Which to buy? 2010 2.93 i7 w/ SSD or 2011 3.4 i7

Discussion in 'iMac' started by 1thrasher, May 24, 2011.

  1. 1thrasher, May 24, 2011
    Last edited: May 24, 2011

    1thrasher macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2011
    Originally posted in the wrong forum; please reply here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1158220

    I will be purchasing a new iMac soon, and was wondering whether I should purchase a refurb 2010 model 2.93Ghz Quad-core i7 with a 256Mb SSD for $1999, or should I spend the +$200 for a brand new 2011 3.4Ghz Quad-core i7 with the standard 1Tb hard drive.

    I'm a programmer, and want a new powerhouse to minimize the build times on my Adobe Flex applications. Honestly, that's my primary consideration for this machine. I will not be playing games, doing any video or graphics processing, nor have the need for large amounts of data storage -- I'm currently using about 130Gb, and I could trim that to half if I needed to.

    Macworld results put these machines nearly head-to-head:

    It would appear to me that the optimal machine would be the newer model because of the faster processor (and thus faster Flex build times). Can anyone else please weigh in?

    Also, has anyone heard of connecting 2 external monitors to through the new dual Thunderbolt connections, thus having 3 monitors with the new iMacs? (I have two 28" monitors now, and I'm thinking three could either be a) awesome or b) way too much real estate for what I do.)

    And lastly, would I be remiss in not considering a mac pro? According to the speedmark results posted by macworld, I'm better off with the two above iMacs vs a similarly priced (if not $500-$1000 more) mac pro -- I don't want to spend $3k+ on a machine.

    Thanks for the advice!
  2. imaginex20 macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2009
    It depends on if you're going to want or need Thunderbolt ports.

    You mention that you have two 28" monitors, the older 2010 iMac doesn't support two monitors where as the 2011 model does.

    I can tell you now that the 2010 model will feel significantly faster compared to 2011 due to the SSD drive. I have a MBP with SSD and it feels faster than my iMac due to the responsiveness of the SSD.
  3. nyukfui macrumors member

    May 10, 2011
    SSD vs HD should have less impact for your build time than the 3.4G vs 2.9G.
    I will go for 3.4G option and if budget allow, 3.4G + SSD. :)
  4. patp77 macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Easier to add an SSD to an i7 3.4 later or easier to add 2 Thunderbolt ports and an i7 3.4 to the 2.93 later?

    Obviously option 1 is the only one possible which is why I would probably lean in that direction for your situation. I would just wait a week to get the free iPod and resell it to give you the cash to pay for the SSD upgrade.
  5. 1thrasher thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2011
    ssd responsiveness

    Thanks for the replies.

    I do have an new macbook air with the 64Gb SSD, and it is considerably faster than my iMac i3 with regards to responsiveness. However, I'm guessing that nyukfui is right in that an SSD will likely not (greatly) affect/reduce the build times that I'm looking forward to.

    Also, say I go with the new, faster 3.4 and use just one additional monitor through one of the thunderbolt ports, couldn't I just add an external SSD (when OWC releases one) using the other thunderbolt port? I mean, as I understand it, the throughput on those ports are fast enough to support the bandwidth needed to maximize the ssd's speed, right?

    And by the omissions, I'm assuming glossing over the Mac Pro (under $3k) option is for the best.
  6. archer75 macrumors 68010

    Jan 26, 2005
  7. Michael383 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2011
  8. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
  9. MarrkDaviid macrumors member

    May 22, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    The 2011 model is definitely the better option, the SSD and HDD bracket can be ordered from Apple, whereas the thunderbolt ports and second generation sandy bridge architecture cannot.
  10. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    If you can afford it, new everytime. Especially with regard to iMacs.
  11. TheNakedMan macrumors member

    May 20, 2007
    If it's in your budget, buy a newer one.

    See both have hyperthreading. So that 2.93 will go to like what 3.4 at load. The 3.4 will go to 3.8 ish?

    I'm going to be one of those that say thunderbolt won't be making it as big time since HP and the rest aren't supporting it. It will be like firewire....expensive and only seen on special units. It is cool though, to be able to hook up two more monitors. I've got one...and I'm looking into this device that can split up the mini display port into 2. It does cost like 125 bucks though.

    Personally, I saved the 800 bucks, bought the refurb i7 2.93. I'm loving it right now. I have a 23 inch monitor hooked up to it. I do a little programming, photography, writing, and web stuff. It suits my needs just fine.

    I don't think you could go wrong either way. I will be upgrading an SSD in mine shortly, I had one in my macbook pro...and I'll be looking to OWC to fill the need.

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