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MacBook Pro versus Imac

by grimgraphix / October 7, 2007 6:08 AM PDT

So, I'm sitting here dreaming about my next computer... comparing laptops and all in one imacs. Honestly, the $1799 iMac looks to have much the same capabilities as the $2499 MacBook Pro... other than the obvious fact one is portable and one is not. Aside from double the Hard Drive size in the iMac, and double the RAM in the MacBook Pro... both use the 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo.

The only significant difference, performance wise, is that the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 XT may be a bit slower in performance than the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT.

Am I missing something here or is there a $700 premium your paying here, just for mobility?



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This is true.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 7, 2007 6:11 AM PDT

If you compare laptops with comparable desktops (not just Apple) you see you pay for that all in one design for the battery and more that the desktop doesn't have.

No offense intended but have you just begun to use a computer and shop for them?


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LOL... no, I've had an iBook for 3 years...
by grimgraphix / October 7, 2007 7:39 AM PDT
In reply to: This is true.

... and owned or built win boxes for about 10. I just haven't looked at a new machine for awhile. I make do with what I have... equipment and knowledge wise... doing just enough to stay ahead of the curve, until the need arises to upgrade. I used to be obsessed with specs but lost interest in keeping up with hardware in favor of figuring out what I could produce with a computer. I switched from MS to apple for the very reason that they cut down on my maintenance time.

Anyway, I bought the adobe master suite for mac a few months ago, but the Premiere, Encore, etc. applications won't run on my 1.2 ghz G4. I'm planning some projects that will require the higher end video editing and got to looking at just what equipment specs might meet my needs. I first started looking at the refurbished macs but noticed that the refurbs were all older models so I started to look at the new machines. I know a lot of folks who use a pro level laptop and first looked at the macbook pro. It struck me that considering costs, performance wise the imac seemed to be just as capable as the macbook pro. I was just looking for some confirmation that what appeared to be true, was indeed true. I'm low on funds so I'm looking for the best deal. I have a perfectly good iBook that still gives me portability but not a whole lot of rendering power. My work does have to be cross platform compatible and I do uses portable HD's to show projects in progress to clients (thus my recent question about using an apple formatted drive on a PC).

If I was willing to spend $2500, then I might consider the mac pro tower over the laptop too. For video and animation purposes, the pro tower would seem to be the best choice if I was doing huge jobs... but I'm not. I'm doing 20 minute to 40 minute promo DVDs with video, video titles and some flash animation. No Maya or 3D rendering involved.

I'm just feeling out my options here. Thanks for your response.



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Grim, be wary of the iMac
by tleMega / October 9, 2007 7:54 AM PDT

because recently they've been freezing up with video or CPU intense apps and processes. I actually went to my local Apple Store and I used a 20-inch one. Guess what? They thing froze up and Force Quit screwed and a bunch of other stuff. A few minutes later and with an dissatisfied opinion, it returned to normal. I didn't tell any of the employees but you'd think they would know.

The freezing issue in that case didn't freeze the entire screen, but the application windows just quit entirely... Buy a Mac Pro with the quad-core Xeon processors and leave everything else at the base. You will get better prices for components somewhere else. The Pros are just intense.

At least with a Mac, you can never go wrong. Pick a flavor and see if you like it LOL.

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Thanks for the heads up
by grimgraphix / October 10, 2007 12:51 AM PDT

I had seen some mention of that problem, but it never hurts to be reminded of possible future problems.

The mac pro is tempting... but I have so many bills to deal with right now, that I was looking for the biggest bang for the least amount of money. I also have become used to the mobility my iBook offers and that is why I first took a look at the macbook pro. I was surprised that the notebook which is used by many professionals, appeared to have just about the same processing power as the iMac does... yet cost so much more. I posted here to gain the insight of my fellow apple users.

Thanks for your input.


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Well if you think about it,
by tleMega / October 10, 2007 9:11 AM PDT

you could just get a MacBook and be really happy with it. If you choose the high-end white one (don't look at the black unless $50 extra for color is really worth it to you), you get more power in the CPU than the base iMac.

My MacBook Pro is just about the same as the current MacBooks, except that I could have 3GB of RAM instead of 2GB and that I have a graphics card. 2.16Ghz in a laptop is extremely good for most people. If you put in 2GB of RAM in it, the Intel graphics chip can share some of its VRAM with the system RAM. But you won't get the same performance for demanding graphics and editing programs. I heard about a guy who completely wrecked his 2.0Ghz MacBook (pre-Santa Rosa model, not current) by loading Final Cut Studio 2 on it, even though he configured it properly to work.

But you are paying extra for the different graphics card and the mobility. If you need to be on-the-go, get the MacBook Pro and that way you get superb perforance. Plus, you don't have the iMac freezing problem. If you want an iMac, waiting for a while may be better. If rumors from 9to5Mac are true (and here are the pages related to it),

you may want to wait for this rumored new MacBook if you want to go small. But, again, you say you're doing some big projects in the future, so you may want to go big. There was an article posted recently about the future Mac Pros that will have the new Penryn processors that Apple's been buying in bulk, so wait around till the holidays if you want to. When you need to get one is a factor.

Cheers to your (future) new Mac.

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I'm not sure that's correct.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 10, 2007 9:45 AM PDT

Although the specs on paper look the same, are you sure that a MacBook with a 2.16Ghz processor will return a better benchmark result than an iMac with a 2.0Ghz processor.

Back when in the PPC days, a laptop could have the same speed processor but with the difference in logic board architecture, the desktop was always faster.
Note that the iMac has a faster, larger, hard drive and a greater memory capacity. Memory capacity is not just dependent on the number of slots your logic board is fitted with, it has a great deal to do with way that the Processor communicates with the RAM and with the rest of the board.

Your assumption may be flawed.


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What I meant was that you could
by tleMega / October 10, 2007 9:57 AM PDT

attempt to run this but without success. Of course the average desktop is going to have superiorites in most areas over a laptop. I merely suggested it, and you're definitely right. I posted that solution because it works for less intense apps. The problem with the MacBook is it is very interdepent. The components all rely heavily on each other to play games and graphics related programs and etc. supposing what I read in Apple games reviews and discussions and that the Apple employees told me right.

I'm not assuming anything. I said this config may work better for a MacBook selection, but may not work for the higher stuff. Macbooks can be "rigged" (if you want to use the term) to run a variety of things using this method. You can set Empire At War or Age of Empires to minimal settings on a MacBook with 2GB of RAM and get some good performance on it. I might have done that if I hadn't bought a MBP instead.

But it might not work at all, since I have never tried it myself. I'm just throwing it out there. We're both right.
Sorry for the confusion.

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MBP v iMac, some options
by Kathleen Lawrence / October 11, 2007 7:47 AM PDT

Of course it is use & expectations but have you thought about a lovely refurb from Apple or do a search or see:,, or
If you are doing any design, photo, video work take a look at the refurbed iMac 20' white Core 2 Duo for $1099!

They have many others, including portables, and post new ones at midnight. Watch for a 24", too.

and just saw this nice New c2d white 24" at eBay, too:

Often, you can find a refurb which is already upgraded, too.
They come with usual Apple warranty & support and are pristine & completely checked out.

With a portable, I strongly suggest getting Applecare, a keyboard cover, and a stand w/ a fan. They are not laptops anymore and get too hot w/o good circulation.

**You can p/u extra Ram & Applecare for less by doing a search or from dealers above, or off eBay.

-Discounts via Mugs: &

-Apple offers discounts for students & educators. Student? Teacher?

Don't forget: Free Apple Personal Shopper: Talk about apps, peripherals, etc. The staff is not on commission!

Enjoy your new Mac

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Thankyou Kathleen
by grimgraphix / October 11, 2007 9:02 AM PDT

I actually have kept an eye on the refurbed sales section at the apple store this past week. Unfortunately, the new iMacs have been out for such a short time, that it may be a while before they start offering the new 2.4 ghz core duo 2 models for sale. I have given up on the idea of a macbook pro. It is a luxury I can't afford right now and if I was wishing to spend that much money, I would get a mac pro tower. The macbook is just too underpowered (video card wise) to do the video editing I want it to do. Whatever machine I pick, it has to be able to run Adobe Premier, Encore,Aftereffects, version CS3 at a fairly decent speed.

As I said in a different post, when I first started doing research and comparisons of features between different models, I had expected a bigger difference between the performance of the new macbook pro models and the iMac models. Sure, there is the issue of portability versus being stationary, and also the dramatic difference in HD sizes, screen sizes, etc. ... but... When processing capabilities are considered, both model lines seem to have about the same capabilities (again, this is when comparing the new models). The only hard core, user configurable, and user upgradable work horse that apple offers as far as I can see, is the mac pro tower. Too bad apples' proprietary hardware and marketing strategies limits my choices... and my price point options.

Thank you for the links and the suggestions. I will definitely check into them.



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what about the refubed Pro
by Kathleen Lawrence / October 11, 2007 9:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Thankyou Kathleen

Yes, it really sounds like you would benefit from having the Pro rather than anything else. Then there are those weird probs with the new 24" iMacs.

I'm never a first generation adopter Happy


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IMAC compared to macbook pro
by smoothsilk123987 / January 6, 2009 6:20 PM PST

I have never owned a MAC before, until yesterday. I bought the 24 inch imac 2.8 ghz version with 320 gb hd and ati 2600 graphics card. sweet looking, but there are darkish/gray colored spots on screen UNDER the LCD. I removed the screen cover per utube instruction and could NOT wash off the spots as they are underneath the actual LCD screen, beneath the glass cover and beneath the lcd display. I found this out late in the evening and the next morning I brought it back to the apple store(hand carried) and they quickly provided a replacement that had the same problem albeit spots of same type but in different area of lcd. The apple store made a few phone calls and told me emphatically that this is a normal thing for IMAC and that they are all that way. I did not buy that explaination and asked to see the 15.4 macbook pro. The macbook pro impressed me tremendously and there are no smudges or spots to be seen anywhere. Note that the smudges I am referencing can only be seen on light colored backgrounds, especially white backgrounds and very prominent using text software for mac. You just open a text document and then drag it all over the screen and you can see the spots clearly, underneath the LCD. I am a windows guy, certified MCSE, and I have never had an issue like this with windows based PCs. I am very dissatisfied with the IMAC and even more dissatisfied with the lame response apple gave me that all IMACs are like that. First, I don't believe that to be true, but even if it is true, how can apple expect folks to fork out big bucks for an inferior product such as the IMAC? That is my two cents.

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I've never seen bad pixels like that on an iMac
by tleMega / January 7, 2009 10:48 AM PST

My G4 iMac holds up pretty well, and it is far older than anything you'll see on display at the store, so I think it's safe to say most iMacs are not this way. Bad shipments? LCD defects? Perhaps. I have used some of the Intel iMacs, and I thought the displays were beautiful. Not inferior in my book. I wouldn't mind using one of those displays over my MacBook's 15-inch screen. Big difference. In my book, Apple has always offered plenty of bang for the buck.

If your iMac was having trouble and the replacement was just the same, why not call AppleCare? Try to talk to a supervisor there and they should be able to set you up with a good machine.


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these are not bad pixels
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / January 8, 2009 12:25 AM PST

they are definite areas of the screen which are usually darker than the surrounding area.

Rather like a sheet of heavily smoked glass laying on a black sheet that had been slept in by an elephant.

The "double folded" areas of the sheet, the creases and wrinkles, show up as darker areas of the screen and can be seen even when the computer is off.

It's as though the LCD was assembled but the backing, or whatever it is, was never smoothed out.


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I see
by tleMega / January 8, 2009 7:20 AM PST

I knew he wasn't talking about pixels specifically, but that was my initial thought... alright then.


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