Don't know what to pick up, need some help

optimusp517

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 12, 2010
72
0
Ok guys,

I love the fact that the 27'' is HUGE! But spec wise no clue about anything in regards to i3, i5, or i7. Just know more is spendier haha. What are the real differences between all three and what would it really do for me?

Here's what I plan to do with my imac when I get one. Just basic browsing, maybe some movie watching, some video editing (basic, nothing fancy) and possibly some gaming on the Windows side with bootcamp. Possibly the newest starcraft 2 :)

What do you guys recommend. I've been told to just get a PC, but I love how a Mac is and the whole OS and interface is just more liking for me.

Some recommendation would be great :)

Also is 4gb ram enough or should I bump it up to 8 and anything else I need to know about?

Thanks.
 

Dwhite78

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2010
149
0
There are a ton of threads that cover this exact topic. Especially with the newest refresh.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
Any of them is fine for you but if you have your eyes on 27", pull the trigger and get the quad core i5, it's the best bang for your buck
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
Hellhammer, for the small price3 (£160) isnt the i7 better bang for your buck?
Yes and no. It offers up to 30% greater performance if HT is supported but seeing OP's usage, it doesn't seem to take much advantage of it. To be honest, the 2009 i7 refurb is the best bang for your buck. I would get i7 but I'm sure OP is just fine with i5
 

optimusp517

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 12, 2010
72
0
Any of them is fine for you but if you have your eyes on 27", pull the trigger and get the quad core i5, it's the best bang for your buck
What if I went with the 21.5''?

What setup would you recommend then?
 

frega

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2010
85
0
Yes and no. It offers up to 30% greater performance if HT is supported but seeing OP's usage, it doesn't seem to take much advantage of it. To be honest, the 2009 i7 refurb is the best bang for your buck. I would get i7 but I'm sure OP is just fine with i5
What would HT be used for usually? (up to 8 threads)

I know gaming doesnt use all 4 or 8.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
What would HT be used for usually? (up to 8 threads)

I know gaming doesnt use all 4 or 8.
Encoding is the first thing that comes to my mind. Some pro apps benefits from it as well but not all. It's more like "future-proofing" your purchase because in future, more apps and games will support it
 

frega

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2010
85
0
Encoding is the first thing that comes to my mind. Some pro apps benefits from it as well but not all. It's more like "future-proofing" your purchase because in future, more apps and games will support it
PC games are mostly console ports these days. I'm kinda wary about multi-core/threaded games. No one game dev has touted their games taking full advantage of multi-core/threads. Most games are aware and does multithread up to 3 or 4 but isnt optimized / doesnt take full advantage. But not 8 threads.

I'm kinda in a dilemma myself. I'll be getting one this week, still frantically googling benchmarks / reviews. Looking for a list of multicore/threaded games (there aint even a list I can find that's current).

And I still cant make a decision between i5 quad or i7 quad with HT.
 

blinkin182

macrumors regular
May 3, 2010
195
2
Switzerland
PC games are mostly console ports these days. I'm kinda wary about multi-core/threaded games. No one game dev has touted their games taking full advantage of multi-core/threads. Most games are aware and does multithread up to 3 or 4 but isnt optimized / doesnt take full advantage. But not 8 threads.

I'm kinda in a dilemma myself. I'll be getting one this week, still frantically googling benchmarks / reviews. Looking for a list of multicore/threaded games (there aint even a list I can find that's current).

And I still cant make a decision between i5 quad or i7 quad with HT.
I've been hesitating myself, but agree with Hellhammer, best bang for the buck seems to be the refurbished i7. At least that's what I'm gonna go for. I do feel I'll take advantage of the HT while using Handbrake and hopefully it will future proof my purchase.

I was concerned with GPU, but seems it's not that big of an update and that new drivers will be soon released for the 4850 which should increase performance.

So, as everyone says, depends what you're gonna do with it, but I've decided the best deal is the refurbished i7. Hope I get one in perfect condition though!
 

frega

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2010
85
0
I've been hesitating myself, but agree with Hellhammer, best bang for the buck seems to be the refurbished i7. At least that's what I'm gonna go for. I do feel I'll take advantage of the HT while using Handbrake and hopefully it will future proof my purchase.

I was concerned with GPU, but seems it's not that big of an update and that new drivers will be soon released for the 4850 which should increase performance.

So, as everyone says, depends what you're gonna do with it, but I've decided the best deal is the refurbished i7. Hope I get one in perfect condition though!
Another big thing about the new iMacs is that you can actually use it as a display (I think, correct me if I'm wrong). The previous gens cant do that.

So in the future, when Apple disappoints us with a fail update (crappy GPU), we have the option to get a gamingbox and use the iMac's display.
 

blinkin182

macrumors regular
May 3, 2010
195
2
Switzerland
Another big thing about the new iMacs is that you can actually use it as a display (I think, correct me if I'm wrong). The previous gens cant do that.

So in the future, when Apple disappoints us with a fail update (crappy GPU), we have the option to get a gamingbox and use the iMac's display.
The previous generation 27 inch iMacs (late 2009) do have the video input feature (use as monitor). However, the 21.5 inch models both new and old don't support that feature.
 

frega

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2010
85
0
The previous generation 27 inch iMacs (late 2009) do have the video input feature (use as monitor). However, the 21.5 inch models both new and old don't support that feature.
Can I ask what Handbrake is actually used for? Encoding videos for iPhone or for HTPC or ?
 

blinkin182

macrumors regular
May 3, 2010
195
2
Switzerland
Can I ask what Handbrake is actually used for? Encoding videos for iPhone or for HTPC or ?
HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows.

Supported Sources:

Any DVD-like source: VIDEO_TS folder, DVD image or real DVD (unencrypted--protection methods including CSS are not supported internally and must be handled externally with third-party software and libraries), and some .VOB and .TS files
Most any multimedia file it can get libavformat to read and libavcodec to decode.
Outputs:

File format: MP4 and MKV
Video: MPEG-4, H.264, or Theora
Audio: AAC, CoreAudio AAC (OS X Only), MP3, or Vorbis. AC-3 pass-through, DTS pass-thorugh (MKV only)
Misc features:

Chapter selection
Subtitles
Integrated bitrate calculator
Picture deinterlacing, cropping and scaling
Live Video Preivew

http://handbrake.fr/details.php

You can indeed encode videos direct from DVD into file formats that are optimal for iPhone or Apple TV (there are presets included with the program). You can also just encode into a "normal" file or you can tweak the settings as you want.

Handbrake is optimised to use multiple cores, so it really runs much faster on i7 with HT according to benchmarks.
 

frega

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2010
85
0
You can indeed encode videos direct from DVD into file formats that are optimal for iPhone or Apple TV (there are presets included with the program). You can also just encode into a "normal" file or you can tweak the settings as you want.

Handbrake is optimised to use multiple cores, so it really runs much faster on i7 with HT according to benchmarks.
Well I know that :) I was just wondering what usually people use it for, since everyone mentions Handbrake usage / benchmarks.

I only occasionally use ffmpegX to encode videos (more formats available).
 

optimusp517

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 12, 2010
72
0
So many options, but sounds like I should just get quad core i5 so I don't have any regrets :p
 

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