Future Proofing for Everday Tasks

Discussion in 'iMac' started by gottabegood, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. gottabegood macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2014
    #1
    Hi and Merry Christmas!

    These are the two iMac configurations I am considering purchasing.

    21.5 iMac
    3.1 i7
    1 Terabyte Fusion Drive
    16 Gigabytes of Ram
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 1GB video memory

    21.5 iMac
    2.7 i5
    1 Terabyte Fusion Drive
    16 Gigabytes of Ram
    Intel Iris Pro Graphics

    I currently only use the computer for surfing the internet, checking my email, and downloading photos. It's been about 4 years since I have done any video editing in iMovie, used handbrake, or encoded music or dvds.

    Obviously, the i7 is overkill for what I do today, but this is what I am unclear about.

    Even though the benefit of the i7 is for applications that use hyper-threading, will the faster i7 processor in addition to the better graphics card most likely take me farther into the future for everyday use before the machine starts to feel slow vs. the i5? And if so, how much farther, 1, 2, 3 years?

    I've noticed that when Apple updates it's operating systems, it blankets all machines within their categories made during certain years as eligible for the upgrade disregarding different speeds or processors made within that time. For example, the minimum requirements for Yosemite are iMac (Mid 2007 or later). In the future all 2013 iMacs will probably not be eligible for an upgrade down the road regardless if they have an i7 or i5 processor. However, if I am stuck on the last possible OS upgrade, would it benefit me to have the i7 setup? Although the difference in setups will not make much of a difference in speed with basic tasks today, is it likely that it will in the future when the OS is more demanding?

    I would like to use my current iMac as an example. It is a core duo from 2006. I noticed about the time Snow Leopard came out, surfing the web was slower, and the machine was slower overall. Surfing pages full of flash or gifs would cause a slow down where sometimes web pages would briefly freeze when scrolling through them. In other words, my web surfing experience was no longer smooth. So I wonder if given the option to get a better iMac in 2006 would have made my experiences while surfing the net with Snow Leopard snappier? And if so, would the i7 with hyper-threading capabilities plus the better better graphics card provide a better experience while surfing the web 3 or more years into the future than the i5 setup?

    Also, I do remember that once 1080P movies for iTunes came out, my system was unable to play them well. I just looked up the minimum requirements and they require a 2.4 Core 2 Duo. In mid 2007 Apple had two 20 inch iMac models released, the 2.0 and 2.4 ghz. I guess this would make a case that getting a higher end mac would have enabled me to watch 1080P videos more pleasantly up until today.

    So in a nutshell, I understand that I will not notice much of a speed difference between the i7 and the i5 for basic tasks today, but I am uncertain that in the future, if the same basic tasks, especially surfing the internet, will benefit from the i7 setup which in turn will afford me the opportunity to enjoy the computer for a longer period of time.
     
  2. Spink10 macrumors 601

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #2
    If you only plan to use it for everyday tasks then the lower model will be fine. Those two models down the road wont be really any different. Will also have similar resell value in 2+ years
     
  3. tyche macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #3
    The problem with trying to future proof is you can't on key things like the screen and peripherals. In 3-5 years there will be 4-5k screens, usb 4, tb 2, fibre channel who knows. But nothing you can do now will prepare you with a mostly un-upgradeable all-in-one.

    You're best hope to keep a computer for 4-5 years is to spec it up. I have a 21.5" 2010 i5 that runs everything today as good as ever. But I don't have usb 3, thunderbolt. Nothing I could have done bout that back then. And maybe in 1-3 years Apple will have a 4k display you couldn't future proof.

    If I was getting one one, I would get 16 GB RAM, i5, and the NVidia card model and an SSD. Unfortunately, Apple has perfected the art of price increases and hassle to do aftermarket upgrades yourself that you end up paying a $500+ more than you wanted.
     
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #4
    I second this, but with an i7. The i7-4770S in the 21.5" iMac is only 300-400 points below the i7-4771 in the 27" non-retina iMac. It's also quite a bit faster than the i5 in single core tasks, and much faster in hyper threaded tasks.
     
  5. AR86 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    #5
    I'll tell you what everyone on here told me, skip the fusion drive and go for pure SSD 256gb should cost the same as the 1tb fusion and use an external hard drive via thunderbold or usb3 for the bulk of your storage. Pure Flash/SSD is less likely to go poof on you then a mechanical hard drive even if it is a fusion drive and all in all works better I think if you're wanting to keep for 4-5 years.
     
  6. gottabegood thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2014
    #6
    When you say that it is quite a bit faster in single core tasks, are you referring to basic tasks?

    Also, are there any benchmarks that measure performance for basic tasks?
     
  7. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #7
    Boy, I dunno. Isn't option 3.1 $2099US? I wouldn't invest that much in a non-retina 21.5". For $2500 + third party RAM ($100) you get bigger screen, 3.5, 256 or Fusion drive, and, of course, 5k retina.

    If you can't go that high, look at refurbs or the lower priced 21" models (not the $1099 one though).
     
  8. gottabegood thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2014
    #8
    It actually comes out to $1939.00 with the education discount before taxes. I decided against the 27 inch because it is uncomfortable for my neck to be staring up at the screen.
     
  9. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #9
    Yes there are.

    They're all on Geekbench (both single core and multi core).

    And yes, basic tasks are almost always single core.

    Link comparing the 2.7GHz i5 and 3.1GHz i7 http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/compare/619167?baseline=611544

    If you compare the 3.1GHz i7 and 3.5GHz i7 of the 27", the performance is almost identical.
     
  10. gottabegood thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2014
    #10
    I looked at the refurb and found the 2.7 i5 for 1100. I wish it had a fusion drive, but I think it's a good deal for what I need. I decided I will just keep the machine for 2 to 3 years instead of looking for one that is more fututure proof.

    Do you all think the fusion drive would be worth paying 330 dollars more. The imac is 1429 education price vs. 1100 refurbed with the standard drive.
     
  11. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #11
    The Fusion Drive is totally worth it. Although you won't get the performance of a full-SSD setup, it's at least way better than having a HDD-only setup.
     
  12. gottabegood thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2014
    #12
    Thank you everyone for your help. Really appreciated!
     
  13. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #13
    I'd like to add my voice to AR86's: if you are after every-day performance, look around whether you can get a good deal on refurb with an SSD. As others have stated, CPU and GPU performance is largely irrelevant for you.
     
  14. gottabegood thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2014
    #14
    I was able to find a Refurbished 21.5-inch iMac 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with a 1TB Fusion drive for $1,439 so I ordered it today. I couldn't find a refurb with an SSD setup.

    I'm sending back the Refurbished 21.5-inch iMac 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with the 1TB Serial ATA Drive that I got for $1,099.

    I think I'll just keep it until my Apple Care runs out, and I hope the 8 GB of memory would be fine for what I do until then.
     

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