i5 or i7 in relation to gaming

Discussion in 'iMac' started by tjaaa83, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. tjaaa83 macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2010
    Hi guys

    I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, and I also tried to search the forums, but couldn't find a clear answer.

    When you want to do some decent gaming on the iMac 27" - StarCraft 2, CoD MW2 and so forth..
    Does it then matter if you choose the i5 or i7 gaming performance-wise?

    Thanks for the help guys
  2. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    Please elaborate on "i5." If by i5 you mean i5 clarkdale, then you could probably get a couple more fps out of i5 lynnfield. The difference between i5 and i7 lynnfields, however, are nonexistent, when it comes to gaming.
  3. tjaaa83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2010
    It's the ones in the iMac 27" (newest model)

    Are both of those lynnfields?
  4. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    27 inch model can also accommodate an i5 Clarkdale, is the thing. Only the highest end 27 inch models use lynnfields.

    The last I've seen of the cpus, the current top gaming cpus are the extreme edition bloomfields, followed by the lynnfields. Regular bloomfields, clarkdales, high end amd cpus and core2duos are a bit lower in the rankings. I have not specifically seen benchmarks of the 3.6ghz i5 Clarkdales for gaming, however.

    Bottom line though, there is no difference in gaming performance between i5 and i7 lynnfields.
  5. tjaaa83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2010
    Guess I gotta figure out whether the cpu in the 27" iMac is clarkdale or lynnfield then :)

    Thanks a lot for your help man, really appreciate it :)
  6. juicedropsdeuce macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2010
    The OP and most normal people don't know a clarkville vs a lynndale.

    i5 quad vs i7 quad, mid 2010. Difference?

    i7quad 2009 vs i5 quad 2010. Difference?
  7. Tec972 macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2010
    Gaming performance is not going to matter between CPU's. GPU's are what makes the difference. If you are very serious about gaming then do it on a windows machine. From what I understand the iMac uses a mobility video card. If that is the case, they dont have nearly the same performance of their desktop equivalent models even though they have the same model number and memory. GPU's on desktop cards are more powerful.

    For example, an ATI Radeon 5870 and a ATI Radeon mobility 5870 do not perform the same.
  8. MacAndMic macrumors 6502

    Jun 4, 2009
    Clarksville is a Duo Core, Lynndale is a Quad Core.

    iMac offers both the i5 Duo Core and the i5 Quad Core.

    If you select the lower 27" model with the base price of $1,699.00 you will have the option to upgrade the processor to the i5. The i5 in this model is the Clarksville or Duo Core running at 3.60 Ghz.

    If you select the high end 27" model with a base price of $1,999.00 the default processor is a Lynndale or Quad Core i5 running at 2.80 Ghz. You also have the option of upgrading this system with the Lynndale Quad Core i7 at 2.93 Ghz.

    For ease of explanation, the difference between the Lynndale i5 and i7 is that the i7 also has hyper-threading which allows 2 processes to run at the same time on 1 core, ie, 8 total processes compared to the i5 Lynndale that can only run 4 processes.

    As for gaming, this is very subject. Here is a link to Tom's Hardware which does some benchmarking about cores and they do test out some games and it proves some interesting results. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/multi-core-cpu,2280.html

    Bottom line is that if a piece of software is designed to take advantage of multiple cores, it will always perform better on a chip that has more cores. There seems to be a belief in the gaming community that games do not benefit on multiple cores which if you visit the link above you will see is incorrect.

    If you dedicate 2-4 hours a day playing games and just want a good graphic experience, an iMac will satisfy you without question. On the other hand, if you were a competitive gamer who actually went for meets and competed for cash, you would want to be running the fastest multiple core processor you could get your hands on and have the machine decked with dual video cards which house the best current chip on the market.

    As for deciding on your purchase. It has already been written in this forum that the i7 proves to be the bang for the buck. If that is just out of the budget, consider getting the Quad Core i5. What if next year your favorite game decides to come out fully supporting multiple cores....you'd kick yourself in the butt for not buying the quad as you are now half as fast as you could have been.

    For the record, I am not a genius when it comes to this stuff, this is simply information I have gathered and this is how I understand it. If there is anything above that is not quite straight, the good people of this forum will quickly correct me. ;)

  9. Tec972 macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2010
    Troutspinner is absolutely correct. The article states there is a 25% advantage on going from 2-3 cores but no further advantage going from 3-4 in what they tested. However, there aren't too many games yet that are geared for taking advantage of 4 cores. Give it time. Obviously that will change in the future. But I still stand by what I wrote earlier. The GPU is the key in gaming. I also read an article on Tom's where they put up a cheap core i3 vs. the quad core i5 750 and the dual core i3 held up great because the GPU were taking the brunt of the punishment and I think the i3 had faster clock speed.

    But it really depends on how hardcore you are and what you are playing. If you are comparing the quad i5 vs. i7 i don't think you will see any gaming difference because once again those processors are pretty close and it would depend more on GPU performance. Of course in games that don't utilize more than two cores or hyperthreading you would be better off with dual core processors that have higher clock speeds.

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