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PixelMage 02-01-2011 10:04 AM

Advice on iMac i7
 
I am thinking about getting the iMac 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7. With the following specs:
- 8/16GB memory
- 256GB SSD and 2TB ATA combo
- 27in screen

I keep reading pros and cons on the i7 over the i5. Some say the hyper-threading is not well managed by Mac OS X. Other threads say the i5 is just as good as the i7. Barefeats had a decent review on this model but someone said that the performance is designed to show off the chip and may not correspond to real world experiences.

I would like to do some video and image editing and supposedly the i7 would be ideal for it. I would like to keep the machine for at least 3 years.

I would like to get people's thoughts on this, especially those that actually own the latest version of the iMac i7. Thanks.

Ramimac1 02-01-2011 11:29 AM

I would do the Ram upgrade yourself. Much cheaper.

CrimsonRequiem 02-01-2011 11:53 AM

Aftermarket purchase of an SSD/HDD and RAM is recommended. Apple charges an arm and a leg for upgrades.

ClockworkWorld 02-01-2011 12:00 PM

The i7 is AMAZING. Granted I've not compared it to an iMac with the i5, but I have the exact processor you're talking about, and it literally screams with anything I do. I don't game much, though I have tried gaming on it, just to see what it could do, and it's impressive in every arena from games, to video editing and music production (the latter two I do fairly often).

Real world, day today, everything from email and browsing, to hard work, it's an excellent machine. Happy to answer any specifics I can for you. But like was said... Do the RAM/SSD yourself. it is MUCH cheaper. Just look at the upgrade RAM on a site like Crucial, and compare it to the RAM upgrade on Apple's site. Less than half the price if done yourself later....

PixelMage 02-01-2011 02:57 PM

ClockworkWorld. I appreciate any feedback you can give me. Thanks!

How does you iMac run when you're maxing out the processor. Does it heat up alot? Noisy fans? Any noticeable stalling especially in regards to hyper-threading?

The iMac is a gift so I might be able to get the 8/16GB and 2TB ATA drive covered. If that was not the case, yes, I would look someplace else for those upgrades rather than being locked into Apple prices.

I wish the internal drives (and memory?) were DIY. I know it can be done but it is not as simple as opening up a MacPro. The warranty would be voided if you DIY. Then there is the hassle of dragging the iMac to an Apple store or ASP depending on the upgrade. I just want to customize the iMac so I do not have any need to open the case up until the Apple Care warranty is over.

robduckyworth 02-01-2011 03:04 PM

the memory is easy, its on the bottom, underneath a small faceplate. extremely easy to do.

you need to take the screen off to access the HDD.

think about how much work you will be doing and if you really need an i7, the i5s are really good processors, you could save yourself a bit of money.

i reckon it would last you longer than three years however if you got all the addons you are thinking about.

lilmill 02-01-2011 05:33 PM

I got the i7 with the ssd and 2tb upgrade. Yes it was expensive 900 bucks for the hd upgrade but it's done and it runs great. I am happy I went iMac vs Mac pro.

PixelMage 02-02-2011 01:04 AM

lilmill. Great! I was hoping to find someone with the same iMac configuration.

How well does the processor run when it is being pushed to the limit? Any noticeable stalling? What about the heat and fan noise?

If you do not mind me asking, what made you choose this iMac over the Mac Pro?

ClockworkWorld 02-02-2011 02:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PixelMage (Post 1179072)
ClockworkWorld. I appreciate any feedback you can give me. Thanks!

How does you iMac run when you're maxing out the processor. Does it heat up alot? Noisy fans? Any noticeable stalling especially in regards to hyper-threading?

The iMac is a gift so I might be able to get the 8/16GB and 2TB ATA drive covered. If that was not the case, yes, I would look someplace else for those upgrades rather than being locked into Apple prices.

I wish the internal drives (and memory?) were DIY. I know it can be done but it is not as simple as opening up a MacPro. The warranty would be voided if you DIY. Then there is the hassle of dragging the iMac to an Apple store or ASP depending on the upgrade. I just want to customize the iMac so I do not have any need to open the case up until the Apple Care warranty is over.



No problem!!!

Well, I don't know that you'll be able to actually max it out :P It's pretty powerful, I guess maybe if you play some extreme games or something… But, when I'm really working it hard, it never gets truly "hot". It will get very warm though. A lot of people worry about that, but you have to remember… The ventilation slot where the hot air comes out, is at the top of the machine. It does get warm there. The case is aluminum to help dissipate heat, and it gets warm too. It's designed as a giant heat sink, essentially. This makes the case warmer than most other machines, but it also allows for the fans to cool much more while running at far lower speeds. I've only heard the fans get truly loud one time, and that was when it had been rendering a video I was making for about a half hour-hour or so, and I was doing some other things as well. But even then it wasn't "hot".

Never had it stall once, at all. Even when doing multiple "large" tasks at once.

The memory is VERY easy to change on the iMac, and MBP. The instructions are in the manual, and it's actually easier than the last PC I had!! As far as I know the warranty is not voided if you do the RAM. The HDD yes. The only way you'll void the warranty doing the RAM, is if you damage something. That being said, other modifications in the traditional sense of computers, are more or less impossible. Nature of the beast my friend :) Like a laptop, all in one machines like the iMac are designed to very close tolerances, and there's not a lot of room in there to change things around.

I can't speak for running Windows in Bootcamp, I have no use whatsoever for Windows personally. But under OS X at least, doing everything one can think of, this machine with this processor absolutely screams. You really won't be disappointed, as far as I can tell you :)

PixelMage 02-02-2011 10:23 AM

ClockworkWorld. Your input has been helpfull and encouraging.

Just wondering...Do you leave your iMac on 24/7 in order for the maintenance scripts to run? If so, (and this may not be an easy question to answer) do you feel like it is a significant add on cost to your energy bill?

I am not sure how much wear and tear is added to the life of the iMac as far as leaving it on 24/7 and/or the act of booting up and shutdown on a daily basis. Are there other reason to leave the machine on or off during long periods of non-use?

I am just trying to balance the pros and cons of leaving it on 24/7.

Also, I understand that there is no option to configure the screen to be matte. How is the gloss working for you?

ClockworkWorld 02-02-2011 10:33 AM

I'm happy to help! :)

I don't usually leave it on 24/7, but sometimes through the week, it happens :) You know, going out with the wife and then getting home, forgetting it's on. There's really no maintenance necessary on a Mac :) Try not to think of it as a Windows machine. They are designed with entirely different uses in mind. Macs are simple. There's no virus stuff to worry about, there's no defragmentation necessary, they are basically a "install, turn on, use" machine. If you clutter it up, naturally you want to clean it up a bit from time to time, but it's nothing like Windows in that regard. That's not to say you can get sloppy, though.

Actually, we watched the electric bill close each month since getting the iMac! I had heard they are cheaper on energy than the older ones. Seems to be true, though honestly it's difficult to tell precisely. Our bills have not increased, and 2 of the 3 months we checked, it was actually a bit lower :)

I've heard lots of conflicting information about leaving computers (be they Mac, Windows, or Linux) on 24/7. Some people say it wears things out faster, some compare it to a car where the most damage is actually done turning them off and on constantly. Personally, if I think to do it, I turn it off before bed every night, and it stays on throughout the day. I work from home so it is always on at least 9-10 hours, often more. I don't fret if I forget to shut it down, but just because I personally don't care to leave anything on when I won't be using it for several hours, if I think of it, I shut it down.

I don't believe leaving it on causes any problems. My Grandpa has a old iMac G4 that he uses, he loves that thing and swears against upgrading. It's on all the time, and it's still kicking nearly 10 years later. With hardware, it's just impossible to know. You could use it lightly or heavy and it might die after 2 years. You can use it lightly or heavy and it might last 5 or 10 years. :)

The gloss doesn't bother me a bit! I heard scary stories, but it's impossible for me to notice unless it's off. If it's off, the thing is like a mirror! But when on, the lights behind me, even the window behind me when the sun is out, make minimal reflections on the screen. I suppose it depends on angles and such, but for me, I actually really love it. We even got our MBP with the glossy screen, and it's the same :)


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