iMac 21.5" with Core i3 3.2 GHz

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ninjaslim, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. ninjaslim macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    So, I have a few questions about the iMac 21.5" that comes with the Core i3 3.2 GHz. Does it come with hyper-threading? What separates that processor from the Core i5 3.6 GHz, apart from the increase in clock speed? In addition, how much better is the Radeon 5670 than the Radeon 4670? I'm trying to figure out how much worth it is to go for the next model up over the base model iMac.
  2. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    Intel implements a "more features per higher number" with their nehalem architecture cpus. i3s usually get the lowest amount of features, while i5 gets second most and i7 gets most. In the case of the lynnfields (desktop grade quad core cpus) the i5s get 4 cores and turbo boost, but no hyperthreading, while the i7s get turbo boost and hyperthreading.

    For the clarkdales (desktop grade dual cores that are used in 21.5 inch imac) the i3s have hyperthreading, but no turboboost, while the i5s have hyperthreading and turboboost. Intel's naming agenda with their nehalem chips is pretty wacky and confusing due to instances such as that.

    If you don't know what turboboost is, it is essentially the cpu dynamically overclocking itself if it needs to.

    As far as gaming benchmarks go:
    mobility 4670
    mobility 5730

    The 5670 in the iMacs is really mobility 5730. If you're using the computer for anything other than gaming, the differences won't be so pronounced, but certain programs will enjoy the larger vram buffer.
  3. ninjaslim thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Thanks for the response! Am I correct in assuming that the only difference between the Core i5 3.6 GHz and the Core i3 3.2 GHz (and the Core i3 3.06 GHz) apart from the higher clock speeds is the Turboboost as they all have Hyperthreading?

    These are my uses:

    • General web browing
    • General multimedia usage (music, videos HD and non-HD, ripping, lectures)
    • Photography, processing hundreds of photos at a time
    • Document processing and general office needs
    • Video editing (at least one large project per year)
    • Light native gaming (Team Fortress 2, Starcraft 2, etc.)

    This is all I can remember off the top of my head. Is it worth it for me to pay for the Core i3 3.2 GHz model? I don't really feel like the Core i5 3.6 GHz model is worth it if it's just a difference in clock speed and Turboboost, which I don't care about. Macworld benchmarks don't show much practical value in it either.
  4. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I'd say it's worth getting the 3.2GHz model just for the better graphics card, if you want to do gaming. You are correct that the i5 wouldn't make a huge difference, you'd only really see it when rendering for video editing. But since it sounds like you don't do a ton of that, the difference wouldn't be worth the extra cash.
  5. ninjaslim thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    I don't even do too much. I used to run Team Fortress 2 in Windows on my older MacBook Pro, which had an nVidia GeForce 8600M GT, at 1080P. It ran fine for me with relatively high settings. My expectations for gaming aren't really high. I'm the occasional gamer. In fact, the Dell I'm using currently has a Radeon HD 4650, which does fine for my gaming.

    As for video editing, there's one huge project that I normally work on each year. The video usually is about twenty minutes and the project ends up being about fifty to sixty gigabytes. Other than that, no other video editing...
  6. Matthew9559 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    I am looking into getting the iMac 21.5" i3 3.2 GHz/5670 512 MB.

    My interest for the machine are...

    -iLife software
    -Microsoft Office
    -Handbrake to rip DVDs

    I think the 512 MB will be a nicer future proof than the proc upgrade for such a large native res. Gaming is my only concern with this machine purchase. I am fine with games at medium settings, I just want 30+ fps so I believe I will be okay. Games of interest for me are TF2, CS:S, DOD:S, WoW and SCII.

    $1,400 can make a damn good gaming pc but I prefer OS X. Not to mention I will run bootcamp so I can access PC only games. Again, my concern is such a large native res.
  7. ninjaslim thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    I get about 60 FPS with a Radeon 4670 with the first three games you've listed on 1600x900. At most, it'll be a little less than that at 1080P. This is on Windows, by the way.
  8. ninjaslim thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Anyone else have any thoughts on Core i3 3.06 GHz vs. Core i3 3.2 GHz and Core i3 3.2 GHz vs. Core i5 3.6 GHz?
  9. SiMBa37 macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2010
    New York
    Since you won't (theoretically) be able to upgrade the hard drive I would go for at least the 3.2 with the 1TB HD and the better GPU. Personally I went for the 21.5 i5 after seeing the geekbench benchmarks.
  10. ninjaslim thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    I'm currently using a mid-2008 Aluminum iMac, which has an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz. It suffices for my needs quite well, but I haven't tried any photography work yet. So, I kind of don't see any worth in the bumping up to the i5 just for a 400 MHz clock speed boost when the features are exactly the same with the exception of TurboBoost, which I don't care about at all. I'd rather invest in more memory because I've seen more sustainable performance increases with more memory than with higher clock-speed.

    Any other thoughts are highly appreciated? This will be used for college as well.
  11. Thermonuclear macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    I have a new 21.5 inch 3.2 GHz iMac. It works great! I like everything about it, although I admit the speakers could be better. And it could use a power/sleep LED.

    The extra cost of a 3.6 GHz Core i5 may be justified in some cases as the extra 11% CPU speed can be significant. That CPU will supply the best performance on single threaded applications when compared to any other iMac CPU. But the "Turbo Burst" feature is mostly just marketing hype and can be ignored.

    For the budget minded folk, the money is better spent on RAM upgrading. This is what I have done.
  12. ninjaslim thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    This is great to hear! I think I'm almost decided on the model with the Core i3 3.2 GHz. I think one step up would be a good way to future proof the system a bit.

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