i7 or i5 with SSD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Freppy, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. Freppy macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2012

    I decided to buy the 2012 iMac when it comes out. It is going to be my first ever Mac.

    I would love to hear your tips on which specifications would suite best for me.

    I use my computer for Media Consumtion, Browsng, Organising, Office/iWork, a little bit of Gaming, and other everyday stuff. I am not a big photo or video editor.

    So where should I invest my money? Should I go for the Core i7 or the Core i5 with an SSD if I want a speedy computer for everyday tasks? Core i7 plus the SSD is too expensive for me.

    I will upgrade the ram by myself to 12 gigs or so. :)

    Thank you for your help.
  2. DanPosMaytee macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2012
    Preston, England.
    Whilst not owning a mac myself yet (hoping to get the refresh too) I have loitered on this board for a while now and from what I understand your needs don't seem to require an SSD. Unless you have the money and they come down in price with the refresh.

    If it's either or, I'd go for the i7 over the SSD, because light gaming will more than likely benefit more from having a better processor than an SSD, other than loading times and texture loading (for example a lot of new games "stream" textures from the HDD when needed, so in that sense a SSD would be better, but not worth the money really just for that feature).

    Of course some more experience user will probably come along and shoot down my advice but that's just what I have gotten from forum loitering aha.
  3. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    This is a tough question to answer.

    One reason it's tough is that we have no idea what the offered base configurations for the iMacs will be when the Ivy Bridge models are available.

    We also have no idea what the CTO options will cost. Those tend to change with new model releases.

    You need to decide what screen size you want and that is personal preference. That will then tell you what processor options you have.

    The available graphics options may affect your decision based on what gaming you do.

    Also, how much disk space will your media consumption need?

    It actually depends on what is meant by light gaming. For the stated usages, I'm not sure the person would benefit much from an SSD except at boot time, unless the gaming reads from the disk a lot.

    Again, until we see what is actually released, giving advice can't be more than very general.
  4. firemedicmark macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2005
  5. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    If you do just a little gaming I don't think you're gonna need the fastest processor or even the SSD. Better to use the money for a bigger HD, maybe an external, the RAM and a second monitor.

    But they're right. Ask again when the specs are out. Since you will be limited to a few choices no point in speculating too much.

  6. kirkster501 macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2011
    Nottingham, UK
    I have two PC's, one with i5 and another with i7, pretty much identical other than that. Hard pressed to tell the difference between i7 and i5 in 99% of use situations. Only time you notice a [marginal] difference is encoding large volumes of video with video editor software. And even then, only abut 30% faster. Big deal - go and make a coffee.......

    I was in the same boat as you. I am going for the i5 iMac when refresh comes.

    My 2c, hope it helps.
  7. Murtagh macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2012
    There is ZERO difference between an i5 and i7 UNLESS the applications you use support hyperthreading. Most applications don't even support hyperthreading yet so you would see an overall quicker iMac if you had a SSD.
  8. ChromeCloud macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2009
    Go for core i5 + SSD. You are only going to notice the difference in cpu speed if you do something that's really cpu intensive.

    None of the uses you listed are going to be cpu intensive and for most of them the cpu will simply sit idle for long chunks of time waiting to be fed data from the drive.
  9. throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Depends how much storage you need.

    And plenty of apps support hyper threading, handbrake for example will peg all 8 virtual cores on my i7 mbp no problem at all. As will a folder action video conversion, etc.

    I agree a SSD will likely make more difference for most people in general use than an i7 - but to claim that nothing will use an i7 is crap.
  10. boy-better-know macrumors 65816


    Jun 30, 2010
    With regard to an SSD, I have been using a 2011 Air on its own for the past 6 months whilst I wait for the new iMac, and with how quick it is at booting and simple tasks, I think it would be annoying going back to a moving parts HD.
    Saying that, I do hope SSD prices come down a bit for the next revision.
  11. skinny*k macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2011
    My early "09 iMac died in December, and I've been limping along with my MBA, too, waiting. I don't expect Apples drive prices to go down, but capacity to go up. I won't pay Apple's price for the current SSD offerings.
  12. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Go i5+SSD, it will surely 'feel' faster. The i7 will save you few seconds on video encoding and similar tasks, but that's about it. Your usage profile does not seem to benefit much from a faster CPU.
  13. skuid87 macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2012
    While I agree that i5 & SSD will 'feel' faster and nippier, my advice would still be to go for the i7.

    My rule when buying ANY computer is to always max out the processor.

    It's a better long term decision. You won't be able to upgrade/replace the processor easily at a later stage. But the SSD is an upgrade that can always be made at a later date. Same with RAM etc.

    Also, SSD prices are coming down at a steady rate. Might be out of reach today but if you give it some time, I believe they will become MUCH more affordable.

    My 2 cents.
  14. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    I have troubles following your reasoning. An SSD will clearly improve the quality of the experience with the computer. A marginally faster CPU will not. Adding an SSD to the iMac is a complicated, potentially dangerous and/or expensive upgrade. The only benefit of the i7 that it will probably do slightly better with some theoretical future (tm) software which requires more processing power - but as I stated in a different thread, if generic software reaches a point when the i5 is too slow for it, the current i7 won't help - such software would require a new generation of CPUs. The only real reason to get the i7 is when you often use software which actively benefits from faster CPU and multithreading, such as video encoding/image editing.
  15. skuid87 macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2012
    That's a fair rebuttal.

    I'm not denying that SSD is a brilliant upgrade/addition. I have installed one in my own iMac and I can't speak highly enough about it.

    My point was that the processor is not something that can be upgraded later. It's more an issue of longevity & future-proofing than it is about current/near future performance. When I brought my iMac almost 3 years ago, I had no idea I'd be editing DSLR Video using Final Cut Pro. But that's what I'm doing now and boy am I glad I went with i7!!!

    I take your point about opening up the iMac, I suppose it partly comes down to your level of comfort/skill when it comes to opening up your iMac. This will obviously differ between individuals.
  16. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Ok, this is a good reason, I agree. My only confusion is about people that buy fastest CPUs and believe that the future OSs/browsers will run much better on them :)
  17. philipma1957, May 3, 2012
    Last edited: May 3, 2012

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    WOULD this be acceptable to you

    http://oyendigital.com/hard-drives/store/U32-SSD-240-SL-MAC.html a mac usb3 ssd

    http://twelvesouth.com/products/backpack/ a back shelf

    IF THE 2012 iMac comes with USB3

    I would buy the 2 items above. I would put the biggest hard drive the biggest GPU and the fastest cpu.

    My reasoning is I can't change the cpu the GPU or the internal hdd so max them. I am pretty certain that an internal SSD from apple will be overpriced. I like the idea of adding ram on later and using the ssd/shelf I linked you to.

    I know that some people are form crazy and it is an all in one why hang on more gear?

    I would hang the ssd on. No one will see it.

    I would have a power cord ,a usb 3 wire and an internet cat 5 wire to manage I can live with that.
  18. chevalier433 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2011
    Go for the i7 Core and add later the ssd when you have the money as i did.If you buy i5 sure you would have better performance because of the ssd but you can't change the processor in the future.
  19. willcodejavafor macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2007
    Has the price on SSDs gone down anything since the 2011 iMac?
  20. lifeguard90 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 25, 2010
    how much actually performance side by side would an i7 vs i5 show for gaming and normal speed of app loading and boot?

    I think not significant but noticeable. I am currently debating the same points mentioned. Gotta wait till new model out
  21. chevalier433 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2011
    i7 Core supports Hyper Threading means add 4 extra virtuals cores so any app or game support it is way faster than i5 thats why i7 Core is future proof.Now,app loading and boot is only has to do with disk speed.
  22. iCFX macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2012
    Under your Desk
    No CPU is really "futureproof" this really goes down for PSUs mainly.

    Unless you are video editing or graphics the i7 will be simply waste of money. If you do casual work and don't need extra power, stick with i5.

    Futureproofing Your PC - Dispelling Some of the Myths NCIX Tech Tips
  23. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010

    you basically do nothing on the computer. you definitely don't need an i7 or even an SSD drive. you are not going to notice any real difference in the menial tasks you've mentioned. hell, you don't even need to upgrade to 12 gb of ram. what are you going to even use that for?

    do not confuse 'future proofing' with people who are insecure with not buying top end hardware all of the time.
  24. chevalier433 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2011
    Futureproof i mean 5 years not 10.I have my iMac mid-2010 i7 about two years i use it professionally and certainly it will last 2-3 years more.
    I believe even if will not be a pro user this processor worth the little extra cash.
  25. gwelmarten macrumors 6502

    Jan 17, 2011
    If your getting the SSD, you won't have the bottle next that you get from a standard HDD, so you will really notice that extra CPU speed.

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