i5 vs. i7 iMac for Aperture

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by tirerim, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. tirerim macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2006
    I'm planning to finally get a new desktop in the near future to replace my aging G5, and it's almost certain to be a 27" iMac. The only serious question in my mind is which processor to get, given that the resource intensive application on this machine is going to be Aperture? My library is currently around 250 GB and growing, containing a mixture of 10 megapixel RAW files and 23 megapixel PNGs (I also have a film scanner), and it's not unusual for me to import several GB of images at a time, and then do a bunch of editing.

    For most things, my inclination would be to go with the low end model. In particular, paying $300 for a 15% clock speed bump (3.1 GHz versus 2.7 GHz) seems like it's probably not a great deal. But for $500 above the base model, there's the i7, with hyperthreading, which could potentially make a much bigger difference.

    The numbers here suggest that I'd only see about a 10% difference in performance between the low end and high end models, which means I should save my money for an SSD (which I plan on getting once they and Thunderbolt enclosures for them get a bit cheaper -- I expect that in a year or two that will be a lot less expensive than the current Apple option). But I'm still curious to hear other people's thoughts and experiences, since those numbers are just one specific test.

    The only other question is whether to upgrade the HDD from 1 TB to 2 TB. Again, ordinarily I would stick with the base option and upgrade later when I actually need the space, but given how annoying the current iMacs reportedly are to open up, I'm not going to want to do that. I could probably just use ThunderBolt for that, too, though, since I probably won't need the extra space for another few years; the major question is how much is it worth not to have extra things cluttering up my desk.
  2. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    There's a recent discussion here on the merits of different hardware when it comes to Aperture. It's probably relevant to your decision and worth reading.

    I recon that you wouldn't get anything extra out of the i7 with Aperture. Aperture is not very multi-threaded so the hyperthreading benefits of the i7 will be lost on it. Spend the extra money on RAM and an SSD instead.

    I would buy as much internal storage as you can afford. As you point out, it's not easy to upgrade later.
  3. whodareswins macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2011
    I'm not too sure on the processor side of things, although I would think you wouldn't see a huge difference.

    But I would highly suggest you get the standard 4gb model and then purchase an extra 8gb of RAM. You would then have 12gb of RAM in total and that should make the biggest difference. Aperture is very RAM hungry. I need to do this on mine.
  4. Keleko macrumors 68000

    Mar 26, 2008
    This is what I did. I got the i5 with 4GB and purchased an extra 8GB to get up to 12GB. It sure is nice having enough RAM to run Aperture AND Photoshop at the same time. I don't think an i7 would have made any difference with how I use my iMac.
  5. IllegalFun macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2011
    Similar Situation!

    I am in a similar situation...
    I am also looking at the 27" 2.7Ghz model or the 21.5" depending on space! :(
    (I did consider the faster processors, but cost became an issue, as well as the performance gains, or lack thereof!)

    I guess I came to the same conclusion as the others, which is to upgrade the RAM and to look at getting SSD's...

    I am planning to get the 2.7Ghz model and put in 8Gb of RAM from Crucial...
    I decided against an SSD as apparently they still have problems, although the problem of changing the HDD is annoying! :mad:

    I also intend on getting an external storage device to have 2 HDD's for a RAID Mirror for keeping my files on when I am not working with them to keep the main HDD for the OS and apps to keep it running faster... ;)

    The RAID will be supplemented by a portable HDD that I will carry with me at all times to keep a (sort of) off site backup! :D

    As someone pointed out to me on another forum, was that you can't change the Processor or HDD, but you can add RAM and external HDD's, which means you can buy a decent processor and maybe put in an SSD, and then add eternal storage and RAM later!

    I hope I haven't wittered on too long, and hopefully I have helped in some way... :p

  6. Tiggs macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2011
    Don't think worth the difference but would keep an eye on the apple refurb store. Have had good luck buying problem-free machines from there for a nice discount.
  7. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    I have an i5 with 8GB of Ram. Aperture is miles better compared to my old machine (core2duo) but I want the SSd.
  8. jji7skyline macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    If you possibly can, get the i7.

    It's the obvious choice really :)

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