Choose between two iMacs (Imac Spec)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by 04riversj, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. 04riversj macrumors newbie

    Dec 26, 2012
    Hey there, As a student I'm lucky enough to get quite hefty discount so I'm looking to get an Imac.

    The 2 spec I'm looking at are:

    2.9GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    1TB Fusion Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M 512MB GDDR5


    3.2GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    1TB Fusion Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB GDDR5

    I'd look to add additional RAM later. Primary use for this will not include editing either photography or video and there will be no rendering. It's simply a day to day device for internet (large number of tabs etc), HD video,and work. The prices are £1516 and £1777 respectively so a difference of £261. If i'm looking for this to last 3-5 years which is likely to be best and most necessary?

    If you think a different spec would be better please throw in ideas!

    Much appreciated!
  2. MisterKeeks macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    If you really want it to last, go with the i7. The Hyper-Threading will increase longevity.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    How do you expect to use the machine?

    The CPU speed difference will result in a tiny bit of performance. The GPU could offer better performance depending on your usage and depending on that the 2GB of vram may or may not matter.
  4. 04riversj thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 26, 2012
    The machine will be on a lot however usage will include only internet usage with a large number of tabs, word processing, large spreadsheets, music software (ie sonos, itunes) etc. Nothing too resource intensive on its own but most of this is done at the same time.
  5. biggd macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2008
    Go for the non user-upgrade able vid card.
    It's a must for the future
  6. Ambulater macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2012
    The i5 and i7 are both quad core CPUs so both can process four threads simultaneously. The biggest difference is that hyperthreading is enabled on the i7 which allows four additional logical cores for those applications designed to take advantage of this feature. Applications that can use more than four cores are relatively sparse. Primarily, we would be talking about applications for encoding video. If you do a lot of work with editing and encoding video, then the available benchmarks suggest the i7 would be a good choice. If that's not something you do a lot of then you are unlikely to see any benefit from the hyperthreading feature. For most other applications the i5s and i7s running at the same clock speed benchmark nearly identically.

    Of course, the selctions for the iMac are not identical in clock speed so this is another consideration. The i7 is clocked 6% higher than the i5 and can clock up to 8% higher when turbo boost for each CPU is compared. However, 6-8% higher clockspeed does not necessarily mean it benchmarks 6-8% faster. For many uses, a 6-8% difference in clock speed will result in only very small difference in benchmarks. So if you don't use hyperthreading video encoding apps very often, it's probably not a good deal to pay $200 for a very small bump in clockspeed. It's unlikely you will be able to discern the difference in any real world task.

    In regard to the GPU, the differences really come down to gaming. Both GPUs are going to perform about the same for nearly all other functions. There really aren't a lot of good benchmarks available yet for the 680MX. The specs are certainly impressive and would suggest a mobile GPU that should perform nearly as well as some mainstream desktop GPUs. The 675MX has respectable benchmark scores for a mobile GPU and should play most modern games okay at fairly high settings. If you're only an occasional, casual gamer, you're probably okay with the 675MX. However, the 680MX seems to have the potential to finally make the iMac a serious gaming machine. If you're into gaming and care about eye-candy, then the 680MX would be a good choice.

    I also think the fusion drive upgrade is a very good choice if a bit over priced. This is one upgrade that everyone should see significant performance improvements from in nearly everything they do. Regardless of your use scenario, you should get much snappier performance with an SSD onboard.

    I couldn't think of any good reason for me to spend $200 on an i7 as I am unlikely to ever see any real world benefits from it in my personal usage. I did, however, spring for the 680MX as I've been building gaming PCs since about 1993 and can't quite give up the gaming bug now that I'm switching to Mac. I also felt like the fusion drive was a no-brainer for me.

    Hope that helps.

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