Another i5 v i7

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PVisitors, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. PVisitors, Aug 12, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011

    PVisitors macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011

    Currently looking at the iMac instead of a MBP as I don't start university next year, and I'd much prefer a more powerful system to be in my room in the halls and then the low end MBAs for note taking in lectures/general portability.

    However, given that the iMac I will be buying will be lasting the 3 years (maybe 4), is it worth paying £170 upgrade the 3.1ghz i5 to a 3.4ghz i7? How much more "futureproof" will this make the iMac?

    I will be using the iMac for mostly generic tasks like browsing Safari, IM and college work, I'm also thinking about messing about with Photoshop etc as a 'hobbie' I guess. However, I do want the option to casual game so I will be running games such as Civilisation V, WoW, SC2 and the upcoming Guildwars 2 and SW:TOR. Do you think the i5 will still be able to keep up with the MMO expansion upgrades in the future?

    When I do get to Uni, I'll (hopefully) be a Law student so I doubt the software used is going to be particularly taxing compared to perhaps a Software Engineering student

    How noticeable would an i7 upgrade over the i5 be during everyday tasks? Is the i7 2.2ghz MBP chip faster/better than the i5 high end 27inch iMac?

    Price isn't much of an issue, however getting the upgrade would probably mean me borrowing money off mother dearest, so is the upgrade worth asking her? :D


    Edit: Of course I will be adding an SSD/the maximum RAM at a later date, will this counter the need for the i7?
  2. turbobass macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Been a lot of threads like this lately in the gaming forum, so you may want to check out some of the discussion there.

    However, the base level i5 that I have plays WoW great. I haven't tried SCII yet on it but I imagine that it wouldn't play as well on account of it being a newer and more graphically intense game (as opposed to a more MMORPG type game).

    If you are going to get a MBA for school, I would recommend speccing out a dope PC and building it to game on. Get the MBA or MPB down the line for your lecture notes. The mid / high MBPs are sick.
  3. PVisitors thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    I was considering sticking to windows for my desktop however I think I've got my eyes too set on an iMac now. I've fallen in love with the 27 inch screen and my past PC builds haven't always ended well so I think I'm going to give up on them. I'm using education discount too so the "overpriced" factor of Macs really isn't that bad in comparison.

    I think my main problem is buyers' envy. I want to try avoid thinking 18 months down the line a regret that I didn't buy the i7.
  4. turbobass macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I honestly can't imagine what you'd be doing that you'd think that, except for gaming, which you're going to have buyers envy from jump looking at the freshest PC gaming components...
  5. VeganHipster macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    Starcraft II is not graphically demanding, even though it is a newer game. Runs on high on my 4 year old PC, should run on high on your iMac.

    i7 Will future proof, yes, but from your uses it sounds like even the i5 will be overkill. Casual browsing? You don't need a 27" iMac for that. But if you insist, you better get the higher-end model because it has a better GPU for gaming.

    The iMac is more powerful than the Macbook Pro, because the Macbook Pro uses a mobile CPU and the iMac has a desktop CPU. The only thing the iMac has now that is from a laptop would be the GPU.

    I think you should just get an 11" Macbook Air and a gaming desktop, maybe hackintosh it, because you will get what you want for a way more affordable price. Don't listen to people who hate on Hackintosh, they either have never built one or used compnents that are not recommended by the forums (the people who create the programs have recommended builds and people always posts their setups so you can know what other builds will work).

    While a Mac would be nice to have, doesn't seem like you need an iMac. And for what you think you need the iMac for, it is overkill.
  6. littlesmegger macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2011
    I'd personally Imagine the i7 with the higher custom specs would give most PC's and Mac's a run for their money for several years. Even 5 years down the line, perhaps not at highest settings, it will still play games released comfortably.
  7. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    from what you described, the 3.1 i5 is overkill for your needs.

    isnt the edu discount pretty small, like $100? meh. I might shop around.

    gaming is *identical* on the 3.1 i5 and the 3.4 i7 -- they both have the exact GPU.

    photoshop runs incredibly fast on a Core 2 Duo chip, iAnything chip is overkill for a hobbyist.

    lots of speed tests here: they would probably recommend the base 2,7 i5 27" iMac due to your limited game usage. if you were more serious about gaming, they would say get the 3.1

    adding ram is easy enough for a 5 year old, and right now adding 8 gigs (for a total of 12) only runs $50. thats a no brainer right away purchase. however, more ram wont make you new iMac go faster. It will allow you to have more applications open and have them run smoothly, which could make it *seem* like it runs faster, but it really isnt.

    adding a SSD is a whole nother matter -- requiring complete disassembly.
  8. PVisitors thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Can't say for the US apple edu store. But for comparison sakes, a 3.4ghz i7 is £1590 compared to the £1810 normal price. It's quite significant here.
  9. PVisitors thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Went to actually look at the imac 27inch again at the apple store and I think the 21 inch might be more practical if I get a imac at all.

    Anyway, bit concerned about the warranty over HDDs, as far as I understand replacing a HDD voids warranty with imacs, however they have two HDD bays right? So If I put my SSD in the empty bay, does this void warranty?

    Looking at the process, it seems quite daunting. If I took this to an authorised Mac technician would they fit my SSD for me? And how much on average are their labour costs?
  10. Tech Elementz macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2011
    The reason why you void your warranty if you were to replace a HD is because of this: Apple Restricts Hard Drive Replacements on New iMacs

    As for the SSD, if you wish you need it (which I think is not necessary, but its your choice) I suggest getting it preinstalled on your system. I know it will be quite costly, but it will save you the hassle later on.

    By the way, I think your really going overkill with your iMac for what you do. I do similar tasks like you and I only have the Late 2009 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 GB RAM & 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD... I think your needs would be fine for the base model 27". Of course, that is my opinion... You should just decide with what you want. iMac 21.5 or 27 Inch - Buy a New iMac Direct - Apple Store (UK)
  11. PVisitors thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011

    I think I am probably going to go for the 21.5 higher end which is the same as a base 27" I believe and then use the money I've saved for other stuff or put it away to get a MBA when needed. The 27 inch would mean me re-organising my room around and even then it would probably look out of place. Going into halls with it is another impracticality when thinking about it in more detail. I'm not sure what USA student halls are like but in the UK they're tiny.

    21.5 inch when I saw it in person was plenty big enough for me as I've always used a 17/19 inch screen.

    In regards to the SSD. I'm unwilling/unsure whether to splash out for Apples ridiculous prices as like your opinion I believe it's unnecessary but it would have been nice to have upgraded to a SSD in about 12-18months time when, hopefully, they've become cheaper.

    I guess if replacing a HDD voids warranty an authorised technician wouldn't fit it.

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