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iMac 2011 Sandy Bridge CPU vs iMac 2010 CPU Summary Charts

theSeb

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 10, 2010
7,299
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Poole, England
I believe that this is the correct line-up of the CPU models for each of the iMacs in the 2011 refresh. It may be useful with all of the questions floating around.

Please let me know if I've got anything wrong.



iMac 2011 Benchmarks

The figures are time taken in seconds. Lower is better.




iMac 2010 Benchmarks for comparison

Please note that I was not able to find comparative benchmarks for the exact same processors in all instances so I used similar chips and have indicated as such. It will still give an "indication" of performance for simple comparisons.



Benchmarks are from http://www.tomshardware.com

Benchmark Explanations

Audio Encoding: iTunes 9.0.3.15 (wav to aac Audio) - encoding Terminator II soundtrack from wav to AAC

Image Processing: Adobe Photoshop CS 5: Applying 6 filters to a 69 MB TIF image

Handbrake transcode time (mpeg 2 to H.264) : Big Buck Bunny (720x480, 23.972 frames) 5 min., Audio: Dolby Digital, 48000 Hz, 6-Channel, English to Video: AVC1 Audio1: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)

Image Rendering: 3DS Max 2010: Render space flyby 1440 x 1080

Charts









Note: These comparisons are based on pure cpu power and do not account for any other differences in the model line-up. They also do not account for any CPU throttling that Apple may, or may not, have applied.
 
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theSeb

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 10, 2010
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Q: Can the 2011 27" iMac drive two displays?
A: Yes, it can according to David Moody, Apple's vice president of hardware product marketing

What's the difference between 1GB DDR5 GPU RAM or 2GB?
The difference is 1 GB. 2-1 = 1

I'm going to be playing games like Black Ops ALOT, so I want to know if GPU RAM makes a difference and for what. Thanks!

Before an image is displayed it is loaded into the VRAM and then converted to be sent to the display. Video Ram is faster than your normal RAM, so the more there is of it, the merrier, especially if you're playing games on high resolutions with large texture files and trickery like anti-aliasing. These textures can be loaded entirely into the video RAM and manipulated by your graphics card before being displayed.

More = better.


Q: Does the iMac 2011 have Target display mode

A: Yes and no. Apparently this only works with other TB equipped Macs (i.e. 2011 MBP)
 
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Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
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Finland
I think the overclock multipliers are wrong because iMacs do not use K-series CPUs and thus the multiplier is locked. You wouldn't be able to OC it anyway so that might just add confusion.
 
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theSeb

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 10, 2010
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I think the overclock multipliers are wrong because iMacs do not use K-series CPUs and thus the multiplier is locked. You wouldn't be able to OC it anyway so that might just add confusion.

Definitely non K CPUs so I'll remove that column.
 
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KennyKW

macrumors newbie
Apr 3, 2011
16
0
I am confused, so which i5 to go, the 2.7GHz or the 3.1GHz? As the 2.7GHz seems to be faster in Turbo mode. And what is TDP?
 
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opera57

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2009
295
0
Very helpful :) thanks!
Pretty awesome that 2 external monitors can be used!
 
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Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
I am confused, so which i5 to go, the 2.7GHz or the 3.1GHz? As the 2.7GHz seems to be faster in Turbo mode.

Unless you want/need the better GPU, just go with the 2.7GHz. Turbo makes the difference smaller and in real world the difference is probably negligible.

And what is TDP?

Thermal Design Power. It's a number that tells you how hot and how much power the chip needs. Not something that you should worry about though.
 
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theSeb

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Aug 10, 2010
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Which iMac 27"

2.7 i5 Intel Core i5-2500S vs 3.1 i5 Intel Core i5-2400

The 2.7 i5 has a higher turbo speed than the 3.1!! Should I get that one?

It depends and let's forget about the better graphics card in 3.1 i5 for a moment. Despite the higher max turbo speed of the 2.7 i5, the 3.1 i5 is faster in most real world uses. The only times the 2.7 i5 is faster is in archiving (zip, winrar etc) and audio encoding - the differences are hardly noticeable (a couple of seconds). The 3.1 i5 beats the 2.7 i5 in all other uses, including rendering, video encoding and gaming.
 
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Gherkin

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2004
530
177
need some advice...

I have a June 2010 15" MacBook Pro. 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 (dual-core). 4 GB of memory. NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M w/ 512 MB of memory.

Thinking of selling and picking up the new low-end 27" iMac. 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 (quad-core). 4 GB of memory. AMD Radeon HD 6770M w/ 512 MB of memory.

How would these two machines compare performance wise?

Things I do...

-edit HD footage in Premiere Pro and also do motion graphics with After Effects
-edit 21MP photos in Lightroom
-graphic work in Photoshop

The 27" screen would be AWESOME for all this, just wondering if I would see a noticeable performance bump?
 
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photogpab

macrumors 6502
Jun 21, 2010
490
4


can someone help me figure out how to even read this... or understand what it means... haha...
 
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KennyKW

macrumors newbie
Apr 3, 2011
16
0
I think that the smaller the number the better the performance.

It's a great help. Thanks.
 
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Eidorian

macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
29,097
303
Indianapolis
I think the overclock multipliers are wrong because iMacs do not use K-series CPUs and thus the multiplier is locked. You wouldn't be able to OC it anyway so that might just add confusion.
The K Series goes higher. There are a few extra Turbo bin multipliers that you can use to "overclock" the locked processors and the usual 4-7 MHz on the clock generator.
 
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TrollToddington

macrumors 6502
Feb 27, 2011
312
1
Wow, that's pretty cool. OP could you provide the same benchmarks for the 2010 iMac lineup? I do wonder how my base i3 21.5" scores against the new processors. I'm just curious, I am not gonna upgrade. Thanks in advance!
 
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theSeb

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 10, 2010
7,299
1,619
Poole, England
need some advice...

I have a June 2010 15" MacBook Pro. 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 (dual-core). 4 GB of memory. NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M w/ 512 MB of memory.

Thinking of selling and picking up the new low-end 27" iMac. 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 (quad-core). 4 GB of memory. AMD Radeon HD 6770M w/ 512 MB of memory.

How would these two machines compare performance wise?

Things I do...

-edit HD footage in Premiere Pro and also do motion graphics with After Effects
-edit 21MP photos in Lightroom
-graphic work in Photoshop

The 27" screen would be AWESOME for all this, just wondering if I would see a noticeable performance bump?

Your chip scores about 2.4 points, the iMac scores 4.49 in a Cinebench 11.5 (Multi-threaded) benchmark. What does that mean? Clearly the iMac is a lot faster. Yes, you would see a noticeable performance bump.

Cinebench:

CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities.

MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances.

The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).

The resulting values among different operating systems are 100% comparable and therefore very useful with regard to purchasing decision-making. It can also be used as a marketing tool for hardware vendors or simply to compare hardware among colleagues or friends.
 
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imahawki

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2011
612
8
What are the handbrake scores based on? Is that seconds to encode something? If so, what?
 
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gdeputy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2008
836
66
New York
Ya know what would help? Adding these into a comparison with 2010 iMacs. I'm interested in seeing how mine stacks up in the benchmarks.
 
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