iMac 3.2GHz i5 vs 3.4GHz i7

Discussion in 'iMac' started by phase4, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. phase4 macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2012
    I'm looking to buy the new 27" iMac and I don't know if I should spend the extra money for the 3.2GHz i5 or 3.4GHz i7. I'm a photographer and I work a lot in Photoshop CS6, Lightroom 4, and Photomechanic. Also, I tend to leave a lot of programs running all at the same time, in addition to the above, like Mail, Firefox, Excel, iTunes, Quickbooks, and Roes... and I'll sometimes add on another program or two just to see if I can get my computer to explode...

    Anyway, based on what I do, does anyone who understands computers, know if it is worth the increase in price for the added performance, and will I even be able to tell the difference.

  2. Resist macrumors 68030

    Jan 15, 2008
    I would purchase the fastest model you can afford. That way the computer will suit your needs much longer before having to upgrade.
  3. drambuie macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2010
    Those CPUs are the 3.2GHz i5-3470 and the i7-3770. Besides internal archtectural refinements, the i7 has 8MB of internal level 3 cache vs 6MB for the i5. CS6 is one application that would definitely take advantage of the increased cache, mainly because you will be doing repetitive instructions on a large data field, ie., a gamma change to a 60+MB photo. If you will be doing a lot of photo enhancing on large files, I would say that the i7 with its higher speed and larger cache would be applicable in your case. I would also say that a minimum of 16GB of memory would be a necessity. On the 27" iMac you can upgrade RAM yourself, so if you add 16GB, (2X8), that would give you 24GB.

    As a matter of interest, the i5 retails at around $200 and the i7 is about $300, so Apple is making a nice profit on the i7 over the i5, but some other OEMs also charge similar premiums for CPU step ups.
  4. smoge macrumors regular


    Jun 14, 2011
  5. chfilm macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
  6. phase4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2012
    Thanks for the advice, I heard that you had to stick with the same amount of RAM in each slot, so if you have 2x4GB, you'd have to use another 2x4GB in the other two slots? Not true? I was thinking I'd start with the 2x8GB since it's only $200 more and I haven't found the 2x8GB much cheaper anyway. Then eventually, when I need to, I could get two more 8GB cards...

    Hope I'm making sense... :eek:
  7. had2B macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2009
    this is not precisely what you want to hear, but may be encouraging:

    In my macmini 2009 i have 4GB in one slot and 2GB in the other and it seems to work fine, and faster. it didn't reject the 4GB when i added it.
  8. drambuie macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2010
    The memory is organized into two dual channel pairs, or banks. The two banks can have different sizes, but the two modules within each pair should have identical specs. Also, it is best if both banks have the same speed and timing specs. Theoretically, one pair could be at 1600MHz and the other at 1333MHz, but the entire memory would run at the lower speed.
  9. zemzabob macrumors regular


    Feb 3, 2010
    Yeah it sounds to me like you would benefit greatly by getting the I7 with 16 - 32 gigs of ram.
  10. Nabican123 macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2012
    in intel i7 there is something called hyper threading that divides multiple jobs into different cores :apple: I think it would be useful if you use multiple programs at a time
  11. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    These day you can mix different capacities and everything will work, but it will be a little bit slower. Having to match in pairs on motherboards with dual channel memory (or in triples with triple channel memory and so forth) was a requirement some time ago. These days you are only taking a performance hit by mixing saying an 8 GB and a 4 GB module, but that performance hit is very small in comparison to the performance increase that the user will actually see when going from 8GB to 12 GB.
  12. MACV macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2014
    3 processor choices

    The current 27" iMac processor choices are:
    3.2 i5
    3.4 i5 +$200
    3.5 i7 +$200

    To get an i7 processor you must pay an additional $400 over the 3.2 i5
  13. Miguel Cunha, Aug 22, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014

    Miguel Cunha macrumors 6502

    Miguel Cunha

    Sep 14, 2012
    Braga, Portugal
    Definitely the i7. Multicore/thread has been increasingly adopted by programmers, especially in apps involving intensive processing, like Photoshop, or video editiing.
    Also, put an SSD. Will boost performance, especially considering the scratch files and file writing/reading tasks in Photoshop and others.
    I wiil compensate both RAM and disk usage for keeping a lot of apps (including Finder) running simultaneously with a lot of windows/tabs opened and switching between them.
    It's worth the cost and it will be more difficult for your computer to blow up. ;)

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