Difference betw. i7 and Quad Core? iMac Anti-Glare? Video-editing?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by 2contagious, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. 2contagious macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2008

    I'd like to know what the difference between the optional "2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 processor" in the new 27" iMac and the "2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processor" in the Mac Pro from early 2009 is? I am confused about whether or not they are the same type of processor (or if i7 is slower and therefore the 2.8 i7 will be slower than the 2.66 processor in the Mac Pro?) Could someone clarify this for me please? :)

    Also, two other questions:

    1) does anyone use an imac with a matte film on top of the screen? does it work well? does it look like a "regular" matte display or does it look weirdly grainy?

    2) would the new imac (27", i7 2.8 GHz, 8GB RAM) be powerful enough for lag-free video editing (1080p footage from Canon 5D Mark II) or is it better to go with a Mac Pro? (note: I am no professional, I am a graphic design student doing mainly photography and wanting to get more into film)

    I hope you guys can help me :)

  2. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    The i7 is the "desktop" version (and laptop version these days actually) of the Nelahem processor range. The Mac Pro contains the Xeon class of this processor, which is intended for high end workstation and server use. This is actually a common intel thing, the "Xeon" is the "high end workstation and server" version of whatever their top of the line processor is at the time, so there are/were "Xeons" based on the Core 2 Duo / Core 2 Quad processor families too - I think these were in the older revisions of the mac pro.

    Differences between the desktop and xeon processors. Assuming the imac is using the LGA1156 package i7 (a safe assumption when an i5 is also an option) then the memory architecture is slightly different and there are a few minor tweaks to the way it behaves under load. As you might expect, the i7 is designed to work well under more typical "desktop" conditions and the Xeon under more typical "workstation/server" conditions.

    They're both highly tuned processors that will do a great job.

    As to how this will translate to video editing, I'm not going to claim to be an expert on that, but I will say that a fully kitted out Mac Pro has the potential to perform better, and for expansion if your workload is likely to push it.
  3. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    The processors are essentially the same technology. There are differences which make the Mac Pro more powerful in processor/memory area and have additional features for specific uses. I wouldn't be too concerned about the differences in that area.
  4. bajee macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2009
    the only difference between core i7 and its "Xeon counterpart" the one you see in mac pros is the QPI.

    Basically xeon can have 2 chips on 1 motherboard ( dual processor, note its not dual core, but processor) , i7 cannot.

    a single 2.8ghz i7 will be faster than 2.6ghz xeon, however, in this configuration, the mac pro can be in tripple channel memory, while the one in iMac is in dual channel configuration, so I'm not entirely sure how it fairs.

    as for your other questions, I let others reply ;)
  5. 2contagious thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2008
    thanks for your replies :) what do you think about my other two questions?


    So far the three options I am considering are:

    1) iMac (27" IPS LED)
    2.8 GHz QUAD i7
    8 GB 1066MHz DDR3
    2 TB HDD
    ATI RADEON HD 4850 512MB
    about 1801 pounds (with student discount)

    2) Mac Pro
    2.26 GHz OCTO
    8 GB 1066MHz DDR3 EEC
    1 TB HDD
    ATI RADEON HD 4870 512MB
    about 2440 pounds (with student discount)

    3) Wait until January (new mac pros?)

    My main concerns are:
    - the iMac's glossy screen and its usability with graphic design related work / film editing (are anti-glare films any good?)
    - if the iMac is powerful enough for lag-free video editing (1080p footage from Canon 5D Mark II) or if it is better to go with a Mac Pro
  6. tompenpark macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2009
    Me too

    I have the same problem with you. My old 2.16 MBP is too slow for my 5DII files and I was expecting to wait for new MBP, but since iMac got i7 it is more interesting to me now. The only problem is that glossy screen and I'm not sure is it much powerful than MBP?
  7. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    The core i7 is much more powerful than the core2duo in your MBP. Have a look at the hardware review sites such as Toms Hardware or any of the many others to see the benchmarks they conducted comparing the two processor architectures when the i7 was released.
  8. 2contagious thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2008
    I am at the apple store at the moment and I've tried some 1080p videos on both the 21.5" and the 27". no lags at all.. my first generation macbook pro has some serious issues with 1080p.. sometimes even 720p. I might get a 27" imac instead of a mac pro after all.

    leaves one thing: anyone know any usable anti-glare films? (as in really usable.. for graphics work)
  9. koruki macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2009
    New Zealand
    Thats very interesting as I was considering replacing my i7 PC. My PC is running on the LGA 1366 chipset and triple channel, its strange how the iMacs will be only using dual channel when the i7 supports triple channel.

    Overall I am still a little uneasy about having an i7 stuck inside a confined machine knowing the amount of extra heat they produce over the Core2Duo's.
  10. Gonk42 macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    near Cambridge
    The iMac uses the dual channel 860 i7 chip which is 95W whilst the Mac Pro uses the W3520 which is equivalent to the triple channel 920 i7 chip which is 130W I think. The 860 does better than the 920 in the bench marks I've seen as it has a much higher turbo boosted speed and also has a higher clock to start (2.8 vs 2.66) which seems to more than offset having one less memory channel.

    Apple claim that the extra size afforded by the 27inch screen allows them to use the desktop part and at 95W it does produce less heat than an i960 would. It might be better to be cautious and wait for reviews and early adopters to report any problems.
  11. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    The triple channel i7 and xeons are based on the original revision of the intel nelahem/i7 technology, this is presumably what you have in your PC right now (and still a fine machine imho if its an i7)

    The newer revision of the i7 (& i5) processors needs less pins, is fabricated as a smaller part I think and runs a little cooler than the original revision... still not as cool as a laptop core2duo though, I'll certainly be keeping an interested eye on how people get on with their new imacs from a temperature perspective myself.
  12. Nadav35 macrumors member

    May 18, 2008
    3) Wait until January (new mac pros?)

  13. Leddy macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2008
    re. the 5D Mk II scenario - editing the H264 clips the camera captures directly in a FCP timeline is not really feasible unless you're just butting them together or performing the most basic of transitions.

    I've found that transcoding my 5D footage to ProRes clips using either compressor or MPEG Streamclip (faster and a free download) works best. I transcode to Quicktime ProRes 422 at 30fps and edit in Final Cut using these settings.

    There are workflow hints on exporting depending upon what format you're exporting to - I've found the hint below the most useful in terms of getting the best quality when exporting to other frame rates.


    Hope some of this helps. (Oh, and I notice Canon have just released the 1D Mk IV with variable framerates - 29.97, 25, 23.976 - which should reduce the need for complicated transcoding workflows in future - just a pity they can't see their way to release a firmware upgrade for the 5D MK II.)

    re. the screen issue - I find the glossy iMac screen can be distracting and it's not always possible to move it and eliminate reflections. My current machine (a mid 2007 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo iMac) sits opposite a window and reflects everything behind me. I'll be looking into a matte screen cover for my new iMac.

    Overall, I've found my current iMac to be a very capable machine and I'd expect the new Quad cores to build on that, especially with up to 16GB RAM.
  14. 2contagious thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2008
    hey :) thanks for your answer, when are you planning on getting your new iMac?

    <- about this, canon released a statement about a week ago, that they are working on a 24p / 25p firmware update for the 5DMKII. It's my main reason to get one :p
  15. Leddy macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2008
    Actually I ordered a new Quad core iMac on Friday night (Australia time). We're expecting them in November over here - I've upgraded the RAM straight away through the reseller (going 8GB not 16 :( ... - though I might check out a price for 16GB - as the reseller has a deal through a third party RAM supplier)

    I will hook it up to my external RAID via firewire 800 and install the Final Cut Suite on it and hopefully it will be business as usual - though just faster. I changed the keyboard to an extended keyboard as I like having a number pad.

    re. the 5D

    That's good news if they do release an update as the camera is a beautiful thing. I love the sharpness and the colour depth you get from it. I guess the only downside from a video perspective is the onboard sound and the fact that it's not really friendly for the vast majority of professional mic set-ups. Though generally I record to a portable sound kit now and sync afterwards - no real hassle for film/doco work, but a bit of a pain if you're trying to be spontaneous(!!)
  16. bbydon macrumors 6502a

    May 18, 2005
    1st off there is no need for caps. 2nd I will remember you said this when they come out in March. 3rd, chill out, I'm sure your friend is the **** and all, but this is a rumor site and it's meant for people to speculate.
  17. GL2 macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2009
    Westmere is ahead of schedule and should be out in Q1 2010. Apple isn't going to wait until Q4 2010 or Q1 2011 to put it in the Mac Pro. Gulftown will likely debut in the Mac Pro around March.
  18. WhoPhD macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2004
    I do exactly the same thing to edit my H.264 clips on my G4 (Dual 1GHz or Dual 1.8) (yes, Apple Intermediate Codec works fine for 720p) but I have to ask: Why does everyone recommend Compressor or MPEG Streamclip?

    Why not just use QuickTime Player to do a simple export to ProRes or AIC? You can even splice a few together before you start.

    It's the perfect tool. The "Notepad" of video, I call it.

    Most of the time I export to AIC as part of the "second-pass" software stabilisation process (I use iStabilise). Any fade-edits or titles etc, I use Final Cut after that. Generally though I just cut together in QuickTime 7. It's rock-solid.


    PS, yes I'm reading this thread to research my next upgrade :)
  19. skye12 macrumors 65816


    Nov 11, 2006
    Austin, Tx
    Here, here! I second that. What are the boards for anyway?
  20. 2contagious thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2008
    ok, I think I have decided: since I am not fond (at all) of the 27" iMac screen (or glossy screens in general) and I won't be (really) needing a new mac until about febuary/march 2010 (when more "serious" projects at uni start..), I will go for a Canon 5DMKII now/next month and use it with my Macbook Pro (first generation, 1.83 GHz) until I get the new Mac Pro when it comes out.
    I wanted to get the Canon 50mm 1.4 lens with the camera, can anyone suggest a good standard range zoom lens?
  21. robotkiller macrumors 6502


    Oct 25, 2009
    I shoot with the 5DMkII. The 24-70 f2.8 is an awesome piece of glass - beautiful color, contrast and sharpness. One of the best lenses I've ever used, but heavy and bulky as hell, so keep that in mind.

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