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Old Nov 27, 2012, 04:48 PM   #1
obsoletepower
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New 27" iMac Core i7 vs. GTX 680MX 2Gb upgrade

I have a 27" iMac that I just bought refurb. but am thinking of returning it for a new 27" iMac. I am trying to decide between these 2 options in case I do decide to get one. I know the Core i7 costs $200 and the video card upgrade is $150.
I would like to install Windows 7 on it for games only so I would like your opinions if going with the video card upgrade is worth the $150. I am leaning more towards the video card upgrade than the CPU upgrade because it doubles the VRAM and you get a slightly better GPU and for games I think it would be an improvement although how much remains to be seen. What do you guys think? The third option is to leave the $1999 model the way it is and just get it without BTO.

I am also trying to decide whether the improvements in performance are worth the extra $400 - $600 I'd be spending on the new iMac over the refurb iMac.

The iMac I have is a mid-2011 27" 3.1GHz Core i5 with the AMD HD6970 1GB graphics.

I didn't see any benchmarks for the GTX 680MX on notebookcheck.com so I'm curious to read your comments.
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Old Nov 27, 2012, 05:19 PM   #2
Razorhog
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If your goal is games, the GPU upgrade is definitely worth it. The i7 CPU would only be needed for applications that can take advantage of hyperthreading. Too much to explain here, but google it.
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Old Nov 27, 2012, 05:29 PM   #3
obsoletepower
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Originally Posted by Razorhog View Post
If your goal is games, the GPU upgrade is definitely worth it. The i7 CPU would only be needed for applications that can take advantage of hyperthreading. Too much to explain here, but google it.
I know the technical aspects of the hardware but I am trying to decide if it is worth spending $600 more to upgrade the mid-2011 iMac. I have until January 7, 2013 to it since I bought it in October and it was a refurb.
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Old Nov 27, 2012, 05:30 PM   #4
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I would say yes, it is.
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Old Nov 27, 2012, 05:49 PM   #5
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Hard to say right now. You don't know how the new model will operate. It could have high temperatures or hardcore throttling. I'm worried when seeing how thin it is.


It looks cool, but is it unlikely that this thing will throttle itself down when gaming for a few hours.. particularly in Windows which seems to be managed more poorly temperature wise.


I guess it makes sense for Apple to provide poor hardware drivers for windows. To make it shine less as an OS. But good enough for "Windows works on Mac".
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Old Nov 27, 2012, 06:06 PM   #6
obsoletepower
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Hard to say right now. You don't know how the new model will operate. It could have high temperatures or hardcore throttling. I'm worried when seeing how thin it is.


It looks cool, but is it unlikely that this thing will throttle itself down when gaming for a few hours.. particularly in Windows which seems to be managed more poorly temperature wise.


I guess it makes sense for Apple to provide poor hardware drivers for windows. To make it shine less as an OS. But good enough for "Windows works on Mac".
It is true that it is thin but mainly it is thin around the sides and very bulbous towards the middle which is where I'm guessing the CPU, GPU and PSU are situated. My main concern is the difficulty of upgrading it. Considering how thin it is I would not be surprised if there is no space for a second drive and I am guessing the CPU and GPU are soldered on. I just don't see how they could have kept them socketed and be so thin. I will probably order one anyway and will have some time to decide until December when it ships seeing as how the 21.5" model will be available for sale this Friday, iFixit and others will be all over it.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 03:05 AM   #7
luffytubby
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It is true that it is thin but mainly it is thin around the sides and very bulbous towards the middle which is where I'm guessing the CPU, GPU and PSU are situated. My main concern is the difficulty of upgrading it. Considering how thin it is I would not be surprised if there is no space for a second drive and I am guessing the CPU and GPU are soldered on. I just don't see how they could have kept them socketed and be so thin. I will probably order one anyway and will have some time to decide until December when it ships seeing as how the 21.5" model will be available for sale this Friday, iFixit and others will be all over it.
For the upgrade thing, I think with Imac and Retina MBP it makes sense to get the Apple care.


I heard it costs between 1000 and 2000 USD just to replace the battery on RMBP. That is... beyond insane. These things are technical marvels, but considering that the failure rate on Apple Laptops (in 2009) was 15%... The risk is to damn high, even if it sucks having to buy insurance now.


Anandtech has reported that the 27-inch model has user upgradeable RAM. The 21-inch does not. FYI^_^
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 04:13 AM   #8
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Having researched this myself (gonna buy a 27'' iMac with 680MX myself), it seems from various gaming benchmark that the difference between a 4-core i5 vs. 4-core i7 at same freq. is tiny, certainly not noticeable in any way. You'll see a quite a bit higher score when using benchmark programs, but not in actual gaming.
Also reading overclocker forums it seems the i7 generally runs noticably hotter, even when idle+light tasks. That's why overclockers (who game) often turn off hyperthreading to get higher game speed through higher CPU overclocking. I don't need hyperthreading, and because the iMac is probably more than hot enough already, I'm going for the fastest i5 CPU.

If you doing video and photo editing on a regular basis, then you should get the i7, for those operations hyperthreading will make a big difference. Otherwise, having the i7 is more of a bragging right than anything else from what I can tell..

Last edited by Mac32; Nov 28, 2012 at 04:22 AM.
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