? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.

Started Mar 17, 2013 | Questions
DFPanno
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? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.
Mar 17, 2013

Here is my situation:

I have been waiting with baited breath for a new Mac Pro but obviousy that has not happened.

(and may or may not happen in spring 2013)

Now my wife is chomping at the bit to replace her aged Dell in the kitchen.

I currently use a 2010 MBP (Snow Leopard).

I would like to start video editing at some point. (total newb)  I am not sure which software I want but I am leaning toward FCP.

I use LR for my pics.

I would buy a very hopped-up version of whatever I buy as I tend to keep my computers for a long time and give the 2010 to my wife.

How do you think these machines compare overall ?

Clearly the iMac would seem to be the obvious answer as it is a desktop.   I have some concerns as it is not particularly upgradable and I have heard some concerns regarding reliability.

Not crazy about the all-in-one thing although a laptop is clearly the same thing.

The MBP can clearly be used as a desktop replacement.  Although I rarely move it it is nice that it can be moved if desired.

How do you think the MBP would do with video if used in combo with a Thunderbolt drive?

My head is really swirling in circles over this so I am hoping someone here can give me some insights.

Thanks - Dave

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Doug R
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Re: ? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 17, 2013

If Apple won't make the Mac Pro you want then do it yourself.

http://www.tonymacx86.com/339-building-customac-buyer-s-guide-march-2013.html

-- hide signature --

Doug

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EricWN
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Re: ? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 17, 2013

Both machines are nice choices for sure. If you're after as much power as possible the iMac will offer more than the MBPr. I would really base the decision on your needs: do you need a desktop? Will the glossy monitor work ok for you?

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DFPanno
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Yikes
In reply to EricWN, Mar 17, 2013

EricWN wrote:

Both machines are nice choices for sure. If you're after as much power as possible the iMac will offer more than the MBPr. I would really base the decision on your needs: do you need a desktop? Will the glossy monitor work ok for you?

I didn't realize it was glossy; I thought they redid it.

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j c swain
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Re: Yikes
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 17, 2013

DFPanno wrote:

EricWN wrote:

Both machines are nice choices for sure. If you're after as much power as possible the iMac will offer more than the MBPr. I would really base the decision on your needs: do you need a desktop? Will the glossy monitor work ok for you?

I didn't realize it was glossy; I thought they redid it.

According to Apple the new iMacs  have 75% less gloss than before. I am just about to order one and have looked at them in the store. To me it does not seem like a problem but you need to take a look and judge for yourself.

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Tom_N
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Re: Yikes
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 18, 2013

DFPanno wrote:

EricWN wrote:

Both machines are nice choices for sure. If you're after as much power as possible the iMac will offer more than the MBPr. I would really base the decision on your needs: do you need a desktop? Will the glossy monitor work ok for you?

I didn't realize it was glossy; I thought they redid it.

They did redo it.  The 2012 iMac monitors are glossy, but supposedly reduce reflections by a great deal ("75 percent less reflective" – Apple Web site) compared to the 2009 – 2011 ones.

Apple - iMac Design

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EricWN
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Re: Yikes
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 18, 2013

The new ones should have less glare. I have the older model at work and will get the newer one for my home office in a couple days hopefully, so I can compare them a bit better.

Definitely, check out the iMac displays in a shop if glare is a potential issue for you (although, same story for the retina MBP).

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threeOh
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Re: ? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 19, 2013

If you are serious about video, speak to people who do it on Mac's. I used to do video and my son does video for bands. Year's ago I switched from a dual 1.87 Quicksilver to a 2.8 iMac. Benchmarks claimed the iMac was 3 times quicker and the hands down winner in every criteria. Right, rendering or encoding video on that old iMac was like watching grass grow.

The new iMac's are obviously faster, but when the old one was new, it was also supposed to be "faster".

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EricWN
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Re: ? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.
In reply to threeOh, Mar 19, 2013

threeOh wrote:

If you are serious about video, speak to people who do it on Mac's. I used to do video and my son does video for bands. Year's ago I switched from a dual 1.87 Quicksilver to a 2.8 iMac. Benchmarks claimed the iMac was 3 times quicker and the hands down winner in every criteria. Right, rendering or encoding video on that old iMac was like watching grass grow.

The new iMac's are obviously faster, but when the old one was new, it was also supposed to be "faster".

Rendering video might have been slow, but compared to a dual quicksilver it will still be way faster. The performance difference in most real world scenarios was absolutely obvious when they switched to intel chips.

But video is always going to be demanding on the hardware. While computers get better and faster, the amount of data that needs to be processed has increased over the years too.

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MtnGoatJoe
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Re: ? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 19, 2013

If you've been waiting with baited breath for the Mac Pro, you really need to think about how much power you need. The 27" iMac is a very nice machine, but if you're heavy into video, the next Mac Pro will likely be much faster.

I just imported about 30 hours of SD Digital8 tapes on my new iMac into iMovie. Since the video was tape based, they are basically imported by playing the tape and capturing the video (as opposed to new systems that transfer the video as files, i.e. much faster). After each video was imported, iMovie analyzed the video for people and stabilization. And this is where faster is better. The analysis took 15-30 minutes per tape (depending on the amount of video).

HD video will take longer. Maybe you won't analyze for stabilization (all my footage is hand-held and benefits from the process).

The point is, make sure the rMBP or iMac will suite your needs. If not, wait for the Mac Pro.

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DFPanno
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Re: ? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.
In reply to MtnGoatJoe, Mar 20, 2013

If you've been waiting with baited breath for the Mac Pro, you really need to think about how much power you need. The 27" iMac is a very nice machine, but if you're heavy into video, the next Mac Pro will likely be much faster.

I just imported about 30 hours of SD Digital8 tapes on my new iMac into iMovie. Since the video was tape based, they are basically imported by playing the tape and capturing the video (as opposed to new systems that transfer the video as files, i.e. much faster). After each video was imported, iMovie analyzed the video for people and stabilization. And this is where faster is better. The analysis took 15-30 minutes per tape (depending on the amount of video).

HD video will take longer. Maybe you won't analyze for stabilization (all my footage is hand-held and benefits from the process).

The point is, make sure the rMBP or iMac will suite your needs. If not, wait for the Mac Pro.

MGJ - I popped for the iMac. I got a loaded 27" and it was expensive enough.

In a couple of years I can give it to my wife if I really want/need a MP.

I have a lot of tapes to transfer too.

Can I PM you?

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MtnGoatJoe
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Re: ? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 21, 2013

DFPanno wrote:

Can I PM you?

Sure. How does that work here?

-Joe

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expireduser
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Re: ? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 22, 2013

They have similar resolution, both have quad core CPUs that aren't all that different in speed. They both have thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports. The retina MBP is only available with 8GB or 16GB of memory, while the iMac takes up to 32GB, so that might be a factor in video editing.

The screen real estate vs resolution is very nicely configurable on the retina MBP, but not on the iMac. I spent time adjusting text size larger in all my applications on the iMac so that it was a nice balance, I never wanted to feel like I had to lean forward to read anything.

I would determine whether 16GB memory is enough for you, and then whether you want a laptop or not. I use a 27" iMac and a retina MBP, they are both excellent but the retina MBP is my favorite. The only complaint I can give it is that it's expensive. 7 hour battery life with light use (my personal experience). Print quality screen. Extremely thin and light. Runs very cool and quiet, the fans never become audible when I'm using Lightroom with 24mp raw images.

One often overlooked feature of a newer iMac is that you can use it as an external display.

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Daniel from Bavaria
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Re: ? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.
In reply to expireduser, Mar 22, 2013

Hi,

I was thinking about the same as my trusty iMac from 2009 is not the fastest any more.

In the end a comparable MacBook Pro +27inch Display is much more expensive than the iMac 27" and I personally do not really need a Laptop.

Therefore I bought the new 27" iMac in January, but just got it some weeks ago.

Regarding the glossy display: It is a night and day different. With the new iMac I am sitting with a window in my back, which is a absolute no go with my old one, and it is not a problem at all. No issue. The display is bright, sharp and colourful and refelection are a non issue.

So I am absolutely happy with the new iMac, it's fast, it's beauteful, and works perfectly.

Regards,

Daniel

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lightsniper
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Re: ? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.
In reply to Daniel from Bavaria, Mar 22, 2013

I faced the same question late last year, and went with the Mac Pro laptop initially.  I had previously used the prior version of the iMac, and I found it to be very unsatisfying to the laptop doing even still image editing in Aperture on the small screen.  Ultimately gave that to my wife and bought the newer iMac, with which I'm most pleased.

I agree completely with those who note that the gloss is not an issue, at least not in my home with normal ambient lighting.  My strong vote to consider the 27" iMac unless you really want/need the portability vs. image viewing experience.

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MtnGoatJoe
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Re: ? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.
In reply to expireduser, Mar 22, 2013

Nicholas W wrote:

They have similar resolution, both have quad core CPUs that aren't all that different in speed. They both have thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports. The retina MBP is only available with 8GB or 16GB of memory, while the iMac takes up to 32GB, so that might be a factor in video editing.

Don't forget the video card. The MBP uses the Intel HD Graphics 4000 while the iMac can have up to a 680MX card, which is MUCH faster than the Intel chips.

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expireduser
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Re: ? - 27" iMac vs Retina MBP as a desktop machine.
In reply to MtnGoatJoe, Apr 1, 2013

MtnGoatJoe wrote:

Nicholas W wrote:

They have similar resolution, both have quad core CPUs that aren't all that different in speed. They both have thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports. The retina MBP is only available with 8GB or 16GB of memory, while the iMac takes up to 32GB, so that might be a factor in video editing.

Don't forget the video card. The MBP uses the Intel HD Graphics 4000 while the iMac can have up to a 680MX card, which is MUCH faster than the Intel chips.

I was talking about the 15" MacBook Pro, it has powerful GT650 1GB dedicated graphics. It also has 16GB maximum memory and is quad core. The 13" model has the very weak integrated graphics, is only dual core and has 8GB maximum memory.

I would not even think about going with the 13" model. I often forget it exists in these sort of discussions, it doesn't even register as a legitimate option in my mind.

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