iMac Intel i5 vs. i7 for "average user"

Discussion in 'iMac' started by aneftp, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. aneftp macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    #1
    I'm going to get the 27 inch iMac (I just sold my 24 inch Aluminum 2.4 intel core 2 duo iMac).

    Deciding between the i5 and i7 quad cord. I am pretty much an average user but I usually buy near top of of line processors for a specific model. I do some photoshop and some light video editing. But no gaming (since I have all three gaming systems that serve those needs). I don't think the Intel Core 2 3.06 stock processor in the standard 27 inch model is "future proof" for resale values and the i5 and i7 quad core processors are the better investments (I usually use computers for 2 years and resale them with Apple Care warranty)

    I know the i5 doesn't have hyperthreading and besides the minor speed bump, do you think I am wasting my money by going with the i5 which costs $180 more?

    I am going to get a 15% discount on whatever iMac I order since I have a friend who gets "friends and family" apple discounts.
     
  2. xSPRINTERx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Location:
    Leicester
    #2
    I'm no expert but If you can afford the i7 I would get it. Your kind of future proofing in a way. If applications of the near future take advantage of hyper-threading the i7 will have the advantage.

    I'm in the same boat, end of Jan I'm going to get an i7, as with all PC tech its old once its in a machine. If I'm right the i7 in the mac is already old ish and running at a relatively slow clock speed compared to some PC's.
     
  3. DarwinOSX macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    #3
    No. Not at all. It's an i7 860 which is quite current.

    If you do any video encoding the i7 will be much faster. You can find some good comparison benchmarks for the i7 and i7 as well as other Macs here;

    http://www.barefeats.com/imi7.html

    Money quote.

    "What about the Core i5 iMac? Based on the four CPU intensive apps featured in the graphs, we believe it's well worth paying 10% more for the Core i7 iMac to get 13% to 30% more CPU crunching power."
     
  4. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #4
    for the small price apple is offering the i7, I would say to get it. In the long run you'll get some extra milage out of it. If your deciding on upgrading the ram vs the i5/i7 get the i7 as you can not upgrade (easily yourself) as opposed to the ram.
     
  5. Kwinten macrumors newbie

    Kwinten

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    #5
    I can actually run Modern Warfare 2 perfectly fine in full resolution with high graphics settings on a Windows 7 partition on my Core 2 Duo 3 GHz 27 incher.

    I don't see why anyone would need a quad-core for regular use without gaming or massive video or audio editing. I mean, Modern Warfare 2 runs beautifully smooth on my dual core machine.

    A quad core would be a hell lot of processing power that will never be put to use.
     
  6. TennisandMusic

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    #6
    Apple is charging a 200 dollar upgrade on a real life 90 dollar upgrade cost. A pretty bad deal really. Especially when you consider that the performance difference in reality is generally quite small.

    That said, you do gain a slightly faster clock speed, and hyperthreading, so for some it may be worth it. For a "regular" user, I would say no way is it worth it. You could call me a "pro" user, and right now I see no "need" for the i7, though I may order one after I return my i5, not sure.
     
  7. danistyping macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #7
    Currently on my i5 I am running skype, aim, safari, chrome, burning a dvd, copying files to an SD card, running a 655 gig time machine backup, have itunes playing music, and utorrent is downloading and uploading. GarageBand is idle and iPhoto is sorting photos and uploading to Flickr. My cpu, according to Activity Monitor, is running at 11%.


    You don't need the i7. If you only keep your machine for two years, the i5 is a powerhouse and will hold resale value very well. Save yourself a couple hundred bucks.
     
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #8
    The Core i5 750 is a processor for the average user. The E7600 is a budget picking only leaving the Celeron and Pentium Dual Core below that in the entry level market. Even so even the Celeron Dual Core is passable for $50.
     
  9. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City
    #9
    I have to agree with you on the pricing. I did some research on the chip cost and not only is Apple making a tidy profit on the upgrade, I don't see why people are getting so excited about HT (Hyperthreading) on this chip with only 8mb Cache. If I understand how it all works the i7 is bottlenecked due to the ram in this setup anyhow. If I recall from another thread the mobo in the new 27" iMac's are "socketed" CPU's and not soldered on the board, so while user upgrades on iMac's are not for eveyone. I can see a year or so down the road picking up a even faster i7 Chip when/if I feel I need a SSD or more memory.

    Aside from benchmarks and I think someone mentioned Photoshop? the i7 is pretty much marketing hype for the average user.
     
  10. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #10
    That is due to MW2 has not been coded to use all 4 cores yet( or has it?). In the future games will be able to take advantage of quad core machines. Although gaming performance still relies on the GPU mostly.
     
  11. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #11
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=8965408#post8965408

    CoD 4 and its MW2 derivative are more GPU bound than anything else. Even at 2560 x 1600 the 4850 can make a manageable showing at 30-40 FPS.
     
  12. Kwinten macrumors newbie

    Kwinten

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    #12
    And that's exactly why I don't think an average user needs a 2.66, let alone a 2.8 GHz quad core processor. It's really overkill. The Core 2 Duo is still blazing fast, it handles everything well for me, and it's the fastest processor I've ever had.


    You absolutely do not need a quad core.
     
  13. xSPRINTERx macrumors regular

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    Dec 14, 2009
    Location:
    Leicester
    #13
    Sorry my bag, I assumed it was a 920 not an 860.
     
  14. gattler macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    #14
    That's true if you compare the Core 2 Duo vs the Core 2 Quad. But the i-Series offers serious value in terms of lower power consumption over the legacy Core 2 Duo you chose to defend here. Yes it's fast enough, but I don't like it taking 60Watts more in idle than a machine with double the cores and twice the calculational power. I wrote about the heat and power consumption of the i7 here: http://meshfields.de/blog/?p=241 Soon there will be 35nm i5 and i7 which will take the already awesome Watts per Ghz ratio of the iCores to another level. Sorry to say, but other than for gaming the silicon-dies the C2D sit on is getting outdated. mobile i5/i7 Notebooks are already startin to appear. Its all about die size, not about Ghz or unusable Geek-Benchmarks. The unpopular look at the year 2010 PC scene offers insight: C2D's are outdated for 3 years now.

    That said, given the brilliant 27" display I would buy the imac 27" even with a C2D just to own the nicest display I've come along so far. :)
     
  15. nickdelvecchio macrumors regular

    nickdelvecchio

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Location:
    AZ
    #15
    I would say if you have the extra 180, than get the i7... I have the i5 and it's more than enough for me. I do large audio processing and mastering, and its more than perfect on what it does. I'm running 8 gigs with the i5. the hyper threading;when utilized more; is going to be awesome, so if you can grab it, it's not a bad idea, but the i5 is MORE than enough.
     
  16. illibball087 macrumors regular

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    Jul 27, 2009
    #16
    either processor should be fine i just wish apple would step their gpu game up
     
  17. slicecom macrumors 68020

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    Aug 29, 2003
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #17
    Bottom line is the "average user" would not notice ANY difference whatsoever between an i5 and an i7. The difference would be noticed when doing cpu intensive tasks like encoding video, which an "average user" would not do.
     
  18. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #18
    I agree. And since the OP tends to sell his/her computers within 2 years, the i5 would do everything you would want it to do by the time you want to sell it.

    The thing though is that you may actually be able to recover most of your initial investment delta between the i5 and i7 models. I can imagine that in 2 years a computer that can support hyper-threading (by then more broadly utilized) is going to command a higher resale value.
     
  19. aneftp thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    #19
    update

    Yeah, almost forgot I posted this almost 2 months ago.

    I ended up getting the imac 27 inch core i7. Frankly you guys are probably right, the i7 is overkill (for me at this time).

    Heck, my new Sony Vaio core i5 CW laptop that I purchased from bestbuy.com) runs just as fast as my core i7 iMac (to the naked eye). This sony laptop with the new core i5 is the coolest (in terms of temps) that I've owned. I just wish Apple would put new core i5 in their laptops soon. They are definitely dropping the ball on the mobile core i5/i7 (32nm i7, not the battery killing 45nm i7) but that's for another discussion.
     
  20. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #20
    Do you think maybe that Apple is waiting with the i5/i7 update for MBP due to power consumption of those CPUs? Are you getting a pretty decent battery life on your Vaio laptop?
     
  21. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #21
    If I had the spare dollars today, I'd get the i5 iMac 27" with 4 GB Ram. If more memory is needed in 2 years, I'd buy more memory for it. But after 4 years, I'd be thinking of selling it - for a "newer technology" iMac. In 4-5 years, I'm hoping new technology iMacs will include BluRay, possible touch screen and a few other better features. Why waste current dollars on i7 when one doesn't need it? During next 4-5 years of "general" home user demands, I'm sure the current i5 process will work just fine...
     
  22. eelpout macrumors regular

    eelpout

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #22
    Nor a 3 GHz C2D. ;)

    And get fingerprints all over that precious (to Jonathan Ive anyway) glassy screen? Heavens no!! :eek:
     
  23. derrylwc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    #23
    Web Developer - going with the i5

    I agree with the person above who said that, if and when they ever need it, they'll purchase and install the i7 chip themselves.

    I'm about to pull the trigger on a new iMac myself, and was severely tempted for a while by the i7 chip and its superior performance... but then I took stock of all the activities that I use my computer for, and decided I probably wouldn't get much benefit from the increased power (at least for now).

    I'm a web developer, so I'm naturally inclined to think of myself as some sort of "power user". The reality is that the most processor-intensive application I usually run is Photoshop CS3, and so I'm probably better served by saving $200 on the processor, and maybe picking up some extra RAM! :apple:
     
  24. Phillie14586 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    #24
    The OP stated they use Photoshop. Adobe has not embraced hyper-threading so only the small Ghz increase will be used and even then probably not that efficiently.
     

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