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  1. #1

    eliehass's Avatar
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    Question about the difference between iMac processors (Just Curious)
    Does anyone know how much of a difference there is between the previous generation iMacs 3.6 Ghz i5 and the current generations 2.8 Ghz i7? (in the 21.5 inch models)

    I have the previous generations 3.6 model, and I'm just wondering how it stacks up to the 2.8 i7. If anyone has any benchmarks or info it would be much appreciated.

    Thanks!
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  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
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    I haven't seen any bench marks posted yet regarding the new iMacs so there's no way (right now) to compare them to the previous generation. However, given that the new iMacs are using Sandy Bridge and better graphic chipsets, I suspect they'll be faster.

  3. #3

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    For raw scores, the Passmark charts are a good place to start. Here is the list of high end CPUs.

    With Sandy Bridge, I think Intel has made the biggest single leap in processing power since the the Pentium 3 to Pentium 4. The jump from P4 to core duo/C2D wasn't even this big. And you surely cannot rely on clock speed alone to give any sort of indication as to how fast a chip is, even for single threaded applications.

    You'll find that 2.8 i7 at about place 20 with a score of 8,541. The last gen 3.6 i5, is sitting way down the list with a score of 3,584.

    For researching, check:
    Primate Labs
    barefeats
    Anandtech
    Toms' Hardware
    and a lot of others - those are probably the most widely known

    Keep in mind that benchmarks are an artificial gauge, and although they do not give you any sense of how much faster any particular task may be, they're generally good for head to head comparisons. Anandtech's (among others) real world tests are much better at providing some sense how much performance difference you might expect to see in certain tasks between machines.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  4. #4

    lonewolf's Avatar
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    MacBook Pro 13.3 2.4Ghz C2D 8GB Corsair X128 128GB SSD, iBook G4 1.2Ghz 1.25GB RAM
    The last generation build to order 3.6Ghz i5 is the i5-680. This is a dual core processor. In fact, it is probably the fastest dual core processor ever.

    The primary difference between it and the i5 processors in the 2011 iMac, as well as the i7, is that the new machines all have *four* cores. The i7 also has *hyperthreading*. In a nutshell, those are the primary differences. More cores, or higher clock speed.

    That said, it depends on what you are doing if the dual core is faster than the new i5-2400s / 2500s in the 2011 iMacs. This is the age old question of how much do you multitask, and what kind of applications do you use. Video and music editing / transcoding can use 4+ cores for the most part these days. This is the most common heavy cpu use multitasking scenario.

    Games really use 2 cores, but if you are doing something in the background a lot while gaming then 4 cores will win out. This might even be the case with something as trivial as Time Machine running in the background, or acting as a file or print server, or running a handfull of torrents where it is keeping one cpu somewhat busy.
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  5. #5

    eliehass's Avatar
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    I'm fairly certain that my core i5 has hyper-threading as well. It's a dual core processor, but the OS registers it as having 4 "cores". I bought my iMac in the end of December because my MBP just wasn't cutting it for heavy 1080p video editing anymore. I got the highest possible specced BTO 21.5 incher possible. Now that these newfangled sandy bridge processors are out I'm feeling left behind again.

    I guess when it comes time for me to upgrade a few years down the road, whatever computer I get will smoke these sandy bridge processors.
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  6. #6

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eliehass View Post
    ...

    I guess when it comes time for me to upgrade a few years down the road, whatever computer I get will smoke these sandy bridge processors.
    Never know. There have now been two 3+ year spreads with not much advancement made in processors. We could now be at the beginning of another, my guess - it could be even longer this time before we see another leap like this.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  7. #7

    eliehass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
    Never know. There have now been two 3+ year spreads with not much advancement made in processors. We could now be at the beginning of another, my guess - it could be even longer this time before we see another leap like this.
    Isn't intel releasing those processors with the 3D transistors in the near future?
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  8. #8

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eliehass View Post
    Isn't intel releasing those processors with the 3D transistors in the near future?
    They've been saying they'd have a chip out to compete with ARM for each of the last 3 years at least. Now they have one that will simultaneously compete with ARM and replace the current desktop chips? I"ll believe it when I see samples being sent to the prime testing sites.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  9. #9


    Member Since
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    That's exactly what I came here to ask. I've always been under the assumption that processing speed was primarily Ghz, or for example a 2.0 Ghz processor is not near as fast as a 2.66Ghz, but then I was looking for a new Desktop, laptop, or even Mini, and came to the question; IS AN i5 3.0 Ghz as fast as a
    i7 2.0Ghz processor, and if not just how much slower is it? further how much influence should I equate Ghz to speed in assessing my hardware in the futureMacs?

  10. #10


    Member Since
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    Ok I just looked at the link you posted PassMark Intel vs AMD CPU Benchmarks - High End with the benchmarks and I think I get it, at long last! Thank you so very much!

  11. #11

    Exodist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by armpit44 View Post
    That's exactly what I came here to ask. I've always been under the assumption that processing speed was primarily Ghz, or for example a 2.0 Ghz processor is not near as fast as a 2.66Ghz, but then I was looking for a new Desktop, laptop, or even Mini, and came to the question; IS AN i5 3.0 Ghz as fast as a
    i7 2.0Ghz processor, and if not just how much slower is it? further how much influence should I equate Ghz to speed in assessing my hardware in the futureMacs?
    This is a old thread, hope no one shoots us for necro-ing it to much.. LOL

    But I will answer your question.

    This is a un technical way of looking at it. If you have 2 cores at 2Ghz. You basically have 4Ghz of computing power.. If you have 4 cores, then you have 8Ghz worth of computing power. Well thats the idea but it doesn't always work out that wonderfully. But lets say you have dual core 3Ghz CPU and another quad core 2Ghz CPU. If the software is not wrote for multithreading then the 3Ghz dual core Cpu will out perform the quad core CPU. But that software will also only be using one of the two cores on the dual core CPU. However most software is now wrote for multithreading and should utilize the power of the 4 cores in a quad core CPU.

    This is a cheesy way of looking at it, but thats basically the sum of it.

    Now intels current i5 line are both dual core and quad core CPUs that are multithreaded. This is not to get confused with intels i7 line that has HYPER threading. Hyperthreading shows up as 8 cores, although it really is only 4 physical cores on the chip. Read up on it here.. To much to type.. LOL Hyper-threading - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Cheers..

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