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TOPIC: 27" iMac i5 vs i7???

27" iMac i5 vs i7??? 26 Apr 2018 09:10 #95312

  • james.wood
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I'm looking to upgrade my editing workstation and am unclear on the benefits of getting the Build-to-order iMac with the i7 processor or just getting the top specced off the shelf iMac with the i5.

Here's what I'm currently working on...
Mid-2011 27" iMac
3.4 Core i7
2GB VRAM
1TB HDD
16GB Memory

I'm currently only editing 1080p and I'm not looking to do 4K any time soon.

Basically what I would like to know is if I will see any major benefit going with the build-to-order i7 or if the i5 will offer enough of an upgrade from my current iMac.
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27" iMac i5 vs i7??? 27 Apr 2018 11:04 #95319

  • joema
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Compared to your 2011 iMac, either a 3.8Ghz i5 or 4.2Ghz i7 2017 iMac will be vastly faster on FCPX, especially on H264 material. This is due to the improved Quick Sync logic on the Kaby Lake CPU.

The Geek Bench numbers on the 3.8 Ghz i5 are faster than the 2013 i7 machine, so it's no slouch.

The i5 has the advantage of being quieter when under high load. The fans don't spin up as much as the 2015 or 2017 i7. However this happens less on FCPX than on Adobe software since FCPX is more efficient. With Premiere, just scrolling a 4k H264 timeline causes the fans to spin up. With FCPX it usually takes sustained hard rendering or encoding.

The i7 is hyperthreaded so it has eight virtual CPU cores. On certain software this can improve performance by about 30%. For test purposes I have used a 3rd party utility to disable hyperthreading on my 2017 i7, and for FCPX export it made about 30% difference. For most tasks you probably won't notice it much.

Whether you get the i5 or i7, I suggest getting the top GPU, the 8GB Radeon Pro 580. Also I suggest getting SSD storage. Definitely don't get the 1TB Fusion Drive. I have a 2013 iMac with the 3TB Fusion Drive and it works pretty well. But with video you usually end up using external storage anyway, so even a 3TB drive is usually not enough in the long run.
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27" iMac i5 vs i7??? 10 May 2018 04:08 #95450

I would recommend upgrading the SSD to as high as you can afford, while remain the basic level for CPU and memory.
Mine is a late 2014 model and was customized to 512GB SSD and i7, which I don't see much necessary. And 8GB is quite enough for multitasking in most of the situation, trust me.
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