27" Duo vs Quad

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Verona1108, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. Verona1108 macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2007
    Okay....I may get torn apart for even asking, but what is the benefit of the Quad (2.66GHz) over the Duo (3.06GHz) since it has a slower processor speed?

    Just trying to decide on which computer to buy. Thanks!
  2. JCP21 macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2009
    Quad core is basically better at running more programs at once because it has 4 cores, Dual core is normally used on gaming pc. Whatever you buy im jealouse [​IMG]
  3. opera57 macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    The quad core will probably be faster as well for most applications, as it is an i5 chip which I am led to believe has an updated architecture with an inbuilt memory controller. Also much more future proof! Although saying that the 3.06ghz dual core is not slow at all, I have one in a 24" iMac and nothing really struggles at all. [​IMG]
  4. Spinnetti macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2005
    I have Exactly the same question, and its not a dumb one. Efficient utilization of multi-core has long been more of a promise than a reality, and there is significant overhead threading cores. I've been looking ever since the release today, and I don't see clear info, just lots of complicating fatctors. On the Mac side, I'm sure it will be fine, and still be years before programs get the most out of multi-core, so I'm tempted by the higher clock. Bigger question for me is how it will work for games under bootcamp? More power the better, but not clear if "more" in this case is actually any better. Evidence seems to indicate that unless written for multi-core, most games will run faster with the higher clocked chip. Wait for some real (not synthetic) benchmarks I guess?
  5. Verona1108 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2007
    I appreciate the responses. Currently I have a MacBook Pro with 2.4GHz and am looking to upgrade and have something more stationary. And if it is faster all the better. I use my computer for graphic design and constantly have the entire Creative Suites running.

    So would the Quad be the better choice then for running the multiple applications? I just struggle mentally with the slower processor speed since it is not a big jump from what I have now.

    Thanks for all the help!
  6. modular macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2009

    I'm no expert, but i think running multiple applications would be like having final cut pro rendering in the background while your animating in after effects. having photoshop open at the same time as illustrator really doesn't make a difference - you have them both open at the same time but you can't use both at the same time.

    Either way, if you have the money, i'd say go for the quad core since it is the newer technology. The core 2 duos are like 3 years old now.
  7. bajee macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2009
    with Grand Central Dispatch built in to the core of Snow Leo

    Quoting from that page
    "Grand Central Dispatch takes full advantage by making all of Mac OS X multicore aware and optimizing it for allocating tasks across multiple cores and processors. Grand Central Dispatch also makes it much easier for developers to create programs that squeeze every last drop of power from multicore systems."

    This means that just having Snow Leo, Quads will give you performance boost over dual cores. So I strongly suggest to get the Quad if you have the extra $$$
  8. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    Its a fair question. At one level its very simple (and hey if people don't know, they don't know!) but when you start to think of how things will take advantage of multiple cores it gets a little more interesting. I think modern software (including games) will take advantage of multicore processors better now than they did before, and in any case you might find intel's turbo boost feature in the i5 and i7 interesting, it seems to address the precise issue you're looking at.
  9. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    If its any help with the multiple core thing, think of each core on a processor as being like a queue at teh supermarket tills.

    You can make the supermarket checkout staff work a little faster, optimise their equipment and routine, add someone else to the till to help with bagging groceries, to improve their throughput (aka clock speed). This is great for customers going through those tills but if the place is very busy then a queue will still build up behind them.

    At some point you can't do much to help this queue by making the person on the till go faster (no matter how good they are they can only do so much at once, right?) and the correct thing to do is open another till (add another processor core). This is the supermarket staff working "smarter" rather than simply harder.

    If you're using creative suite hard then I'd suggest that quad core might work for you.
  10. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    from apple's imac page:

    "2.66GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with 8MB shared L3 cache; Turbo Boost dynamic performance up to 3.2GHz"

    In short, when it's using fewer than 4 cores, it will increase the speed of the cores it is using, so in pretty much no instance should the core 2 duo be faster than the quad.

    See here:
  11. Hing macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2008
    y cant all imac have quadcore, then i wouldnt need to make a decsion. maybe next update imac will all have quadcore
  12. MacKiddyWiddy macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2009
    the duo will say, convert a video in 2minutes, the quad will in 3 minutes.... but the duo will convert 5films in say 20minutes whereas the quad will in 15... the quad basically will do more but at slower speeds... but the architecture in the duo i5 chip is pretty amazing so the differences wouldnt be noticed to the average imac'er [​IMG]
  13. sfmountainbiker macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2009
    This is exactly what I am trying to figure out. What about the custom configurations available online? I've been waiting to purchase an iMac, and frankly I don't know if I can wait until the end of November for the new quad-core (I don't really know when in Nov. they are supposed to ship).

    The Duel-Core is available at 3.33GHz on the 27in iMac. How will this compare to the Quad-Core i5, which is supposed to only go up to 3.2GHz with the Turbo Boost feature? The two are nearly the same price, but of course the Duel-Core is available today and it's a little cheaper. Also, I don't want to have to buy a new computer in the next few years so I'd like something that won't become obsolete. Could this happen with a Duel-Core? Also, what about the cache? Does it make any difference that the Duel-Core is 6MB L2 cache while the Quad is an 8MB L3 cache?

    Really, I don't tend to run many programs at the same time, and my primary functions for the new computer will be hard-core gaming and amateur photography.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
  14. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

    Dec 10, 2004
    Dude, you are completely wrong. The quad will be faster than the Duo in every instance.
  15. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    You have proof of this claim, as its very specific and contradicts every benchmark I've seen.?
  16. norsemen macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2007
  17. alywa macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2004
    Adding my question to the mix

    I'm in the same dilemma as OP...

    I currently have an iMac G5, RevB which has served me well for 4.5 years... still going strong, but starting to choke up on a large iTunes library, large iPhoto collection, etc...

    I'm definately getting a 27" iMac... question is whether to get the C2D or the Ci5.

    I look at it like this... $300 for a better (more future resistant) processor, better graphics card, and bragging rights (kidding!).

    I use the computer for iTunes hosting / streaming, amateur photography (DSLR, high res jpeg, haven't fooled around with RAW yet), very occasional DVD editing, DVD ripping / transcoding for iPhone / iPods, plus the usual word processing / web surfing / etc that we all do.

    I know for now the C2D would be fine for my needs (beyond fine for my needs, really), but all technology eventually becomes old... is the extra $300 worth it for the likely longer service the Ci5 would provide? In either case I plan to get 4 additional gigs of ram from crucial or newegg at a later date.

    And since someone will probably ask... no the money isn't a big issue... it's more the principle of the thing. From a value standpoint, is the Ci5 worth it?
  18. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    Moving from a G5, I think either would feel fantastic for you. Whether I'm buying a Mac or a Windows computer I always try to get the best machine (which can mean the best balance of parts rather than the fastest processor or whatever) that I can afford. So if the money isn't a big issue and isn't going to force you to compromise on something else you really need in this computer (more disk, ram at the start for example) I'd always go for the i5.
  19. drewyboy macrumors 65816

    Jan 27, 2005
    i7 if possible

    If you can, I'd personally go i7. Like I said, if you can. The i7 has the 4 virtual cores, which isn't as bad as they sound. I use an i7 at work and when rendering an a video in Premiere and using some after effects, it almost maxes out all 8 "cores" with about 65% of ram (12Gb). I tried persuading my bosses to get mac pro, but I ended up with a Main Gear video editing rig. Not bad, but not great :rolleyes:
  20. cawesjmu macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2004
    Richmond, VA
    Check this page. Macworld

    The third graph shows the 3.06 iMac being faster in a few tasks than the 2.66, and 2.26 macpro with 4 and 8 cores respectively. Raw speed will win in a non-multithreaded application. If you have a multi-processor aware application, the more cores, the better. So the quad will not win in every instance. Turbo boost helps for sure, and if possible it'd be good to wait for some benchmarks that apply to these machines, but I was just pointing out some benchmarks that contradict the ones you may have seen. If it were me, I'd get the quad just because we'll see more and more multi-threaded apps in the future.
  21. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    You do realise that the processors you're talking about as being slower aren't the ones we're discussing here right?
  22. cawesjmu macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2004
    Richmond, VA
    No they're not. Also, I did say it'd be best to wait until benchmarks for these computers come out. But the link was meant to disprove the idea that a quad will "always" beat a duo, regardless of speed, and emphasize the importance of what applications will be used. The 3.06 duo and 2.66 quad speeds are exactly the same (even if the 2.66 is technically a different processor (still Nahelem based though)). So in conclusion the 3.06 beat the 2.66 in games. Take it however you want.

    Like others said, it's better with multiple apps, or apps that can utilize the extra cores.
  23. smuffy macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2008
    But that was a comparison against a quad core architecture that doesn't have turbo boost, no? The 5 and 7 processors have turbo boost which should speed them up above 3.06 when not using all 4 cores...which means they "should" be faster. Very interested in the bench marks when they come out to see if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and actually is a duck! (in a good way)
  24. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    It's more than just the two extra cores; the i series chips do hyperthreading but the Core 2 chips do not. That means 8 threads instead of 2.
  25. bajee macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2009
    Generally quads are better than duo, and having turbo boost is a real plus for gaming.

    Anyway, the thing I was wondering is that, HT, is actually having a virtual core, but what if you're in Snow Leopard, where you have grand central dispatch which actually creates and manages multi threads for your apps.

    Wouldn't be an i5 be essentially the same as i7, if that were the case, since the only advantage of i7 is Hyper Threading. And now that Snow Leopard has Grand Central dispatch, the OS itself will handle multiple threads for multiple applications, hope I make sense. ..

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