A tired question I'm sure...but is the i7 really worth it?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jaminthejar, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. jaminthejar macrumors member

    Jan 1, 2008
    I'm debating whether or not I want to go with a Core i5 with the 1ghz graphics card, or if I want to bump it up to an i7. Will hyperthreading really be that noticeable when working in Photoshop or Illustrator? How will it affect performance? Would I even be able to notice that much, coming from a CoreDuo Macbook Pro? It's kind of hard for me to justify an extra $200 (for an upgrade that in other computing realms, is what, $80?). Photoshop and Illustrator are the only really intense things I do on the computer, aside from gaming, which obviously, won't really benefit from the i7 (as far as I'm aware).

    What do you think? I should add, that there's a possibility that I'll be financing this iMac, so the difference would probably be an extra $20 a month (but still $200 in the long run).

    In 4 or 5 years, when I'm looking at new iMacs, would I be kicking myself for not going i7, or is it really just splitting hairs at that point?
  2. nobias macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2010
  3. movieman52 macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2010
    I agree. The i7 is an amazing machine that I am still blown away by every time I turn it on. Going i7 will help you future proof your mac.
  4. Snicker macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2010
    i had the same internal struggle as you as i internally debated over i7 or i5 processor. So i went to the Apple Store near me and as i spoke the the sales guys he mentioned that they had i7's in stock. i bought it on the spot with a track pad and i have not regretted the added cost as you mentioned. Get it, enjoy it. I sure as hell do enjoy the multitasking capability without any hitches as i play itunes, while working with Aperture and have my FB page open.. next purchase will be the TV tuner. The i7 iMac just performs and the display is beautiful !!!
  5. vixducis macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2010
    Wow... iTunes, Aperture and Facebook. At the same time? That's some crazy s**t you have there.
  6. byron_hinson macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2003
    Certainly worth it, I had an i5 at first and even though it had the hard drive issue, I went with an i7 later on and its much much smoother and faster to use in nearly everything. iPhoto not so much as that seems slow these days no matter what machine you have!
  7. RichardI macrumors 6502a


    Feb 21, 2007
    Southern Ontario, Canada
    Ditto :D

    Rich :cool:
  8. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    As of now, hyperthreading only provides a big impact on video encoding/3d rendering, and not much else. 2-3 years down the line, I'm sure you'll see more native support for 8threaded applications that will fully utilize the hyperthreading.
  9. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    I'm pretty sure a G4 could do the same :D
  10. Thermonuclear macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    My take is that Intel's hyperthreading and turbo burst features are mostly marketing hype. However, having four physical cores and a large cache are a real benefit when running multithreaded applications.

    Is the 2.93 GHz i7 a better deal than the 2.80 GHz i5? Yes, the four percent delta in clock speed is a plus. And that will make a difference over time. However, if much of what is done is done with applications that have at most two highly active threads (like browsing and music related tasks), then a faster but cheaper i3 CPU will outperform a slower quad core. Therefore, for many users the 3.6 GHz i3 dual core CPU option is the best deal, and the money saved can go towards more RAM.

    The real bottleneck with modern CPU throughput is with non cached memory access. A memory read operation from L1 cache takes two or three clock cycles while a read from non cached main RAM will take FIFTY or more clocks. So in some cases, that expensive highly clocked CPU is twiddling its thumbs waiting for the cheap RAM to do its thing.
  11. aliensporebomb macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth

    I believe it is worth it, at least for me who is doing intense work with music recording and high-intensity number crunching for other purposes.
  12. englishman macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    The i7 2.93 with the better graphics is a better deal especially if you upgrade the graphics on the cheaper models.
  13. Northgrove macrumors 65816

    Aug 3, 2010
    The i7 is worth it if you know that you're doing CPU intensive work on it. :)

    If you aren't sure what could be called that, you aren't doing it and will most likely be happy with an i5. :p

    Don't stare yourself blind at Geekbench either -- it's not representative for real-world usage in most cases, unless your work days consist of 3D rendering.
  14. englishman macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    Even for single threaded tasks are better. Bang for buck i7. Limited funds then i5 will be good enough.

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