i7 Necessary for CAD, Illustrator, and Photoshop?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by deem, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. deem, Apr 20, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012

    deem macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    I'm about to purchase my first iMac, and I wanted to get some input before ordering. I cannot wait for the refresh to happen because I need the machine within a week, so I will be buying the current model. I am going to use it for photoshop, illustrator, some CAD programs (mostly to design skis), and general web browsing and office use. I've gone through many threads on here and it seems to come down to the i5 with 1GB vram or the i7 with 1GB vram. My main question is whether it is worth the extra $200 to upgrade to the i7? I understand it's only an additional $200 when I'm already spending 1800 (refurbished), but I don't want to spend $200 more if it isn't worth it for my purposes. So, what do you all think? Will my usage take advantage of the i7?

    Thanks for any input.

    Note: I will be upgrading the RAM to 12 GB total once I receive the iMac
    -----------------------
    UPDATED: I wised up and bought the i7. I'm really looking forward to using it.
     
  2. AcesHigh87 macrumors 6502a

    AcesHigh87

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    #2
    No use offering an opinion now since you bought it but to out in my 2 cents anyway:

    Chances are, for your needs and with the extra RAM, an i5 would have done the job. With that said however, a stronger processor never hurts, especially since it can’t be updated later. It will make tough processing seem snappier and, in the end, will add to the future re-sell value of your computer.
     
  3. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    General rule of thumb is to buy the highest spec Mac you can afford (save RAM) as it should last longer.
     
  4. MacAndMic macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2009
    #4
    Good choice on the i7. The i5 would have done the job but as an every day CAD user, it's nice to have the extra cores for multitasking.
     
  5. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    #5
    Totally incorrect statement!!!! The only thing a higher spec machine will possibly do is increase resale value and possibly add a couple of degrees of application expandability down the road. Lasting longer.....hogwash!
     
  6. KingJosh macrumors 6502

    KingJosh

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Location:
    Australia
    #6
    how is future software being able to run on the i7 instead of i5 hogwash?
     
  7. bushman4 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    #7
    Running CS5.5 and have a 3.1 2011 IMAC I5 . Upgraded to 12GB Ram. Programs run great. Also have an SSD which is probably more valuable than having an I7. Yes the cost is greater, however if you are using this for business or commercial use it is a great asset.
    Having an I7 will definately add to performance but is not a must.
     
  8. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #8
    I remember commenting on that in a different discussion soem time ago. Basically, if a software is too slow to run properly on the i5, it will be also too slow to run properly on the i7. The difference between these CPUs is not that big.

    The i7 is about getting few more seconds out of your workflow NOW and not about future-proofing. Trying to future-proof that way is like getting a car with more powerful engine for "future proofing".
     
  9. KingJosh macrumors 6502

    KingJosh

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Location:
    Australia
    #9
    interesting. Thanks
     
  10. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    #10
    I hope you enjoy the i7. One question, why upgrade to 12 GB RAM? I use Illustrator a lot and it benefits from as much RAM as possible. Why not 16 GB?
     
  11. thuchu1 macrumors regular

    thuchu1

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Location:
    Auburn Hills, MI
    #11
    That's a very unfair comparison. A bigger engine doesn't help because it's not like you're possibly going to need to go 200mph some day. A faster computer means it can keep up with more advanced applications later on.
     
  12. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #12
    But this is exactly what I am implying. The i7 is not really "faster". Sure, it is higher clocked and it has hyper-threading. But if you have an application which is too advanced for the i5 CPU to run properly, it will be also too advanced for the i7 as well. The future software will require a new generation of CPUs, not just a fast current gen chip.
     
  13. deem thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #13
    I thought about it, but it's twice as expensive. Additionally, most threads I read on which setup to get kept saying to just upgrade to 12. If it turns out not to be enough, then I can always add an additional 8 in later.

    So should I return the i7 and save $200? Like I said earlier, I'm ok with spending the extra $ if I will use the additional processing power, but if my needs won't take advantage of it, then it is a waste of my money.

    Thanks for all the feedback/discussion everyone. I know I already ordered it, but I can always return it (especially if it saves me $200).
     
  14. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    #14
    I guess you are just filling the empty slots with 4 GB, leaving the supplied 2 GB in the others. Makes sense.

    A friend went for an i7 iMac on a previous generation and never regretted it.
     
  15. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #15
    It depends on what you want to do. Both i5 and i7 are excellent CPUs and they will be able to adequately run software for years to come. The i7 will save you few seconds on some renders/filters. If you are a professional and make your money using CPU-intensive applications (like heavy-duty photoshop filter usage etc.), the i7 will allow you to process more images per hour = you could earn more money. So in the end its about the old question — what do you have more of: time or money?

    Myself, I went with the i7 because I run massive statistical simulations for my PhD very often and hyper-threading has noticeable speed benefits here. But its a very niche application.
     
  16. estrides macrumors regular

    estrides

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2012
    Location:
    New York
    #16
    Good choice on the i7! 12gb of RAM is PLENTY!

    And also, I havent been part of the community very long, but you guys bicker and insult each other way too much. Its the internet, just let it go.

    Anyway, OP..good buy, especially for the price!
     

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