple RAM? it's seriously overpirced - stick with the 2GB for now and go for a far far cheaper after market 4GB if you need it.



    I was trying to find an equally fast option to the new iMac and most benchmarks have the MBP lower than the iMac, (Macworld speedmark, xbench scores) so why pay more for one? I need speed more than I need portability.



    As for the pricing it came down to this: (with edu pricing)



    1. 2.2 MBP - $1799 (tax $111)

    - Apple Keyboard - $50

    - Dell 20in (non tn) $399

    - 4GB upgrade OWC - $270

    Total = $2,629 ( $2,831 with 160GB 7200)



    2. 2.4 20in iMac $1399 (tax $84)

    - 4GB OWC - $270

    - Dell 20in LCD - $399

    Total = $2151



    3. 24in Refurb $1449

    - iLife 08 - $79

    - 3GB OWC $170

    Total = $1789
  • Reply 14 of 39
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,162moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DdubRes79 View Post


    I was trying to find an equally fast option to the new iMac and most benchmarks have the MBP lower than the iMac, (Macworld speedmark, xbench scores) so why pay more for one? I need speed more than I need portability.



    As for the pricing it came down to this: (with edu pricing)



    1. 2.2 MBP - $1799 (tax $111)

    - Apple Keyboard - $50

    - Dell 20in (non tn) $399

    - 4GB upgrade OWC - $270

    Total = $2,629 ( $2,831 with 160GB 7200)



    2. 2.4 20in iMac $1399 (tax $84)

    - 4GB OWC - $270

    - Dell 20in LCD - $399

    Total = $2151



    3. 24in Refurb $1449

    - iLife 08 - $79

    - 3GB OWC $170

    Total = $1789



    I'd go with the 3rd option in that case but you might have to add on $50 for the new keyboard. Since you don't need the features of the MBP, it wouldn't be worthwhile - a refurb MBP might be more favorable but the iMac is probably still cheaper. For design, I think the higher resolution 1920x1200 display on the 24" will be very useful for high resolution design work.
  • Reply 15 of 39
    dudditsduddits Posts: 260member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    The only advice really is for Apple to make the products that people are asking for and you are one of a huge number of people who need a configuration they don't offer.



    We really don't know how many people want an iMac with a matte screen. Obviously Apple surveyed its customers and found that most want glossy. Whether the minority that prefers matte is large or just vocal on forums is anyone's guess.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    All you can really do with the new iMac is pull the screen off - it's held in by a magnet. That way you get a matte screen. It's not a great solution but the only one - getting a separate display would be kind of defeat the purpose of the iMac and working on an extended mode display isn't a great idea and mirrored could get annoying.



    I doubly disagree.



    First, I wouldn't get an iMac only to pull off its face. Why get a computer only to destroy it and potentially damage it in ways unforseen? If you adopted a puppy from the pound with a really cute face, and when it grew up its face turned really ugly, would you take a large pair of garden sheers and violently, cruely, and mercilessly remove the front panel of its computer screen if it happened to own a computer? OK. Bad analogy. But don't buy an iMac and then take off the glass. Sounds good on paper, but impossible to predict what might happen should it decide to spawn.



    Second, adding a second display to an iMac, a matte display, is a great idea. I see no problem with that. Having both would be nice, and the 20" cinema display is not much more than 5 clams. Best of both worlds.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I'd say all you can do is look for the old model iMac (possibly in the refurb store) as the GPU is faster and you'd get the warranty but you'd only get 3GB Ram maximum or go for the MBP. I'd probably go with the MBP myself, it's one of the few Mac products that I actually like these days.



    I'm usually rather agreable, but I have to disagree again. I wouldn't get the old iMac. Regardless of how appropriate it may be, now that the new ones are out, the old ones look so... old. They also look kind of childish. They seem toy-like in comparison to the new ones.



    Sure the MBP with a screen would be nice if you can use the mobility and pay for it, but I wouldn't pass over the iMac plus matte screen combo if cost is a factor and you work in one spot.
  • Reply 16 of 39
    dudditsduddits Posts: 260member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DdubRes79 View Post


    As for now I'm leaning towards a refurb 24in or the 20in + LCD, since both options are within my range. Hopefully it will last a couple of years then I can pass it off to my better half and upgrade to a MBP or MacPro or whatever they come up with in the future. (hopefully not anything too shiny!)



    If you get the 20" + LCD, you could always use the LCD with a MBP or MP (second monitor). And it will be easier to pass off the new iMac to your better half in a few years when it's just starting to show its age than pass off the old iMac to your better half in a few years when its by then ancient design will seem annoyingly dated. In a few years, the old iMac will seem like a huge white toy with a neanderthal chin. It is hard to imagine any relationship strong enough to survive that kind of retrograde gifting.
  • Reply 17 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Duddits View Post


    If you get the 20" + LCD, you could always use the LCD with a MBP or MP (second monitor). And it will be easier to pass off the new iMac to your better half in a few years when it's just starting to show its age than pass off the old iMac to your better half in a few years when its by then ancient design will seem annoyingly dated. In a few years, the old iMac will seem like a huge white toy with a neanderthal chin. It is hard to imagine any relationship strong enough to survive that kind of retrograde gifting.



    Ha! I would like to stay married, good point!



    I actually took my wife to the Apple store and she said the glossy wouldn't bother her at all so she would be fine taking it off my hands in a couple of years. (and she liked the design too) She suggested the 24in and another display but I wouldn't have anywhere for two of those beasts, so the 20in idea seems to be the best choice for price/performance.



    I guess the last question, get an external 20in or 24in and would it be too odd having different screen sizes?



    But thanks for the info everyone, hopefully I will have SOMETHING in my possession soon!
  • Reply 18 of 39
    dudditsduddits Posts: 260member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DdubRes79 View Post


    I guess the last question, get an external 20in or 24in and would it be too odd having different screen sizes?



    One thing that struck me about the 20" LCD added to the 20" imac is that by comparison, the 20" LCD looks small. Which is not a bad thing. It's just that because of the extra size around the 20" iMac to house the computer parts, it seems as if the 20" screen on the iMac is bigger than the 20" screen on the LCD. So if you put them together, the 20" LCD seems deceptively diminutive.



    I guess my point is that on sheer "which would look better," I think they both would look fine. Because the 20" iMac is larger than 20" and much larger than the 20" LCD, it would not be odd to partner it with a 23" cinema display. That would look OK. Also, if the 23" LCD is your primary work interface, it is a nice size to work on. However, the 20" LCD would also work well although it will look smaller than the iMac.



    The one caveat (aside from preference) I suppose is that the 23" may be more future proof. When it gets time to better-half your iMac and use the same display with a new computer, you would likely be happier to partner a 23" (vs. a 20") with whatever would replace the iMac.
  • Reply 19 of 39
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,162moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Duddits View Post


    We really don't know how many people want an iMac with a matte screen.



    I was meaning a mid-range tower there but a matte iMac is still a problem for a lot of people. Whether Apple surveys people or not and finds the people who prefer matte to be in the minority, it doesn't help for them to keep removing options from people.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Duddits View Post


    First, I wouldn't get an iMac only to pull off its face.



    I wasn't really suggesting it as a viable option, just saying the only thing you can do to stop it being glossy is to pull the screen off. I don't recommend an iMac purchase at all, I hate iMacs.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Duddits View Post


    If you adopted a puppy from the pound with a really cute face, and when it grew up its face turned really ugly, would you take a large pair of garden sheers and violently, cruely, and mercilessly remove the front panel of its computer screen if it happened to own a computer?



    Nope just shoot it.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Duddits View Post


    I'm usually rather agreable, but I have to disagree again. I wouldn't get the old iMac. Regardless of how appropriate it may be, now that the new ones are out, the old ones look so... old. They also look kind of childish. They seem toy-like in comparison to the new ones.



    I agree but I think the new one looks like a toy too, just slightly less so. The design is gimmicky especially with the black screen border now.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DdubRes79


    I guess the last question, get an external 20in or 24in and would it be too odd having different screen sizes?



    I'd say go for the 20" because if you had a 24", you'd likely want to put it on a higher resolution (1920x1200) than the imac (1680x1050) and this means that your mouse gets stuck when you move between displays. If you don't use the higher resolution then there's no point in getting the larger display.
  • Reply 20 of 39
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    If you were using a second display as the main one, the only option would be mirrored because the menu bar and dock stay on the main display so you always have to keep jumping back and forth.



    This is clearly false as I am looking at my second monitor as primary with menu bars and dock while I use the original display for entourage and other secondary stuff.



    Vinea
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