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i5 or i7 iMac?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hey Everyone,

I'm not sure if this question has been asked before. I did a search across all threads but the search eliminates the terms i5 and i7 because they are too short, so I came up with nothing.

I'm picking up a 27 inch iMac and am wondering what the main differences are between the i5 and i7 processors (aside from clock speed). I'm trying to keep my budget as low as possible but I also want to future proof the system as much as I can because money has been tight and I likely won't be upgrading for another 3-5 years. Since Core2Duo's are at the end of their life cycle, I don't really want to go that route.

Is there a cache size difference between the two? Does the i5 include hyper-threading? Does the i7 (other than clock speed) generally run faster? Does the i5 run noticebly cooler?

Obviously you can tell I'm leaning more toward the i5, I just don't know a lot about it compared to the i7.

My main use for the computer is composing music and designing and rendering 3D artwork.

On the music side of things I run Ableton Live 8, Kore, Kontakt, Ministry of Rock, Recycle, Reason 3 and Omnisphere. Some of these plugins are pretty massive but my 2.4 Ghz Core2Duo with 4GB ram Macbook Pro runs them fine.

For the artwork I run Vue 8 Infinite, Bryce 5, Photoshop and Voyager. I would like the best rendering speed as possible, thats why Hyper-Threading is important to me, but if the difference between the i5 and i7 is a few minutes, that is of no concern. )

I'm trading my Macbook Pro in towards the iMac because it just sits on my desk the vast majority of the time anyways, and when I'm designing or composing the 15 inch screen is way too small...so I figure the iMac is the best choice.

Thanks for any help or links you can provide. Appreciate it! )
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post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by G520incher View Post

Is there a cache size difference between the two? Does the i5 include hyper-threading? Does the i7 (other than clock speed) generally run faster? Does the i5 run noticebly cooler?

No, the i5 is 4 thread, i7 is 8 thread. The i5 doesn't run very cool, I'd expect the i7 to be about the same.

The i7 is as much as 35% faster than the i5.

http://www.geek.com/articles/news/ge...imac-20091116/

If you just do 3D stills, the i5 is fine, otherwise the i7 is better choice. The i7 matches the entry Mac Pro for performance.
post #3 of 5
Last I checked, Hyperthreading does zilch for raytracing, but that was several years ago. If you go to the ElectricImage forum, they will tell you all about it. Generally, they are several years ahead of the rendering competition.

Large memory and cache, however, definitely makes a difference. How complex are your scenes? Do you have examples?
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post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

Last I checked, Hyperthreading does zilch for raytracing, but that was several years ago.

There can be benefits but it depends on the software:

http://vr-zone.com/articles/does-cor...lps-/6160.html
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/hyper-...w-31842-8.html
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Marvin:

Thanks for the information. I'll likely go with the i7 because the main graphics and rendering program I use is Vue 8 Infinite and it will use as many cores as you can throw at it, as well as being multi-threaded, so those extra 4 threads will probably prove useful.

Splinemodel:

Just click the link in my signature to go to my website. I suggest moving to the left sidebar and under 'Browse This Store' click the second link: 'Crazy Cool Mousepads' for the most complete showing of my work.

Thanks guys. )
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