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Old Nov 14, 2012, 08:48 PM   #1
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Speed? iMac vs. My Old PC

I've got a HP computer that's about 3 years old, seen here.

I plan on buying a fully-loaded 21.5 iMac when the 2012 models are released. But I'm wondering how much of a performance jump I can expect. Any idea?

Obviously, I expect the Fusion Drive to be a huge upgrade.

But what about the processor? I realize it'd be a jump from the first generation to the third generation, but the GHz doesn't seem to be that much different (not sure how much that says about the performance?).

The RAM would be an upgrade from 9GB to 16GB, so I imagine that'd be a noticeable speed jump. But isn't each GB of RAM also faster now than it was 3 years ago?

With my current setup, I can't really say that there's anything that loads extremely slow. Photoshop takes a few seconds to load up, and it'd be awesome if that opened instantly. My browser will sometimes crash when I have like 50 tabs open at one time, but I guess that would have more to do with the browser (or maybe my internet speed?) rather than my computer specs (but I could definitely be wrong about that).

Other than that, having my computer start up near instant would be great too. I hear the Fusion Drive can make that happen.

So basically what I'm asking is... what should I expect with the 2012 iMac? Will I get noticeable improvements from my current PC?
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 08:53 PM   #2
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if you get an i7 iMac it'll be faster, not by a HUGE margin.

Gen 3 is a reasonable step up from Gen 1.. you won't notice any real difference with the RAM.. (anything over 6GB and I doubt you notice) and.. the fusion drive will help with startup.. probably not photoshop.

Expect better encoding times but truthfully theres not a huge reason to upgrade.. your current PC is plenty powerful.. the only justification IMO would be OSX if you want it.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 09:57 PM   #3
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My almost 4 year old home-brew PC has almost the same specs as yours. Same CPU and GPU with X58 chipset, but I only have 6GB of RAM. I don't know how locked down your HP BIOS is, but one BIOS setting change I made was to keep the i920 in 2.8GHz turboboost 100% of the time. It only increased the CPU temp by 2 deg C.

One change that would make a major difference to your machine would be to add an SSD. I picked up a leftover Intel 120GB X25-M at a low price to experiment with, and what a difference. The drive speed index went from 5.9 to 7.9. The only thing with an X58 chipset is that you're stuck with SATA 2, and USB 2, but that's not a big deal. A SATA 3 SSD will work just fine and will be a huge improvement from your HDD. If you plan to keep your HDD on board with an SSD, a 256GB should suffice, but if yoy're goung SSD only, then a 500GB would be in order. The new 500GB Samsung 840s are available at a fairly reasonable price. You won't get the full SATA 3 performance, but it will still leave your HDD in the dust. This will buy you time with your HP until the Haswell iMacs appear, which will be a worthwhile upgrade.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 10:03 PM   #4
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In addition to the points gdeputy made, you'll get a few more improvements:
-- Mac OS instead of Windows.
-- Memory clock increases from 1066 MHz to 1600 MHz.
-- USB 3.0 instead of USB 2.0.

But you lose the PCI-E expansion slots and the eSATA port.
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