2010 27'' 2.93ghz i7 vs 2011 27'' 2.7ghz i5

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by SpikeDurden, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. SpikeDurden macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2011
    I'm going to buy an iMac in the next 24 hours. I'm a film student studying digital cinema production and I will be using the computer for video editing with FCP and Premiere, after effects etc... I have a Macbook Pro already with which I'm typing but it's a 2009 and not sufficient for what I need.

    I need the computer in by a week from now because I will begin editing a short film shot with the Red One camera. Only problem is my max budget right now is about $1800 and I want the best computer possible. The total for the brand new 2011 iMac 27'' with 2.7GHz quad core i5 is about $1700 with tax. I'd have a student discount. It's the third one:


    The total for the 27'' 2.93GHz quad core i7 is $1593 with tax.

    My last option would be a refurbished 2011 3.1GHz i5 iMac which would total $1805 with tax, but they don't currently have them available and it wouldn't ship for 30 days according to the site and Apple reps. I can't wait that long.

    Regardless of which iMac I purchase, I will be upgrading the RAM to 16gb. I already have all four 4GB RAM chips that I purchased separately for $80 that are with me waiting to upgrade my new iMac.

    So which computer will be better for me? The 2010 has a better graphics card, better processor, same size display, same resolution, same hard drive space, etc... So is the only thing I'll be missing out on the Thunderbolt port? Is that really worth it? There's almost zero support for thunderbolt yet and I have several firewire 800 hard drives full of my projects that I use.

    So basically I want to know whether or not I should buy the new 2011 and why?

    Last question: is macmall a good site to purchase from? I have no experience with them. The 2010 iMac i'd be buying would be brand new right? Or is it refurbished? Thanks for your help everyone. I'm new to the forums.
  2. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    You didn't mention if you wanted to work with original red files or transcoded ones. (can really dig into colors and stuff when editing those natively. adjusting sometimes comes handy)

    Avid handles originals perfectly but you do need a FAST rig for that.

    Thunderbolt is a good option if you have the funds to buy the currently available Pegasus. Tbh I would get an 08-09 Mac Pro with eSata card and go from there.

    Don't forget if you're doing heavy editing you WILL need seperate drive for audio and video.

    If the only option is to choose from those iMacs, then get the TB version and get TB stuff down the road..
  3. SpikeDurden thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2011
    I'm using FCP 7 so I am editing red footage with 1080p proxies. I use Premiere sometimes too. I have no experience with avid, my school doesn't use avid and I have no plans on using it in the near future.

    I can't justify getting a worse computer for the money just for thunderbolt. Like I said, I already have many firewire 800 drives full of video and audio files. I'm not sure why everyone is going wild over thunderbolt right now when there is little to no support for it.

    I also don't want a mac pro at this time because I want the beautiful 27'' display that will be much needed for video editing.

    The red one footage for the film I'm editing on is backed up on four different firewire 800 drives including the drive I'll be working on and we don't have the budget nor any logical reason to switch to thunderbolt right now.

    Can anybody describe to me graphics card comparisons between ATI Radeon HD 5750 and AMD Radeon HD 6970m?

    And which would be better, the 3.1GHz i5, or the 2.93GHz i7? Not that the i5 is an option because like I said, it would ship in 30 days....
  4. speacock macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2011
    People are getting excited about TB because it opens up the possibility of high-speed external storage. I'd have thought FW800 was too slow for your needs, or at least would slow down the very fast processor you're thinking about getting. It's a real shame Apple don't put an eSATA port on the iMac, but then if they did, who would buy their overpriced SSDs?

    I can't comment on the 6970 vs 5750 but AMD's website has detailed specs and a comparison system. What I can say is that here in the UK a 6970 based aftermarket card retails for £300 whereas a 5770 based card retails at £100. I know the 6970m isn't the same thing as the 6970, it's a lower end chip targetted at the laptop market, but it should be better than the 5750 by quite a way.

    The i5 has a slightly smaller cache and no hyperthreading compared to the i7. Most of the time you'd see little difference, but when it came to rendering and encoding the i7's cache may make it slightly faster, and if you're using it for other tasks while encoding or rendering then the hyperthreading may make it more responsive. Simply having hyperthreading won't speed up things if you can dedicate the machine to it's task (spreading the load over more threads running on the same core slows things down rather than speeds them up).

    The other thing that strikes me; is 16GB RAM not too little for the kind of video editing you're doing?

    Like the other person said, I'd be inclined to go for a second-hand Mac Pro, you could pick up a 2009 one (you could buy the 2008 model but DDR2 RAM is so much more expensive that if you want 32GB of the stuff it won't work out any cheaper than the 2009 model) with 2 x quad core 2.66 or 2.8 GHz Xeons, stuff 32GB RAM in it and buy a 3rd party 27" monitor, for a similar amount of money to the iMac (OK, maybe a bit more), then you can bung cheap 3rd party SATA disks inside it for reasonable storage performance too.

    Of course, if you really want the most bang for your buck, you could go down the Windows PC route but that would restrict you to Premiere Pro - no FCP on Windows, so that's probably a non-starter.
  5. SpikeDurden thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2011
    Thanks for the info. I'm definitely not going the PC route because my entire school, DePaul University, and their Digital Cinema Production program centers around Macs. All their labs are fully updated Macs with Final Cut Studio and the editing classes revolve around Macs. I do have access to a Mac Pro in the HD Editing Suite when I need it in the school's facilities in downtown Chicago, but I live a couple miles away and would like to do most of my editing at home.

    I understand that the concept of Thunderbolt is awesome, but the drives are so unreasonably expensive for most people right now that the speed gained does not merit the cost, particularly for me. I know I should be looking to the future, but right now this computer will be paramount to my work and projects throughout grad school here and now.

    Lastly, 16GB RAM is more than sufficient for the kind of video editing I'm doing. I edit on FCP with Red One proxies, not the actual 4K files. Once the editing is finished, the files are reconnected to those of the 4k files so I'm never actually working with the 4k files. The colorist and the digital compositor will need the 4k files, not me. Besides, majority of my projects are with normal 1080p files from cameras like the JVC 700 and Canon 7D DSLRs. My friend is editing a Red One short film with an iMac that has 8gb of RAM and he's doing just fine with it.
  6. namethisfile macrumors 65816


    Jan 17, 2008
    i just looked at the apple refurb store and found a 2011 27" iMac w/ the i7-2600 3.4ghz cpu and 6970m card for $1869. it is almost 2 grand though with tax. oh, well. and it's refurb...

    another option is the BTO 21.5" iMac with i7-2600s @ 2.8 ghz BTO upgrade which is $1699 w/o tax and $1817.93 w/ tax. that's only $17.93 over budget?

    it's a possibility.

    i guess a 2010 27" 2.93 ghz iMac will also work but the 2011 21.5" BTO i7 mentioned above apparently beats the 2010 model in geekbench. although, they'd prob be close in real world performance. not sure. but, def an i7 for 1080p video editing.


    my guess was the 2.93 i7 and i was right after quickly looking up the geek bench score.

    iMac (27-inch Mid 2010)
    Intel Core i7 870 2.93 GHz (4 cores) 9125

    iMac (27-inch Mid 2011)
    Intel Core i5-2400 3.1 GHz (4 cores) 8379
  7. speacock macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2011
    I thought that would be the case, but I thought I'd throw a wild-card in, you never know.

    You're absolutely right about the TB storage, that's why it's so annoying that they didn't put eSATA on those things.

    I think I'd still go down the Macpro route, but I understand why the iMac appeals. Either of the iMacs you've mentioned should be fine and I think you'd see little difference in the processor performance. The graphics card might make some difference but probably not enough to make it a major consideration, so if the i7 is cheaper and you can get it now rather than wait, then that's probably your best bet.
  8. SpikeDurden, Sep 8, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011

    SpikeDurden thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2011
    Thanks a lot for the input guys.

    Just to be clear, and I know this is a dumb question, but the macs on macmall, meaning the 2010 I'm interested in, are NEW computers right? Not refurbished?


    Uh oh... more decisions to make! But this is good news. So now the refurbished 2011 3.1GHz i5 is no longer on a 30 day shipping wait and will ship in 24 hours!! So now it's between:




    What do you think?? Keeping in mind the former will be about $200 more than the latter, at the top of my budget my doable.

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