Should I get a quad core iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ManBearWaffle, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. ManBearWaffle macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2010
    I'm going to get a 27" iMac this weekend and I'm trying to decide if I should go with a quad core. I know I don't really need it now, but I'm going to have this computer for at least 3 years. However, I don't want to have to make any major hardware upgrades during these 3 years (Will apple even make upgrades for me? Does it void Apple Care if I do it myself?). I'm a freelance web designer and developer, so a lot of my time on my iMac will be spent in gimp/photoshop, text editors, possibly dreamweaver, and a few different web browsers. My main browser will probably be Firefox. What do you recommend for me?
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Do you want Late 2007 processor performance or Late 2009?
  3. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Sadly, you probably will not be able to buy one, quad 27" iMacs are out of stock most everywhere and have a 3 week wait time.

    Nothing you are doing will even slightly stress a 3.06 C2D, let alone an i5.

    Installing more ram is cake -- Im not sure what you will ever need to do beyond that? You already get a 1Tb drive, BT, wireless, camera, etc.

    I run the entire Adobe Creative Suite + Quark 8 on a 2.4 AL iMac w/4 gigs ram and it handles it all without even breaking a sweat. And I'm talking multi hundred meg Photoshop files and 100+ page Quark files with gigs of links. Not some crappy little 72 dpi web graphics and a few 3 panel brochures. Plus Safari, Chrome, FF and Camino open, all with multiple tabs/windows.

    Never a hiccup.
  4. ManBearWaffle thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2010
    Are you sure? Right now I have a 2.0ghz C2D in my laptop and my usage is any where from 20%-100%. Although, I am running Windows 7... Hmm..

    About not being able to get a quad core, I called 2 Apple Stores. The first didn't have any in stock, but the second one did :D.

    I just want to make sure it's going to work fine with tons of processes running. I tend to have all of my stuff open at once, and I don't want to deal with lag. Are you sure the 3.06ghz C2D can handle it fine?
  5. Habitus macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2009
    Where ever my life takes me...
    If you budgeted for the quad core, then why not?

    Habitus :apple:
  6. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Being a business computer, I'm sure you can find a way to "business depreciate" this mandatory tool. Just like a self employed construction worker can depreciate their building tools as well. Thus, initial cost should be 3rd or 4th focus.

    With "need for best tool for the job" need, I would get the new i5 or i7 iMac (27" screen version). Having a large size screen (larger then little brother / sister 21.5"), one can disply 2 different applications side by side - without straining the eyes. OR, display 1 application in larger size - to reduce eye strain as well.

    If using a computer (like iMac for surfing) is your business "bread and butter", I would focus on the proper sized tool first. It's more then just processor speed. To me (based on your identified needs), "display" ability and ease on one's eyes is higher priority. And being a business tool, get the highest sized processor (that's available today). More memory then default 4 Megs can be upgraded later. For now, I would focus on screen size, then processor speed.

    As one person stated, the new iMacs are like driving BMWs. Firm, sleek and a comfort to drive. PCs are like "beefed up Chevs". No mater how much they have under their hoods, they will alway be a slapped together vehicle. Go for quality with style of BMWs and "have fun". Have fun with your future iMac.

    Hope these other things help in your decision as well...

  7. FieryFurnace macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2008
    Berlin, Germany
    Just get the Quad-Core. If not, you might regret that later if you already have some doubts now what to buy.
  8. OZMP macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2008
    My rule for buying Macs- Buy the best CPU (and GPU if not easily changed) you can afford at the time or purchase, even if it means you use your ram budget now, as third party ram is cheap, and can be done further down the track at home.

    My MacPro is a 2006, and still is a capable machine.

    If I were to buy an iMac, it would be Quad or nothing, always buy the latest and greatest you can afford, eventhough it will be out of date soon, it will hopefully last you longer than buying the C2D for example and having to replace the machine sooner.
  9. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Thats the list of the stuff I run all day everyday.

    I *rarely* shutdown my Mac.

    You are aware of the issues with current 27" iMac screens, correct?

    My money goes to a 27" i5 when Im ready.

    Heres pretty much what my dock looks like 24/7:

  10. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I'd go for the quad core i5; more bang for the buck and more future forward. Should be good for the next 3-4 years at least.
  11. ManBearWaffle thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2010
    What's your CPU usage like? I'm aware of the yellow tint issue. I'm hoping I'll get lucky. Is it all 27" iMacs, or just the quad cores? What about the 21.5"?
  12. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    If you were running that many apps at most post house graphics/animation, chances are you'd get the talk :)
  13. thomanjones macrumors regular

    Dec 26, 2006
    Yes, go with the i5 or i7. If you are anything like me, getting the core duo would lead to 3 years of 'darn it, I wish I just spent the extra few hundred and seen what this machine could really do.'

    Other points to consider:

    Everyday tasks (switching apps, browsing, light work) on my i7 don't feel any faster than my old 2.2 GhZ C2D.

    Video conversion with handbrake is about 4x-5x faster (25 fps vs 120 fps apple universal preset)

    Batch photo conversions in iPhoto using iPhoto Batch Enhancer (yes, I am a graphics/photo newbie, so that's the only batch image processer I have), here are some speed comparisons:

    imac24 2.16

    IBE 90p in 706s = 7.84 spp = 7.653 ppm

    imac27 i7
    IBE 90p in 284s = 3.15 spp = 19.047 ppm
    IBE 40p in 139s = 3.475 spp = 17.266 ppm
    IBE 108p in 386s = 3.574 spp = 16.78 ppm

    So about 2.5x faster.

    Media Serving- I can run pyTiVoX/streambaby and XBMC server transcoding streamed simultaneously around the house with Plex on my second monitor, and the proc barely hits 15%.

    Unknowns: Who knows what developers will come up with in the next three years to take advantage of the threading and multi-cores in the i5/i7- being so new to the Mac scene, I have a feeling that there are going to be some major evolutionary steps once the power of these procs, combined with Snow Leopard is sussed out by the dev community.

    Resale Value: In 2013, an i7 will sell for a heck of a lot more than a C2D, IMO.

    Good luck, I hope this helps.
  14. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Good thing I run my own studio. =)

    Sure, I could cut down on a bunch of those -- iPhoto, iWeb, Handbrake, Easy iWeb Publisher, stickies, address book and maybe Sunrise -- but the rest are in use almost everyday.

    Switch from ID to Quark to PS back to ID into AI, over to Word, check email, open Chrome, upload with Fetch, check FF, wash, rinse, repeat.

    I would take 10X longer to shut apps down and restart them whenever I needed them.

    this is what iStat shows for CPU use.


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