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luf100

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 12, 2015
4
0
Ontario, Canada
Hello, new to the forum and kind of new to Apple.

I'm looking into buying a new iMac since the Windows PC I have now is definitely on its way out. I use an iMac at work and I fell in love with them (and I've been an iPhone user for a few years now), so that's what I want my next home computer to be.

I want to get the 21.5" iMac
2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
8GB (two 4GB) memory
1TB hard drive
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 1GB video memory

I really don't know much about the technical side of computers. I've done a little bit of research and decided to upgrade the RAM to 16GB, along with upgrading to the 1TB Fusion Drive.

My question is basically, should I spend the extra $200 and upgrade it to the i7 instead of the i5 too, or save that $200 for something else?

All I'll really be using it for is general use, some Photoshop (just photo editing) and gaming, and I want it to last a long time. Gaming is what I'm mainly worried about, I want to be able to play my games without any issues. Will the difference even be noticeable? From my research I've been leaning towards saving the $200 but figured I'd make the thread here to get some advice first.

This is the only decision stopping me from buying it, once I make up my mind on this I'll be ready.
 

zone23

macrumors 68000
May 10, 2012
1,986
793
You might do better to spend the $200 on upgrading to a SSD (solid state) drive depending on your space requirements.
 

kelon111

macrumors 6502
Mar 16, 2013
303
4
Hello, new to the forum and kind of new to Apple.

I'm looking into buying a new iMac since the Windows PC I have now is definitely on its way out. I use an iMac at work and I fell in love with them (and I've been an iPhone user for a few years now), so that's what I want my next home computer to be.

I want to get the 21.5" iMac
2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
8GB (two 4GB) memory
1TB hard drive
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 1GB video memory

I really don't know much about the technical side of computers. I've done a little bit of research and decided to upgrade the RAM to 16GB, along with upgrading to the 1TB Fusion Drive.

My question is basically, should I spend the extra $200 and upgrade it to the i7 instead of the i5 too, or save that $200 for something else?

All I'll really be using it for is general use, some Photoshop (just photo editing) and gaming, and I want it to last a long time. Gaming is what I'm mainly worried about, I want to be able to play my games without any issues. Will the difference even be noticeable? From my research I've been leaning towards saving the $200 but figured I'd make the thread here to get some advice first.

This is the only decision stopping me from buying it, once I make up my mind on this I'll be ready.

The i5 and i7 will perform about the same for most games.
If you do heavy video editing , the extra 4 threads from the i7 will make a huge difference though.

Based on your needs , it might make more sense to put some money towards an SSD.

If you want a computer for gaming , it might be in your best interest to not get a Mac though.

The Mac OS does not support Direct X so you would have to run most of your games in Windows and in addition to that the GPUs that Macs use are generally not optimal for gaming.
 
Last edited:

luf100

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 12, 2015
4
0
Ontario, Canada
The i5 and i7 will perform about the same for most games.
If you do heavy video editing , the extra 4 threads from the i7 will make a huge difference though.

Based on your needs , it might make more sense to put some money towards an SSD.

BTW the GT 750M is a pretty bad GPU for gaming.

I'm using a single OCed GTX 780 (desktop model) and I find it inadequate sometimes for gaming.

You might do better to spend the $200 on upgrading to a SSD (solid state) drive depending on your space requirements.

Well I'm not a huge gamer, as long as it's better than the computer I have now it should be fine, and anything is better than the computer I have now.

When you say SSD, that would be like, the 256GB flash storage instead of the Fusion drive? I really know nothing about all of this, but I have heard flash storage is faster.
 

kelon111

macrumors 6502
Mar 16, 2013
303
4
When you say SSD, that would be like, the 256GB flash storage instead of the Fusion drive? I really know nothing about all of this, but I have heard flash storage is faster.

Basically...

The 1 TB fusion drive has 128 GB of flash storage IIRC.
If you get a 256 GB SSD instead , you will have less storage but more things will run faster (like games).
 

Naimfan

Suspended
Jan 15, 2003
4,669
2,017
The i5 and i7 will perform about the same for most games.
If you do heavy video editing , the extra 4 threads from the i7 will make a huge difference though.

What extra 4 threads?

The i5 hyperthreads just as the i7 does.
 

kelon111

macrumors 6502
Mar 16, 2013
303
4
I don't think he realizes that the i5 in that iMac is a quad core.


A desktop i5 CPU only has 4 threads.
http://ark.intel.com/products/75044

An i7 has 8 threads.
http://ark.intel.com/products/75124

Both are quad core CPUs but the i7 has more threads.

If you check video encoding benchmarks , you would notice that a same gen desktop i5 vs i7 would result in the i7 winning due to the 4 extra threads.

Review:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7399/...3-review-iris-pro-driving-an-accurate-display
 
Last edited:

Naimfan

Suspended
Jan 15, 2003
4,669
2,017
I stand corrected - I thought the newer iMac i5 chips supported hyperthreading. Wrongly, as it turns out!

Thanks for the correction.
 

LudwigZildjian

macrumors member
Mar 12, 2015
49
4
NY
Hello, new to the forum and kind of new to Apple.

I'm looking into buying a new iMac since the Windows PC I have now is definitely on its way out. I use an iMac at work and I fell in love with them (and I've been an iPhone user for a few years now), so that's what I want my next home computer to be.

I want to get the 21.5" iMac
2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
8GB (two 4GB) memory
1TB hard drive
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 1GB video memory

I really don't know much about the technical side of computers. I've done a little bit of research and decided to upgrade the RAM to 16GB, along with upgrading to the 1TB Fusion Drive.

My question is basically, should I spend the extra $200 and upgrade it to the i7 instead of the i5 too, or save that $200 for something else?

All I'll really be using it for is general use, some Photoshop (just photo editing) and gaming, and I want it to last a long time. Gaming is what I'm mainly worried about, I want to be able to play my games without any issues. Will the difference even be noticeable? From my research I've been leaning towards saving the $200 but figured I'd make the thread here to get some advice first.

This is the only decision stopping me from buying it, once I make up my mind on this I'll be ready.

Hey, I say get the i7, because that can't be changed later.... Then, save for the extra RAM and SSD..... The i7 is more powerful than the i5. Just what I would do....
 

andy323

macrumors newbie
Mar 11, 2015
6
0
I'm kind of in the same boat as the OP. I want iMac for everyday use and photo editing in Lightroom and Photoshop. I've settled on the 21.5in with 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD but not sure to go i5 or i7.
 

theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
7,614
7,729
Hey, I say get the i7, because that can't be changed later.... Then, save for the extra RAM and SSD..... The i7 is more powerful than the i5. Just what I would do....

Thread starter is talking about the 21.5" iMac - Pretty sure that only the 27" iMac has the user-upgradable RAM. Upgrading the HD to SSD in an iMac is not for the faint hearted, either.

Personally, I'd make the SSD the first priority. Having a SSD as a system disc can show a huge speed up in general use, more noticeable than you'll get from a slightly faster processor. You'll have to settle for less storage space than you could afford with hard discs, but its easy and cheap to augment with external storage - which you'll want for backup anyway. You can live with a 256G system disc if you shunt your big media files off onto external storage.

Meanwhile, I'd get 16GB RAM for future-proofing if money permitted,
but unless you're photoshopping huge high-res images or running multiple virtual machines, 8GB RAM seems quite adequate (and if you do run out of RAM it means that OS X will start swapping memory out to disc - having an SSD will help there, too).

I'd prioritise:

1. 256GB SSD
2. 512GB SSD
3. i7
4. 16GB RAM
5. 1TB SSD

...although I'd also go for the 27" so the RAM could be a later upgrade.
 
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