MacBook & 24" monitor vs. 24" iMac

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
My daughter will be getting her first Mac. She was planning on buying an iMac, but doesn’t like the AIO design. Now she wants to get a MacBook and a 24” monitor to take the place of an AIO. She asked me what I thought of her plan. I would rather get someone else’s opinion. What do you guys think of the idea?





White (or Alum if it emerges in the next few months) Macbook\t

Subtotal \t$1,299.00\t\t\t\t\t\t

* 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo\t\t\t\t\t

* 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB [difference iMac 1GB]\t\t\t

* 160GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm\t\t[difference iMac 320GB]\t \t\t

* SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)\t\t

* Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English\t\t\t\t

* AirPort Extreme Card & Bluetooth



Add 24” Monitor (non-Apple) $500



------------

24” 2.4 iMac

Subtotal \t$1,799.00





* 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

* 1GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 1x1GB

* 320GB Serial ATA Drive

* SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

* Apple Mighty Mouse

* Apple Keyboard (English) + Mac OS X

* Accessory kit

* ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory

* 24-inch glossy widescreen LCD

* AirPort Extreme

* Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR

MacBook (w/24” monitor) and 24” iMac close in price. Applecare protection plan is $80 more for

MacBook than iMac. Smaller HDD. More RAM. MacBook more versatile (mobile).



Good idea or bad idea?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    rnprnp Posts: 11member
    I would personally choose the MacBook and monitor option if presented with these two options.



    I am a student and the flexibility of having a laptop to move around with is more appealing to me. Right now I have all my wires/peripherals (keyboard, mouse, hard-drive, monitor, etc.) set up so that when I get home I just plug my iBook in and it becomes my desktop.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    I'd also go for the macbook + monitor. The added flexibility of a laptop is awesome. I can't really see myself ever buying a desktop again...
  • Reply 3 of 14
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,910member
    Thanks guys for the response. She was thinking the same as you. However, my question wasn't clear. What she wanted to know was what, if any, was the downside of the MacBook & and monitor over the iMac. Is there any functional downside - other than the smaller HDD? If there is none, why aren't more users going for this option?
  • Reply 4 of 14
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur View Post


    Thanks guys for the response. She was thinking the same as you. However, my question wasn't clear. What she wanted to know was what, if any, was the downside of the MacBook & and monitor over the iMac. Is there any functional downside - other than the smaller HDD? If there is none, why aren't more users going for this option?



    I have a Macbook+24" monitor.



    The Macbook has a horrible graphics chip whereas the iMac has an average one. MB is not built like a pro machine, and the cooling is a little deficient, so there is fan noise in regular use. A simple screensaver also keeps fan running, so I don't want to use any. MB has a laptop-size hard drive which means a lot less storage. The 13" screen is useless on the desk next to a 24", so I'd want to keep the laptop closed but that strains cooling even more and it would still take up almost the same desk space. Open, the laptop gathers dust.



    If there's no need for portability, the desktop is always preferable. If portability is desired but money is no object, desktop plus laptop is better than display plus laptop. Plugging in six cords every time you come home with the laptop gets old really fast.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,910member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gon View Post


    I have a Macbook+24" monitor.



    The Macbook has a horrible graphics chip whereas the iMac has an average one. MB is not built like a pro machine, and the cooling is a little deficient, so there is fan noise in regular use. A simple screensaver also keeps fan running, so I don't want to use any. MB has a laptop-size hard drive which means a lot less storage. The 13" screen is useless on the desk next to a 24", so I'd want to keep the laptop closed but that strains cooling even more and it would still take up almost the same desk space. Open, the laptop gathers dust.



    If there's no need for portability, the desktop is always preferable. If portability is desired but money is no object, desktop plus laptop is better than display plus laptop. Plugging in six cords every time you come home with the laptop gets old really fast.



    Thanks. I'll pass this on to my daughter. BTW, would your reply be much different if the notebook was a MBP?
  • Reply 6 of 14
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,876moderator
    I agree about the fan running in a Macbook. I wouldn't say it's overly noisy but the iMac is silent. Metallic Macbooks may have better cooling.



    Both are AIOs and both have glossy screens but I'd say currently the iMac screen is worse.

    The Macbook only has 2 USB ports, the iMac has 3. You get displays with USB ports though and this can get round the issue of plugging in devices but they can cause some instability.

    The iMac has Firewire 800, the MB doesn't.

    The Macbook hard drive is very easy to replace, the iMac's is close to impossible to replace yourself.

    The Macbook has the portability going for it, which is handy and it should keep its value a bit longer.

    iMacs have a stupid power cord. If you hang it down the back of a desk and it jams between the desk and the wall and you swivel the display round to get to a port, it yanks the power cord out. At least with the Macbook you're still on battery power.

    iMacs do have better graphics chips but the X3100 chip is fine for light 3D stuff.

    The camera on the Macbook makes more sense because you can move the display more easily.



    I'd personally go for the Macbook between those two but I'd still be disappointed by the low end graphics.



    Definitely wait until the next revision. Some reports suggest May, others say June:



    http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/15/i...a-cpus-in-may/



    If it is May, I wonder if they will update the iMacs and the Mini at the same time.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur View Post


    Thanks. I'll pass this on to my daughter. BTW, would your reply be much different if the notebook was a MBP?



    Not really. Macbook isn't flawed in any way, it's a good laptop for basic use as long as you refrain from running graphics intensive software. It was the right choice for me, since I already had a good display when buying, I actually use the laptop out of the house now and then, and other reasons. It's a bit of an uncomfortable choice though - if Apple sold an ultraportable and a headless desktop that uses desktop parts, I'd own both.



    Bottom line, you can generally count on getting less if you buy a laptop and it never leaves the desk, compared to if you bought a desktop. Waiting for a next Macbook rev won't change that.



    What is your daughter actually going to do with the computer? That should guide the choice. I have more to say about specific components, but I'd like to hear this first. Despite first appearances, Macbook+24" display and 24" iMac have enough difference with each other that *if* they are both valid choices, then I have a hunch that the best choice is actually going to be something else. Not a MBP, though.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    What does she need a 24" screen for? Like Gon said, having a notebook + monitor + keyboard is not a great solution. I've been there. Why not just get an MBP 15" instead?
  • Reply 9 of 14
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,910member
    Thanks Marvin.

    Splinemodel, I guess she wants the best of two worlds - mobility AND large desktop real estate.

    Need and want aren't always the same.



    My older daughter has a new 15" MBP and loves it. But she also has a Dell desktop with a 20" monitor. She uses both.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur View Post


    Thanks Marvin.

    Splinemodel, I guess she wants the best of two worlds - mobility AND large desktop real estate.

    Need and want aren't always the same.



    My older daughter has a new 15" MBP and loves it. But she also has a Dell desktop with a 20" monitor. She uses both.



    Well, now that you've sort of compromised your hand in the negotiation, I think you're either stuck getting the macbook + display or an MBP. If your daughter is in college or is soon to be there, just go with the MBP if only because the desks they give you are always tiny.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,910member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post


    Well, now that you've sort of compromised your hand in the negotiation, I think you're either stuck getting the macbook + display or an MBP. If your daughter is in college or is soon to be there, just go with the MBP if only because the desks they give you are always tiny.



    My hand is compromised. My daughters are out of college, but I still buy them computers. My older daughter has a new 15" MBP and a Dell desktop with a 20" monitor. She has been telling my younger daughter about having a MB and a larger monitor.

    Now that the new iMac has emerged, the comparison in Post 1 doesn't hold water any more. Maybe my daughter will want the new iMac.



    Thinking about how the iMac and other computers have improved, I look back to any given time when we were content with available computers. Content, but not necessarily satisfied. Now we always want more. I wonder what computers will be like in 25, 50, or 100 years. Marvin, Splinemodel, Gon, what do you guess computers will be like way in the future? I know this goes beyond even the Future Hardware thread, so don't bother to answer here.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Dads are suckers when it comes to daughters.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur View Post


    Marvin, Splinemodel, Gon, what do you guess computers will be like way in the future? I know this goes beyond even the Future Hardware thread, so don't bother to answer here.



    Silicon lithography, will give way to nanowires, LCD panels will give way to OLEDs (or something even better), and batteries will continue to improve. Nanotech has the potential to realize a quantum leap in battery capacity.



    Keyboards are not likely to go away any time soon, nor is the basic laptop form factor. I would expect, though, that the laptop market itself will continue to fragment into more submarkets, where the products become more and more like devices (think iPhone) and less like PCs. It doesn't seem unlikely to me that, in twenty years, we might use three or four computing devices devices, each with a different function. Today, most of us use two: phone and PC. A good e-reader and/or tablet is probably the next piece of the puzzle -- much like those "pads" they use in Star Trek.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    One major difference between the two setups is the lack of a dedicated video card on the MacBook. The Intel GMA X3100 shares memory with the built-in RAM (up to 144Mb according to the website) resulting in less being available for other processes. The video card will also be significantly slower than the 256Mb or 512Mb cards available on the 24" iMac. This won't mean much for everyday tasks but will make a big difference in games performance and also high-end 2D/3D modelling or processing. What will your daughter be studying and is this likely to be important?



    Another minor difference is the hard drive in the MacBook will be slower than that of the iMac (5400RPM vs 7200), which will affect overall performance such as boot-up and launch times though I wouldn't worry about this as you can always get a high-speed external drive and sync it wirelessly with AirPort for additional storage. (Look at getting Time Machine which has AirPort and 512Mb or 1Tb built-in, currently a really good deal compared to buying wireless and storage separately).



    Overall however I agree with the other posters that a laptop and separate monitor would be far better for a student. I also prefer the look of the 23" display and it may be of superior quality compared to the iMac (examine them in store for your opinion). Also, should your daughter wish to upgrade her MacBook she can still keep the 23" display (ie not tied to upgrading both display and computer).



    Hope this helps.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur View Post


    Thanks guys for the response. She was thinking the same as you. However, my question wasn't clear. What she wanted to know was what, if any, was the downside of the MacBook & and monitor over the iMac. Is there any functional downside - other than the smaller HDD? If there is none, why aren't more users going for this option?



  • Reply 14 of 14
    PS. You could of course also decide to buy a non-Apple monitor as well (some are probably better than the Apple displays). I didn't mean to imply you had to purchase the Apple cinema display!
Sign In or Register to comment.