Looking to buy a used 27-inch iMac, 2009-2011 Unibody model primarily for Web & Email, i.e., not CPU intensive. Have two options at the same price point: one is a 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo with 12 GB RAM, the other a 3.2 GHz Core i3 with 4 GB RAM. Is the Core i3 much faster? Will the extra RAM on the Core 2 Duo make a noticeable difference? TIA.
steve359: Most Core2Duo are so outdated they cannot run MountainLion
That's not quite right. The crucial CPU requirement for running Lion and Mountain Lion is a 64-bit processor, so any Mac with a Core 2 Duo (or later) processor should be fine. This includes all aluminium iMacs.
However, Core Duo processors are 32-bit and hence will not run Lion, Mountain Lion or any newer version of OS X. (Perhaps it's worth noting that Apple have never sold a Core Duo iMac.)
jayj320, while you've probably already made your decision, I'll offer my opinion on the off-chance that someone else is in a similar predicament.
With a 2009-11 iMac, like the one you've described, the 5% difference in CPU speed is unimportant on its own. However, i3 CPUs use a much faster system bus than Core 2 Duos, and i3 RAM is about a third faster. Finally, in mid 2010 the i3 iMacs got a faster graphics card.
In benchmark terms, the Geekbench2 scores are as follows. (The reason for the third benchmark is in the last paragraph.)
- 4178 - for early 2009 iMac with a 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo
- 5837 - for mid 2010 iMac with 3.2 GHz i3 CPU
- [3865 - for early 2008 24" iMac with 2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo]
What does all this imply? For "web and email" work, either iMac will be more than fast enough and should support future versions of OS X for some time.
In fact, I've written this note on an "early 2008" 24" iMac (the last of the three iMacs listed above) running Mountain Lion, and I cannot say that I've noticed any speed problems with this supposedly antedevulian system since I bought it five years ago; And this system has a benchmark of just 3865!