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Mac: Desktop vs. laptop

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I'm curious as to why some users choose one over the other. For example, Cipes uses a MacBook Pro. I'm on a little 17" iMac plus a 20" display, but occasionally use a 12" G4 Pbk (big falloff!). Most users seem to be on a desktop. I can see the advantage of the laptop if you move around alot, and perhaps have more than one monitor in more than one place - say, you work in your home office but also have a cabin or second home. But what do you give up, even with the best laptop, and ever wish you had done it differently?

Just curious....


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I have found the laptop a must. If I never left my office or did work anywhere else I would use my iMac but that is not the case. I am even surprised that I can use the laptop screen without going crazy. I do plugin to a keyboard and mighty mouse at the office which for me is essential to working efficiently.

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Not necessarily. Laptops have other advantages.

Built-in UPS. Uses less power.

The main disadvantage is a lower RAM limit.

Plus usually slower buss speeds, fewer Cores, less throughput, not top-grade video etc, but unless you are doing heavy rendering sorts of tasks with optimised programs, you probably won't notice the difference

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As for me, the reason is really simple: I wanted to transition to the Intel Proc. Macs, but wasn't ready to buy into the first (or first and a half) generation of the Mac Pro. Also, I was just about to go on an extended trip and needed to take work with me.

My office setup also includes a 20" cinema display and a standard keyboard and mouse, which add lots of usability.

Eventually I'll probably buy a Mac Pro, but I haven't needed to yet as the laptop is fairly quick (for most things)...

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The most obvious disadvantage is the screen. Most CAD people cannot get use to a smaller screen.

In my opinion, the advantages out way the disadvantages. I travel a lot and forced myself to get use to using a laptop for everything. Now I am able to work anywhere (hotels, librarys, starbucks, planes, etc.). The problem is I basically work everywhere...

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and a standard keyboard


Definitely agree on the big monitor and the mouse, but I love this MacBook keyboard. I got used to it really quick. The function keys are set active all the time. It would be a challenge going back to the standard keyboard now.


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  • 1 month later...

For me I use a Mac 17" PowerBook G4 on site and find the size and power quite good, except when I undertake large 3d renderings. Because of this I will be investing in a new desktop with a 30" screen for office use that will also give me access to windows on one machine.

Remember if you use an external mouse or keyboard with your laptop you will have used-up all the USB slots on your laptop as the dongle will have taken up the other. This will mean you will have to disconnect your mouse or keyboard if you want to connect to a printer or any other USB device, fine if you like using the touch pad?

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I use a mini USB numeric keypad with my PowerBook which is another thing to take up one the two USB ports, but my mouse is wireless w/ Bluetooth and with Airport Express my printer is wireless also. I use that keypad a lot and with other applications as well.

Edited by Michael K
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