Core i7 or GTX680 on 27"

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Abbas, Dec 22, 2012.


On a 27" iMac, would you chose a Core i7 or GTX680

  1. 3.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7

    11 vote(s)
  2. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB GDDR5

    58 vote(s)
  1. Abbas macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2008
    What would you chose if you could only chose between one of them?
  2. NVRENUF! macrumors regular


    Mar 19, 2012
    PERTH, Australia
    GPU for sure.. as the I5 will most probably cover any thing you need anyway.
  3. Dr FranknFurter macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2012
    Cambridge UK
    I went for the GTX680 rather than the i7 although i was tempted to just get both! lol
  4. NVRENUF! macrumors regular


    Mar 19, 2012
    PERTH, Australia
    i got both, but if i had to choose i would go for graphic over i7
  5. turtlez macrumors 6502a


    Jun 17, 2012
    if you are buying it for games then the 680 but if you are buying it for work (pro apps) the i7
  6. digitalfailure macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2012
    I ordered both but would have gone for the gpu over the i7 if the choice was limited.
  7. obsoletepower macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    I think you should post what you mostly intend to use the computer for before people can accurately vote.

    Personally I got both because I know that if I leave one or the other I will regret it later but for you the extra $150-$200 investment might not be worth it.
  8. macs4nw macrumors 601


    For most people , for $50 less, the increased graphics are going to give you the most bang for your buck, no question about it. Not everything you do, is going to benefit from that i7; only the most processor-intensive applications are going to be using those 8 cores, whereas the GTX680MX graphics chip with double the memory, will make everything seem to jump onto the screen that much faster, dare I say 'Snappier?' With a 20% faster clock cycle and almost double the frame rate, the upgraded graphics are, especially for gaming, a no-brainer.

    But if you're flush with ca$h, sure, take both!
  9. KaraH macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2012
    Voted for the GPU (finally Apple gives us a nvidia!) but plan on ordering an both. Yes, for email and such you will not notice the difference, but one of the things I do on my duo extreme is a compile that takes an hour ... I can pretty easily make a case for needing to max out my CPU as well.
  10. TweakOnline macrumors regular


    Dec 17, 2012
  11. Jazwire macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2009
    I got both myself, but the GPU for sure if I had to pick just 1.
  12. torana355 macrumors 68030

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    The 680mx for sure!!! It is a beast for a mobile GPU.
  13. Shadow2k macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2009
    I would choose the 680MX, even though my new iMac has both options installed. ;)
  14. Abbas thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2008
    Thanks everyone- I guess I'll get the GPU then.
  15. chuckiehina macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2007
    A third option would be 32MB of 3rd party RAM.
  16. Ambulater macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2012

    As someone else noted, the answer is highly dependent on what you will primarily be using your imac for. 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 performace 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.
  17. Abbas thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2008
    Thanks Ambulator-

    Very helpful. I don't do much video encoding. Probably play more games than encode videos so GPU it is. Fusion drive is definitely happening!



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