So, i5 upgrade on 21,5" worths or not?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by diegobgr, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. diegobgr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    #1
    Hi.

    Tomorrow I will make my order at Apple Online Store.

    I will get a new 21,5" high-end, and I'm wondering if the i5 upgrade worths or not.

    I will use it for play games and photography.
     
  2. zedsdead macrumors 68040

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    Jun 20, 2007
    #2
    Unless you plan to do any kind of video encoding, you really will not notice any difference.
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Finland
    #3
    Not really worth it unless it's for work where time means money
     
  4. Tigerman82 macrumors regular

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    Jul 27, 2010
    #4
    I think this is the one question to which many people would like an answer but to which the answer is left as a bit of a mystery. I do not have the space for the 27" model and while everyone praising the QUAD CORE models I do not think they are necessary for those who do not do extra heavy work -- you have to remember that even the last gen C2D cpus were said to be more than what a basic user needs.

    I'm getting the 21.5" model with the better GPU. However, I'm not sure about the i5-upgrade. I'm planning on using this iMac for at least 4-5 years so I do want some futureproofing. On the other hand, I don't want to pay for nothing.

    For example... There is that Youtube-video of some guy playing Crysis with his iMac 21.5" i3 and some said that the game lagged. Would an i5 cpu help at all in this situation?
     
  5. diegobgr thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 22, 2009
    #5
    Not, it's not for work.

    Gaming and photography, but family photos, nothing professional.
     
  6. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

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    Nov 5, 2009
    #6
    3.6ghz is a juicy number, but will mostly be used for pumping ePenis. The only thing you might get out of a 3.6ghz cpu is a bit of futureproofing, but even then, it won't be as much future-proofing as you could get out of a lynnfield.

    I'd say buy the base i3, and if you really need a more powerful cpu further down the line, you can help replace that iMac with a newer iMac using the money you saved by not going i5.
     
  7. Tigerman82 macrumors regular

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    Jul 27, 2010
    #7
    I'm getting the high-end 21.5" iMac and still have very mixed feelings about whether or not I should spend the extra $200 for the i5 3.6ghz cpu. Could someone please help me?

    I mostly surf the net and watch video clips from Youtube etc. I'm a university student so I write a lot. I do also take pictures and use Photoshop Elements as my tool (I mostly just crop and use Noise Ninja etc.). I use Spotify a lot and watch movie trailers in HD.

    I do plan on gaming but I do not go for the newest and prettiest titles. I much rather play something like CS: Sourse than I would something like Crysis. So you could say I like somewhat older games and not the games that require the most out of a computer (something like the latest Command&Conquer -game would probably be the toughest one requirementswise).

    I'm going to use this iMac for at least 4-5 years so I don't want to save money at the expense of performance. However, most seem to say that Turbo Boost doesn't really give you anything and that the performance difference between the i5 and the i3 3.2ghz is so tiny that I won't notice it unless I do something like pro video encoding. I do have the extra $200 but if the i5 doesn't give anything extra I can always buy 4 gigs of RAM (making it a total of 8 gigs of RAM) and something else with it.

    HELP, PLEASE!
     
  8. SiMBa37 macrumors regular

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    Jul 5, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #8
    I'm in the same boat as you, after much back and forth, I decided to go with the i3 3.2 for the high end 21.5". You (we) could use the extra $200 to get some more RAM which will benefit your photoshop experience a lot more than the i5 dual core 3.6. Form what previous threads have stated the newer iMac video card drivers have a considerable performance boost on the gaming experience, perhaps more than the just the new chips/gpu alone could explain.

    Unless someone comes on here with hard numbers about the performance of the 21.5" i5 3.6, I'd save your money and stick with the i3 3.2, and use the cash for some more meaningful upgrades to hardware or software.

    If you're wondering why I haven't bought it yet, I have one my medical certification exams mid august, I figure I'll reward myself after that. If I buy it before, too much temptation to play with it.
     
  9. Tigerman82 macrumors regular

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    Jul 27, 2010
    #9
    Choosing i3 does seem more sensible as most information what I've found using Google has pointend in that direction. On the other hand, it does a bit like not choosing the i5 would mean I'm being cheap. I guess this must be Apple's strategy: getting to those who are easily tempted. :D Of course another way to look at is that because everyone is hyping their new i7 iMac, we who are going for the smaller model want to max out the specs as well.
     
  10. SkyMasterson macrumors newbie

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    Jul 28, 2010
    #10
     
  11. Tigerman82 macrumors regular

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    Jul 27, 2010
    #11
    I did some more digging around and found two useful articles. The first is this Anandtech-article about the Dual Core i3 and i5 processors. Actually I found the link to this via this forum. Anyway, in the conclusion the reviewer says that he does not believe any dual core i5 is worth the money compared to the i3. This certainly supports the claims that you would hardly even notice going from i3 to DC i5.

    But what about the Turbo Boost feature that you get with the DC i5? Well, I found this Tom's Hardware -article that tested Quad Core cpus performance when it comes to Turbo Boost. If you look at the benchmarks of Crysis and the conclusion below you clearly get the idea that, at least when it comes to gaming which is more relevant than Aperture or Photoshop to the not-so-pro user, Turbo Boost gives such a small boost that it doesn't even mean anything. I know that article covers the Quad Core cpus but I read that Turbo Boost is truly effective with the Quad Cores -- not so much with the Dual Cores. In other words, the Turbo Boost in the Dual Core i5 doesn't give you any edge.

    Of course there's the fact that the Dual Core i5 has some technology that could give a slight edge to the i3 in the future. On the other hand, it does feel like these technologies are used in pro editing programs and not in programs that basic users use. I mean I doubt Firefox will take advantage from Turbo Boost much. :D

    I still feel a temptation towards the i5 but I've pretty much always chosen the most expensive parts (not knowing what they mean performancewise) and then, within 1-3 years, regretted I put so much money into a computer. Perhaps now I should finally make the sensible choice. The performance of the high-end i3 iMac is such that it meets the needs of a demanding basic user (although as we have seen from the Youtube clip, you cannot play a game like Crysis with everything high). That's actually all I want: a quality computer for the basic stuff that has the performance to feel slighty "too fast". I will use the extra $200 for 2x2 gigs of RAM from Crucial and be still left with cash (maybe a new Logitech mouse with be in order). :)
     
  12. dylin macrumors 6502a

    dylin

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    Jun 10, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #12
    Well, its not for work, but in gaming, the i5 would be a nice bump in performance, but not enough to pour out more money for.

    I think it would be safe to just go with the i3
     
  13. Sammy Cat macrumors member

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    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    North America
    #13
    So far everything has been speculation regarding the i5 3.6mhz. There haven't been any tests posted yet. A good chip is just that, but at the price of the new 3.6 iMac you could save money on a 27" refurbished i5 quad core. Again no hyper-threading and almost 1ghz slower for normal processes. Are you going to take advantage of 4-cores? The 3.6 config. was also my first choice.

    I've stopped questioning the cpu speed after viewing different results from tests of slightly slower chips and have started to question the screen. I was not happy at all with the i3 256mb video card 21.5" screen. I would like to see the 21.5" with the 512mb video card in it. At $1799, it is a bit expensive. They should have put in the 1GB video card with it (too hot probably). I would have bought it without question at that price. I don't think the current offering is worth the money.

    The question should be, is the i3 with a 512mb video card worth $1500. The answer to that question is also NO.

    The base model i3 seems best aimed at those who will not have a problem selling it in 2 years for $700 or so. That would be about a usage fee of $300 per year. By that time, you could take that $700 and apply it to an iMac that will have USB3, Light Peak, Sandy Bridge processors, possibly standard SSD (or a cheap add-on vs. today), possibly Blue Ray, and more software that will be able to utilize core technology.

    I believe that the current iMac, is not a wise choice for future proofing unless you get an i7.
     
  14. Tigerman82 macrumors regular

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    Jul 27, 2010
    #14
    Admittedly the previous-gen quad cores are excellent deals right now. On the other hand, they still cost more than the high end 21.5" iMac (with the 512Mt GPU). The biggest reason for me not to get the quad cores is the size of the 27" screen. I already have a 40" screen and a blu-ray player in the same room so I would not watch any movies with the iMac. Obviously that massive screen is the "cool" choice right now but I would much rather not sacrifice my desk space and not make my decor look like I don't give a damn about anything else except computing. :D

    I've also seen benchmarks where i3s have beaten i5s (and also benchmarks where C2Ds have beaten quad cores). On the other hand, almost all of the articles in the Net are saying that i5s are not good bang for the buck. It is true that Apple has seem to have found extra juice from the i3 (reviews are hyping about how it beats computers with better cpus). However, I doubt that Apple has miraculously made the i5 a great deal better than the i3.

    Anyway, right now I feel like I've made a good decision going with the 3.2GhZ iMac. If I buy the extra 4 gigs of RAM making it a total of 8 gigs of RAM, I think I will have a faster general purpose computer than what the DC i5 iMac would be.
     
  15. spiffy05 macrumors member

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    Nov 12, 2007
    #15
    Why do you think that the i3 with a 512mb card is not worth $1500?
     
  16. Tigerman82 macrumors regular

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    Jul 27, 2010
    #16
    I'm interested in this as well. I know they are saying that the sweetest iMac -deal from the new ones is the cheapest model. However, doubling the GPU's memory will certainly pay off. I would be VERY surprised if it didn't.

    Perhaps the base model is the best deal right now but, as I'm not one who buys something and then updates within two years, I feel the 512Mb GPU is a MUST for me. That's why I'm buying the high-end 21.5" model.
     
  17. spiffy05 macrumors member

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    Nov 12, 2007
    #17
    My thoughts exactly. That, and the fact that you can't upgrade the internal drive higher than the stock 500gb.

    Regardless, I've already purchased mine (arriving on Friday :) as I felt it was a good deal for me, and my 3 year old Core 2 Duo Macbook was getting long in the tooth.

    I would still like to hear why you disagree though!
     
  18. Sammy Cat macrumors member

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    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    North America
    #18
    I agree with you that the 3.2ghz was a better buy over the i5. The storage, and video card upgrade are worth the extra $300 if you plan on using it for more than two years.

    The video card on the base model i3 makes it short term buy and hold.
     
  19. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

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    Dec 10, 2004
    #19
    get the i3. IF you want to spend more money (just a little bit) get the REFURB QUAD i5. This is actually CHEAPER than upgrading and getting the dual i5 on the 21.5" and you get a 27" screen. The refurb quad i5 and i7 are the two best values Apple has going right now.
     
  20. Tigerman82 macrumors regular

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    Jul 27, 2010
    #20
    Not everyone likes the big screen, though. I know it's hard to imagine but some of us don't think the bigger the screen the better. If you have the space then it's a different story but some of us have desks with other things on it as well and some of us do not want a computer screen to be the biggest thing in the livingroom. Moreover, I've seen plenty of people commenting on how they hate small size of everything when using the 27" because of its resolution. And gaming... You have to scale down to play and it is a well known fact that the more you scale the worse the picture gets. With the 21.5 you do not have to scale.
     
  21. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    #21
    that is all true. if you don't want a 27" screen then that iMac is not for you. BUT it will give you the best performance for your dollar.
     
  22. lwien macrumors regular

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    Jun 19, 2009
    #22
    Huh? So if one wants a smaller screen, they shouldn't get an iMac? :rolleyes:
     
  23. SiMBa37 macrumors regular

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    New York
    #23
    Agreed. I've stated this before, but for myself, I have a desk with a built in hutch that like very much, but there is no way to fit that 27" in there. Plus I'm so used to working on my 11.6" netbook, they 21.5" seems like luxury to me. I guess I could always buy a new desk, but the specs of the 21.5" i3 3.2 1TB are perfect for all my uses. But I can see the appeal of the 27" quads for people who need more intense power and want to use their screen for watching movies and playing xbox/PS3.
     
  24. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

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    Dec 10, 2004
    #24
    i believe i said if you don't want a 27" screen, then don't get the 27" iMac. I didn't say, don't get an iMac.
     
  25. lwien macrumors regular

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    Jun 19, 2009
    #25

    Ahh.........yes you did. I misread it. I apologize. Sorry....:eek:
     

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