If I wait for Broadwell what do I gain?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by B.A.T, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. B.A.T macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2009
    I currently have a 2010 27" iMac:
    2.93 GHz i7
    12GBs ram
    256 GB SSD (O/S and programs)
    2TB hard drive (storage)

    all work was done by Apple authorized third party store and Apple Care is good until August of this year (I bought this new in 2011 from MacMall after Sandy Bridge iMacs came out).

    I have the option of selling now on eBay and upgrading to top of the line 2013 model or waiting. If I wait there won't be any Apple Care when I sell the 2010 iMac but in theory I will have a newer/faster/better iMac than current models. The question is how much better than the current version and is it worth waiting?

    I use FCP, Aperture and Photoshop a fair amount. I also use Quicktime Pro to create time lapse videos. I'm not concerned about Thunderbolt 2. I would appreciate any and all opinions on this.

    One last question. What comes after Broadwell and what if any knowledge is known about that generation of CPUs?
  2. Truthfulie macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2013
    Main focus of Broadwell is still power consumption just like Haswell. Desktop side of things, you won't gain much in terms of computing power. Considering Haswell chipset refresh is planned for second half of this year, Broadwell will most likely come next year. Significant update will come with Skylake after Broadwell when DDR4 RAM will finally hit the mainstream market. I'd say the wait isn't worth your time especially if you aren't concerned about Thunderbolt 2.
  3. B.A.T thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2009
    That's pretty much what I have been thinking.

    I forgot to mention that the new screen is a huge selling point for me.
  4. Kariya macrumors 68000


    Nov 3, 2010
    Most of Broadwell's benefit comes in mobile and not desktop. So very little to be gained. Except TB2 as mentioned above...and maybe Nvidia's Maxwell GPU architecture.
  5. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    I do a lot of time lapse work, mostly on Windows with Premiere Pro CS6, although I have a 2013 iMac with FCP X. As you know time lapse can be extremely demanding from a CPU and I/O standpoint if generated from full-res stills.

    You would be very happy with a max'd out 2013 iMac (what I have). Broadwell is a die shrink of Haswell, which means the micro-architecture is unchanged. There should be no change in "instructions per cycle" efficiency. Typically a die shrink results in a somewhat higher clock rate, but due to thermal factors clock rates have not increased much in recent years.

    A 2013 iMac with 3.5Ghz i7 and PCIe SSD would be noticeably faster than your current iMac. Broadwell probably won't be released until 2015; if so this year's iMac update won't have it. That said if you can live until the iMac update later this year, why not wait for that.
  6. magamo macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2009
    Broadwell is the next "tick" of Intel's tick-tock model, which suggests that to the average desktop user most likely it will not be that big of an improvement over Haswell. About successors like Skylake that will come after Broadwell, as far as I know, there isn't much information available to the public, so it may or may not be worth the wait.

    To give a rough idea how much improvement you might see by going with a newer CPC, the 17" Macbook Pro I bought in 2009 (which has only 2 cores and doesn't support hyper-threading) works ok, if noticeably slower sometimes, even compared to my 2013 iMac with Core i7 4771 (which is currently the best non-overclocking, consumer level CPU) as far as single-threaded tasks go. I also have 2010 17" Macbook Pro, which is still dual-core but supports hyper-threading (I think it's i7 640M), and I see fairly large speedups on my 2013 iMac against this laptop CPU only when I do casual Monte Carlo simulations and other naturally multi-threaded computing before I have to throw a job at a cluster. In such an ideal situation where I can directly benefit from the newer CPU, a job that would take a few days to finish on my old Macbook can be done in a day on the latest iMac. But the point is that more than half the speed benefit is simply because of the increased number of physical and logical cores; with more cores, I can run more threads parallel at the same time, which in your case isn't a factor because you're coming from a quad-core CPU with hyper-threading. There will be a minor speedup, which you may or may not notice, due to better overall performance, though.

    So, I tend to doubt that whether Haswell or Broadwell alone is a major deciding factor about when to replace your iMac unless you know what you're doing with your computer and are perfectly sure that what you need is the probably-not-spectacular improvement on CPU performance. Either way, the major benefit of waiting more doesn't seem like a better CPU; it would be more like possible major updates in form factor, monitor, etc.
  7. B.A.T thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2009
    Very good points everybody and I thank you for your advice. I've decided to take the plunge and upgrade for three reasons.

    1) Thunderbolt will allow me to run one Raid instead of swapping around multiple
    usb 2.0 hard drives.
    2) The screen has 75% less glare and it is an issue in my office at times.
    3) Better cpu performance (although it won't be a huge gain but it helps).
    4) Better video card.

    Now it's time to keep checking the refurb store.
  8. Tanax macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden
    The preview of the new Maxwell GPU looks like it will be noticebly better performance than Kepler so that's definitely a big selling point for many since they want better graphics performance in the iMac.
  9. quagmire macrumors 603


    Apr 19, 2004
    Right now the only confirmed Maxwell GPU suitable for the iMac is the 860M. The 870M/880M look like to be sticking with Kepler.
  10. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    There is no guarantee that Nvidia GPUs will be in the next iMac design iteration. Maxwell's TDP drops without much performance loss are probably attractive to Apple, but Nvidia's slacking on OpenCL 1.2 support probably is not ( https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic/671157/geforce-drivers/open-cl-support-in-nvidia-drivers/ ).

    Perhaps they are saving all of their OpenCL efforts purely for future OS X projects but they are not scoring points with their overall OpenCL efforts of late. Intel and AMD have outpaced them at this point. Apple has already tossed Nvidia out of the lowest end iMac. They can be tossed from the rest also.


    Parts of the Haswell refresh are already rolling out. It doesn't make much sense at all for Intel to delay the Haswell refresh for as long as possible. Yes, much of Broadwell is sliding into 2015, but to execute the refresh just a quarter away from Broadwell would be an extremely bad tactic. "Here is a refresh but if just wait 3 months the newer stuff will be here.". Classic Osborne effect.

    The refresh roll-out should be done before the 2H '14.

    The iMac 2014 has a good chance of missing any Broadwell activity in late 2014. The 2014 iMac would pick up a CPU+GPU that had already been rolled-out in 2H '14.

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