i5 of i7 for new iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by luf100, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. luf100 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2015
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #1
    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.
     
  2. zone23 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    #2
    You might do better to spend the $200 on upgrading to a SSD (solid state) drive depending on your space requirements.
     
  3. kelon111, Mar 13, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015

    kelon111 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2013
    #3
    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.
     
  4. luf100 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 12, 2015
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #4
    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.
     
  5. kelon111 macrumors 6502

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    Mar 16, 2013
    #5
    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).
     
  6. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a

    z31fanatic

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    Location:
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    #6
    If I were you, I would upgrade to 16 GB RAM and the 256GB SSD.
     
  7. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #7
    What extra 4 threads?

    The i5 hyperthreads just as the i7 does.
     
  8. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a

    z31fanatic

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    #8
    I don't think he realizes that the i5 in that iMac is a quad core.
     
  9. kelon111, Mar 14, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015

    kelon111 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2013
    #9

    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
     
  10. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #10
    I stand corrected - I thought the newer iMac i5 chips supported hyperthreading. Wrongly, as it turns out!

    Thanks for the correction.
     
  11. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a

    z31fanatic

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    #11
  12. LudwigZildjian macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2015
    Location:
    NY
    #12
    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....
     
  13. andy323 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2015
    #13
    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.
     
  14. theluggage macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #14
    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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