27" iMac...i3/i5/i7

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ccf, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. ccf macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    #1
    I'm new to Macs & I'm wondering what each of these machines are capable of. What would I gain with the i5 & i7 over the i3 in practical terms (not necessarily the specs)?

    I know that's kind of a hard question to answer, but I'm just trying to get an idea. I do a little bit of everything with my computer, but nothing overly heavy-duty (although, I might someday).

    Actually, I'm not really asking what the best machine would be for me, but basically what each package will give me (if that makes sense). Also, which is the best buy, IYO? And is there something on the horizon better than the i7?

    I know I covered a lot, but any info I can get would be greatly appreciated from this Mac newbie.
     
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #2
    It really all depends on use. If you have relatively basic uses, they will all provide roughly the same performance. As you increase in power requirements, the increase in performance will be more noticeable. The most noticeable differences will come with rendering/transcoding video, and other tasks like very large calculations. The best buy really depends on the best machine for you.
     
  3. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #3

    Yeah I got official word that Intel is releasing the i9 processor with 12 cores and a quantum floating point of 1.0107 by summer. And by next year they're going to release the i11, i15, and i17 processor. They wanted to skip i13 because they think it's bad luck to have it around.
     
  4. skiltrip macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #4
    i3 = most folks.
    i5 = folks working on moderate to large audio and video projects, and other demanding things.
    i7 = folks working on moderate to large audio and video projects that want to future proof things for a little longer, and possibly get extremely heavy projects to work on from time to time and want as much horsepower as they can possibly get.

    That's they way I'd sum it up.

    You didn't get into much specifics about your usage, which tells me the i3 will be more than sufficient for your needs. If you needed an i5 or i7 quad you'd already know it.
     
  5. bo-waleed macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    #5

    what about gaming and video converting ? and pull the large audio and video projects.
     
  6. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Kilrath
    #6
    Get the best GPU you can for gaming.

    Cheers,
     
  7. ccf thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    #7
    It's true what you say about my needs now, but I may start doing a moderate amount of audio/video projects. I'm interested in knowing what kind of "lag" I'd experience using the i3 with moderate-to-heavy audio/video editing, etc.
     
  8. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #8
    I wouldn't expect lag per se, you would just have longer rendering times with the i3
     
  9. skiltrip macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #9
    Mostly keeping the buffer low. The lower the buffer, the less latency you get, but the harder it is on the CPU. When you first start a session, it's no biggie to keep the buffer really low. So when you're recording a part, be it guitar, your voice, a tambourbine, whatever, their is next to no audible delay in your headphones. This lets you play in time.

    The bigger your session gets, more plugins, more tracks, the less you're able to keep that buffer low without getting buffer errors. Or cracks/crackles/pops in your audio. To avoid this you have to raise your buffer setting. The problem is, then if you're tracking more audio, the delay in your headphones becomes problematic, because you're now hearing yourself back delayed. There are audio interfaces with direct monitoring, but you lose the ability to hear your in-DAW effects as you want them. You either hear a dry signal, which can be rather uninspiring, or use your audio interfaces digital effects just for a placeholder, but that to me becomes more trouble than it's worth.

    So to avoid all this, you'll have to freeze tracks or bounce them down, then remove some plugins. But the more of this you have to do, the more it impedes the creative flow, for me anyway.

    I like being able just to create, keep my buffer low and not worry about that stuff. It's a drag to realize you just hit your CPU tolerance wall and now you have to stop your flow and bounce down or freeze some tracks. Track management I like to call it. Sounds very business and boring right? It is.

    That's just my take. And the reason I am moving up to the Quad i7 iMac at the end of the week. I want to just work freely, and quads generally afford you that luxury. Don't get me wrong. Any CPU has a wall, but the quad's wall is much much higher (maybe I shoulda called it a ceiling? lol).

    All this is referring to audio by the way. I'm not a video guy, nor have I used Final Cut to any real extent. So I don't know too much about that end of it.
     
  10. ccf, Feb 9, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011

    ccf thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    #10
    thanx, guys...i appreciate all the replies :thumbsup:
     
  11. biggd macrumors 6502

    biggd

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Location:
    Calgary
    #11
    Get the best processor and if you can afford it, an SSD drive.
    Its the best investment for long term use
    Speed and performance will be higher, longer, for only a few extra $
     

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