My experience: i5 vs. i7

Discussion in 'iMac' started by 53x12, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. 53x12 macrumors 68000

    53x12

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    #1
    So I finally have an i7. I previously had 3 i5's which each had a problem. AppleCare was kind enough to upgrade me for free to the i7. I have spent ~3 weeks with an i5 until today when I got the i7. I thought I would write a few words about what I have noticed and experienced so far.

    While the jump in Geekbench score between the i5 and i7 is obvious (~7600 to ~9800 with 8GB ram), the subtler things are what I have really noticed. The i7 still boots up quickly, under 30 seconds just like the i5. However everything just seems snappier on an every day use. I have been using the i7 for the past 7-8hrs and I noticed a difference in the first hour.

    I decided to do a clean install of OSX (I also did this on all 3 of the i5's). On the i5's it would take me just under 30 minutes to do a full install (without the printer drivers and languages being installed). Today on the i7, I kid you not, it finished it under 12 minutes from start to finish. I really thought there must have been an error in the process or something wrong happened because I was not expecting it to be done that quickly. But sure enough, just under 12 minutes for a full install. I also notice that the system idles a lot "smoother" on the i7 vs. the i5. On the i5 just being on the internet or the forum the processor would "idle" around the low 90's%. Now with the i7 under the same circumstances I am getting around 97-97% idle consistently. While installing iWorks and iLife I was also on google chat and the CPU was still at 95-96% idle. Just amazing.

    One thing I have noticed is that the i7 tends to idle at a few degrees celsius warmer (~3-5) under the same conditions as the i5. Nothing really worth worrying about, however I notice the temps are just a bit warmer.

    Overall, the i7 is amazing. While the i5 is a great machine, the i7 is definitely the hands down winner. If any of you are still trying to decide between the i5 and i7, while I understand that money is tight, I highly highly highly recommend waiting a little bit longer to save up that extra $180-200 for the i7. It is more than worth it and you will be much happier.

    So the take home message is that the i7 is amazing and is definitely a noticeable difference over the i5. I just want to add that I realize there is no scientific data from me and that this is just anecdotal evidence. I just hope that this was useful for you guys.
     
  2. TennisandMusic

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    #2
    Doesn't seem like there should be that much difference. They are identical chips, with the i7 being 140mhz faster (how fast is the iphone? So this difference is tiny), and of course hyper threading. 10% difference at most, unless you're doing something where hyper threading will REALLY give you a boost, but this is rare. Certainly not the usage you're describing.

    Just out of curiosity, what hard drive do you have in your i7?
     
  3. 53x12 thread starter macrumors 68000

    53x12

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    #3
    Yeah I didn't think there would be that big of a difference either, but this is what I have experienced so far from reinstalling OSX, installing my apps, and just general use. Surprised me as well. However the i7 also turbo boosts up to 3.46GHz while the i5 only goes up to 3.2GHz.


    I have the Seagate.
     
  4. OasisNYK macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2004
    #4
    I am glad to read your thoughts - I ordered my first Mac last night, got the i7 - it really is too good to pass up. Hands down the best value in the current lineup.

    Your experience sounds awesome, one possible explanation is that the i5 is basically the "Celeron" (stripped down pentium) of this generation of chips. How true that is, I don't know because the architectures are new but the i5 is definitely more of a budget performer. I do think the benchmarks are unreliable but it is clear that the i7 has more horsepower.

    Congrats on the system and glad to hear you have none of the issues others have experienced.
     
  5. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #5
    yay welcome to the i7 club! im so glad i paid the extra $280Aus for the i7 upgrade. the extra threads will hopefully prove very useful for me :D

    i have the WD HDD, i cant fault it! quiet and fast enough for my needs.

    @OasisNYK: i think you couldnt be further from the truth. the only differences between the i5 & i7 are the CPU frequency (clearly) and the fact that one has HT enabled and one does not. their architectures are otherwise identical AFAIK.
     
  6. mc751n macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #6
    Thanks for posting this! For the past week I've been partially regretting ordering and waiting for the i7 instead of just going to the Apple Store and picking up an in stock i5, but this helps to make the wait worth it :)
     
  7. 53x12 thread starter macrumors 68000

    53x12

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    Feb 16, 2009
    #7
    I think you made the right decision. You will be super happy when you get it. :D
     
  8. OasisNYK macrumors 6502

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    Nov 29, 2004
    #8
    I read the celeron comparison from someone else - it is purely opinion, and I agree the architectures are similar, but the performance gap appears to be significant. Worth the increase in price for the i7. The i5 is supposed to be the budget solution in the quad core line up but clearly intel has blurred the lines. I still think the i7 is where it's at :)
     
  9. slicecom macrumors 68020

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    Aug 29, 2003
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #9
    Thanks for the post. I'll be bringing back my i5 after Christmas (yellow tinge, 28 dead pixels in isight, high pitched noise thru speakers), and instead of exchanging it, I'll just return it and order an i7 online.
     
  10. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Singapore
    #10
    hmm from what i have seen the performance gaps are not that significant. i am seeing 5-10% between the two on most benchmarks. the only significant differences are with video converting/encoding where the differences are more like 15-20% (because of HT i assume).
     
  11. OasisNYK macrumors 6502

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    Nov 29, 2004
    #11
    15-20% is definitely significant, granted it's in video encoding. I think that bodes well for the future when software will take better advantage of HT. Hopefully it will become more main stream to code for it, I seem to recall the last time HT was included it didn't catch on.

    Do you know if the i5 and i7 share the same socket?
     
  12. slicecom macrumors 68020

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    #12
    The i5 and i7 iMacs are identical in EVERY way except for the CPU, so yes, they share the same socket.
     
  13. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #13
    Congratulations on your new computer! I'm ordering the i7 come January. Btw., how do you deal with the yellow tinge? Did you calibrate or just ignore it? I hear that for some it is slight enough that you won't notice most of the time, unless you are doing a lot of photo editing.
     
  14. 53x12 thread starter macrumors 68000

    53x12

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    #14
    To be honest this i7 doesn't have any yellow tinge, and if it does it is ever so slight. Nothing compared to the issue I had on 2 of the 3 i5's I had. I think you should be fine.
     
  15. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    #15
    53x12,

    Thank you for porting your thoughts and observations! Benchmarks are great, but I really enjoy hearing reports form the field. I'm dying to get an i7...and am simply holding off a little longer to see how things pan out in regards to the occasional screen issue.

    Thanks again!
    Bryan
     
  16. Sir Cecil macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #16
    No such thing as yellow tinge. Have someone strong hold the iMac upside down and the so-called yellow tinge either disappears or moves to the top (now viewed as the bottom).
    The older Macs had a metal surround that covered the edges of the glass. The new design has glass right to the very edge, uncovered except at the bottom, allowing reflected light to enter the glass from top or sides. When the Mac is viewed upside down, what is now the top of the glass is covered by the "chin" which stops light entering from that side. The perceived yellow tinge can be created or eliminated by external light control, stopping light reflecting back off the top of the chin where it meets the glass.
     
  17. slicecom macrumors 68020

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    Toronto, Canada
    #17
    There most certainly is a yellow tinge, I'm looking at it right now, and it exists even in a completely dark room, so that kills your theory right there.
     
  18. Sir Cecil macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 31, 2008
    #18


    The light from the screen itself escapes the sides and top because there is no metal edging. But it reflects back off the chin side.
     
  19. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #19
    Wow, that's certainly encouraging - and for that matter, I hope that by January, they'll figure out the other problems like blackouts and flickering. Anyhow, I'll buy Apple Care for sure... I think with these babies it's worth it - plus I intend to hold onto my i7 for 4 years minimum (I'll buy it with my AmEx card, which extends the Apple Care for one additional year, so I'll be covered for 4 years total). Damn, if only January wasn't so far away... I want to order about on the 14th or so... then probably another 2-3 weeks until it's in my hands (I'll be ordering from a reseller to avoid the 10% CA tax). Crap, I might not have it until February... so, so, so long to wait :(
     
  20. lexvo macrumors 65816

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    The Netherlands
    #20
    Interesting, but I'm not sure if I fully understand what you're saying. It almost sounds like I can correct the yellow tinge by myself?
     
  21. slicecom macrumors 68020

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    Aug 29, 2003
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    Toronto, Canada
    #21
    It's simply untrue, just ignore him. By his logic, If I put a mirror along the top edge of my display, I should have a yellow tinge at the top of the screen similar to the one at the bottom. I tried it, and there is NO difference. The yellow tinge at the bottom of the screen remains.
     
  22. wesleyh macrumors 6502

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    Mar 23, 2007
    #22
    Nice to hear that the i7 is noticeably faster even in everyday use!
     
  23. OasisNYK macrumors 6502

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    Nov 29, 2004
    #23
    The question is: did he experience the the speed effect because he believes the i7 is faster or is it truly faster in everyday use?

    I would think the bottleneck would be the HD or the video card and not the CPU. I am glad to hear it seems to feel faster though.
     
  24. BelowTheBelt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    #24
    Been using my i7 for about two weeks now, no yellow tinge, no problems.

    This machine is worth every cent paid, highly recommend paying the extra for the i7.
     
  25. 53x12 thread starter macrumors 68000

    53x12

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    #25
    That is a good question. To be completely honest I really thought there wouldn't be a noticeable difference between the i5 vs. i7 and one reason why I originally went with the i5. I thought the usual 10-15% difference wasn't going to be noticeable. Now that I have been using the i7 for the exact same things as the i5, I can notice a difference in what I do. It is the small things in general; the one which was the most obvious was the length of time to install OSX. The i7 really shined here and I was actually taken by surprise how much quicker in installed OSX compared to when I installed OSX on the 3 i5's I had. Will it load your internet browser quicker? No. But it does seem quicker to me for every day use. Just my $.02
     

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