I will be in the market for a new Mac in early 2007. I currently use a PowerBook G4-1.5GHz, 2GB ram, 15 inch screen; 80GB hard disk. I use this for tons of stuff, including but not limited to: podcast production (Audacity and iTunes); Office apps […]

I will be in the market for a new Mac in early 2007. I currently use a PowerBook G4-1.5GHz, 2GB ram, 15 inch screen; 80GB hard disk. I use this for tons of stuff, including but not limited to: podcast production (Audacity and iTunes); Office apps (MS Office; InDesign); blogging (Safari); web development (Firefox, PageSpinner, Photoshop); and email (Eudora).

I have three users set up on the machine: Admin (used only for installing software and system updates); Work and Home. I carry the computer between home and work every day and evening and keep everything separated from each other. One of the things I use in my current setup is the display spanning. I have an external 19 inch LCD at home and work and I love that feature.

For my 2007 computer purchase, I want a MacBook Pro. But is it really that good a deal? What if I got two computers instead of one? All machines listed here are using the Intel Core 2 Duo chip. All have a SuperDrive (the ComboDrive is not an acceptable option.)

Which option is the best bang for the buck?

Option 1. MacBook Pro
15 inch non-glossy screen
2GB Ram

Option 2. Macbook and iMac
13 inch glossy screen
1GB Ram

17 inch screen
1GB Ram

Option 3. MacBook and Mac mini
13 inch glossy screen
1GB Ram

Mac mini
Connected to my existing LCD monitor
512B Ram

Eventually I’d probably need to add RAM to the MacBook and iMac/Mac mini. Plus I’d need the $19 adapter for mini-DVI to DVI for the MacBook.

So up front is $2,499 for the MacBook Pro vs. $2,517 for the MacBook/iMac vs. $2,367 for the MacBook/Mac mini. Shipping costs will be higher for the two systems vs one. What are your thoughts on how I could move forward?

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  1. Currently, the Mac mini only has a Core Duo chip, even though Apple upgraded them in September.

    I’d definitely suggest going with the MacBook Pro. There’s pretty much no advantage to having two underpowered computers rather than one fast computer. Even though the Mac mini/MacBook option is cheaper, as you said yourself, you’d add RAM to them eventually, and even if you got the cheapest RAM out there, you’d still have to spend a lot, because the MacBook’s 1 GB is spread across two DIMMs.

  2. Here are some thoughts…

    Mac mini is Core Duo, not Core 2 Duo.

    I think you would be good with a MacBook (instead of MBP). You don’t seem to need* dedicated graphics or FW800. You already have a larger screen to use with it. The iMac is just a MacBook with a graphics card and more storage. I would actually say stick with one computer for simplicity (keep all your files in one place) and then use the extra money for an wireless keyboard and mouse (for ease of use at home) and two external hard drives – one for archives and one for backups/copies. Keep your working files on the MacBook and archives on the external. You’re all set.

    Also, if you’re set on getting two computers, why not get a Combo Drive in one as long as you have at least one SuperDrive? Seems that you could do all your burning in one place.

    * – of course, “need” doesn’t always factor into Apple purchasing decisions as much as “want”

  3. I have the same setup as you. I got my Powerbook back in July 2005.

    I would go with the MacBook Pro. Your other solutions are not a good solution if you do any traveling. You don’t know what you’ll be using the computer in the next two years, and not having a laptop could be more expensive solution in the long run.

    Since you had your computer for a least a couple of years, think about what limitations of not having a laptop will be. Are you comfortable about not having a real mobile solution?

    My only regret when I purchased this laptop is that I didn’t get the laptop with the superdrive solution. I thought it was saving money, not thinking of the advantages of doing backups when I am on the road.

  4. FUDsucker Proxy Thursday, November 30, 2006

    Shipping is free for purchases over $75. (You are talking the Apple Store aren’t you?)

  5. John Arnor G. Lom Thursday, November 30, 2006

    Option 2. Chances are, you’ll need all the power you can for the normal stuff, and thus it’ll be worth loosing out a bit ‘on the go’.

  6. I would go with option 2 if I were you. But being me I’d go with just a 24″ iMac…oh wait, I already have that. After using the iMac, I just can’t go back to using my old (well got it last july) iBook.

  7. Doh! I thought I saw the Mac mini with a “2” in it. My bad. That’s a huge deal breaker on the mini.

    Free shipping over $75? Well, that’s one thing to not worry about.

  8. I’d get the imac+macbook. I have a 24″ imac at home w/ a macbook pro for mobile use and as my backup. I dont use the MBP to its fullest though. In hindsight, I would have been better to save the moolah and get a macbook. But, if I was stuck with a 17″ imac instead of the 20 or the 24″ that would change everything. I’d get the macbook pro. Screensize is a huge deal to me.

    It’s up to you though. If you really want the macbook pro, it’s a fantastic machine, and you dont have any of the pain of having to maintain two systems.

    I’d highly consider buying from Amazon rather than apple though. Amazon’s shipping is free, no tax and amazon is offering rebates on all apple systems. The rebates and other savings might make it possible to get the bigger/better imac.

  9. PlanetMike Blog – Blog Archive » I’m a Published Author Thursday, November 30, 2006

    [...] Woohoo! I am now writing for The Apple Blog. My first article came out today, and of course I made a stupid mistake in it. But regardless, it’s out there. MacBook Pro vs. MacBook/iMac vs. MacBook/Mac mini Now I have to continue writing one article a week. [...]

  10. I just got a new MacBook Pro yesterday, and I LOVE it. I was working on a MacBook in the interim (between my crappy old PC & my new beauty), which with 2GB of ram was a really nice little machine. It just doesn’t make a great design machine.

    Going from a MacBook to a MacBook Pro was a world of difference. I’d say MBP all the way baby!

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