Regarding future "proofing"

Discussion in 'iMac' started by fleg123, May 5, 2011.

  1. fleg123 macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    Yes, yes, I know that all technology is obsolete the second you take it out of the box, wahwahwah. Heh. Sorry.

    Anyway, I've been using this early 2006 C2D MBP for 5 years now and it's been a great machine. It was my first mac and, other than battery problems, it was a fantastic experience that has driven me to purchase apple again.

    These new iMacs look fantastic and I'm pretty sure I want to get a 27inch model. My question is regarding how best to ensure I get 5-6 years of great performance out of the computer, hardware-wise.

    Money isn't really an issue, but obviously I don't want to spend more than I have to.

    1) Is the i7 worth it over the i5? I game, use photoshop, handbrake and the occasional final cut/video editing project. I've been seeing hellhammer give "evidence" that the i7 actually can perform worse for gaming (of course, not by much). Will this be true in 3 years (yeah, I know no one can predict the future, just asking for best educated guesses from the experts)? For instance, will we likely be seeing more games make use of hyperthreading?

    2) 1gb vs 2gb vram. I've noticed a lot of people talking about the fact that the 6790m isn't powerful enough to actually ever need 2gb of vram. Is this something that is true right now but could change over time? I don't know the tech details of why 2gb can't really be used, so I don't know if this is something that is the result of the way current software uses the gpu or if 2gb will never, ever be useful on the 6790m.

    Hmm, I think those are my two biggest questions. Sorry for the wall-o-text. Just looking for advice on how to get the most longevity out of the system without being uninformed and just buying the top of the line across the board.

  2. Uhu macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2010
    I chose the i7 because of the handbrake HD vid conversion. saves time. do I need it: no ;)
  3. kevin2223 macrumors member

    Jul 31, 2010
    Both the i5 and i7 ($1999 and $2199 models) are very powerful and will still be "future-proof" many years down the road. Sure, Intel will always be releasing new, faster processors at cheaper price points, but you'd never buy if you were always waiting. Barring any hardware issues, the iMac will still work just as good as day one.

    It is usually a good idea to buy a little more than you need now so you don't feel inhibited down the road. If you are working with video files, the i7 will be faster as it offers Hyper-Threading, so there are eight virtual cores, and the Turbo Boost is faster (3.4GHz vs. 3.8GHz). The upgrade ($200) might not appear worth it now, but 3-5 years down the road it'll still be powerful, and it'll cost just a few more cents per day.

    I don't game, but the 2GB upgrade is a minor cost in the long-run and again, may be beneficial if you want to add additional displays (two Thunderbolt/Mini DisplayPort). I am sure more demanding games will be able to utilize the extra RAM, although many people have been using less than 1GB for many years.

    I'd say the CPU upgrade will be more beneficial, but you have to judge whether you game enough currently that you'll find the 1GB to 2GB upgrade useful. Of the total price of the iMacs, a $300 upgrade (between the two) and spread out of a number of years makes sense.

    As usual, upgrade RAM third-party (whether after getting it or down the line), which will give you better performance. 16GB and 32GB upgrades are compatible and they will just become more affordable as RAM prices continue dropping. I hope this helps.
  4. adnoh macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    If you plan on keeping your computer for as long as possible always get the best you can afford.

    To answer your questions:

    1) Based on your uses get the I7. More and more applications will use multithreading so the I7 will be a monster.

    2) I dont think paying the extra for 2GB RAM is worth it as the card may not use all of it. Thats my personal opinion.
  5. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Get the i7. Based on what you said you were going to use it for (besides gaming), it'll be worth it.

    I may be wrong, but my understanding about vram is not that the 6790m is not powerful enough for 2GB, but that games right now don't typically need the full 2GBs. That being said, of all the upgrade choices I made, the jump to 2GB seemed the most brainless: not that much more money for a little bit more future proofing.

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