To make the right decision on which one to buy, Mac desktop or MacBook laptop, looking at some of the important points is vital to opt for the correct decision. This is a very common thing – desktop will require you to sit at the desk while MacBook can be carried everywhere. The MacBook and Mac desktop ranges are listed here.


7Mac desktop ranges:

iMac: Most famous iMac available in 21.5 inch and 27inch where the later one comes with 5k retina display.

Mac mini: It comes with a great range of connectivity options such as HDMI, but the drawback is it requires you to buy the monitor, mouse and keyboard separately.

Mac Pro: Two models are available where both are having incredible speed. 3.7 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon powerhouse and 3.5GHz 6-Core behemoths are the two versions that are featured with dual AMD FirePro graphics cards.

6MacBook ranges:

MacBook air: Available in two versions 11inch and 13inch provides a battery life of around 12 hours.

MacBook Pro: It is available in one version that is having a 13inch screen and this is the only MacBook which includes a built-in optical SuperDrive.

MacBook Pro with Retina display: Available in two versions, 13 and 15 inch screen size it has super-high resolution display.

Retina MacBook: This is the latest introduction of Apple in 2015. It is very thin and super light in weight.

In case you are worried about the security of your Mac, learn how to get rid of Mac malware.

Also read: How to use private browsing on a Mac

Now, coming to the main differences:

Mac desktop vs laptop:



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Retina display is one of the main attractions of Apple and many users intend to have a MacBook or Mac desktop just to enjoy the super retina display. In case of the MacBook, you will be able to choose from a 12 inch MacBook, retina MacBook pro of 13 and 15 inch that offer retina display. But when it comes to the Apple desktop, only 27inch iMac offers it.


Screen size is another point to be considered in the Mac desktop vs laptop discussion. Yes, if it is about the screen size, then going for the Apple desktop is better as the ranges include 21.5-inch to 27-inch whereas the MacBook screen size ranges from 11inch-15inch.

4Processor speeds and performance:

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In every Mac category, all models have similar specs at the entry level. For example, iMac and Mac mini at entry level have 1.4GHz dual core Intel i5 processor. MacBook Air offers the same processor at the entry level but later it was upgraded to 1.6GHz processor. Apart from that, this MacBook Air is a bit different from the other two desktop models by offering the SSD and Flash Drive advantage.


If the 13inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro retina is compared, there is not much difference except the later one is having a better screen and processor. This 13inch MacBook Pro Retina starts with 2.7GHz dual core CPU, which is similar to the iMac 21.5 inch that include 2.7 GHz CPU as well.

Again, Mac pro is having 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 which is comparable with iMac 3.5GHz of rated £1,849.

3Graphic performance:

Graphics processing unit (GPU) also known as Graphics card usually manage the visual effects and make a great platform for smooth gaming.

Mac mini and iMac comes with Intel HD Graphics 5000 card at the entry level where as MacBook Air has new HD Graphics 6000 and MacBook Pro with Retina display is having Intel Iris Graphics 6100 card that is faster and newer.

MacBook Pro with Retina display of 15 inch and 21.5in iMac is featured with Intel Iris Pro GPU. Coming to the top model, the 3.2GHZ 27inch non-retina iMac is packed with NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M of 1G and the retina 3.3 GHZ model is featured with AMD Radeon R9 M290. In case of MacBook laptop, 15inch 2.5GHZ MacBook Pro comes with AMD Radeon R9 M370X.


The storage capacity has a great role to play in Mac desktop vs laptop discussion. The desktops have to offer more storage compared to the laptops. iMac and Mac Mini at the entry level comes with 500GB but the higher model offers 1TB storage which is again extendable to 3TB.

But the 11inch and 13inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina display is available in 128GB, 256BG or 512GB ranges.


When it comes to upgradability, Apple computers are really tough to upgrade. However, the Mac mini was easily upgradable, but the 2014 version is not that easy to upgrade. In case of laptops, MacBook Pro allows the users to upgrade the RAM, but MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina display are completely non-upgradable.

So, depending upon the need of storage, display, GPU and other factors, you can have the right decision.


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