i5 or i7 - can't decide!

discofuel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 21, 2010
257
0
I've been doing lots of research into whether to go for the i5 or i7 iMac.

I'll be using mainly audio applications (Logic, Pro Tools etc) and I've read that currently hyperthreading on the i7 actually hinders performance with those particular software packages.

However, I assume it's likely that they'll support hyperthreading pretty soon though? Will the performance increase of the i7 be worth the $200 or should I go for the i5?

I guess in a couple of months the i7 cpu on it's own will be around $200 so could I upgrade later in I wanted?
 

Performance increases are usually about 10-15% with the i7. I never heard of it hindering performance on those apps. But, Logic was just updated to 64 bit and i assume it's multi threaded. If your research talks about the most recent version of logic that just came out... another one supporting hyperthreading isn't coming soon. If you are keeping this machine for more than 2 years, I highly suggest getting the i7 if you are willing to pay for it.
 

Digital Skunk

macrumors 604
Dec 23, 2006
7,750
354
In my imagination
I am no audio guy, but if you have to encode a lot of information, or do any processor intensive task for hours at a time, like rendering HD footage or decoding a DVD in Handbrake then go for the i7.

OR, if you want the i7 to squeeze out that little bit of extra power since you can't do too much upgrading then go for it.

I do know that Logic and other audio apps are RAM intensive, so maxing out the RAM would be a better choice for the here and now.
 

unixfool

macrumors 6502a
Jan 21, 2006
605
0
Northern VA
I've been doing lots of research into whether to go for the i5 or i7 iMac.

I'll be using mainly audio applications (Logic, Pro Tools etc) and I've read that currently hyperthreading on the i7 actually hinders performance with those particular software packages.

However, I assume it's likely that they'll support hyperthreading pretty soon though? Will the performance increase of the i7 be worth the $200 or should I go for the i5?

I guess in a couple of months the i7 cpu on it's own will be around $200 so could I upgrade later in I wanted?
There is not much of a monetary difference between the two, IMO. The reason I didn't go i5 was because it was either that or Applecare, not both. Sure I could hold off on Applecare for a year, but there are times in my life that I forget to do important things...more than likely, I would've forgotten to get Applecare before the year was up. So, I got Applecare and not i5.

Your decision depends on what you want and how much leeway you have with your spending. If $200 isn't much of an issue, go i7. If it is, go i5...either way, you're getting a great computer.
 

Badger^2

macrumors 68000
Oct 29, 2009
1,962
2
Sacramento
For me, the i5 is $1850 AR at macconnection, no tax, free shipping

i7 is $2200 -- so more of a $350 difference...
 

swee5420

macrumors member
Feb 10, 2010
58
0
You cant upgrade you processor.

yes for i7 if you are constantly using critical application (3d, video type). But so far i dont see logic pro is going to support HT, there will be just slightly different between i5 and i7 in term of speed. I also use logic pro, but i opt to i5.

Conclusion, if 350 is a small matter for you then i7, but since you ask in the forum, so i doubted that. Meaning that i5 is more suitable for you.
 

Raima

macrumors 6502
Jan 21, 2010
397
7
Logic Pro would probably release a patch to support hyper threading or increase it's performance on the i7. They'd be crazy not to get this resolved.
 

discofuel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 21, 2010
257
0
Thanks for the replies.

I'm going to buy from the Apple store as after the educational discount and the free printer rebate Mac Connection is barely any cheaper. Plus I'd prefer to deal with Apple if I need to replace for any reason (e.g. yellow tint!)

I intend to keep the computer as long as it lasts me - I'll only need to replace it when I start maxing out the cpu. With edu discount it actually works out at $180 more to get the i7 so could be worth it... although I could use this to buy another 4gb of ram instead.

If Logic/Pro Tools release new versions that support hyperthreading, will the i7 offer a dramatic performance increase?
 

unixfool

macrumors 6502a
Jan 21, 2006
605
0
Northern VA
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discofuel said:
MC is an authorized reseller, you deal with apple direct
But if I needed a replacement, surely I would have to organise this through Mac Connection, rather than Apple shipping me a new machine?
You would deal directly with Apple. Sorta like buying an iPhone that eventually has hardware issues and going to Apple to get another phone...although you could deal with where you purchased it from also.
 

hummer28

macrumors member
Aug 6, 2008
72
8
I've been doing lots of research into whether to go for the i5 or i7 iMac.

I'll be using mainly audio applications (Logic, Pro Tools etc) and I've read that currently hyperthreading on the i7 actually hinders performance with those particular software packages.

However, I assume it's likely that they'll support hyperthreading pretty soon though? Will the performance increase of the i7 be worth the $200 or should I go for the i5?

I guess in a couple of months the i7 cpu on it's own will be around $200 so could I upgrade later in I wanted?
I would strongly recommend you consider purchasing a refurb i7 from Apple. It's been appearing almost daily for around $1849 + tax.
 

knewsom

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2005
949
0
Another thing to consider about the i7 is resale value. In several years' time, nearly all processors will be hyper-threaded; when you decide to sell this badboy, you're sure to get at least half back extra from what you spent on the upgrade in the first place. You may get the FULL cost of the upgrade back when you sell it, compared to the i5 model. Certainly something to consider.

And agreed about RAM - buy the stuff off amazon or wherever and install yourself. MUCHO easy.
 

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,703
266
Oregon
Sorry, hyperthreading is mainly a joke. I've been using hyperthreaded Pentium 4's on PCs, and at one time had a dual Xeon workstation with hyperthreading. It did, indeed, run slower with hyperthreading turned on.

But the reason was that the operating system did not differentiate between a real core and a virtual, hyperthread core so if there were two tasks it could easily assign them to a real core and its hyperthread "core" rather than to the second processor. A hyperthread "core" is worth at best about 30% additional performance over the processor core running with hyperthreading disabled.

That said, OS X knows the difference and will assign to physical cores first, so with 4 or fewer running threads all four cores will be used in the i5 or i7 iMacs, and only with 5 or more threads will the hyperthread "cores" be utilized, giving a further but not 2x boost. So don't be concerned about hyperthreading slowing things down, but don't expect it to be a major performance boost either. Frankly, with the i7 iMac CPU performance isn't going to be the bottleneck. For me it could use faster or more drives (internal RAID0 drives and/or an ESATA port) before more or faster cores.
 

discofuel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 21, 2010
257
0
And what about power consumption? I heard the i7 gets a lot hotter and therefore the fans can you be noisy, obviously not ideal for recording?

How loud are they? Would the i5 be quieter?