Re: IMAC or macbook pro - advise from Mac users please!
Ryan - lots of great advice already given here. To add my 2 cents -
First, every model mentioned would be more than capable of doing what you've described doing.
And in a nutshell, portability costs. The more portable the solution - the less power you get for its cost. But again, all of these solutions should work quite well.
A few other thoughts -
1. 5400 seriously degrade audio track counts - and I mean really seriously. I don't know that I'd put this upgrade on a "future wish list" if at all possible.
2. 13" screens are pretty much as cramped for music as they are for art. I can't imagine doing much lengthy work on either without tethering up a larger screen wherever possible. And I mean a 20-24" not just a 15".
3. RAM, RAM, RAM - that amount of RAM that Apple ships standard with its computers throws away 30% of that computers effective power - particular when doing the very things you are interested in - music, art, video, etc. If my only two choices were a slightly more powerful model with standard RAM or a lessor model with say, double standard RAM, I'd probably go with the lesser model every time. IMO unless you're just going to use your computer to write papers and surf the web,,, it needs more than the standard amount of RAM.
That said, shop around - as often the Apple RAM upgrades are over-priced (not always, but most of the time). RAM is incredibly easy to upgrade yourself - just be sure and buy it from an established Mac-based reseller, so you know you are getting the specifically right stuff. I use macsales.com a lot for my needs.
Also I'd have to give a thumbs up to the gentleman who recommended the MacMini earlier in the thread - as that is the solution I just went with in upgrading my studio set-up - basically replacing my 2007 MacBookPro with a 2011 MacMini Server - which I've been very happy with.
But again, of all the choices discussed, you should be well served regardless of the which one you choose.