late '15 iMac 3.3 i5 vs i7, firsthand experience?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by varian55zx, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #1
    I was going to wait for the fall release but I was able to unload my old machine at a very good price so I am looking to buy one in the interim. Then my plan is to assess the new one (if it's even announced), and then decide on buying it. Apple stuff is so easy to sell and I don't care about losing a couple hundred here or there in the sell/buy process.

    Now I'm buying a late '15

    3.3 i5
    M395
    512 SSD

    This is the setup I originally wish I would've boughten but I took some bad advice and bought a "CrapMac" 5K. anyway

    My question is should I get the i7? What is ACTUALLY the difference for someone who is just using this as a home computer? Would my user experience be much better?

    It seems enticing but I'm wondering if it's even necessary.
     
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #2
    The i7 has hyperthreading, this can provide a real boost in hyperthreaded apps and will mean nothing in non hyperthreaded apps. As a home computer I doubt it'll make any real difference, but only you know what apps you use.
     
  3. varian55zx, Sep 14, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016

    varian55zx thread starter macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #3
    I definitely don't use hyperthreading, I use Google Chrome (with many tabs open), Mail, and various other utility type apps. I watch TV shows on my Mac and stream video often (youtube, not the other kind).

    My old Crap 5K had the 3.2 processor. I never experienced slowdown once due to processor and I do doubt that I ever even maxed it out according to iStat Menu.

    What I'm more worried about is down the line, say I just decide to keep this one instead of buying another new one I'd want it to last a couple years.

    The i7 is pretty enticing but these computers are just so massively overpriced, you can get a $500 laptop with an i7 (probably).

    But I'm team Mac, I've been buying only Apple since the early 2000s and I have no plans on stopping. After Shitows '95 and '98 I went to Os9. How great it was.

    I've wanted an i7 but I have doubts if it'll even improve my user experience?

    As far as work goes, I don't work some art profession so my work use is limited to office programs. Don't exactly need a powerhouse for that. But I need everything to be buttery smooth no matter what I'm putting it through.
     
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #4
    i7's are expensive and you certainly can't get an i7 laptop for $500.

    As for overpriced a 5k monitor is $1500, and the iMac has a great i5 processor, an expensive mobile dGPU (mobile silicon is more expensive than their desktop counterparts due to the strict size and cooling restraints of a mobile design), they are very good value for money until 5k screens start to come down in price and even then you need a fairly good specced computer to run one.

    Your use case can be performed buttery smooth by a chrome book, although chrome is Rubbish on macs due to particularly poor coding by Google, I would suggest you swap to the safari browser, you know the one designed and written for macs, it's fast fluid and is easy on a macs resources. If you keep a lot of tabs open in chrome (I.e. More than 30 tabs) then more ram may be in order but you can upgrade that yourself up to 64 gb, although your use case should not need more than 16gb at the most for the next 5 years.

    an iMac can do this use case with no slowdown for at least the next five years. Unless you want to get into high level gaming you should have no issues at all.
     
  5. IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Michigan
    #5
    You should keep an eye on the refurbished store, you could save over $350 on those specs.
     
  6. saberfi macrumors member

    saberfi

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    #6
    Also, the i5 is a 65W thermal design processor, whilst the i7 is a 95W processor.

    Thus, the i7 has more potential to make the fan sound like a jet engine. How often does that happen? I doubt very often, but the i5 by default should run cooler, e.g. when popping on the occasional game.
     
  7. varian55zx thread starter macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
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    San Francisco
    #7
    'Course not

    http://m.staples.com/Refurbished-13...KPID=2121532&gclid=COzu99PIj88CFViTfgodAcsPcQ

    Doubtful, it was *exactly* this type of advice that led me to get my other machine with the m380 and 2tb fusion that couldn't even run mission control.

    You need a reasonably fast computer nowadays even just to stream a few YouTube videos.

    Yes, at this point I'm not sure if it's necessary, may just stick with the i5.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 14, 2016 ---
    I had taken a look at the refurbished store, they had the same specs as the one in the op for about $2300. I can get the same one from B&H new for $2500 shipped and with no tax. It's hard for me to justify buying refurbished with such small savings.
     
  8. danielwsmithee, Sep 14, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016

    danielwsmithee macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    #8
    i7 is just a name. My 2009 iMac has an i7, and it nowhere near the processor that the current i5 or even i3 processors are. The upgrade gets you two things, a faster clock speed (which is why it uses more power as already alluded to), and hyper-threading which gives you better multi-core performance and a better experience running virtual machines. The current Skylake i7 -6700K in the iMac is $340 for just the processor, you can't find anything that will touch it in any $500 machine.

    My old dog slow 2009 iMac, and 2011 MBA run Mission Control and YouTube videos just fine. If your machine with an m380 and a 2TB fusion drive is not running it smoothly there is something wrong with it (either in software or hardware).

    How about instead of buying a new machine you post what is wrong with Mission Control and we will help you fix it. Chances are it is just a corrupt preference file somewhere.
     
  9. varian55zx thread starter macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #9
    I really don't think so, I ran a diagnostic test and everything checked out, no hardware issues, and I was up to date with the OS.

    The culprit turned out to be the graphics card that I was assured from multiple sources that it was "fine", if you've ever looked into how bad the m380 is, it is preposterously bad, the fact that Apple would put one in one of their computers is a testament to the company they've become. The m380 can't run the 5k screen so simple tasks like mission control, notification center, or stacks from the dock don't work.

    Why did nobody say this? Can't tell you. But let this thread be a warning to anyone who thinks they will be "fine". You won't.

    I'm all ready to pull the trigger on the setup in the OP, my last hang up was the i7. I'm really debating getting it because it's just so damn sexy. I'll decide within a few days. But that is true the quad core i5s in the iMacs seem to be very good.
     
  10. roger1955 macrumors newbie

    roger1955

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2016
    Location:
    Northern California
    #10
    Yes, the 3.3 ghz i5 with the 2 TB fusion and m395 is a great combo for my everyday use of surfing, watching videos and such.
     
  11. varian55zx, Sep 14, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016

    varian55zx thread starter macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #11
    I'm going to go ahead and proceed under the assumption that this wasn't sarcastic.

    Exactly. It is a great combo for that. I'm getting the same machine as you except I'm opting for the 512 SSD. The point of this thread is not to knock the 2tb fusion at all, the 2 tb fusion is a great setup. I used to have it and was happy with it.

    But I really think the source of my "woes" as it were was the graphics card. Since it's a 5K screen it really needs a more powerful graphics chip to drive it.

    The increase from the 3.2 to the 3.3 is probably modest but I'm sure I'll appreciate it.

    I opted for the 512 just because I want the fastest experience possible, but the 2tb fusion is by no means a bad choice.
     
  12. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #12
    That computer is refurbished and the processor is from 2012, it's 4 years old!!!

    Mission control has a bug in it it is not smooth on any retina machine it's been that way since retina machines were released and nothing seems to fix it. Worrying about a few frames dropped in one app which is hardly critical is possibly going to make you reject every Mac.

    Chrome books are all pretty damn smooth the combination of flash storage and a very light OS mainly hosted online is great with a strong internet connection.

    The refurb store is great the machines have been tested more stringently than normal and come with all apples normal guarantees and warranty options, unless you are desperate for a picture on the box they are pretty much as new.
     
  13. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #13
    Why not get a Mac Mini or an inexpensive laptop while you wait for the refresh?
     
  14. thekev, Sep 15, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016

    thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #14
    There's a lot of misleading information here. There is absolutely no general rule about whether hyperthreading will show any kind of benefit. It seems to in some applications, but it would not make any difference to you over the life of the machine.

    The second point is that laptops don't work the same way. The notebook chips all have hyperthreading enabled, regardless of whether it says i5 or i7. They're identical in that regard. This is consistent with intel's spec sheets. As for pricing, the top cpu Apple uses in the imacs is always around $300 retail. The i5 version is usually $200-225. Apple marks up these options, but other oems do the same. Apple tends to get you for a high minimum sale. Other brands only get expensive if you do a large number of cto upgrades, which always carry higher markups.

    My mistake... intel jacked up the price slightly this year or last.
    i7 here

    i5 here

    I can't find any good comparisons, but I would probably buy the i5. CPU within the same processor generation rarely ever makes a difference.
     
  15. varian55zx, Sep 15, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016

    varian55zx thread starter macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #15
    I don't know how to explain to you other than it's literally a night and day difference between using the two machines. Have you used both? Because I have.

    This is actually a really good idea, I should do this but temptation has taken over, this is the computer I had wanted and now that I was able to sell the old one for pretty much the same price I got it for, I figured I would jump on the opportunity. It also stems from the idea of we're not certain of when the refresh will be, or if there is going to be one.

    I had boughten my original 5K a few months back, and it's not like I had gotten it with the intention of getting a new computer so soon anyway. But when I wasn't happy with it, I knew something had to be done.

    If I end up really wanting the refresh, I know I'll be able to unload the computer in the OP at a good price, so at least I have that.

    Also, moving from a retina screen may be difficult ;)

    edit: and, what if the new iMac turns out to to be a "first generation" machine like the original 5K iMac? That would mean it may have other problems like the 'throttling' issue that that machine had. There is always a risk of adopting a first generation machine.
     

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