What Is Your Ultimate Mac Setup?

On June 10, 2011, I purchased a brand new 15″, 2.0 GHz quad-core MacBook Pro. In exactly two weeks, someone will be buying this machine. I’m crazy, right? I’d argue that point. For a resident of a rural Idaho town of 50,000 people, I don’t have the opportunity of driving down to an Apple store that’s 15 minutes away. In fact, the closest one resides in Salt Lake City, a lengthy 2.5 hours away. So, when I decide that I want to purchase an Apple product, I do so after extensive internet research. That is, I never have the opportunity to have hands on to know if this is the product that’s right for me.

After a month with this machine, I can declare that it’s not for me.  Why not?  Read on to to find out.

It’s not under-spec’ed. In fact, it outperforms any other Mac I’ve used before. However, the many facets of my life don’t allow me to have just a MacBook Pro. Being a college student, portability is essential to my success. I’ve tried to take notes effectively on my iPad 2, and failed miserably. All I need is a lightweight machine to take notes and write papers on. Because the technology world is a constant tornado of information, having a lightweight machine to carry everywhere with me if huge news presents itself is also a plus being a writer here on Run Around Tech. As you could have guessed, the MacBook Air is a perfect fit for my lifestyle right now.

However, I don’t feel that the MacBook Air can be my only machine. Many have made it apparent that the Air is no Joe-Schmoe anymore, with it’s custom configuration of the Intel i7 processors. However, the experience of using an Air is vastly different than the experience on something like an iMac. Regardless of the Air’s new found power, I believe I need another machine for home use, where I can be expected to do all of my heavy work, like photo and video editing, and extensive written projects. For me, the 21.5″ iMac is the perfect machine to have as my flagship computer.

In conclusion, yes, I’ve had this computer for merely a month. However, after my use, I feel that it’s not for me. Is it a bad thing that I’m selling a $1900 computer a month after having it? Many would argue it’s irrationality, but I’d say no. Using Apple products has always been about the experience, and for me, having experiences on multiple devices helps me sort out what I want in a product.

What is your ultimate Mac setup? Could you deal with a 13″ MacBook Pro, or do you need multiple computers to cover the multiple facets of your life, like a MacBook Air and an iMac? I think this question has the possibility of generating great discussion, so please let us know in the comments below!

Image Source: AppStorm


Software engineer with a love for Disney, adventure, video games, and art. Adventure is out there! Please, if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them at my email: roger@runaroundtech.com

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  • lgreenberg

    I think what you’re describing, the Air for when you’re on the road, and the iMac when at home is the ultimate setup. This is my current set up, however I’m using a 24″ iMac. I need to upgrade it soon, probably the first of the year and am debating whether I’ll go to the 21.5″ or the 27″.

    I think a 13″ or 15″ MBP is a great computer for those individuals who only want or can only afford one machine.

    • Roger Ogden

      Agreed Larry. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Zen Glaswegian

    i’m using the Macbook Air 13″ and 27″ iMac – similar to what you’ve written, the iMac does all the Final Cut Pro x video stuff, watching videos and generally acts as a computer thats constantly switched on. The Macbook Air is used for similar purposes i.e. editing video and everything I do on the iMac but its not always on, just when I need to switch locations.

    • Roger Ogden

      Thanks Zen. From your videos, I’ve seen that you’re a big fan of the Airs!

  • Im using the 2011 Macbook Air 13″ i7 1.8GHZ with 4GIGS of ram and the 256SSD. ITs hooked up to a Samsung 24″ LED screen. I used to have a 2.2 Quad core Macbook Pro and the 2011 iMac with 3.4GHZ and 16gigs of ram. I tell ya I don’t miss the other ones anymore at all. I love having the light portability and the desktop setup for when I’m at home. As for the power of this new i7 is absolutley amazing and I’m totally shocked.

    • Roger Ogden

      Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to use the new Airs so far, but I could definitely see how they could be the main machine for A LOT of people.

  • I’ve come into a similar situation as of late. I bought my current 15″ MacBook Pro about two years ago and it has served me incredibly well. Since then, I’ve started my blog that’s had tremendous success and has allowed me to travel all over the country to various trade shows and media events. I’ve learned that a 15″ laptop just isn’t portable and I’ve learned it the hard way. For me, this was my first Mac, so I doubt that I’ll sell it. Maybe I’ll pass it off to a family member of my girlfriend, who is frequently screaming at the Dell laptops provided by her college, plus it’ll save her on tuition.

    Regardless, CES is right around the corner and that show will require me to be on my feet 12 hours a day. I’m heavily considering a MacBook Air with a 21.5″ iMac as its counterpart. I need the power that the iMac can provide. I do a lot of graphic, video, and web work. On the go, the MacBook Air will suffice, but its main purpose is to be light and efficient, something we all know it can do, and do well. I also plan on finishing out my college education starting in January, so it’ll be nice to have something to carry around with me on campus (and maybe even have my rented Kindle textbooks on. ;])

    Great post.

    • Roger Ogden

      Great feedback Andy! Thanks so much!

  • My dream setup… 2- 27″ iMac 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 16GB of memory, 1TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive & AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5. The reason for two machines… While one is rendering I can use the other to continue editing without affecting anything I’m doing. Lastly, the 13″ MBA base model for traveling… I am really feeling the Air to possibly replace the iPad … I still think the iPad is useful in a lot of situations…

    • Roger Ogden

      Thanks for the feedback Mike. That’s definitely a dream rig(s) right there. Would you consider a higher-spec’ed Mac Pro, or do you prefer the iMac?

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  • Patrick

    I have a 2012 Macbook Pro with 24″ DELL External Monitor if I am at home working. I bought MacBook not because of the hardware but with its OS X. I am also travelling a lot and I find the MBP much lighter compared to powerful laptop. I used to own a Dell Laptop and it was a good machine. Its just that my colleagues are all working in Mac Environment.