Sorry another 675 vs 680 ?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by wunderboy, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. wunderboy macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    I know it is only $150 difference but it's still money and I want to make a good decision which way to go.


    I don't game on the Mac (maybe that's all you need to know).

    I mostly use for work which mainly has me reviewing PDF's of construction drawings. Also, utilizing VMWare Fusion for AutoCAD LT and some windows only programs I have.

    For fun I am probably a typical user with photoshop and some video editing. Nothing real heavy.

    My current setup MBP 17" with i5, 8gig, and NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M 512 MB is starting to bug me on the PDF side of things. If the drawing is large and complicated enough, navigating and zooming is not very smooth as the computer pauses to refresh the drawing often. Basically makes getting my work done take that much longer.

    Since the need to have a laptop as a main computer has changed and I would like to have two large monitors (I already have a 2nd 23" LCD) I want to migrate to a new iMac and pass along the laptop to another user.

    I have decided on all things except the GPU. Base system will be i5, Fusion, and 24gig memory. Based on my needs, specially related to my annoyance with PDF viewing, would the 680 serve me better than the 675 or does my use case make that choice irrelevant?

    Thanks for you input.
  2. mateo124 macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2011
    If you use autoCAD a lot, I would just go for the 680mx. The performance boost is fairly large, especially if you decide to use two monitors. It may cost an additional $150 but if you decide not to get it now, you may end up regretting it later on.
  3. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    It depends on how complex your AutoCAD models are. If its a relatively light work, the 680MX won't give you any noticeable benefit. And if its a heavy work... well, then you should be looking into professional GPUs anyway :)
  4. wunderboy thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Didn't mean to get side tracked on the AutoCAD thing.

    I do use AutoCAD Lt in my VMWARE Fusion running Win XP and really don't have any complaints running it that way. Though I do notice a slow down on my Mac as a whole when running Fusion, which I would think is normal. I also don't think Fusion would take any advantage of a good GPU anyways. Someday I may pluck down the money for AutoCAD on the Mac but it isn't a must quite yet.

    My main current bottle neck is viewing PDF's of drawings that clients send me. Larger more complicated drawings will take a long time to zoom or pan about. It isn't like it takes hours to do a zoom, but it stutters and jumps enough that it becomes a big annoyance for work flow...especially if I will be working in the PDF drawing for a good amount of time.

    I agree that it might just be better to pay the $150 and not worry about it, but I was curious if it would make a difference in PDF viewing to warrant the up-charge.

    Thanks for the input.
  5. Cidtek macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2012
    The real question is how much of improvement is the 675 over the GeForce GT 330M. Only then do you need to decide if a 680 is needed.
  6. wunderboy thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    You bring up a good point. Do you have any advice in regards to that?

    I can only assume that a new desktop with faster everything is going to be better or faster than my current 2010 MBP. I know I want to make the investment with the biggest driving factory being screen size. I would like to invest or spend wisely (no need to say then buy a Windows based system, that isn't an option for me) as every $100 adds up.

    Anyways, maybe I need to dig further on how PDF viewing utilizes computer resources and make an educated decision. I admit I am being somewhat lazy and hoped someone smarter than me had the answer already.
  7. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    A faster GPU is rather unlikely to help you here, as these kinds of tasks are almost exclusively done on the CPU. Nvidia does have some GPU support for path rendering via a vendor OpenGL extension (GL_NV_path_rendering), however, it is not exposed in OS X and I am also not aware that anybody actually uses it for tasks like PDF rendering. Anyway, even in the unlikely case that Apple actually uses a similar implementation, I don't believe that you will see any substantial difference between 675MX and 680MX.
  8. wunderboy thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
  9. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    Your post makes it sound like you plan to spend $400 on Apple RAM to get to 24Gb. If that's the case, you can spend $100 on third party RAM, $150 on the 680MX, and $150 on a very nice dinner and be much better off.
  10. wunderboy thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Buying standard 8gig and third party 16gig. Didn't think it important to elaborate that detail, just that my plan was 24gigs of memory at the end.

    Apple memory is too expensive but can understand some people not feeling comfortable messing with anything hardware.
  11. gagaliya macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2010
    you are spending $2000+ on this machine, this is only $150 and will offer you a significant hardware upgrade on the video card, and you cannot upgrade it later.

    just stop think so much and get it.
  12. randy98mtu macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2009
    Can someone quantify the difference between the 675 and the 680? My system is ordered with the 675 and I'm contemplating calling to see if I can get it upgraded. I haven't seen anything compelling me to make the call though. I do video encoding, Office documents and web browsing and maybe some Lightroom, though that is usually on my laptop and from what I can tell, doesn't require much from a video card. So why do folks make it sound like the 675 to 680 upgrade is such a quantum leap? Seems like the 675 is already going to be a huge step up from anything from 2 or more years ago, which many of us are using today with no problems.

    Not trying to be critical, just trying to understand the differences for those of us not using the key tasks the upgraded graphics seem designed for.
  13. DDaddyx2 macrumors regular


    Jan 6, 2012
    Indianapolis, IN
    You can't call to get the card upgraded (I tried). All they can do is cancel your current order and place a new order for you. But then you are put at the back of the line.

    From your description, I think you can pass on the 680. I had similar concerns but it really sounds like the 680 is only NEEDED if you are going to be gaming.
  14. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'd do stock 8GB RAM (upgrade it yourself later with after-market as the 27" iMac still allows that. Do the i7, and do the 680MX. If you don't need it, then fear not, that extra power will make the machine last longer before you feel a need to replace it.
  15. FuriousGreg macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2011
    CPU will help more with PDFs than GPU which is unlikely to do much. PDFs are great for crossplatfom viewing and consistancy of image but are poorly optimized and even on screeming fast machines can lag (one of the reasons Jobs hated them).
  16. wunderboy thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    I understand that logic but don't necessarily work that way.

    For example, I wouldn't mind owning a Porsche but would never pay for satellite radio. It adds no value for me.

    $150 is money and unless it has a tangible and significant improvement over my MBP, i.e. true 4 core processor and 27" screen, why should I waste (and everyone may have a different definition of waste for themselves) money just because I am spending a good chunk for the iMac if it doesn't add value for me.

    Hence my original question. It appears only minor improvements would be noticed for my use case, so that doesn't seem like a good investment...for me.

    On order is 27", 8gig (+16gig from third party), 675MX, i5...with Applecare. Only buying Applecare because of 1st gen redesign and gives me a bit of piece of mind.
  17. randy98mtu macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2009
    Thanks. That is what I was thinking. I can save myself a phone call then. :)
  18. CoreyLahey macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2012
    makes sense to me, unfortunately I can't speak on your issue. Have you tried Apple or just looked into the difference the added 1GB VRam on the 680MX would make? Another option would be to open one of your PDFs on a 21.5 iMac at a store, see how it compares to your Macbook, and if you're fine with the performance you cant rest assured that the much faster 675MX will do.
  19. wunderboy thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    I have been doing a bit of research and think for my use case I'm good with the 675. The biggest improvement for me is screen size. Damn, it's true that you start to fall apart over age 40. Darn eyesight!!

    Thanks to all for input. That's why I like this format...plenty of input.

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