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Old Jan 7, 2013, 04:34 PM   #1
sstathius
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i5 or i7

With the low end 21" model now able to add the Fusion drive, is it worth the extra $400 to upgrade to the i7?
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 04:55 PM   #2
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Depends on your needs, if you are doing video and image editing it might be worth it! My "work field" is watching movies, playing some games, doing a litte image and video editing, and the usual word processing stuff... so it's absolutly not worth it. Just google i5 vs i7 or search in this forum, there are some good threads which might help you!
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 04:56 PM   #3
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^^ Exactly. What tasks will you be using the system for?
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 04:57 PM   #4
T'hain Esh Kelch
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A big yes. The speed increase is significant for so many things.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 04:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T'hain Esh Kelch View Post
A big yes. The speed increase is significant for so many things.
Please expound upon this as the major difference between the i5 and i7 is hyper-threading and most apps and people's usage habit are such that they never really tap the full power of the i7.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 02:57 AM   #6
T'hain Esh Kelch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maflynn View Post
Please expound upon this as the major difference between the i5 and i7 is hyper-threading and most apps and people's usage habit are such that they never really tap the full power of the i7.
The i5 also has hyperthreading.

A Fusion drive will increase the speed of opening/closing applications, opening/saving files, booting, copying files, everything that requires reading or writing to the disc, which is quite a bit more than people realize.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 06:36 AM   #7
HurryKayne
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Really?
In my late 27-2012 i've ordered an i5 ,will i be able to swap it in the future with an i7?
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 06:58 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by HurryKayne View Post
Really?
In my late 27-2012 i've ordered an i5 ,will i be able to swap it in the future with an i7?
Not easily, it's not a user serviceable part. I double the cost would be worth the bother anyway
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 07:01 AM   #9
Tanax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T'hain Esh Kelch View Post
A Fusion drive will increase the speed of opening/closing applications, opening/saving files, booting, copying files, everything that requires reading or writing to the disc, which is quite a bit more than people realize.
Why are you talking the Fusion Drive when OP was wondering if he should get the i5 or the i7 -processor?? This thread wasn't about Fusion Drive.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 07:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tanax View Post
Why are you talking the Fusion Drive when OP was wondering if he should get the i5 or the i7 -processor?? This thread wasn't about Fusion Drive.
The OP's question is:
Quote:
Originally Posted by sstathius View Post
With the low end 21" model now able to add the Fusion drive, is it worth the extra $400 to upgrade to the i7?
It's a legitimate point that the Fusion drive will make a more noticeable contribution to speed than the i7.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 07:30 AM   #11
nosnhojm
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Originally Posted by T'hain Esh Kelch View Post
The i5 also has hyperthreading.
Not necessarially. The mobile i5 chips do have hyperthreading, but the desktop i5 chips do not. The i5 in the iMac is a desktop chip, and does not have hyperthreading.

From store.apple.com:

Quote:
Hyper-Threading (Intel Core i7 only) a technology that allows two threads to run simultaneously on each core. So a quad-core iMac has eight virtual cores, all of which are recognized by OS X. This enables the processor to deliver faster performance by spreading tasks more evenly across a greater number of cores.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 07:38 AM   #12
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i7 would be nice, but Fusion Drive would be my first required upgrade.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 07:49 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by benwiggy View Post
It's a legitimate point that the Fusion drive will make a more noticeable contribution to speed than the i7.
That was just a point he was making, it had nothing to do with his question directly. E.g. now that base 21.5" can be customized with Fusion Drive, he wants to get the base 21.5". If he gets the Fusion Drive or not is not relevant. He just wants to know if the i7 is a good choice or if he should stick with the i5 - regardless if he gets the Fusion Drive or not.

So no, sorry, it's not a legitimate point since it's completely irrelevant.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 08:02 AM   #14
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So no, sorry, it's not a legitimate point since it's completely irrelevant.
Not even of passing interest?

Well, I read his question as "Now that I can get the base model with a Fusion drive, do I need the extra power of an i7." To me, that suggests that the Fusion drive is a major consideration in his purchase -- indeed more so than an i7.

I still think it's a valid point to make, and providing the OP with as much useful information for his decision is why we're all trying to be helpful to him.

Best wishes
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 09:59 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by benwiggy View Post
Not even of passing interest?

Well, I read his question as "Now that I can get the base model with a Fusion drive, do I need the extra power of an i7." To me, that suggests that the Fusion drive is a major consideration in his purchase -- indeed more so than an i7.

I still think it's a valid point to make, and providing the OP with as much useful information for his decision is why we're all trying to be helpful to him.

Best wishes
To me, it sounded like he was going to get the high-end 21.5" since that was the only one that had Fusion Drive as an option. Now that the 21.5" has Fusion Drive option, he will opt for that one instead but is still unsure whether or not to get the i5 or i7.

E.g. "Now that I can get the base model with a Fusion drive, I will get that, should I also add an i7 or is the base model CPU good enough?"

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Old Jan 8, 2013, 10:29 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by T'hain Esh Kelch View Post
The i5 also has hyperthreading.
If u look on the apple website they clearly state that only the i7 has hyper threading for the new iMacs
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:12 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by maflynn View Post
Please expound upon this as the major difference between the i5 and i7 is hyper-threading and most apps and people's usage habit are such that they never really tap the full power of the i7.
There are 3 differences and depending on what the system is used for, the other differences may be noticeable.
  • Hyperthreading
  • GHz (which for the same generation of chips is good for relative performance)
  • Processore Cache size. Currently most desktop i5s have 6MBs of cache and i7s tend to have 8 MBs of cache. For some applications this would be very noticeable.

It all boils down to what is the person going to be using the iMac for. Also, the 2 iMac 21.5" models have different graphics processor, so the could be another thing that might help performance - again depending on what the system is being used for.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 03:22 PM   #18
sstathius
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Originally Posted by Tanax View Post
To me, it sounded like he was going to get the high-end 21.5" since that was the only one that had Fusion Drive as an option. Now that the 21.5" has Fusion Drive option, he will opt for that one instead but is still unsure whether or not to get the i5 or i7.

E.g. "Now that I can get the base model with a Fusion drive, I will get that, should I also add an i7 or is the base model CPU good enough?"

First, thanks everyone for the responses.

Second, I suppose I should have given more info as opposed to having people guess based on my grammar and sentence structure haha. Tanax got it most right. I was already sold on the Fusion Drive from other threads and intend on getting it, and since it was only available on high end 21.5", that was my choice. And I was going to add the i7 because it was only an extra $200. Now that Fusion is available on low end, i7 becomes an extra $400.

As far as usage goes, I do some gaming and I've recently gotten more into photo and video editing. My main concern in lifespan. I know that that i5 is great for running Photoshop, Word, Diablo, etc now. But in 3 years with updated versions/games, I don't want to look back and kick myself for not spending the extra $400.

Thanks again everyone!
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 02:15 AM   #19
HurryKayne
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Not easily, it's not a user serviceable part. I double the cost would be worth the bother anyway
Yes,i knew this,but its good to know that i could request eventually,by the way this year i'll take almost for sure a mac mini i7.Haswell 4600 and a notebook ( i hope to see a Quad core Air,i see it very well with a 4600..but i don't think Air will go to quad this year)..so Imac-i5 will be great for me,not to mention the new mac pro...so^^
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 08:42 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by sstathius View Post
...
As far as usage goes, I do some gaming and I've recently gotten more into photo and video editing. My main concern in lifespan. I know that that i5 is great for running Photoshop, Word, Diablo, etc now. But in 3 years with updated versions/games, I don't want to look back and kick myself for not spending the extra $400.

Thanks again everyone!
A lot of the video editing apps will make use of the hyperthreading. Also you would be going from a 2.7 GHz i5 to a 3.1GHz i7. And finally there is a difference between the graphics on the 2 models. The extra model for the higher end base model with or without the i7 seems like it could well be worth it for you. And with the video editing, the i7 probably makes sense as well.

Don't forget that the memory in that unit is not designed to be user upgradeable, so you may need to consider the 16GB option as well.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 09:17 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by sstathius View Post
First, thanks everyone for the responses.

Second, I suppose I should have given more info as opposed to having people guess based on my grammar and sentence structure haha. Tanax got it most right. I was already sold on the Fusion Drive from other threads and intend on getting it, and since it was only available on high end 21.5", that was my choice. And I was going to add the i7 because it was only an extra $200. Now that Fusion is available on low end, i7 becomes an extra $400.

As far as usage goes, I do some gaming and I've recently gotten more into photo and video editing. My main concern in lifespan. I know that that i5 is great for running Photoshop, Word, Diablo, etc now. But in 3 years with updated versions/games, I don't want to look back and kick myself for not spending the extra $400.

Thanks again everyone!
Well, if you have the $400 then spend it. Deep down the i7 is what you really want so why not go for it? I have the i7 in my 21.5" iMac and it runs great. Might futureproof your purchase as well so you can keep the iMac longer.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 09:27 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Bear View Post
Don't forget that the memory in that unit is not designed to be user upgradeable, so you may need to consider the 16GB option as well.
^^^


This is the most pertinent advice if future-proofing is the variable on a limited budget. I wouldn't want to buy a 21" machine without the full amount of RAM I can get hold of right now. So instead of the i7, go for i5 and spend your extra cash on the memory. On top of the fusion drive of course, which OP stated is a given
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:02 AM   #23
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If you plan to do high end work and games, and still have the machine doing it in 3 years, you'll want the best machine you can get.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:10 AM   #24
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If you plan to do high end work and games, and still have the machine doing it in 3 years, you'll want the best machine you can get.
Of course the best BTO model will perform better than a lesser model. What really matters is:
  1. how much you can/want to spend
  2. what is the best value (performance/cost) within that price range
  3. what is your intended use (basic surfing, photography, video, audio, gaming)

Everyone has different expectations for the above, so there is no right answer.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:17 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by T'hain Esh Kelch View Post
If you plan to do high end work and games, and still have the machine doing it in 3 years, you'll want the best machine you can get.
This is a common misconception. With the i7, you are looking at no difference in everyday tasks, only marginal improvements in intensive tasks (gaming included) and small improvements in highly parallel intensive tasks (such as video encoding). The actual performance of the CPUs is very close. If some future software is too heavy for the i5, it will be certainly too heavy for the i7 as well.
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