I use Corel Painter and Photoshop with large files (500MB+) Which should I choose: an iMac 21.5 or MacBook Pro with retina display?

Comparing the standard (base) products (I choose base products because I can see the price):

-iMac pros:
Bigger display (21.5" vs. 15.4" on the MacBook)
Bigger storage (500GB vs. 250GB on the iMac)
Cost ($1,000 comparing base products)

-MacBook Pro with retina display pros:
Resolution (2880x1800 vs.1920x1200 on the iMac)
Processor (i7 vs. i5 on the iMac)
RAM (8GB vs. 4GB on the iMac)
Battery independence (power supply is not very reliable in zome parts of Mexico)

Apple says that the MacBook Pro is "the most powerfull Mac so far", and it has this super-awesome display... but it is $1000 more expensive than the iMac!!! (I guess that the bigger part of that difference is because of the retina display), now:

1) Do I really need that much power for the software and files I use? Or should I configure an iMac with a faster processor and more RAM?

2) For ilustration and art, is it better to work with the highest resolution available, or with a big display?

Last comments:
I like working for hours on the computer in front of a desk at home and I really wouldn't feel comfortable walking down the streets of Mexico with that expensive MacBook (not all of Mexico is unsafe terrain, but I've had some bad experiences).
On the other hand, it would be fine to be able to work when the lights go off. And high resolution is so nice! Is it worth the difference in cost?

Should I look at the retina display on the Apple Store with a smile and then go back home and smile because I didn't spend that much money on something I don't really need?

Thank you.

1 Answer from the Community

  • Answer

    Hi Luis,

    I own a MacBook pro retina display top of the range model for 2 reasons.

    1. It will do anything I can through at it. I am an architect. I use programs like AutoCad and photoshop and I can have 5 or 6 different programs open at once and it acts like there not even open. It is really smooth.

    2. I love having the 2880x1800 display. It is absolutly gorgeous. It makes working with photoshop a dream.

    I also own a older version of the iMac 2011. It does handle many things. With you I think you should aim for the 27" iMac $2300. It does have retina display not like the one on the MacBook pro though. 2560x1440. Put a 3.4ghz i7 in it if you can and 8gb of ram. I would say that it isn't worth the extra money for the retina display MBP. The new iMacs look like they can handle a lot of stress and work. If you do a little bit of intensive gaming It would be worth changing the graphics to 2gb of gddr5 ram for $120.

    Sorry for making you read this but overall the iMac is the way to go financially.

    • Answered by Peter O
    • Sep 19, 2012