New M1 MacBook Pro gives 2019 iMac the boot [Setups]

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A new MacBook Pro replaced a 2019 27-inch iMac in this setup.
A new MacBook Pro replaced a 2019 27-inch iMac in this setup.
Photo: adamjackson1984@Reddit.com

The new M1 Macs are impressive — especially the newest of the new, the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBooks. They’re so impressive, we see them replacing even late-model desktop Macs that have years of useful and even impressive life left in them. Such is the case with today’s year-end setup.

In a twist on the old phrase uttered at this time of year, “Out with the (not very) old, in with the (insanely great) new.”

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Redditor adamjackson1984 discussed giving his 27-inch iMac from 2019 the old heave-ho in favor of a new, 16-inch M1 MacBook in his post, “New MacBook Pro replacing my 27″ iMac.”

16-inch M1 MacBook Pro versus 27-inch iMac

Adam described his new MacBook as “nearly maxed out.” It replaced a 2019 iMac with an Intel Core i9 chip, 64GB of RAM and a Radeon Pro Vega 48 GPU for graphics. He sold the not-so-old machine for $2,300 online and then spent the proceeds plus about $2,000 on the new machine.

“Not bad for 3 years of depreciation to only have to spend $2K to upgrade,” he noted. “First couple of days, the MBP is 2-3 times faster at everything except for exporting HEVC files from Final Cut Pro. I’d say the iMac with Vega 48 and a faster clock speed beats the MBP at exporting anything but ProRes (where the M1Max has ProRes Accelerators built in).”

He also noted the iMac used a lot more power completing tasks than the MacBook does.

“If you think about the $10 a month saved on the power bill and most everything being much faster, it’s a worthy upgrade,” he said, especially because he needs a laptop now. For those who don’t, he suggested waiting for a new desktop makes sense.

At the rough pricing he indicated, his new MacBook is definitely not a base model. He doesn’t note the MacBook’s specs in detail. But the higher-end models with M1 Pro or M1 Max chips offer a significant leap in CPU, GPU and machine learning performance over older Macs.

In new, tricked-out MacBooks, you can get a CPU with up to 10 cores that’ll help you fly through complex computing tasks.  Up to 32 cores in the GPU jack up performance for graphics-intensive apps and games. And a 16-core Neural Engine speeds up machine learning considerably.

Dell display and CalDigit dock

Adam runs his laptop with a 32-inch Dell UltraSharp 4K IPS monitor, which he bought new for about $1,500, he said. It manages 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution with a 60Hz refresh rate. He mentioned he mounted both the display and the laptop on an Ergotron Vesa mount.

Helping out with networking, Adam uses the ever-popular CalDigit TS3+ Thunderbolt Dock. He’s had it since 2016 without any problems, he said. Bristling with 15 ports and offering 87W of charging power (older ones offer 85W), it’s a useful device to have around.

Given that the Dell display is also a USB hub, Adam uses it for an item that he noted doesn’t work through the CalDigit dock. That’s his Elgato Stream Deck. He doesn’t use the deck for streaming, though. He uses it for a number of shortcuts and automations, like turning off the lights.

By the way, Adam makes “very crappy niche videos about motorcycles, cars, travel, beers, technology and whatever else I’m interested in” and airs them on his YouTube channel if you’d like to see them.

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