Wondering About How the i5 and i7 iMacs "Relate" to I3, i5, and i7 Wintels?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by sgmorr, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. sgmorr macrumors member

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    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    DFW area Texas
    #1
    I am a committed Mac owner and user. I just bought a new 21.5 inch iMac an am loving it. I have just become curious after having seen a whole plethora of Wintel laptops out new sporting i3, i5 and i7 processors. Taking note of some of the difficulties Apple has had in rolling out the 27 inch i5 and i7 iMacs, I'm just wondering what the story is with these laptops? How closely similar are the processors in the Wintels to the processors in the iMacs? And was Apple's difficulty in getting these 27 inch iMacs out related to the i5 and i7 processors they are using or due to a combination of other factors?

    I'm just kind of curious as to why the i5 and i7 rollout seemed to be such an ordeal with iMacs and seems to be happening on a large scale with the Wintel laptops.

    Of course I have no idea how many problems may be lurking inside these Windows laptops.
     
  2. MrCheeto macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #2
    As far as I understand it, the iMac now uses desktop processors, not notebook processors.

    As well, the same CPU under both operating systems will have the exact same raw power. However, Windows tends to take up more resources and therefore will usually perform more sluggish and less responsive than OS X on the same system.

    It would be like putting a 351ci Windsor in a '67 Mustang vs. a '78 Thunderbird. Yeah, they both have the same raw power but the Thunderbird needs more just to make that giant hunk move.
     
  3. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

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    Nov 5, 2009
    #3
    The lynnfields in the iMacs are true desktop-grade cpus, while the new Arrandales you're talking about that are seeing a shortage at this time are because of too high a demand.

    It just boiled down to the fact that intel cpus are very popular, and every oem on the market is excited about putting the latest version of intel chips in their systems. The i5 and i7 iMacs were released alongside the release of the lynnfield chips, while all these new notebooks are being released alongside the arrandale chips. It just so happens that apple has not released new macbookpros alongside the arrandales.


    In case you're wondering what the difference is between arrandale and lynnfield:

    The lynnfield is a direct competitor to the bloomfield (original i7 chip) and features better thermal efficiency and higher clock speed. Quad core chip.
    The arrandales incorporate the same nehalem architecture in the bloomfield and lynnfields, but are dual core instead, and intel plans for the arrandale to take the place of core2duo.


    The difficulties apple had with the quad core iMacs was probably mostly due to shortages of the lynnfields, but also very likely due to screen issues as well.
     
  4. sgmorr thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    DFW area Texas
    #4
    Very interesting TMRaven. So the Arrandales are just dual core chips? What exactly does the i3 and i5 and i7 designate then? I was under the misimpression that all these "i's" were quad core.

    Anyway, having just bought my 21.5 inch iMac a month or two ago (and I'm really loving it), have some of us missed the quad core boat by not waiting a little longer? I really didn't want the big 27 inch screen and added expense anyway, but how near do you think Apple is to putting a quad core in the 21.5 inch and exactly how big of a processing leap would that be over what I've got now in my iMac? Just curious. I know that we continually fall behind as new products come out.

    Thanks.
     
  5. MrCheeto macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

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    Nov 2, 2008
    #5
    All I'm going to say is, the most powerful 21.5" iMac doesn't even touch the least powerful Quad-Core i5 iMac.
     
  6. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #6
    You probably did miss the boat in regards to having nehalem architecture, but not quad cores.

    Intel wanted to have an ease of use designation for their cpus. They're naming everything with their new nehalem architecture starting with "i".

    The smaller the number, the less performance and features you can expect in general. (for each different version of intel cpu that is) But frankly I find it just as confusing as their previous attempts to name their processors.

    I doubt apple would put desktop quad cores in the 21.5 inch iMacs. Maybe either clarkdale or arrandale, both are dual core variants of the nehalem architecture. Clarkdale is the desktop version while arrandale is the mobile version. Both are built on the 32nm process, so they deliver less heat. There's also the possibility of mobile versions of their i7 quad cores too I guess.

    It's not like missing the boat on nehalem architecture is truly a bad thing though. You'll still get loads of power out of an extreme edition core2duos like you see in the iMacs-- enough to last you 3-5 years anyways.

    The extreme edition core2duos can compete very well with the i5s in terms of doing basic tasks and gaming-- for now anyways. Not much stuff is geared for more than 2 cores. With intel continuously pumping out cpus with more and more cores, I can't imagine the people who develop their own programs will ever catch up, they'll most likely be one step behind for years to come.
     
  7. MrCheeto macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #7
    I believe some Core chips are being rebranded i series, such as the i3.

    Anyway, it sickens me to think how much raw speed our exponentially multiplying transistor-laden chips have been able to achieve, yet programmers aren't taking full advantage of it!

    Back in the day, programmers were crying for more power! The Atari, for instance. Programmers worked the 6502 in the Atari to hell and back trying to squeeze every ounce of capable power out of it, even using "hacks" or cheats such as what went into making Pac-Man for the 2600. They hit a physical limitation then.

    When was the last time a programmer of a mainstream software product ran into such barriers? Even game designers are on the cusp of GPU production.

    Too much potential, not enough effort. May as well give DVD's to those primitive villages in Africa, they'd do just as much with them.
     
  8. pilot1226 macrumors 6502a

    pilot1226

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    This is pretty similar to when I built my PC Desktop back in 2002 -

    I just made the jump to the Athlon64 and was among the first adopters of the hardware, but it was years before we actually got x64 architecture (and even longer for drivers) so at the time it ended up being a flop. And, because I adopted so early, I had among the first x64 (Socket 754 I think) compatible motherboards, and this still used AGP rather than PCIe. So again, I missed that boat.

    The i5/i7 is obviously different, but keep in mind that technology is always advancing rapidly. Really, the second you get a new computer there's something else being made in the labs that will outperform your brand new computer before it's even out of the box.

    It's just the nature of technology. If money is an issue, it's probably a better idea to take about 3 steps back from the "top of the line" and then you'll have something that will last you around 5 years. And in 5 years, do the same thing, and you'll still get that jaw-dropping performance game.
     

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