27" iMac i5 + SSD or i7 + HDD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by joe8232, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. joe8232 macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2005
    Hi all,

    I know this has probably been asked a thousand a times but i'm looking into buying an iMac and can't decide between the 2.7ghz i5 with a 256gb ssd or the i7 3.4 and the stock hard drive as the cost is roughly the same. I do a lot of coding in programming languages like fortran and IDL which is mainly single thread computing so i'm wondering whether the i7 is worth it when the turbo boost on the 2.7 i5 could make up the speed, or have I miss-understood what turbo-boost does? Any help would greatly appreciated!
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    For software development having a faster CPU won't make that much difference unless your code is millions of lines long and you need to do a lot of re-compiling. If I were in your shoes I'd recommend the i5 however if you want state-of-the-art get the i7.
  3. joe8232 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2005
    Thanks for your advice, I really appreciate it. FWIW, my code takes about an hour to run on my 2009 2.53 c2d MacBook pro.

    Does anyone else have any opinions? I guess it comes down to the i5 turbo boosted vs i7?
  4. v7da1 macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2011
    hey dude
    This should hopefully help you make your decision
    with the 3.1ghz is you get the best gpu
    this gpu is awsome delivering high fps on games and 1gb of vram for video tasks
    whereas the ssd will speed up your system immensely

    If i were you i would get 3.1
    Not for the speed but for the gpu
    you can always upgrade ssd later

    however if you wanted 21.5" i would reccommend ssd

    but yer get the 3.1

    also can i just suggest the i7 upgrade
    cause the i7 has hyperthreading which always you to run to threads on each core
    this basically means that you can have 8 virtual cores
    this would speed up your hour long coding faster than a ssd
    hope this helps (i upgrade is what i also recommend to you)
  5. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    The main advantage of the i7 is with multi-threaded applications, since they see eight cores instead of four with the i5.

    It stands to reason that over time, applications will become multi-core and multi-thread aware since that is where CPU technology is progressing.

    So if you use multi-thread aware applications, they should see a performance boost with an i7.
  6. smartbot macrumors member


    Jun 15, 2009
    Well, memory is usually the slowest part of almost any system. Even if your CPU can execute millions of instructions per second, it can still be bottlenecked if you don't have fast enough memory access... So to make a long story short, I would go for the SSD over the i7.
  7. Commonmind macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2009
    While I'm not writing software on a daily basis, I'm a full-time web developer and designer, spending most of my day staring at Textmate and Terminal (I work with Drupal quite a bit and spend much of my time working with Drush). I know I don't really need to say this, but I'm going to anyway; if you are a serious coder, you know better than I that you can write code efficiently on a machine that was built a decade ago.

    If syntax is the name of your game, whether or not you're going with an i5 or i7 isn't going to matter one bit.

    That being said, I'm also a designer -- I jump back and forth from writing PHP, Javascript and working in CSS and HTML documents, to building complicated vector illustrations, building motion graphics, working in 300 DPI print-ready Photoshop documents with hundreds of layers -- so I appreciate the extra performance I get out of my i7 MacBook Pro and i7 iMac. If your workflow extends beyond simply writing code, I'd say give the i7 some thought as it might help shred precious minutes from your development time.

    However, if you're not like me -- working with everything from 3D applications, to audio and video editing software, to working with massive image files -- the perceived performance increase you will feel moving to an SSD is worthy of consideration (and even in the aforementioned case it is worthy of consideration).

Share This Page