3.06 gHz iMac w/8 GB RAM vs i5 iMac w/4 GB RAM

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by JSouper, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. JSouper macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2010
    How much would adding 4 GB of RAM to a 3.06 gHz dual-core iMac, bringing its total RAM to 8 GB, move its overall performance towards that of the 2.66 gHz quad-core i5 iMac with its standard 4 GB of RAM? I ask because doubling the RAM of the 3.06 gHz iMac with an after-market RAM chip, such as from Crucial, would raise its total cost to no more than that of the 2.66 gHz quad core. For example, Crucial sells a 4 GB chip for $250, and a pack of two 2-GB chips for $120; the 3.06 gHz costs about $250 less than the 2.66 gHz quad-core. How would that affect the relative performance of the two machines?

    Note: I'm buying on Amazon.com because I have quite of bit of Amazon.com gift certificates I wish to use. Also, I intend to keep my new iMac for a very long time. My old 667 mHz TiBook lasted 8 years. I don't wish to find myself locked out of future advances the way I was when I found that I could not use OS 10.5 on my TiBook because its chip was too slow.
  2. wheezy macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Alpine, UT
    If you would like to keep it for a very long time, then get the Quad core. Yes, it's a slower clock speed but once apps are finally optimized for more than 2 cores, have 4 running at 2.66 is better than 2 running at 3.06. As it stands not a lot of apps are optimized for more than 2 cores, at least that's what I notice on my 8 core MacPro; Handbrake and QT X are terrific at utilizing everything, but just about everything else I use that's processor intensive barely gets my CPU's going. SO, for the right now, the dual core will match the quad in everyday tasks, but once things are better optimized with Grand Central Dispatch, etc, you'll really see the quad core jump ahead.

    My guess is that in consumer land, dual cores are on the last half or quarter of their life whereas 4 cores are finally becoming mainstream.

    Also, 4GB is plenty of RAM for everyday computing, and if you need more, then save up and push it up to 8GB as soon as you can.
  3. freiheit macrumors 6502a

    Jul 20, 2004
    More cores

    More cores are a wise investment for the future. More RAM is also good, but buy the cores now and add the RAM later when it's less expensive. It's much harder to add cores than it is to add RAM.

    My 2.66GHz 2006 Mac Pro is chugging along just fine, even for the occasional video edit/conversion, and I attribute that mostly to the 4 processor cores. A dual core iMac would have been good for me, but I'd be running into ceiling every now and then. Some of the better video and audio apps make use of 2+ cores worth of my system. I'm glad I have the extra cores to spare.
  4. JSouper thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2010

    I was going to order the i5 and guess what: Amazon's shipping time suddenly lengthened from immediate as of this morning to 2 to 4 weeks as of now.

    Thanks, y'all, for the advice, but it looks like I won't get my greedy little hands on a new i5 for quite a while. Bummer.:(

    But maybe this means I won't have to worry about any screen defects.:rolleyes:
  5. velocityg4 macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    There are other sites that sell these. If you are looking for tax free try Mac Connection or Mac Mall. Though it depends on where you live if they are tax free or not.

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