GHz i5 or i7?

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Hi everyone :)

Looking at getting the 5k iMac but need a few more options or advice to help me make my decision please.

3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
4.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz [Add NZ$400.00]

My current mac is i5 and I was really hoping to get i7 in the new one, only as I been told it faster. I really don't understand the difference between the two.

I would save myself NZ$400 if I went with the 3.5 GHZ i5 is it enough?
new imac needs to last 8 years (complicated reasons why)
Updated computer savings - money is an issue but I do have the $400 IF needed

Is it really needed? Info below to help provide me advice
I play website games not brought games
only brought game will be Sim City
Surf net in a few tabs
Email
I use my imac from the time I get up to the time I go to bed, every single day, Winter gets heavy usage.
I use iphoto almost every day 50GB of pics
I blog and update my website
I do edit photos - basic editing of adding text, cropping, changing image format, making photo collages for blogs etc not as much as I used to do
Watch movies
Streaming as in watching shows ondemand/utube

Thanks
Jenn
 
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honestly for what you are doing with iPhoto and eventually i suppose you want to use iMovie to transfer your photo's to dvd in the future i would recommend the i7 the i7 has more cores which is the difference each core is it's own processor basically the more cores the faster the machine essentially.

How many cores is the i7 you are looking at and how many cores is the i5 Because honestly you can get both to perform the same benchmarks by just increasing ram and drive size it just really depends on future usage of the machine.

I always go by this.

If you have the money get the i7

If you don't the i5 perform's just fine my mom's macbook air is a i5 and there has been no issues what so ever so it all basically depends on what your current and future plans are.
 
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chas_m

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The i7 is a more advanced (and usually quad-core) processor so choosing that one will help "future-proof" the machine. More cores = more better. Since you need your iMac to last approximately **double** the normal useful life-cycle*, there's no real option to skimp on this aspect (or RAM, which was unaddressed here but can be upgraded later in the 5K iMac). Get the i7.


*just to clarify, many people can use Macs for many years beyond the average, but generally about 4-5 years in one starts to feel, depending on one's usage and how it changes over time plus web technologies and how THEY change over time, that a newer mac with newer tech on board will keep up better. Lighter-duty users feel this pressure more slowly than heavy-duty users, of course. But it is super-hard to predict what changes will come to the Internet, to connector standards, to video standards, to storage standards and to software requirements in the year 2023. It could be just like now only amped up a bit, or they could get a breakthrough in quantum computing next year that renders all of our machines hopelessly old-fashioned in five years' time. It's a gamble, so the only thing you can do is try and future-proof as much as possible, and that means the best processor available, which is the i7.
 

bobtomay

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Both of those chips have 4 cores - 4 CPUs on a single chip. That particular i7 is hyper threaded while the i5 is not. Meaning, it will run 4 "virtual" cores. That i7 can handle 8 threads simultaneously vs 4 threads on the i5. The i7 will be ~50% faster than the i5 when running apps that can actually make use of the full capability of the processor.

The i5 above is 5x and the i7 is 7.5x faster than the core2duo in your current machine.

Do you need it? Not with anything you've listed above. I'm guessing the core2duo you have is not too bad at still doing what you want. Could you / will you want that additional processing power some time during the lifetime of the machine - no one knows what is coming next nor what breakthroughs may occur in hardware nor software.

Historically - and there is not much history related to computers yet - Prior to about 2003-2004, processor speeds (not the Ghz listed, but, the actual time it takes to accomplish a task) were doubling every 9-12 months. Since that time, it has taken 3-4 years for the technology to double processing speeds.

Will either one of them last 8 years? No one knows nor could possibly even tell you whether the machine will live for 8 years, much less if it will be a productive machine 8 years from now. But, the general rule of thumb is "always" buy the most processor you can afford. With an all-in-one where the GPU cannot be upgraded, you also want to buy the best GPU you can afford.

And if you're making tough choices on the 5k iMac, you really have to decide whether the Fusion vs 100% flash storage option or the upgraded CPU is worth more.

They're all tough choices on a high end computer.
 
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Hi Jenn and Tweety. The blackcaps are looking the goods!

Buy the highest spec machine you can reasonable afford. Nothing worse than regretting buying a base model for the next three or four years.
 
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Thank you chas_m and bobtomay for your info and advice :)

RAM I will be upgrading to 16GB at a cheaper price after buying the iMac. RAM is very important for the next iMac as I've learnt that as Apple often release new OS X, RAM comes into play. This is something I didn't even think about when getting my first mac although I did upgrade it from 1GB to 2GB at the time I got it. This is why I will be getting 16GB RAM this time, I'm hoping that be plenty and I won't get held up.

My current iMac has gone over the life span I gave it which was 7yrs, it is now 8 years old with a corrupted hard drive but still running with issues. Replacement hard drive is just over 3 yrs old so it's maybe going to crash at some point this year.

I want my next mac to last 8 years + if possible with the every day usage I give it.

I have a physical disability, no job, so only income I get is benefit to cover my living costs. I have managed to save money a few years back for my next mac when its time to upgrade. I have enough to get the i7 GHz if needed but that be all my computer money gone. This is why whatever I get, has to last 8 yrs. People tell me to upgrade hard drive but if I spend money on doing that, I have no way in gaining that bit of money back to get a new mac, this is why it's important for me to get the most needed to last me years.

The future changes that we don't know about makes it really hard, like you both say. Someone told me Apple may reduce bringing out OS X upgrades less and less in a few years time as they want to move with OS or something but again who knows what will happen.

chas_m you said it right, I am basically trying to future proof my next imac for as long as I can.

bobtomay Yes do I need it for what I do on the mac, maybe not but still wondering if needing to future proof my mac with the i5 still be ok down the track.

I guess my current GHz has done it's job for the 8yrs, it does take a little longer to open things etc. I want the i7 as it will keep the processor speed quick enough over the years even when adding more apps etc BUT what's hard is the extra $400. I don't want to regret it as I know I unable to upgrade processor.

Question for you chas_m and bobtomay :)
I was told by a sales person at an Apple store YoBee, that I don't need the 4GHz as it's only for those doing videos, video editing and a photo person doing editing etc as they would need more things to run and the CPU would help those apps. Nothing was said about how long I want the mac to last etc. So I'm wary on what he said.
 
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KiwiJenn
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Hi Harry :) Yep they are, I'll be going to one of there games in February, should be good.

You said what I said, I don't want to regret not buying what I think I should have. I just want to get advice so I don't take it just from one sales person and then find I should have gone with my gut feeling.


Hi Jenn and Tweety. The blackcaps are looking the goods!

Buy the highest spec machine you can reasonable afford. Nothing worse than regretting buying a base model for the next three or four years.
 
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chas_m

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Question for you chas_m and bobtomay :)
I was told by a sales person at an Apple store YoBee, that I don't need the 4GHz as it's only for those doing videos, video editing and a photo person doing editing etc as they would need more things to run and the CPU would help those apps. Nothing was said about how long I want the mac to last etc. So I'm wary on what he said.

I disagree with the salesperson only because he was thinking in terms of an average lifespan, 4-5 years, I think. Given what you've said you need, his answer would be accurate for someone who can replace the machine in a few years. You, OTOH, may be what we call a "light duty" user for the most part but you're counting on your machine to last the better part of a decade. That changes the equation a bit, which is why I said go for the i7 if you can.

Finally, one other thing I think you need to make room for in the budget (and I appreciate you're on a tight one) is a UPS (uninterruptible power supply). These things aren't terribly expensive (about $50-70 US) but will help prevent mechanical issues caused by electrical fluctuations (too much power OR too little). Your electricity may be mostly stable where you are, but everyone gets "brown outs" and little flickers and such sometimes -- those do a lot of damage to sensitive electronics. When you need a machine to go the distance, this is an investment that will really help it do that.
 
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KiwiJenn
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Thanks chas_m and Harry. I'm leaning towards the i7 4GHz more now, it's seems to be the better way to go even with the extra $400, for the time I need it for.

I do use a surge protector but will look into the uninterruptible power supply as well.
 
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Wise decision Jenn. You will be 'futureproofing' your iMac until say 2020!

Keen Rugby girl like you, going to watch the NRL 9's in town this weekend?
 
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I do use a surge protector but will look into the uninterruptible power supply as well.
Variations such as in line voltage is already made irrelevant by protection standard in all computers. For example, voltage can drop so low those incandescent bulbs dim to 40% intensity. That is potentially harmful to motorized appliances (ie refrigerator). And still ideal voltage to all Macs. Due to protection that is standard in the hardware.

View spec numbers for your existing protector. Notice that it probably absorbs more joules (a surge) than the UPS. A UPS typically has the tiniest number of joules. It absorbs so little of a surge that it could not be any smaller. But just enough above zero so that advertising can hype it as 100% surge protection.

Destructive surges are hundreds of thousands of joules. Good luck finding an adjacent protector that can provide that protection. However another and completely different device located elsewhere (unfortunately also called a surge protector) does that protection.

Some of the 'dirtiest' power seen on AC mains comes from a UPS in battery backup mode. This 120 volt UPS outputs 200 volts square waves with spikes up to 270 volts. Many hype these numbers as harmful. Yes, harmful to motorized appliances. But due to protection standard in all electronics, these numbers are only noise. Due to even more robust protection in a Mac, electricity that 'dirty' is converted into rock solid, low voltage DC to power its semiconductors. No hardware damage.

A UPS is only temporary and 'dirty' power so that unsaved data can be saved. It does not do hardware protection. Its spec numbers define near zero surge protection. Just enough above zero so that many, who ignore numbers, will recommend it as 100% protection,

BTW, a largest limitation on a computer after 8 years is more often memory - not CPU speed. If purchasing a computer that can be upgraded with more memory five years later, then make sure it comes with half the slots empty. Sometimes, it is sold with double the number of memory board that are only half size. IOW all slots have smaller memory boards. Then you must dispose of those memory boards to upgrade. Meaning a future memory upgrade costs twice as much.
 
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I have the new 27" iMac retina. I got the i5 and added additional ram via OWC for a total of 16. It works great. I mainly use big excel spreadsheets through vmware and windows. Occasionally I convert video in handbrake. I stream stuff. Some photoshop. It works fine.
I chose to save some money because I wasn't using final cut or any other type of video editing.
And I would think the i5 could handle some video editing, albeit slower than the i7 but would still work.

I am not worried too much about resale value years from now. There is always a buyer for everything. I've never had any problems selling my old mac stuff.
 
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ok I'm getting the 4GHz

Just thought I would ask here since people can see what I'm getting above.

RAM Advice - I'm starting to second guess myself now

Was going to buy iMac with 8GB RAM and upgrade it to 16GB RAM a week or two later at a cheaper price BUT do I need to right now, as in over the next 2 yrs?? (Keeping in mind what APple do releasing OS X often)
Reason I was going to get it upgraded now was the cost of RAM might go up in 2-3yrs time when I need the extra RAM

I understand the OS X on my new iMac will take 2GB RAM leaving me with 6GB RAM which seems not enough these days...

thanks
Jenn
 

pigoo3

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Was going to buy iMac with 8GB RAM and upgrade it to 16GB RAM a week or two later at a cheaper price BUT do I need to right now, as in over the next 2 yrs??

The ram on 27" iMac's is user upgradeable. If you only want to get 8gig now…just get 8gig now…and don't stress about it!:)

- Nick
 
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Was buying HD today and then the GHz came up somehow when I told her what I was buying Mac wise, as the lady said she works under Apple as well as a Sales person at JB.

gahhh she reakon's I won't need the 4.0GHz even in 3yrs or so time, she thinks I will NEVER get into needing that speed. I told her my whole situation, money situation and hoping it will last 8yrs like my current one and she still asks me why. She explained it like her wanting a V8 car to get her places, yet she can do that in a V6 car. I then said why have the MacBook Pro with Retina have i7 processors even as standard or upgradeable? Her answer was she would direct photo and video persons to that macbook rather than the standard ones. I bet the next iMacs will ALL come with i7 processors, that would KILL me!! I told her I can't go buy macs every 4-5 yrs like most people, let alone upgrading RAM. 16GB RAM is plenty I think

Even if she wanted my money on a Sale, she would still recommend the 3.5GHz.

I still have the gut feeling to go with i7 4.0GHz as if it did come to the point I needed it, I would regret my decision big time. I understand that I have no idea how long this new mac will last but I expect it to last 8yrs as it's newer model than my 2008 one! oh why did I even get into this conversation with her LOL

I was going for 4.0GHz, now I'm back to a debate in my head.

I've worked out what I will save all up total, Between the i5 (save $40) and the i7, including AppleCare, extra RAM and x2 1T HDs, Savings be $360.00 if I went for the i5

I'm going Education UNI pricing which is even cheaper.

Going to read everyones posts again
 
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pigoo3

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Was buying HD today and then the GHz came up somehow when I told her what I was buying Mac wise, as the lady said she works under Apple as well as a Sales person at JB.

gahhh she reakon's I won't need the 4.0GHz even in 3yrs or so time, she thinks I will NEVER get into needing that speed.

Everyone has an opinion. Maybe you won't need that speed now. But if you plan on keeping this computer as long as you mentioned (8 years)...in 3, 5, or more years…it could make a difference.

If you can afford the 4.0ghz CPU upgrade..go for it.:)

- Nick
 

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