New iMac's : To 3Ghz or Not to 3Ghz?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by frank_t, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. frank_t macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2002
    #1
    Hi everyone i'm in the market for a iMac and i like that apple has finally gone back to Nvidia in some way for the graphic card options (ATI firmware update already out for the new imacs with those cards! WTF?) As soon as i read there was a 3Ghz top end model i was ready to put down my money but with all things apple i waited a few days to get reviews/hands on experience from users to decide.

    Now while i'm waiting for that feedback i'm having 2nd thoughts about the 3Ghz model now reading that it's really a overclocked Penryn running at 55watts....I've had my current mac (Powermac Dual G4 867Mhz) last me 7 years since it was built well...last thing i need is a 2 year old imac dieing on me cos intel thought it would be cool to overclock the CPU...what do you guys think? Would the 45 watts 2.8Ghz be the safer option long term?
     
  2. Satori macrumors 6502a

    Satori

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #2
    I doubt that you would notice any real difference between the 2.8 and 3 GHz machines... and either will seem much speedier than your G4.
     
  3. ozthegweat macrumors regular

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    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #3
    concerning reliability I don't think there's a difference. But you have to consider if you want to spend the extra money for a CPU with 9% more GHz (which you probably won't notice, except e. g. when encoding video) and 20W higher energy consumption. You can simply configure the 2.8 model with bigger disk, NVIDIA card, etc.
     
  4. frank_t thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2002
    #4
    This is what i'm considering right now...i guess i need to wait for macworld or another review speed test the two CPU's to see if the 400Mhz in difference in speed (remember it's 200Mhz on each core) are worth the extra cash and power they use.

    People forget that while yes it's 24inch big on the front it's a very very thin case for that kind of heat from a 55watt CPU which they don't even put into laptops. Another thing i noticed was just how much of a drop of power usage from the 3Ghz = 55 watts down to 2.8Ghz = 45 watts which may not look like much but in a thin case like the iMac Watts = Power = Faster Heating inside the case :eek:
     
  5. minicoop503 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #5
    I'd say go with the 3 ghz. Overclocking the processor doesn't hurt it, so I don't see what the problem is. I've had my C2D e6300 overclocked from 1.86 to 3.01 ghz for about a year and it runs perfectly. Also, desktop C2D's draw around 65 watts, so 55 is still under that and won't be a problem.
     
  6. ozthegweat macrumors regular

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    Feb 20, 2007
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    Switzerland
    #6
    I think you don't have to wait for benchmarks, as it is perfectly predictable how they will turn out: in tasks where you wait for the Mac to finish something (rendering video, encoding audio/video, huge Photoshop calculations, etc.), you will notice a small improvement (the aforementioned 8% at best, but most likely less). If you are doing a lot of these things, the CPU upgrade will be a reasonable choice. If not, the only difference you might notice will be a hotter case and/or higher fan noise, and of course a higher electricity bill.

    There are benchmarks on barefeats.com between the old 2.4GHz and 2.8GHz iMacs, which reflect what I said above. Even when doing games there was only a difference of 1 or 2 frames (as games depend much more on the GPU).

    Better invest the money in 4GB RAM, from which you really will notice a difference!
     
  7. G-Force macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    #7
    I think I'm getting the 2,8 GHz with 8800 GS graphics. Even with Apple Care it's cheaper for me than the 3,06 GHz model without Apple Care. I don't really need 500GB hard drive space as I use external disks.
     
  8. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #8
    I just had a look at the Apple Store and was surprised because I didn't realize this was even possible. I thought the nVidia card was only an option on the top of the line 3.06GHz model. But indeed, you can custom build a 2.8 with the 8800GS for an extra $150.

    As for AppleCare I never buy it from Apple. I get it for $120 from L.A. Computer. ;)
     
  9. frank_t thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2002
    #10
    Thanks but i need them to compare the same gen imac...the bus speed in the ones there testing the 3Ghz up on not only have slower cpu's then the 2.8ghz but also 800mhz bus so it's not a fair compare.
     
  10. Tattoo macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2005
    Location:
    Miami, Florida
    #11
    Just get the fastet one! You know you want to - JUST DO IT! :cool:
     
  11. GMFlash macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    #12
    Hi Frank. I think the 2.8Ghz is actually 35 watts. I ordered an iMac yesterday with the 2.8Ghz CPU, 1TB Hard Drive, 8800GS video, and wireless mighty mouse options. My reasoning was that a cooler running system will be quieter, last longer, and have less problems in the long run since the heat won't be warping or drying things out. It's not like you're going to notice that .26 Ghz anyway.
     
  12. ozthegweat macrumors regular

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    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #13
    I ordered nearly the same system this morning, also the 2.8GHz model, but with 500GB hard drive, 4GB RAM, Nvidia 8800 and wireless keyboard and mouse.

    PS: Hooray! :D
     
  13. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    New Sanfrakota
    #14
    Just get the 3.06GHz with Applecare and charge it to an Amex card and you get 4 years of protection.
     
  14. sfroom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    #15
    I'm on the fence right now. With my student discount, the price difference between the 24" 2.8Ghz 320GB 8800 GS (BTO) and the 24" 3.06Ghz 500GB 8800 GS is only $178.54 after tax.

    But that being said, I have the following reservations:
    • Power Consumption: The 3.06Ghz consumes 55W whereas the 2.8 is reported to consume between 35-44W
    • Heat: More power consumption means more heat production, and I can only imagine the 8800 GS will already be creating a good amount of heat as well.
    • Speed: Sure, the extra 260Mhz is nice (x2 because of the dual core?), but in realworld benchmarking, I don't think it's going to be a significant difference. I game moderately, so I'm more interested in the GPU upgrade than the CPU.
    • Price: $178.54 for 260Mhz and 180GB seems like a good deal, but its still $178.54 that I wasn't planning to spend 3 days ago while looking at refurbs!
    • Resale Value: HOWEVER, I think that regardless of my preferences, usage, budget, etc...the $178.54 will pay for itself in resale value. I recently sold my 24" 2.16 w/7600 GT and 4GB of RAM, and the only reason it sold for anywhere near what it did was becuase of the BTO 7600 GT and 4GB of RAM. Suffice it to say I feel that upgrades pay for themselves in resale value.
    I'm leaning towards the 3.06. In my experience, Apple create well engineered computers, so I don't think the heat will be an issue. I plan to cap my gaming frame rate (at least in WoW) to 40, so I don't think I'll have any issues.

    Call me indecisive.

    That being said, from an end-user experience, unless you're encoding video or rendering, you most likely won't notice much of a difference, in which case it comes down to whether you would benefit from the extra storage. I think the best value for the money is the following configuration: 24" 2.8Ghz 320GB 8800 GS w/ 4GB of RAM.

    This is my first post on the MacRumors forums. Sorry for the novel!
     
  15. D4F Guest

    D4F

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    #16
    I would say the price difference after adding nVidia to the 2.8 is too small to settle for the lower thing.
    I would not worry at all about the heat issues.
    This community is extremely paranoyed and does not reflect the huge market apple has. I know many Mac users that never go to forums and never have any issues with their systems.
    In places like this some things are pointed out in a way that sometimes it feels like a major issue while in most cases it's a matter of bad luck as there's always the chance of getting a non properly working piece of equipement.
    If you have the $$ then go for the max and like prev poster wrote the resale value will hold it's ground way better.

    Get the apple care and forget anything for the next 3 years.
    No matter what I am 100% sure my system will not last that long as I will jump into something new within a year or two.
     
  16. ozthegweat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #17
    Resale value will much more depend on features like screen size or graphics card. It's not that much dependent on CPU speed. If you buy a second hand Mac notebook today, do you care if it has a G4 with 1.2GHz or 1.33GHz? No, you want a certain screen size, a Super Drive, etc.

    Although it's not that big of a price difference, it still IS a difference, and with that money I'd rather go on vacation for a weekend ;)

    But hey, that's why everyone can choose what he wants.
    I just want to make it clear to the not so experienced buyer what this difference really means...
     
  17. G-Force macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 25, 2006
    #18
    I don't worry about the heat issues, guys that's not going to be a problem. But the price is much more important for me. A 2,8 GHz/8800 GS/500GB iMac is 160 Euros cheaper than the 3,06 GHz model. 160 Euros for 260 MHz is too much for me personally because I won't even notice that difference... I'd rather spend that money on 4GB of RAM or AppleCare.
     
  18. D4F Guest

    D4F

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    Sep 18, 2007
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    Planet Earth
    #19
    And that is exactly the answer you are looking for :)
    In my case those 260 MHz will make a big difference as I use them to the max on my projects but others will never even notice it :)

    Go with the 2.8 and I bet you'll be happy as a kid with his first ever ice cream:D
     
  19. ukmacmonster macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    #20
    I gave it 10 sec thought and went for the full monty 3GHz, 4GB RAM and a 750GB HD for good measure. I run my machines for 3-4 years, so the cost difference over that time is negligible. I doubt there will be much difference in real world performance, but anything that reduces video rendering times is a bonus for me.
     
  20. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #21
    I'm going to do the same. Best bang for the buck, IMO. And since the only thing I ever do on my 2.2 macbook that maxes out the processors is handbrake, I really don't think I need the 260 mhz.

    whoa, what? Explain that? I use an AmEx as my main card and didn't know about any sort of 4 year protection...
     
  21. mjsla macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2003
    Location:
    New Orleans. LA
    #22
    http://www.betanews.com/article/Intel_denies_new_iMac_has_new_Montevina_platform/1209573561

    "Is it a first peek at an entirely new class of Intel CPU that Apple is offering in its latest refresh of iMacs, or is it an older class of CPU that is being overclocked at customers' requests? Intel is indicating that the iMac's new high-end CPU is neither.

    The latest round of the old "telephone game" amid several online news sources yesterday resulted in two unusual interpretations of Apple's news on Monday that its top-of-the-line iMac was getting a speed boost to 3.06 GHz.

    One interpretation was that Apple was getting first pick of Intel's forthcoming Centrino platform architecture, code-named "Montevina;" and some sources actually went ahead and clicked "Publish" on that story.

    But as an Intel spokesperson told BetaNews, the new 3.06 GHz option -- which customers may request in place of the standard 2.83 GHz processor -- is a 45 nm Penryn-class Core 2 Duo CPU. It is not, therefore, the yet-to-be-released X9100, which will be a Core 2 Extreme at 3.06 GHz that supports the 1066 MHz front-side bus.

    What was missed in all the confusion were several factors, the most obvious one being that the X9100 would require an entirely new chipset. The Montevina architecture doesn't run on the iMac's current Intel Santa Rosa chipset. It awaits an entirely new chipset, code-named "Cantiga," which is still slated for release in this quarter according to Intel's current roadmap. But for iMac buyers to have requested a swap from the standard 2.8 GHz chip to the X9100, they would have naturally had to have requested an entire motherboard swap.

    In an attempt to remove the egg stains on account of that obvious omission, some blogs yesterday alleged that the 3.06 GHz chip actually is the 2.8 GHz chip, just overclocked -- set to run at a clock speed higher than the factory recommendation. That would contradict reports stating that Intel spokespeople specifically said it provided Apple with a special SKU of an existing E8xxx-series chip, one that supports the iMac's (non-swappable) G965 Express chipset.

    A check of Intel's parts specifications reveals that running a 45 nm on a G965 chipset was a special feature to begin with: The 45 nm Penryn-class E8xxx series processors weren't rated for the G965 Express anyway.

    So it should not therefore be any feat of rocket science for Intel to do whatever it does to its 2.83 GHz E8300 for Apple, to its 3.06 GHz E8400 instead. Still, the mess of mangled misinterpretations has become so thick that Intel is going back to the drawing board on its public interpretation of the news, and may yet have a clarification for BetaNews later today.

    Meanwhile, Apple itself has gone completely silent, perhaps in hopes that saying nothing (which it already knows how to do quite well) may make the misinterpreted news just go away."
     
  22. frank_t thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2002
    #23
    Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this. I've settled on the 2.8Ghz with HD and VCard upped. If i wanted to overclock a CPU i would do it in a home made pc where the risks are clear from day one and even tho this comes from apple/intel it's not easy getting inside the imac case and the last thing i need to worry about is how long my iMac will be in repairs for if it burns itself up.

    One last thing does anyone know what brand HD these iMac's use or is it random based on supply at the time of manufacture?
     
  23. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    New Sanfrakota
    #24
    Look up Buyer's Assurance Plan (Extended Warranty). It'll mirror the original manufacturer's warranty of 1 year when Applecare expires (assuming you charge both the machine and Applecare to the same card), giving you a total of four years of protection.
     
  24. chairguru22 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    PA
    #25
    So let me get this straight...

    Some of you have reservations about getting the full-monty 24" iMac because of the additional price (and heat) of the 3.06GHz processor, but you then go ahead and get the 2.8GHz iMac with 4GB of RAM preinstalled?

    You can (and should) order RAM elsewhere and install it yourself for half the price. Sell your 2GB of existing RAM and pretty much get 4GB for free.
     

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