Refurbished iMac i7 - My experience

Discussion in 'iMac' started by isuryan83, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. isuryan83 macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2010
    When researching which iMac to purchase, I had trouble finding some solid real world comparisons regarding the performance of the iMac i7. So thought I'd share my experience with it so far. I received my refurbished iMac yesterday.

    I'm coming from an early 2008 15" MBP, 2.5ghz C2D, 4GB RAM, 512MB VRAM. So that is my base for comparison. I use my computers primarily for photo editing using LR, Bridge and Photoshop. I do not play games on my computer and seldom edit videos. I purchased the i7 for the screen, multitasking ability as well as speed.

    When I first turned this thing on, I couldn't help but laugh. This thing is so massive compared to my 15" MBP. It's seriously a beauty. Now I had concerns about calibration due to the glossy, high contrast screen. I've calibrated my monitor and compared it to my very accurate MBP screen and both seem to be similar for color. So I'm expecting my photos from the lab to come out just as great as before. Additionally, due to its size and resolution, I am seeing detail in my photographs that I've never seen before. This advantage over my MBP is invaluable to me. Upgrading to a larger monitor was long overdue for me.

    Obviously I was also concerned with all of the reports of yellowing, flickering, light bleeding, etc. I'm happy to report that my screen has no dead pixels, no flickering (so far) and no noticeable yellowing. The yellow tinge was a huge concern for me (especially because it's a refurb). I rely a lot on color accuracy as part of being a photographer. I think it may possibly be very slightly warmer on the lower half of the screen, but it's really hard to say. Definitely wouldn't have noticed anything if I wasn't looking for it. There is an ever so slight backlight bleed in the very bottom right corner. This is only noticeable on a completely black screen and does not affect my work.

    Before deciding on the i7, I viewed a ton of benchmark scores comparing the different iMacs. I also watched all the youtube videos I could find showing off the speed of the 27" iMacs. I also played with two iMacs at the Apple store (3.06 C2D and i7). I had a lot of trouble seeing any real world speed increases between the two. But everything I read kept saying that the i7 was a beast and dominated the lineup in regards to performance. So of course I became excited about having the best and went the refurbed route to afford the i7.

    What I've found in my real world testing is that it's not a gigantic leap in speed over my 2.5ghz C2D MBP. It is faster, but not as much as I originally thought it might be. I was extremely curious to run some of my more intense photoshop actions on the i7 to see how long it took in comparison to my MBP. Time savings in this regard would be absolutely huge for me, as it means I could process sessions faster and potentially take on more shoots as a result. To be honest, at first I was a little disappointed that the actions didn't run a little faster. One of my actions in particular incorporates a lens blur filter and it takes forever on my MBP. It still takes some time on the i7, but...

    I did some side by side comparisons by running the same exact actions on the same exact photos (from 5D Mk II, btw). As a control, I did a fresh restart and opened Bridge & PS only on both machines. And it turns out my actions are running faster on the i7. One action took 1:53 on the MBP, while 1:27 on the i7. This isn't as huge of a leap as what I was hoping. However, the advantages of the i7 lie more within what you can do while running the action. On my MBP, while running the action, I can't seem to do a whole lot else without severe speed reductions in Photoshop. I didn't time anything, but I can tell you that the time it takes to run that same action while navigating in other applications on the MBP probably doubles. The action almost seems to stall sometimes. The computer just can't keep up with the challenge of multitasking. And here's the genius of the i7. While running the same action on the i7, I can jump all over the place. I watched The Office on Netflix, opened up LR, played in iTunes, etc. all while the action was running. No slowdown whatsoever. This is exciting. And also why I feel the i7 was totally worth it. Multitasking is such a huge thing for me.

    Screen and performance were the two reasons I purchased the iMac i7. And in my short time with it, it failed to disappoint on both fronts.

    Here's a pic of what I'd probably call my favorite purchase of all time, with the iPhone 4 in a close second.
  2. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    She's a beauty :)

    The i7 will also last you longer than the core2duo as well.
  3. bas-macfan macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2010
    Nice, thanks for your review. I am on the edge of buying an i5...

    About the preformance...... I think the main problem is, the software does not (yet) now how to use all the power in i5 and i7.
    The same problem was with the c2d's. I believe that in snow leopard Apple made it possible for software to use the 2 cores. Same will happen with te 4 cores.

    On the bright side... you have a Mac that will last a long time and will be able to keep up with more demanding software. So it is not a waste ;)
  4. isuryan83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2010
    That's a good point. It's also why I'm contemplating upgrading to CS5, as I believe you can utilize more computer power. I agree that software is a bit of a holdup for the machine's power.

    There's been so much negative stuff about the 27" iMac, which is part of the reason I felt compelled to give my post. But from my experience, I'd say go for the i5 if you need a computer before Sept/Oct, when I'm guessing the line will be refreshed. I definitely couldn't wait for a new machine as I'm extremely busy right now and needed a machine that could keep up with me.
  5. digitaldean macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2006
    Thanks for your post isuryan83. Definitely leaning toward replacing my long in the tooth Dual 2 GHz Power PC G5 with a 27" iMac i7 refurb. Also have a 2GHz MBP C2D. Just got off of a chat with an Apple store rep to get some support questions answered. Even after product line is refreshed, I'll probably go refurb due to the $$ amount.

    Going to use mine for Photoshop retouching, print/web graphic design.

    As long as I can go to a local Apple reseller to get service during warranty phase (which I was told I can) I'm cool with it.

    If I can swing it in the next 60-90 days, I'll probably bite the bullet for it.

    If I can get an add'l monitor solution for the new iMac I'll have more than enough screen real estate.
  6. Kallel00 macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2009
    Nice photo but please hide those external drives wires ;)
  7. isuryan83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2010
    I realized that too after I took the picture. :)
  8. Rhullman macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2010
    I bought my refurb 27 i7 and love it.. the first one I got broke but the new one has been working like a charm
  9. lexvo macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    When I run Lightroom 3 on my i5, it uses all four cores. I think because of this, the speed advantage will be more obvious.
  10. Block macrumors 6502a


    Jun 28, 2007
  11. Maltkvist macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2010
    Hey man, really happy for you that you got one :)

    Makes me really wanna get my hands on one, like, right now..
  12. bobr1952 macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
    Nice setup--and even comes with a view--well done.
  13. kazmac macrumors 603


    Mar 24, 2010
    On the silver scream
    thanks for sharing your real world experiences

    Nice news to hear that you are enjoying your refurb 27" iMac. Thanks for the comprehensive review.

    Work may require me to become reacquainted with Adobe products, so it's great to hear your experience.
  14. isuryan83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2010
    I forgot to mention that my i7 does have 8gb RAM. And according to the activity monitor, I'm making good use of the extra 4gb.

    Awesome! I guess I'll have to upgrade soon. Why does my list of things to purchase always seem to grow?? :)

    Yes! All of my furniture in my home office and my photo studio is from Ikea. Both inexpensive and functional.

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