10 reasons why I’m upgrading to another desktop instead of a laptop

imac-vs-macbook

I recently posted a short article talking about my problem with trying to decide between buying a desktop or laptop as an upgrade my currently failing 24″ iMac. A lot of you offered me many convincing comments to that post that advised me to go with a laptop (thanks to everyone that shared their opinions). As a result, I was all set to order a 13″ Macbook Pro until I took a step back and realized that both me and my bank account would be much better off sticking with a desktop. Here are the reasons why I’ve made that choice…

1. I usually only travel 1-3 times per year, so I don’t really need a laptop. I mainly wanted one so I could work in front of the TV, which I always think I might do, but really don’t. I already work enough during the day, that time in front the TV at night is for relaxing. Yay reality TV!

2. I already own 2 netbooks (HP mini 1000 and MSI Wind) and an ultra-portable laptop (HP Pavilion DV2) that I can use in front of the TV or for travel. They run Windows XP, but since I work mainly in Firefox, I can deal with that.

3. I’m trying to practice the art of not buying stuff when I already have perfectly good stuff that I can use instead. So, I could hackintosh the HP mini 1000 netbook if I really wanted a “Macbook”. I did it before with the MSI Wind and it wasn’t overly painful. I think the process has become a lot easier these days.

4. A iMac with keyboard and mouse would take up less space on my desk than a Macbook Pro, external display, docking station, keyboard and mouse.

5. With a desktop, there’s no battery to wear out from having it plugged into AC power 95% of the time. There’s also no option to pop the battery out of the new Macbooks…

6. There’s a rumor that Apple is working on an upcoming iMac refresh that might include slimmer designs and lower prices. Skinnier and cheaper, nuff said.

7. You get a lot more bang for your buck when you buy a desktop instead of a laptop.

The price of a 13″ Macbook Pro with a 2.53GHz processor, 4gb of RAM and a 500GB hard drive is $1,649.00. Since I’ve been using a 24″ iMac for the last 3 years, I’d want to add an external monitor to the Macbook Pro, that would add an additional $200.00. Let’s also add in a Bookendz docking station for $280.00 and an Apple keyboard for $49.00. I’d also want AppleCare, which is $249.00 (ouch). Last but not least, a new Logitech v470 Bluetooth mouse looks pretty nice for $49.99. Add that all together and it comes to a grand total of $2476.99.

The price of a 24″ iMac with a 2.66GHz processor, 4gb of RAM and a 640GB hard drive is $1499.00. Add $169.00 for Applecare and you come up with at total of $1668.00

That’s a savings of $808.99 for a faster machine with a faster and larger hard drive. Wow!

8. I can get a 1TB drive for the iMac, but the largest drive available for a Macbook Pro is 500GB.

9. With the $800+ savings, I can buy a really comfy office chair since that’s where I park my buns 99% of the time anyway.

10. I’m a woman and we are allowed to change our mind (often). :)

26 comments… add one

  • Jeff Cox September 30, 2009, 12:44 pm

    I decided to invest in a really good office chair as well and ended up buying a Herman Miller Aeron. They’re pretty ubiquitous in television conference rooms and the like, if it looks familiar. It’s also incredibly comfortable.

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  • Lex September 30, 2009, 12:55 pm

    Point #10 trumps all the others.

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  • Smythe Richbourg September 30, 2009, 1:17 pm

    I’m considering an iMac for my next computer as well. With the iPhone, I have all the portable computing power I really need while on the go. If I take a position with more travel in the future, things may change, but for now, I’d come down on the same side of the fence you’re on.

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  • Gardenwife September 30, 2009, 1:26 pm

    If you didn’t already own netbooks and had to choose between a desktop and laptop, which would you choose and why?

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  • -Vince September 30, 2009, 2:05 pm

    Most of those points are why I currently have an iMac. When my HP laptop was stolen a few years ago, I went to buy a MacBook Pro with the $4000 insurance check. When I really thought about it, the day it was stolen was the first time it had left the house in moths. I went for a $1500 iMac instead, pocketing the rest. I only regret not springing for the 24″ I have a hackintoch dell mini 9 for sitting on the couch. I have caught myself coveting the new 13″ MBP, but remind myself that I don’t NEED the portability.

    Good choice.

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  • Julie September 30, 2009, 2:27 pm

    @Gardenwife I would make the same choice for a desktop because I prefer a full size keyboard and large display (at least 24″). If I traveled more, I would probably reconsider – maybe. Like Smythe said, I do have my iPhone…

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  • Gardenwife September 30, 2009, 3:05 pm

    I have a G1 phone running a Cyanogenmod. I hear you on the smartphones! Anymore, much of the surfing I do while at the coffee shop can largely be accomplished on my phone: Reading and writing blog posts, news, Facebook, e-mail, etc. When Adobe finally puts Flash out there for us, my life will almost be complete. LOL

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  • Tyler Puckett September 30, 2009, 3:27 pm

    Put Ubuntu Netbook Remix on one of your netbooks, Julie. I have it on my eeePC and it’s great.

    Like many Linux installs, it doesn’t fully support my eeepc out of the box, but it wasn’t too hard to install drivers and the like. I’d wager the MSI Wind for example would have much better support out of the box.

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  • Bryan September 30, 2009, 4:27 pm

    Sounds like good reasoning. I have to admit, though, I don’t get the attraction of the iMac. I don’t like the integrated display. I still have my Viewsonic VG191b tooling along after all the years. It is now supporting it’s 5th computer (a MacBook Pro). The display lasts so much longer than the PC. Does the Mac Mini not have the oomph of the iMac?

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  • Julie September 30, 2009, 4:50 pm

    @Bryan What I like best about the iMac is the fact that it does have an integrated display. Everything is in one package, so the footprint is small. Another thing I love aobut iMacs and Macs in general is that they are uber quiet. I HATE fan noise. :)

    Yeah, the mini is a little whimpy. If Apple would update the mini to have the same power as the high end iMac, I’d be all over it!

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  • Julie September 30, 2009, 4:53 pm

    @Tyler I’m really tempted to put Ubuntu on the HP mini 1000, but I hesitate to do it right now before I’m getting ready to leave on vacation (I’m taking it with me). I made that mistake last year when I hackintoshed the MSI Wind the night before the trip and it wasn’t successful (tried it 2 times).

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  • Daniel Staal September 30, 2009, 4:58 pm

    The Mac Mini is basically a Macbook in a different case. Cheaper, but no more powerful. It also comes without monitor, keyboard, or mouse. So those would still be expenses. (And note I said _Macbook_ not _Macbook Pro_ which is what has been spec’ed out above.)

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  • Ken Comber September 30, 2009, 5:11 pm

    I believe your right, it doesn’t matter what kind of PC you buy as long as it suits your purposes 95% of the time. That and a really good chair and a decent mouse are the hallmarks of a decent office.

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  • TonyBostony September 30, 2009, 5:36 pm

    Golly Julie! Had you mentioned all that stuff before, I am sure most of us would’a said go with the iMac :)~

    Silly goose.

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  • Andy S. September 30, 2009, 5:36 pm

    I use a Mac Mini as my primary computer, and I love it. I am, however, in the market for a Macbook Pro. Just waiting to see if the impending pre-holiday Apple product refresh includes any updates to the MacBook/Pro line.

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  • Mark Adkins September 30, 2009, 6:25 pm

    Ubuntu 9.04 on Mini 1000: a known bug is that the speakers will stop working. No workaround has fixed it on mine yet. I’m using Ubuntu on my old Fuji Lifebook and just found that I cannot get it to work with my Brother MFC-490cw printer. Dang.

    Laptop vs. Desktop: The ONLY benefit to the laptop is portability (OK, for some people it my be aesthetics or footprint). If you are not portable, may as well go desktop an get more bang for your buck. (This is a Mac-friendly thread, so I will avoid pointing out how much more you would have saved going the PC route rather than the Mac route! :-) )

    Point #11 would have been upgradability- desktops can usually be upgraded further, cheaper, and for a longer time than laptops.

    Point #12 would have been ‘cost over useful life’. Because of the cheaper start-up costs, longer component life, upgradablility, and reduced chance for damage or theft, desktops are also quite a bit cheaper to own over their entire lives.

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  • dan September 30, 2009, 9:02 pm

    I have a macbook but i find myself using my iphone infront of the tv, more and more . . . .

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  • Fred October 1, 2009, 8:15 am

    Julie,
    Buy AppleCare on eBay, it’s way cheaper.

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  • Julie October 1, 2009, 8:31 am

    @Fred I never even considered doing that. Thanks!

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  • Jose October 1, 2009, 10:18 am

    I had the same dilemma but I had to review my usage and need. I don’t travel that much and laptops are much less reliable and prone to being stolen, dropped and bumped. Also you have to add all the accessories to a laptop that will further increase costs. I too am waiting for the new Apple desktops and will upgrade my desktop to one of those….currently I can easily get on-line through my phone or I can always get an inexpensive netbook…I use Google documents for everything and its perfectly compatible with Microsoft Office so need to buy Office on a netbook as well.

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  • Craig Shipp October 1, 2009, 6:31 pm

    I just had a friend ask me what he should buy for his first MAC and I said a laptop assuming he was only going to have one MAC. After reading this post I’m not so sure. The problem my friend has is he does travel at least a half dozen times a year. The best solution IMO is to have both. This provides for a back up and the best computer is the one you have with you!

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  • Noah Senzel October 1, 2009, 8:46 pm

    @Julie I would definitely consider running a dual-boot with Ubuntu 9.04 (I prefer standard to netbook remix, both styles are available if you get netbook remix). If all you’re using is Firefox, hard drive space won’t matter that much, not to mention that Ubuntu installs Firefox with the system so there shouldn’t be many problems.

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  • gregor October 3, 2009, 10:41 am

    I’d want dual monitors even with the iMac, so that’s $200 saved. The extra keyboard mouse is better with the laptop, I agree. I don’t know why you’d bother with a docking station; external monitor and usb hub plug in and you’re done? In both cases I’d get an external hard drive for backups and media storage. I don’t think the price difference needs to be as great as you auggest.

    For me portability is much less about outside the home than about inside it; in bed, outside under a tree, at the kitchen table. If I had a home study it might be different, as it is, I like the flexibility of working/thinking wherever I want to. I don’t have any netbooks though (for your reason #3; my laptop or iphone do me just fine).

    But it’s also great to have a change of scenery and work in the library now and then.

    It used to be you had to sacrifice a lot for this portability, but that’s not really the case any more. I find the small premium to be worth it.

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  • blork October 4, 2009, 5:04 pm

    I changed my computer about a month ago, going from PC to Mac, and everybody was on me to get a laptop. I don’t need a mobile machine (I have an HP 1000 netbook for that) so I went with a desktop. I already had a 22″ widescreen monitor and a KB, mouse, etc., so I went for a Mac Mini.

    It’s awesome! I got the 2.26 GHz model, and tricked it out with 4 GB of RAM. I also got a 500 GB external HD from OWC, which I used as my “data” drive (connected via FW800), and I use the on-board HD just for the OS and applications. (This is super convenient for things like OS upgrades, etc.) So far it’s a beauty. The only drawback is that the fan noise for the external HD is fairly loud. But I’m going to fix that by tucking it away behind some stuff (or maybe under the desk, attached by a bracket).

    Bravo for choosing what works for you!

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  • Rumz December 14, 2009, 4:26 am

    I read almost all the postings as well as the reasoning behind the great choice of an iMac. Which one is better for a student not living on campus and without an iPhone? I’m tempted to g for the MacBook because I’d need to transfer my work from the school system to mine for personal learning but the iMac sounds really juicy, especially that I’ll be doin animation. Please help.

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  • Julie December 14, 2009, 10:26 am

    @Rumz I’m not the best person to ask because I love Macs so much :) For me they are just so much easier to use than Windows machines. I also like not having to worry about malware and viruses.

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