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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Issues In Ditching iMac For Portable Mac?

Issues In Ditching iMac For Portable Mac?
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kindred9x
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Nov 30, 2017, 06:52 PM
 
I've long used an iMac for most of my work and am ready to upgrade. But occasionally I need the portability of notebook. My 6/7-year-old white plastic and heavy Macbook, though, is just about at the end of its useful life.
So I'm thinking of investing in a Mac portable and a large external display, rather than an iMac this time. For those who have gone this route, can you help with the following questions, please?

1. Any major issues to look out for?
2. What ex. display are you using and would you buy the same brand again?
3. What do you miss about going portable vs using a desktop? And will you continue with portable computing?

Thank you!
     
reader50
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Nov 30, 2017, 07:24 PM
 
The 15" MacBookPro (2011 through early-2013) is affected by a solder-failure issue which eventually disables the discreet GPU. Apple has a repair extension program, but they just swap boards. The issue will eventually recur. There are workarounds to the GPU failure, but they have limitations. If possible, avoid the affected models.

If you do CPU-intensive loads, a notebook has far smaller heatsinks and fans than a desktop. The fans will ramp up much faster. In this case, get at least a quad-core to give yourself more headroom.
     
OreoCookie
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Nov 30, 2017, 07:30 PM
 
I have a 2012 Mac Pro and a 2015 13" MacBook Pro at work, so allow me to chime in. Let me assume now you have to decide between a new iMac and a new MacBook Pro:

(1) Nothing really. Clamshell mode can be finicky as it tends to move windows around when you change resolution. But that's about it.

(2) I still use a 27" Apple Cinema Display.

(3) Notebooks are quite fast, only if you consistently load them and need more than 2 or 4 cores for a prolonged time, are notebooks slower. The SSD in MacBooks is just as fast and for short bursts, so is the CPU. In fact, core-by-core, my 2-core MacBook Pro is significantly faster than my 12-core Mac Pro. You can really tell browsing the web, compiling TeX code and other things that do not make use of more than 2 cores.

If you place a load on them for a long time, desktops will handle it more gracefully, they will have larger thermal headroom, fans won't spin up as much and in case of the Mac Pro, I still have plenty of cores twiddling their collective thumbs.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego
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Dec 1, 2017, 02:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The SSD in MacBooks is just as fast
My current model MBP almost hits 2GB/second. It’s actually kinda insane.
     
P
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Dec 1, 2017, 03:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by kindred9x View Post
I've long used an iMac for most of my work and am ready to upgrade. But occasionally I need the portability of notebook. My 6/7-year-old white plastic and heavy Macbook, though, is just about at the end of its useful life.
So I'm thinking of investing in a Mac portable and a large external display, rather than an iMac this time. For those who have gone this route, can you help with the following questions, please?

1. Any major issues to look out for?
2. What ex. display are you using and would you buy the same brand again?
3. What do you miss about going portable vs using a desktop? And will you continue with portable computing?

Thank you!
1) Dongles, and the associated feature of being easy to connect to and from the external display and keyboard. Look at what you need to connect and figure out the exact setup of adapters that you will need. There are a lot of things to look out for here - USB-C is a step forward, but has odd limitations. Thunderbolt docks are great, but expensive.
2) LG 27MU67, a 4K 27" display that acts as a Retina display under MacOS. I love it, and I would recommend that you get a 4K display so it can be run in Retina mode. As for LG... their panels are great, their interface is terrible, but then I don't sit in that interface playing with the brightness all day.
3) I miss the raw power. A 13" comes with a dualcore, not a quad (although 2018 may change things here) and the GPU is anemic compared to even an iMac. That last only matter for games, though - I game on a PC now, so it doesn't matter so much.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
OreoCookie
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Dec 1, 2017, 07:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
My current model MBP almost hits 2GB/second. It’s actually kinda insane.
I think mine is much slower than yours, 1.3 or 1.5 GB/s Oh, and my Mac Pro is dead last with ~500 MB/s. How did we ever live on floppy drives? I had to wait a minute or so to copy 880 kB.
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P
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Dec 1, 2017, 08:46 AM
 
Not a problem - the drives were faster than the CPUs. On the Mac Plus, if you connected an HDD, it had to be formatted with 3:1 interleave - that is, you write data in the first sector, then the fourth, then the seventh etc. The computer took so long to just receive the data from HDD and put it in RAM that two sectors had already whisked by by the time it was ready to read again. Read speed of the CPU was less than half of the read speed of the drive.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
OreoCookie
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Dec 1, 2017, 08:17 PM
 
I didn't know that, I was an Amiga guy back then and without a hard drive

And it wasn't just the drives, it was RAM — not speed, but size! Until I installed a “memory doubler” in my Amiga 500, I had to stop half-way and insert the blank disk, then exchange them again for the other half when making copies of floppy disks because 880 kB don't fit into 512 kB main memory!

Those were glorious times, my kids will make fun of me: (pointing to a 3.5" floppy) How many videos fit on this thing?

And I seem to remember that the early Commodore 5.25" floppy drives had their own computers built in with the same CPU as the main machine (something like a C64). Just imagine if your touch bar were driven by a Core i7 these days
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
P
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Dec 2, 2017, 09:57 AM
 
I find it amusing that the floppy disk will remain in the public consciousness forever as the save icon, long after people have forgotten what it does.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
subego
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Dec 2, 2017, 01:17 PM
 
One of Gruber’s better insights is what would really suck about having to go back to 80s and 90s computing wouldn’t so much be the lack of mobile, or slower speeds, but how frickin starved we used to be for storage.

Remember SyQuest?
     
   
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