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27" iMac Haswell i5 vs i7

35074 Views 42 Replies Latest reply: Feb 27, 2014 3:00 PM by richsadams RSS
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richsadams Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)
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Sep 29, 2013 1:53 PM

I'm finally going to upgrade from my '08 24" iMac to a new 27" iMac "dream machine" and need some professional advice.  The heavy lifting will be for periodic video editing via Final Cut Pro, After Effects, etc.

 

Here's what I'm planning on:

 

  • RAM: 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM
  • SSD: 512GB Flash Storage
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5

 

Here's where I'm torn:

 

  • CPU: 3.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz

     OR

  • CPU: 3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz

 

In the past there seemed to be a greater difference between the CPU options, but now, the disparity doesn't seem as wide.  I checked Intel's site and their bottom line:

 

"The Core i5-4670K has 33% less cache than the Core i7-4770K and no Hyper-Threading. The Core i7-4770K's Hyper-Threading feature helps by creating four additional virtual cores for a total of eight threads, which increases performance during multitasking procedures."

 

So I'm not sure which would be the most beneficial in my case, particularly during the "heavy lifting" stage.

 

I'm stretching my budget as it is but am willing spend the additional $200 for the i7 if it would really make a difference and it sounds like it might, but I'm hoping for some expert advice.

 

TIA!

iMac, OS X Mountain Lion
  • LowLuster Level 6 Level 6 (11,785 points)
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    Sep 29, 2013 2:19 PM (in response to richsadams)

    None of the Newest iMacs have an i7 CPU. If you want an iMac with i7 you'll have to buy a leftover, before they run out of them, at an Apple store or authorized reseller or buy a Refurbished late 2012 from Apple. But in either of those cases you won't be able to customize it. You'll have to take whatever they have in stock. You can upgreade the RAM yourself but that is all you can upgrade.

  • LowLuster Level 6 Level 6 (11,785 points)
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    Sep 29, 2013 2:52 PM (in response to richsadams)

    Sorry I missed that. I was looking at the tech specs and missed the light grey text below it that states you can get a i7.

     

    New iMac text.PNG

  • LowLuster Level 6 Level 6 (11,785 points)
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    Sep 29, 2013 3:00 PM (in response to richsadams)

    For $200 I think not. Yes the i7 will be faster but not $200 faster IMHO.

  • anthonyfromglen ellyn Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
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    Sep 29, 2013 4:59 PM (in response to richsadams)

    I would go with the 1GB fusion drive and get the I7 instead of the I5. The 128GB SSD part of the fusion drive is plenty big for the system and lots of apps. I use Photoshop, Lightroom and MS Office and they all load instantly. After getting my 27” with the fusion HD I could not get use to using my 13”MacBook Pro with a traditional HD anymore and installed a OWC SSD in it.

  • Bradford W. Miller Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Sep 30, 2013 7:19 AM (in response to richsadams)

    The closest comparable model for which there are Geekbench 2 benchmark results is the late 2012 27" iMac. You can see them using Mactracker, but the difference is (all 4 core options apparently)

     

    i5, 2.9GHz     9197

    i5, 3.2GHz     9535

    i7, 3.4GHz     12884

     

    So i7 would give you roughly 33% improvement over an i5 on a sample load. You may want to also look at the geekbench 3 results here:

     

    http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks

     

    That doesn't directly answer your question on how your 'heavy lifting' apps would perform, however, it's a good general benchmark on the CPU. It does not address how the GPU performs, and it is possible that your workload would be more heavily influenced by the choice of GPU than CPU.

     

    I looked but could not find a recent benchark of Final Cut Pro on a recent imac. My suggestion would be, if possible, to take a sample to an Apple Store and run on one of their machines to see if you notice enough difference to want to 'spend the money.'

  • anthonyfromglen ellyn Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
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    Sep 30, 2013 8:08 AM (in response to richsadams)

    Again, you are  spending a lot of money here and of course you want it to use it more than a just a few years. I think the trade off here for the fusion + I7 beats out the 500GB SSD and I5. I'm very happy with the fusion drive. These new iMacs have the new faster connection for the fusion (and the SSD). I think what I have is blazing fast and the new fusion & SSD drives are 1.5x faster then my 1st generation fusion drive.

  • peterfromatlanta Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Sep 30, 2013 8:54 AM (in response to richsadams)

    I would go for the I7. After Effects will take advantage of the Hyperthreading with it's "render multilpe frames simultaneously" option. Not sure about Final Cut.

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