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imac vs macbook pro

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Noah Gelb
imac vs macbook pro
on Jul 16, 2015 at 12:15:03 pm

unprompted, my company is looking to get me a new computer. yes, I am as shocked as you are. they want to get me a macbook pro. I don't know the details but for now I am assuming it's going to be the newest model without any upgrades. until now I have loved my imac (it's a 2012 model with extra memory). I'm considering pressing for the new imac instead of the macbook pro. Any thoughts on how these stack up against each other? I spend about 50% of any given day in premiere pro, and 20% of my day in after effects.


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Paul Neumann
Re: imac vs macbook pro
on Jul 16, 2015 at 4:36:25 pm

The Macbook Pro is a good machine and there's only one model you'd want. The 15" with Intel Iris Pro Graphics + AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB GDDR5 memory. It's the only model with a dedicated graphics card and the only options are for processor (all quad i7) and storage (512gb or 1tb) so that's an easy config.

Only the Retina 5K iMac gives you the i7 processor so that's where you want to be there. The iMac configured about the same as the MBP is about $500 more.

Either one would be great for what you do. I worked off a MBP for years with a thunderbolt monitor at the office and on a iMac at home. About the same.

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cristian badilla
Re: imac vs macbook pro
on Jul 20, 2015 at 2:03:52 am

Almost in the same sit! Working on an Imac and trying to get my boss to buy me a mac pro. i agree with Paul in all of it. If you can get your company to get you the SSD hard drive versuon. Also rememeber that if you use 3d elements in AE you will need the AMD graphic card.

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Vince Becquiot
Re: imac vs macbook pro
on Jul 20, 2015 at 5:21:32 pm

The 22" (Not 5K) has an an i7 option. If you're traveling a lot, then the MBP would be fine, but for desktop it's the next best thing after the MacPro.

The MBP processor slows down a lot once it gets hot to keep from overheating, and the 5K iMac uses a lot of processing for the display itself.

So unless you are editing 4K or traveling, I'd suggest iMac HD.

Vince Becquiot

Indigo Live | Kaptis Media

San Francisco Bay Area

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Tommy David
Re: imac vs macbook pro
on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:10:57 am

The reason I go for the top of the line Macbook Pro over the iMac and sacrifice a bit of power, (Such as 16GB of ram instead of 32, 2.6Ghz instead of 3.3, etc,) Is the fact that it's so powerful, honestly the only reason to ever get a desktop is if the power can't be had in a notebook these days.

At home I have a 27 inch thunderbolt Apple Display, beside it is a 19 inch Acer display, beside it is an 8.9 inch 1080p display. It runs all three of these monitors flawlessly. I then have my keyboard and trackpad in a magic wand so that they stay together. I also have a music studio in my home so I have a Saffire Pro 40 interface with a lot of digital pre amps plugged into it as well as professional studio monitors. I have USB hubs plugged into the macbook as well as external hard drives.

The beauty in this, is when I go somewhere, I simply unplug 5 chords and put it in my book bag. It's very thin, as it is the top of the line Retina edition. I also have a 2012 non retina which is a bit thicker.

You important files are always with you. If someone breaks in to your home while you're away, they may get your monitors but they won't get your computer.

I have owned iMac's as well, however after selling them I knew I'd never go that route again. It's better to sacrifice a small amount of performance for the portability. The huge desktop machine with big monitors is the same machine you put in your book bag.

If there was a bigger performance gap, I would go for the desktop but there isn't. I edit 4k footage from my Macbook Pro with no problems. I use SpeedGrade, Premiere Pro, Logic Pro X, Abelton live.

Sure it's a mobile graphics unit. But the GPU has 2Gb of dedicated ram and will handle Cuda or Open CL quickly with premiere. I never miss a frame, even with 4k. It exports quickly with open CL. I do not use Cuda anymore as it caused my mac a lot of glitches.

Unless you just absolutely need 32 gb of ram and a processor faster than the top of the line macbook processor, then go for the iMac. But most people don't need that. Keep in mind, I am usually watching YouTube on one screen while editing video on another and on another desktop I have logic pro x pulled up editing the audio for the video. I've even had Lightroom open at the same time in order to find photos I want to put in videos.

It doesn't matter how many programs I throw at it at once, it doesn't slow down.

Now, I do play the bigger files, which are ProRes files. I now Adobe says we should edit with native formats but the truth is they don't play back as smooth on the Mac. ProRes plays back smooth with no dropped frames, even with heavy color grading. However, the files are much larger.

Disk space isn't too relevant these days. I have a 512SSD but I don't even have half of it full because I have portable hard drives as well as desktop hard drives for my music recording, Lightroom/Photography, and Premiere Pro CC. Sometimes on the go if I don't use a portable drive, I have enough space for the project until I get home. But 2TB portable drives are cheap these days!

Most iMac users are stuck with an iPad in the field. it makes it difficult to edit raw files or really look at video clips.

One of the biggest advantages is, on a video shoot I dump my SD cards onto portable 1Tb hard drives (I have 3 of them plus a portable SSD,) by which scene it is through the Macbook, again couldn't do that if it was an iMac.

I once knew a guy who got into the same kinda workflow I got into and he had a case for his 27 inch iMac which he would bring to shoots. He wanted more power instead of slightly less with portability.

I don't plan on ever going desktop again. But if I do, it will be because I still have a Macbook. The new MacBooks weigh almost nothing, there is no optical drive in them, they are very thin compared to the 2012 models, which back then was considered thin.

On the macbook display you might have to go into what size it's scaled at and make it where there is more screen real estate for programs like speed grade. But I just wait until I get home to do anything like that.

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