Help me decide on a new 27" iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Andrew*Debbie, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. Andrew*Debbie macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    Location:
    North Wales, United Kingdom
    #1
    We are getting ready to buy a new iMac. We are upgrading from an ancient core 2 duo white iMac running 10.6. We qualify for UK higher education pricing.


    I'm trying to decide between the 2.9GHz Core i5 GTX 660M and the 3.2GHz Core i5 GTX 675MX

    Either would be 1TB with Fusion drive and 8GB RAM. I'll add RAM if needed.



    I'm a casual gamer. At the moment I mostly play Diablo II. I'd like to add D III, and X-Plane 10.

    I'm not going to install Bootcamp. I realise that means no more Diablo II.


    I've read through the 680mx benchmark thread and browsed a few others.

    The machine will primarily be used for office apps but will also do number crunching with fsl and EEG toolbox under Matlab. Some casual photoshop too.


    Suggestions? Comments?
     
  2. minus182 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    #2
    Judging from your usage and needs,

    Going with the following specs would be more than you need.
    3.2GHz Core i5
    GTX 675MX
    1TB Fusion Drive
    8GB RAM
     
  3. yUnoNinja macrumors newbie

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    Feb 19, 2013
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    PDX
    #3
    Agree.
     
  4. WhiteIphone5 macrumors 65816

    WhiteIphone5

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    Location:
    Lima, Peru
    #4
    you should add i7 just to future proof it
     
  5. virginblue4 macrumors 68000

    virginblue4

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    Apr 15, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #5
    You've said that you're not a casual gamer so why are you not considering the 680MX?
     
  6. Andrew*Debbie thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 6, 2010
    Location:
    North Wales, United Kingdom
    #6
    I am a casual gamer. Re-read my original post. You may have picked up the not from the line below.


    If we had an endless supply of cash, I'd get the 680MX, the i7 and a 3TB fusion drive.

    FPS games give me a terrible headache. That leaves games like Sims 3, Diablo III, and X-Plane 10.

    Any of the 2012 iMacs can handle Sims 3

    Diablo 3 should run fine 675M. I'd think it would be fine on the 660M too. X-Plane could be sub-par on the 660M. I don't know. The 680MX will run X-Plane on 3 monitors. It would be fun, but I can't justify the expense.
     
  7. minus182 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    #7
    So that leaves you with the 675MX.

    i7 for good measure. Though not really necessary. If you intend to keep this machine, and not regret a year later, go for i7. You know, the case where "I should have gotten...".
     
  8. virginblue4 macrumors 68000

    virginblue4

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    #8
    Oops, sorry. I did see the not from the line below.
     
  9. Ambulater macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    #9
    I would question this depending on the use scenario. What you get with the i7 is a $200 up charge, 5% more clock speed, and hyper threading. 5% clock speed does not necessarily translate into 5% greater performance, even in benchmarks, and it's basically undetectable in real world tasks. So this alone would not be worth $200.

    Now, if you are someone who does a large amount of video encoding, either professionally or as an avid amateur, then you probably have software that can access hyper threading. In that case, the $200 may be worth the minutes you will save here and there on each piece of video you encode. If this isn't one of your use case scenarios, then it's unlikely you will have a use for hyper threading. Most software cannot use more than 4 cores so hyper threading just goes unused. In that case, the $200 is money spent on something that will never be noticed or utilized.

    In short, the i7 might be a good call for some and a big waste for others. It's not a matter of future proofing as it's highly unlikely that mainstream software is going to start being written for more than 4 cores. It's a matter of whether or not you're going to do certain select tasks (usually professionally) that require hyper threading.
     
  10. Teut macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    #10
    The i7 isn't worth it. The 2GB 680M graphics card is. So try getting that
     
  11. Andrew*Debbie thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 6, 2010
    Location:
    North Wales, United Kingdom
    #11
    That parallels my thinking. About 95% of what we will run can't use hyperthreading and doesn't need the extra speed.

    MATLAB can take advantage of hyper-threading. Real world timing reports show the performance improvements are often small -- perhaps 10 to 20%. If we are running a number crunch overnight, the speed diff doesn't matter.


    I've read some on-line benchmarks. i7 show significant performance improvements in Photoshop and rendering video. Both are tasks we only use very occasionally.


    X-Plane 10 can also take advantage of hyper-threading. X-Plane 10 maxes out a 3.06GHz core i3. I know I need more performance than that. But do I need the i7 for X-Plane 10? No.


    I decided the i7 isn't worth the extra £140 ($215) Apple charges UK HE customers.
     
  12. Bear macrumors G3

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    Jul 23, 2002
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    Sol III - Terra
    #12
    In the iMac there are 3 differences between the i5 and i7 processors, not 2. Most people just list the clock speed and hyper threading as the differences. The i7 also as more on board cache which will help speed things up.

    Having said that, I think your best option may be the 3.2GHz i5 with the fusion drive and possibly upgrading to the the 680MX graphics.
     

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