Hyperthreading and i7 worth it?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by evanavevan, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. evanavevan macrumors member


    Jun 24, 2010
    Considering an iMac upgrade, and not sure if going for the i7 and Hyperthreading would be worth it for me. It probably won't but I figured I'd throw it out there.

    My workflow is fairly basic, primarily word processing and browsing. I typically have 3 browser windows open with maybe 40 tabs total, and a slew of other basic apps open all the time. Nothing particularly processor intensive going on, and no large files that I'm really working with.

    However, I do also always have a Windows 7 virtual machine (VMware Fusion) running at all times, which is the only place I feel like more power would help.

    Probably a silly question and I'm sure it's dumb to even consider. Thoughts?
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    The i5 will be more than enough even with VM usage.
    Hyperthreading only comes into play during CPU intensive tasks and if the applications can actually take advantage of those virtual cores.

    While I now have a desktop i7 quad core CPU, I barely see any CPU usage at all unless I do something processor intensive, but then again, many applications are not ready yet for hyper threading, especially Compressor (HandBrake is faster due to being ready for that).

    Anyway, to not indulge into to much self love for my new gear, an i5 is more than sufficient for your stated needs.
  3. jpmorais macrumors member

    Mar 9, 2013
    CT, USA
    Do you need it? doesn't seem like it. But buy it if you have the money, just do it for future proof.

    But if you getting the 27 and money is tight, i would get the GPU upgrade over the processor, i would say the GPU 680MX its the most important update for future proof. more and more apps are starting to use GPU acceleration.

    i work with video and I7 is a must!!
  4. Andrew*Debbie macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2010
    North Wales, United Kingdom
    For what you are doing an i7 is not of any use.

    Spend the money on some other upgrade or save it for something besides the computer.

    The 680MX upgrade is worth it if you are a dedicated gamer or do a lot of work with Video. Other apps like Photoshop will take advantage of 680MX for processing but the speed up isn't large enough to matter unless you are batch processing.

    Otherwise the 675MX is fine. The performance difference between the 675MX and 680MX isn't all that large.

    For your use, my first suggestion would be the fusion drive. Since you have a lot open at the same time, extra RAM could be helpful too. With the faster launch times a fusion drive gives, you may find you don't need to keep apps running.
  5. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Be wary of the misinformation regarding i7 advantages. I'm on my second i7 iMac and it does make a difference over time. Regardless of your work load today, the i7 series of CPU consistently performs faster than the i5 series.

    One erroneous point that continues to come up is the myth that if you don't have software that is coded for hyperthreading then the virtual cores are useless. This is not true. OS X is capable of hyperthreading and will make use of virtual cores as system load increases. I use VMs as well, having additional cores (even if virtual) does make a difference in providing the smoothest user experience. It is noticeable in overall system responsiveness.

    If absolute cost is your priority, definitely consider the i5, its no slouch. If performance and longevity are your priority, definitely go with the i7. My 2009 i7 is still a very fast and responsive machine (gaming and heavy app loading), I'll probably squeeze at least another 2-3 years out of it easily.
  6. orangezorki macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2006
    The impression I get is that you multitask heavily, but don't do much heavy lifting in terms of CPU tasks - basically very similar to most users who don't render graphics or video, and love to take advantage of many of their apps at once.

    The i7 is little more than a very small bump in clock speed, more intelligent managing of threads - it _does_not_double_the_number_of_cores, and a bit more cache. The stats I have seen suggest a 15% or so boost for hyperthreading, and only when you have enough major threads for it to matter. If you game, a better graphics card is far more important. For everything else, more RAM and faster storage (SSD/Fusion) will make a much bigger difference. Frankly, who cares about an occasional major task like encoding something taking a few more minutes. Waiting a couple of seconds more every time you launch an app, or encroaching on virtual memory is far more annoying. Sure, get the i7, but only after the upgrades mentioned above.

  7. Arfdog macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2013
    I agree with the post above. I took benchmarks found online and put it together here in this chart.

    Attached Files:

  8. evanavevan thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 24, 2010
    Thanks for the input, all. Seems like my money's best spent on maybe going all out with a Flash drive.
  9. orangezorki macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2006
    If you don't mind the price, that seems like the best upgrade for your needs. If you don't stress the GPU and don't have music or photo libraries over 500Gb, that is.


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