Late 2013 iMac – hyperthreading & graphics

andy9l

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 31, 2009
1,697
363
England, UK
Hi all,

Looking to buy a new iMac in the coming days to replace my existing 2010 iMac that's going to a family member. I have a few questions that I'm trying to find answers to, so would appreciate any advice.

1. Is i7 hyperthreading used in modern, popular games?
2. Is the 4GB 780m better than 775m for games, or just video editing?

I'll be playing Guild Wars 2 (Mac Beta/Windows), and some Battlefield 4.

It's not primarily for gaming but if I'm going to spec it out to full I want it to be for a reason. My work alone doesn't require a full-spec iMac.

If the i7 and 4GB graphics is just for things like video editing/rendering, and not particularly beneficial for games, I won't bother with the upgrades.

Thanks for any advice.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
231
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
Hi all,

Looking to buy a new iMac in the coming days to replace my existing 2010 iMac that's going to a family member. I have a few questions that I'm trying to find answers to, so would appreciate any advice.

1. Is i7 hyperthreading used in modern, popular games?
2. Is the 4GB 780m better than 775m for games, or just video editing?

I'll be playing Guild Wars 2 (Mac Beta/Windows), and some Battlefield 4.

It's not primarily for gaming but if I'm going to spec it out to full I want it to be for a reason. My work alone doesn't require a full-spec iMac.

If the i7 and 4GB graphics is just for things like video editing/rendering, and not particularly beneficial for games, I won't bother with the upgrades.

Thanks for any advice.
Games don't really take advantage of hyperthreading. But I suppose you can go ahead and order an i7, and disable hyperthreading when gaming. When it comes to video and heavy rendering, that's when hyperthreading really shines. Anyway, if you can afford it, go with this upgrade to futureproof your machines for the next few years, considering that it isn't upgradeable post purchase.

4GB of 780M is better than the 775M for everything, not just video and games.

Oh and one more thing. If you go for a Fusion, the Windows partition will only install on the rotational platter drive. So it's going to be slow as hell.
 

phobos

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2008
201
76
I would go for a fully decked out imac as well.
It will last you a little bit longer
 

IA64

macrumors 6502
Nov 8, 2013
413
0
I don't really advise you going for the 775M if you want BF4.

I already have the 780M and it's barely "OK" @2560x1440 and High Settings ( AA off )
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
4
Sol III - Terra
...
1. Is i7 hyperthreading used in modern, popular games?
2. Is the 4GB 780m better than 775m for games, or just video editing?
...
First, the 780M will help for BF4 and a lot of othe rmodern graphics intensive games.

As for the i7, no current game will really take advantage of the hyperthreading. I've thought about this and I can't even justify an i7 for "future proofing" and I tend to keep machines for 3 to 5 years.

And if you do decide on the i7, there's no reason to turn off the hyperthreading (as someone suggested) for games, it won't make the processor any faster.
 

Mac32

Suspended
Nov 20, 2010
1,263
452
To put it this way, it's not going to be the CPU holding you back when playing newer games in 1440p, that's gonna be the GPU. (And yes, you're probably going to play games in native resolution. Anything less looks really bad.)
 

andy9l

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 31, 2009
1,697
363
England, UK
Thanks for the replies, I appreciate the advice.

I should have mentioned I'm definitely going for the 512GB SSD option – I've put an SSD in my 2010 iMac, and there's no going back. As someone mentioned, the Fusion drive is/would be too slow anyway.

After reading these responses, I'm tempted to go for this config:

3.4GHz i5
512GB SSD
16GB RAM (only 8GB from Apple)
4GB 780m

I don't do any video rendering or anything really CPU intensive often enough to justify another £190 that could go towards something more useful to me or the family.

I suppose my thinking is: If I'm spending £1999 on a computer (base iMac with 512GB SSD), I'd be happier paying another £280 (3.4GHz i5 + 512 SSD + 780m) to make games playable since it would cost >£280 to build a gaming PC. However, if the £280 is just going to leave me disappointed with gameplay performance, I'd rather have £280 in my back pocket.

Does the Apple online store do the 14 day returns policy? Could I just try the setup above and send it back if I'm not happy with it?

Edit: And to you tech gurus; would the i7 upgrade provide any *considerable* future proofing over the 3.4GHz i5? I don't know much about the future of hyperthreading, and the clock speeds seem almost identical so when it's not virtualising more cores, performance is presumably similar.
 
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Mac32

Suspended
Nov 20, 2010
1,263
452
If you want something "future-proof" for next generation games two years from now, you should not be buying an iMac. Yes, it will run must games today pretty well in 1440p, but a gaming PC with a 780ti would perform a lot faster for the same amount of money..
 
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andy9l

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 31, 2009
1,697
363
England, UK
If you want something "future-proof" for next generation games two years from now, you should not be buying an iMac. Yes, it will run must games today pretty well in 1440p, but a gaming PC with a 780ti would perform a lot faster for the same amount of money..
Sorry, I wasn't referring to gaming in particular with regards to future-proofing.

I'm somewhat interested in future-proofing for general applications/OS updates. If it could last me 4 years, that would be great – that's 1+3 years of AppleCare ;)
 

Twimfy

macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2011
881
227
UK
Sorry, I wasn't referring to gaming in particular with regards to future-proofing.

I'm somewhat interested in future-proofing for general applications/OS updates. If it could last me 4 years, that would be great – that's 1+3 years of AppleCare ;)
My 2008 iMac gets just as much use as my 2012 iMac and it's still pulling its weight even after all of this time. Running Mavericks etc, I still use it for iOS Development and video editing.

I think you'll be good for at least 3 years with your new system.
 

andy9l

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 31, 2009
1,697
363
England, UK
Thanks for the advice all, I think I'm going to go for the following build:

3.4GHz i5
8GB RAM (will add another 8GB third-party)
4GB 780m
512GB SSD

I don't do enough CPU intensive stuff to warrant an i7, and after reading online about hyperthreading in gaming and seems like a very grey area, with a fairly substantial number of people turning HT off in their BIOS before gaming.
 
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