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Old Jan 10, 2011, 08:32 PM   #1
BrandinoMino
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Core i3 or Core i5 iMac?

I know this has probably been answered a billion times, but I need the answer for my specific needs.

My daily use will be:

Web browsing
iTunes
Watching HD Movies
Bit Torrent
HandBrake
Dvd Burning
Windows Parallels
Social Networking
iPhoto

and thats basicially it.

Can someone tell me if I really need the Core i5 2.8ghz, or should choose the Core i3 3.2ghz. Mind you, I dont wanna max out the machine with daily use...but dont want to overkill it.

Thanks.
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Old Jan 10, 2011, 09:02 PM   #2
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Me too??

I am very curious about this myself. I know I want a 27 inch without question, but I don't know wether I need and i5 or not? My needs are pretty much the same as the OP. I am waiting though for the revision on the iMac before I mac a decision. Even after the new machines come out I will still most likely go to refurbished route...WAAAYYYY too good of a deal for any machine you get on a refurb
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Old Jan 10, 2011, 09:16 PM   #3
JamesGorman
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Id go with an i5. It will last you longer, and gives you the option to do heavier lifting if need be.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 01:48 AM   #4
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Neither, i7 is the lowest anyone should buy.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 02:05 AM   #5
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i3 sounds like it should be free.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 02:39 AM   #6
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How is see it.. You just have to look at your wallet. There will be always something better. Almost all the things that your gonna do with your imac don't 'need' the i5 but everyone knows that it's better.

When people say that buying a more expensive iMac you are prepared for the future then I say that it depends on its user. If you want to do more complicated things over time than 'yes' a better cpu is great. But if your list doesn't change over time, than you can spend the extra money on other stuff.. Because surfing now wouldnt be much different in a year or 2. Your list are full of things where you can say: if your mac can do it now, then it can do it forever (exept if it dies)..

I have the same dilemma. The only things that I do is:
Surfing
Itunes
iPhoto
Watch a movie
Playing a game like starcraft II, WoW, etc.

I think that all those things can be perfectly done with the Imac 3,2 Ghz I3. But at the other hand I'm thinking about the I5.. For the feeling 'Just For Sure' ..
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 03:40 AM   #7
MonkeySee....
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I purchased an i3 imac having moved from a Quad core pc over clocked to 3ghz.

I pleasantly surprised with what i have purchased.

There are....
No issues with watching HD movies
No issues with Ripping with handbreak
No issues with editing photos with iPhoto/Aperture
No issues with torrents
No issues with web browsing
No issues with iTunes.

If anything i should have probably gone with the higher graphics card as scrolling photos in iPhoto is a bit gittery. I only say this having come from picasa which is very smooth.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 03:41 AM   #8
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i have the 3.06 i3 by the way.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 04:00 AM   #9
peskaa
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The i3 will be fine for your tasks. Browsing the internet, playing some music and the odd bit of iPhoto won't make it cry like a girl.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 04:19 AM   #10
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Why is it that nobody seems to opt for the i7 2.9GHz option? Is it too expensive Vs. i3 + i5 or is it not worth the upgrade?
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 04:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vodouman View Post
Why is it that nobody seems to opt for the i7 2.9GHz option? Is it too expensive Vs. i3 + i5 or is it not worth the upgrade?
its totally worth it. mathmaticaly the more you spend on your imac the more you are getting for each buck.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 04:32 AM   #12
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its totally worth it. mathmaticaly the more you spend on your imac the more you are getting for each buck.
I agree completely. The only thing about the iMac which I think is a bit of a let down is the GPU. I think it's a bit weak. However, I assume this will be upgraded in the summer updates later this year.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 04:40 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by vodouman View Post
Why is it that nobody seems to opt for the i7 2.9GHz option? Is it too expensive Vs. i3 + i5 or is it not worth the upgrade?
Maybe because its the top end of the scale and massive overkill for what people want??
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 04:42 AM   #14
Floris
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If you can't afford i7, go with i5.
If you can't afford the i5, get a macbook air instead.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 05:00 AM   #15
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If you can't afford i7, go with i5.
If you can't afford the i5, get a macbook air instead.
What? How can the Air even compete with a desktop if that is what somebody is after? I hope you're trying to be funny.

These forums constantly amaze me at how often people are recommended to simply waste money on upgrades that they will never see the benefit from. Somebody browsing the internet is fine with an i3, they don't need an i5 or an i7. Remember when we used to do exactly the same things on a Core Duo from 2006? There are many many people happily using Core 2 Duo iMacs, which an i3 will be equal to if not faster than.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 05:13 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Floris View Post
If you can't afford i7, go with i5.
If you can't afford the i5, get a macbook air instead.
What about those who don't have space for the 27" iMac? Should we just buy an iPad?
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 06:53 AM   #17
keaide
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I was asking myself the same question. Playing around with the i3 iMacs in the Apple store, it seems obvious that the i3 models are perfectly fine for all those normal every-day tasks the OP listed above.

I've anyway decided to go for an i5 (on my to-do list for this week ) because... well... I can't find a real solid reason. I guess it has something to do with "just to make sure..." but I guess that in real life, I would do just as fine with an i3.

It does also make no sense to plan 10 years ahead... an i3 will look just the same as an i5 or even an i7 will by then... it will look old... old and slow, equally slow. That's all. Look at the machines that were considered modern 10 years ago...

It might be a different story if the horsepower of your iMac helps yo to make a living. Then the equations faster = better might make more sense... but I'm only gonna use my iMac at home.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 01:21 PM   #18
BrandinoMino
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Thanks for all the info guys. Still a little undecided about the Core i3 vs. Core i5. Right now I know I want the 27" iMac with the added SSD option with 8GB RAM. But honestly, probably will end up going for the i5 2.8ghz, just because id rather be a little overkill than a little dissapointed with the i3.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 01:26 PM   #19
vodouman
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Originally Posted by BrandinoMino View Post
Thanks for all the info guys. Still a little undecided about the Core i3 vs. Core i5. Right now I know I want the 27" iMac with the added SSD option with 8GB RAM. But honestly, probably will end up going for the i5 2.8ghz, just because id rather be a little overkill than a little dissapointed with the i3.
Sounds like an excellent choice. I do hope though that you do not intend on buying the upgraded RAM from Apple directly? It's extremely overpriced!

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Old Jan 11, 2011, 02:01 PM   #20
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i3 should work well enough, but I sympathize with the temptation to get the i5. As far as future-proofing, I think your money goes farther to buy what you need now and turn over your equipment more often. Most of the time, I think today's top-of-the-line machines are destined to be outperformed by low or midlevel models in the next two years. Good luck with your purchase!
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 02:53 PM   #21
MrMaikey
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I made my decision to buy the i3 3,6Ghz version. Just because thats enough for the things that I want to do with my Mac. And this one is available in the store around the corner.. I want to have it now and do not want to wait for it ^_^..Its always better than my HP PAVILLION Notebook..

I dont do a lot of heavy things on my computer so the i3 is good for me.. The time when I notice that the iMac irritates me because it's slow or something, then it's a signal to save up money again and buy better.. And I think it will take a looooong time....
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 05:26 PM   #22
xheathen
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Good call man.

I don't think the i5 is worth the money from an i3. I wholeheartedly believe it's a decision between i3 and i7. If the i3 won't cut it, don't even look at the i5.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 08:49 PM   #23
BrandinoMino
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Originally Posted by vodouman View Post
Sounds like an excellent choice. I do hope though that you do not intend on buying the upgraded RAM from Apple directly? It's extremely overpriced!

- Vodouman
Haha. Goodness no. If I had that type of money to blow i'd probably just buy a Mac Pro. lol. Thanks for posting the warning, hopefully people that dont know after market is cheaper will take notice now. :]
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Old Jan 14, 2011, 06:53 AM   #24
solowmodel
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I am pondering the same decision. The rational/'I need' part of my mind tells me to go i3..the irrational/'I want' part tells me to go i5... ^_^
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Old Jan 14, 2011, 08:44 AM   #25
BrandinoMino
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I am pondering the same decision. The rational/'I need' part of my mind tells me to go i3..the irrational/'I want' part tells me to go i5... ^_^
I feel ya. Normally, I'd just go with the i3, but I dont know if in the future I will be able to upgrade to such a great machine. So im busting now :]

Plus, quad-core apps will probably get quite popular in the next year or so, so I would like my iMac to be able to jump on board with ease if I want to.
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