Quad i5 vs Dual i7

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sparrowpost, May 14, 2015.

  1. sparrowpost macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 14, 2015
    #1
    Hello all

    I'm looking at getting a mac for Pro Tools post production (not too plugin heavy) and some minor video editing purposes. I have narrowed my options down to what I think are 2 comparable systems:

    iMac with 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz)
    Intel Iris Pro Graphics

    Or

    Mac Mini with 3.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz)
    Intel Iris Graphics

    I would spec them both to 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD.

    The question I can't seem to find an answer to is this: what is more important in a processor, cores or i5/i7? Do they balance out, or are more cores always better?

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. GrindedDown macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    #2
    More cores will always be better (within reason) in regards to sheer processing power.
     
  3. dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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    May 6, 2014
    Location:
    USA USA USA
    #3
    What's more important is how much computational power a given processor has, regardless of its marketing name or number of cores.

    The i5 you list has four cores. The i7 you list has two cores, but has hyperthreading so it can run four simultaneous threads, and a higher clock speed. But if you look at the raw benchmark numbers, that particular i5 is going to be about 10-20% faster than the i7 if you're maxing out all cores before any thermal issues slow them down. How it will pan out over a long period of time is difficult to predict without trying out your particular scenario (say a Pro Tools export with several transformations). Four threads on two cores isn't always faster or slower than four cores. And if you're using single-threaded operations, the i7 will be faster. So, as with most comparisons... it depends.
     
  4. mike693 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    #4
    The i7 uses hyperthreading to add virtual cores. For the same speed and generation, consider a virtual core to have about 30% of the performance of a physical core, when using multithreaded applications. Ymmv.

    In other words, for a 4 core i5 vs a 2 core i7 with hyperhreading (i.e., 2 physical plus 2 virtual), the i5 could be faster at the same clock speed, if the chips are the same generation (e.g., Broadwell, Haswell, etc.).

    Make direct comparisons here.
    http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks
     
  5. sparrowpost thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 14, 2015
    #5
    As I suspected, not a clear cut answer to this. Thanks for the replies though, very informative.
     
  6. fenderbass146 macrumors 65816

    fenderbass146

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    Northwest Indiana
    #6
    Also, the Intel Iris Pro is a pretty big increase over normal Iris in that regard.
     
  7. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #7
    Pretty sure the i5's also use hyperthreading. I know my MacBook Air does.

    The big issue is single-threaded vs multi-threaded tasks. The i7 will likely be faster for single-threaded tasks (though not tremendously so). The i5 will be able to distribute the tasks across more cores and should be faster for multi-threaded tasks.
     
  8. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a

    Wahlstrm

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2013
    #8
    If its the 2013 i5 2,7 imac then its about 10000 in multicore GB and the 2014 Mini i7 is about 7000 in MC GB..

    So, that makes the imac about 42% faster for heavy duty stuff.. :)

    But.. the i7 is about 7% faster in single core. So a new tab in safari will open in .01sec faster or something :)
     
  9. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a

    Wahlstrm

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2013
    #9
    That 2014 i7 Mini was a strange upgrade from the 2012 i7 Mini..
    2x the price and about 50% of the performance..

    Please don´t buy it and make :apple: think we are ok with this :p
     

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  10. dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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    May 6, 2014
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    #10
    Sigh... the i5 in your MacBook Air has hyperthreading. The i5 in the iMac we're talking about doesn't have hyperthreading.
     
  11. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    Jul 1, 2004
    #11
    My bad. I thought they still used the same mobile processors across the line. An honest mistake.
     
  12. dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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    May 6, 2014
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    USA USA USA
    #12
    No worries, mate. ;)
     
  13. gpat macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    Italy
    #13
    The iMac is running a desktop CPU. The Mac Mini has a mobile one. There is no contest for power.
     

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