Hi, I am really torn between an iMac and a MacBook Pro.  What should I get?

I will hopefully be using it for everyday usage and school work on the side but mainly for video editing and designing films. I would really appreciate someone's advice. :D

12 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    (I have both the iMac and the MacBook Pro. I'm a photography student, and edit mainly on my Macs.)

    That honestly depends on what you would like to have, and if you need portability, but you're totally headed in the right direction. Both are going to offer you exceptional performance, and for sure get the job done. I have an iMac from 2007 that still runs like a champ and can even run Adobe Software (e.g. Lightroom) with no issues, or even a lag. I have the new 15-inch 2.4GHz model that I have for when I travel, so I can have the reliability and power, yet still have a portable.

    The new iMacs, and the 15, and 17 inch MacBook Pro models are Quad Core Macs. Also, the iMac (the 27-inch 3.1GHz model) has the option to upgrade to the AMD Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB GDDR5 on the customization screen. This will offer you more frames per second, and helps you experience better responsiveness.

    When you are using graphically intensive software, such as Aperture, CAD software, Photoshop or Final Cut, the Quad Core option is the way to go. This will evenly disperse the work across the cores, so you spend less time rendering and more time getting back to work editing.

    Another thing I recommend is adding more RAM. (I have the 8GB option for my MBP and 4GB for my iMac from '07.) RAM is kind of like counter space in your kitchen. The more you have the more you can do at one time. This makes your productivity of the device much, much faster.


    That being said, both are great Macs. Hope that helps!

    • Answered by Darren R from Chireno
    • Mar 24, 2012
  • It comes down to how you plan to use the Mac. My main Mac is a 12-month-old 15-inch MacBook Pro with 8 GB of RAM and a 2.0 GHz Core i7 processor. I use in in a vertically in a cradle beside a 20-inch monitor.
    I have found that in the vertical position I cannot burn a DL DVD successfully, it needs to be in the normal horizontal position.
    Otherwise, it is fine or SL DVD and CD burning while vertical.
    The 15 & 17-inch MacBook Pros are very powerful computers, well able to replace a desktop machine, but there are compromises. For example, the HDs run at 5,400 rpm vs 7,200 for the iMac. The iMac has a bigger screen unless you are going to use a bigger external display.
    Ultimately, though, you need to ask whether your Mac needs to be portable. If not, then an iMac would be better. You need to pay several hundred dollars more for a MacBook Pro of similar capability to an iMac.

    • Answered by Peter E from Pakenham
    • Mar 25, 2012
  • There both good products. For your film editing get the imac. If you want somthing on the go you should take the MacBook oro. If you have something like an iPad that you can take around with you then you don't need the MacBook Pro. I have an iPad and an imac and they have Ben great, when I'm on the go or on holidays, I take my iPad 3rd gen and when I do my video editing (like yourself) its amazing to do it on a wide screen display. That's just my advise, hope it works out!

    • Answered by Louis E
    • Nov 10, 2012
  • Macbook Pro 15 would probably suit you best. It offers great performance and portability. The iMacs are powerful desktop machines with beautiful screens and simplicity of being all in one, but cannot be taken around very easily. If you need a second screen for editing, you can purchase a Thunderbolt display for the Macbook Pro.

    • Answered by Adam A from Las Vegas
    • Mar 24, 2012
  • Well, For School if you are in college then the Macbook Pro. For video editing the IMac does a way better job, if you need to take your computer where ever you go then you should get the Macbook Pro 15 inch, but if you are always at home then the IMac is the way to go

    • Answered by Drew S from Monarch Beach
    • Mar 25, 2012
  • Well, you're really going to like the 21" screen on the iMac. The 15" Pro screen is not nearly that huge. I have a 13" Pro and I've done some video editing on it. Not a problem but the extra screen real estate of the iMac allows you to keep all the control windows visible while you're editing. And just FYI I use the laptop's trackpad, never a mouse. So it is a capable machine. About your school work... will you ever be collaborating with other students... at a cafe, in someone's home, at school? If so, then you will miss a laptop.

    • Answered by Bob L from Portland
    • Mar 25, 2012
  • I would get the MacBook Pro and an external monitor. Best of both worlds. You can get an IPS display for around 300 bucks if you need it, then you won't need another device ... I've never liked all in one devices personally... If I were to get a desktop mac it would be an older mac pro which will still smoke a newer imac for cheaper then get a couple dual displays. You can load up the macbook pros with 16gb ram and an ssd... so it will definitely handle video...

    • Answered by Joseph K from Bodega
    • Feb 1, 2013
  • We have both an imac and a macbook pro, our imac is a 2007 and have never had a problem. The lap top is good for travel, If you plan to use it for school, work etc.. then get the mac book pro. My husband uses the lap top for work and even has windows installed so you have two computers in one. Good luck

    • Answered by Rosa B from Sunland
    • Sep 10, 2012
  • Hi,

    I also have a MacBook Pro and an iMac, both less than a half year old, so pretty new models.

    My first question would be: "What will I be doing and what will be the main purpose of me working on a Mac?"
    Second question: "UST it be a portable?"

    Now some suggestions:
    - If you want to use it exclusive for Development and Application usage my answer would be a MacBook Pro. Reason: "It is so comfortable to lay back in your sofa while programming :)."
    - Do you want easy upgrading of hardware: "Do not buy the MacBook Pro!"
    - Are your intentions gaming then I would certainly recommend the iMac due to it's stronger Graphics Card.

    Hope you make/made a wise choice, it is a lot of money!

    Best Regards!

    • Answered by Joeri B from Antwerpen
    • Nov 26, 2013
  • I would get a MBP and an external monitor. My other option would be to get an older Mac Pro, load it with ram and extra HDD, then get some cheap budget laptop for on the go. An older Mac Pro is cheaper than, and will still smoke an IMAC.

    • Answered by Joseph K from Tallahassee
    • Feb 23, 2013
  • MacBook Pro: Because it's very portable and come with 3 sizes 13",15" and 17". For editing movies, I would recommend 17" because the screen is very huge and is faster than 13"and 15".

    • Answered by Eng A
    • Mar 26, 2012
  • Macbook Pro: You Can Take It Anywhere

    Cons: If Your Use To Editing On A Desktop It Will Be Kind Of Hard

    imac: Cheaper

    I Would Get The Macbook Pro Because You Can Take it anywhere

    • Answered by Samuel G from Lithonia
    • Mar 23, 2012