Explaining Duo Core vs i5/i7 processors to a dummy?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by davidnssbm, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. davidnssbm macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2009
    I'm ready to buy an iMac, and just to my luck a new one is unveiled this week! I am sold on the 27" (as I will be using this computer for Final Cut Studio 2 primarily) but I'm a bit behind when it comes to the technology terminology.

    Now, I've been editing on my Powerbook G4 with 1.67 processor and 1.5gb ram and it's not FAST by any means, but I get by.

    Furthermore, I also edit on a G5 tower with 4 GB ram and 2.something and it works great, but I share the computer with my dad who does ALOT of photo editing, so the computer gets bogged up a lot with programs and files that aren't mine.

    My question is, if I've been getting by fine with these computers, do I really need the MAXIMUM i7 processor? I want to increase my work flow from what I'm already experiencing, but I don't want to waste money on extraneous updates that I won't even scratch the surface of.

    so does one really need all the bells and whistles? what is so different about the duo core and the i5/i7? Also, is 4GB ram too little for video editing you think?

    Thanks so much for answering my questions.

  2. SmugMac macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2009
    Intel Core i5 is about twice as fast in raw processing as the fastest Core 2 Duo 3.33GHz. Core i5 also has twice the core's of the Core 2 Duo ;)

    Intel Core i7 is about 1/4 faster than the Core i5 and has four core's which are also hyper-threaded, so in effect will 'appear' as a processor with 8 core's.

    For the work you're doing the Intel Core i5 based 27" iMac is the best value, however for 'future-proofing' I would suggest you go for 8GB Memory. Hope this helps.

    Found this article that explains the Core i5 vs. Core i7 Differences with a bit more depth.
  3. idyll macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007

    Are there any benchmarks that explain this? Didn't realize the difference was so huge..
  4. SmugMac macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2009
    Passmark CPU Lookup

    Not quite 2x but really close. ;)
  5. DDave macrumors regular

    Oct 10, 2009
    I'm going to take a different tack, as you keep a computer for a long time get the fastest processor you can afford, get the extra ram after
    market and have a great time
  6. eelpout macrumors regular


    Oct 30, 2007
    Silicon Valley
    Look at AnandTech's benchmarks. You'll get a better glimpse into reality. Multi-threaded floating point calculations do scream though.
  7. davidnssbm thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2009
    so, am I understanding correctly that even though the duo core has 3.06 ghz vs the i5's 2.66ghz, the i5's 2.66ghz is technically faster because its 2.66ghz (x2) essentially?

    Also, when debating more RAM or more processing power, isn't more RAM required to keep UP with the processing power? I agree I need 8GB of RAM when editing (huge) video files, but will one even notice an i7? I'm not doing pixar animation stuff here, just freelance video work.
  8. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    It's like the difference between a G4 and a G5 processor, only.... better :p

    EDIT: The 2.66 not only has twice as many cores, but it also does more work per hertz, so the 2.66i5 is equivalent to a 3.0ghz Core duo (or something like that).

    Also, more RAM is good, but at some point it won't really help. For 2D video editing, it's not going to help much, but for rendering everything it will help.
  9. phpscott macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2009
    The i5 has four 2.66Ghz cores. When only one or two cores are in use, two cores are shut off and the remaining two run at 3.2Ghz. In my opinion, the i7 upgrade is only worth it if you can take advantage of the hyper-threading. I originally ordered the i7 but had Apple change my order to the i5 as the only program I use that utilizes hyper-threading is Photoshop. I only use Photoshop to design webpages so doubt I'd ever benefit from hyper-threading. Excluding hyper-threading, the performance advantage of the i7 is under 5% over the i5. Video editing software may be heavily threaded which would utiliize hyper-threading.


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