Dual-core still faster than Quad's? Should I upgrade?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Crunch, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. Crunch macrumors 6502

    Crunch

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Location:
    L.A.
    #1
    I was taken aback by a recent review of the new iMac that has the dual-core i5 upgrade. There were claims that the dual-core i5 (i5-680 @ 3.6GHz) is still faster in quite a few applications than the quad-core i5 (i5-760 @ 2.8GHz)...:confused: Isn't Turbo Boost supposed to take it up to 3.33GHz? (yes, I know, it will only kick in if the temps allow it and it's still slightly less than 3.6 but you get my point)

    Then, there was another article which claimed that even the Core i3-550 @ 3.2GHz is supposedly faster than the quad-core i5 @ 2.8GHz in a few scenarios. I realize that the Core i3 does not have Turbo Boost, but it does have Hyper-Threading which OS X sees as 4 (virtual) cores. The Core i5 does not have Hyper-threading, but it has 4 "actual" cores, and it also has Turbo Boost. Hmmm...

    I have to take my iMac in because of a hardware issue and I was planning on upgrading to the Quad-core i5 for $275 extra ($300 minus student discount). I'm even contemplating jumping all the way to the i7 for another $180. Should I do this or just get another one w/ Core i3 3.2GHz? Towards the end of the article, Macworld even suggests not getting the Quad, unless "...you can take advantage of the few programs that exist today that can take advantage of the extra cores."

    Future-proofing is not that important in my case, as I switch computers too often. Otherwise, quad-core would be the obvious choice, although we've been hearing the whole "Well, maybe not today, but in a year or two from now, you'll appreciate the fact that you got a Quad...", etc. since...well, almost 2 years ago...lol
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    It really depends on what you do. There are plenty of apps that are multithreaded but they are aimed for professionals. In everyday use, there is no difference and in something like Photoshop, the dual core is faster but when it comes to raw processing power, the quad core is still the king. Keep in mind that the quad core comes with better GPU as well.
     
  3. pixel-vs-pencil macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #3
    On a slightly different note after reading that article I'm now worried about the Superdrive, I didn't realise it was pot luck which brand you end up with. Unfortunately I have the HL-DT-ST DVDRW GA32N which is the one they said performed slowly in Handbrake. Rubbish that they put this drive in a 27" i7 top of the range machine if it's worse than the Pioneer.
     
  4. aliensporebomb macrumors 68000

    aliensporebomb

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth
    #4
    Thoughts...

    After living with a quadcore machine with hyperthreading for over a month now my thoughts are: I will not go back to the old way of doing things.

    And also who is "they"? You mentioned "they" said the drive speed was slower.

    Handbrake rip speed is partially based on drive speed but the other half is raw cpu power and the drive speed is a really a non-issue in 2010.
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Finland
    #5
    "Super"Drives are still horribly slow and ripping a DVD is dependent on the speed of the DVD drive as well. Encoding can really max out the CPU because HDs are much faster than DVD drives
     
  6. ravinder08 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2010
    #6
    Is it better to use an external writer for this, possible one with firewire?
    I'm a DJ so burn a lot of CD's for gigs, will the superdrive be ok or would I benefit from an external burner?
    How long does it take to burn an 80min CD in super drive?

    Regards

    Rav:D
     
  7. pixel-vs-pencil macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #7
    I'm not the OP but when I said "they" I was referring to the article that he/she posted, here's the quote I was referring to:

    "As we found in recent DVD ripping tests of the standard iMacs, Apple doesn’t use just one supplier for components like the SuperDrive. In fact, we’ve seen three different SuperDrive mechanisms in our five new iMacs. Although they all boast very similar specifications, one of these mechanisms, the HL DT ST DVDRW GA32N, performs very slowly in our HandBrake test. Our theory is that the HL uses riplock, a technology that aims to improve DVD watching on computers by slowing down the rotational speed of the disc for quieter operation. The stock iMac came with a Pioneer DVRTS09, which performs well. There’s no way to know what mechanism your iMac will come with, so if you rip DVDs frequently, you’ll just have to hope for something other than the HL."

    Sorry to the OP for going a bit off-topic!
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #8
    I would get an external. SuperDrive is known to scratch discs and sometimes it decided not to eject it. An external DVD burner doesn't cost much so IMO it's definitely worth it if you need to use it a lot
     
  9. aliensporebomb macrumors 68000

    aliensporebomb

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth
    #9
    Hm.

    I recently found that making a disc image of a DVD and handbraking from that worked a lot better: example.

    My DVD of "Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long-blog" has a badly silkscreened label (it's flaking off) and won't play in my 27" corei7 imac. I kind of wanted to watch it in that machine instead of my old machine but couldn't figure out what to do.

    I put the disc in my old G5 2.5 (where it will at least read), made a disc image of it, copied it over to my corei7 iMac and handbraked from the disc image and was getting 200fps.

    When there's a will, there's a way.
     
  10. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #10
    I use both the internal and an owc external drive and the difference is noticeable. On my quad i7 I can get around 100fps for the SuperDrive, but as much as 140fps using the owc for the same DVD in handbrake.

    To answer your question, most apps, including apples, do not use more than one core. If you don't plan on doing much encoding, the dual core will be fine.

    Also, macworld noted recently that one model of the SuperDrives used in the new iMacs is very slow for ripping.

    "HL DT ST DVDRW GA32N, performs very slowly in our HandBrake test. Our theory is that the HL uses riplock, a technology that aims to improve DVD watching on computers by slowing down the rotational speed of the disc for quieter operation. The stock iMac came with a Pioneer DVRTS09, which performs well. There’s no way to know what mechanism your iMac will come with, so if you rip DVDs frequently, you’ll just have to hope for something other than the HL."
     
  11. ravinder08 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2010
    #11
    Would it make any difference if it was connected via USB or firewire and which is the best model.

    Thanks

    Rav:)
     
  12. mangrove macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Location:
    FL, USA
    #12
    The guys entire series of articles are real good reads. An threader pointed me to him last night and I keep reading and reading, gaining new ideas with almost every page.

    http://macperformanceguide.com/index_topics.html#ChoosingConfiguring

    http://macperformanceguide.com/Mac-AppleStore.html

    http://macperformanceguide.com/Mac-Upgrade.html ;)
     

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