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2010 Quad-Core iMac Performance (Introduction)

Last updated 2010-08-08 - Send Feedback
Related: CPU cores, iMac, Mac Pro
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On July 27, 2010, Apple announced the 2010 27" iMac with various processor options. See Buying an iMac.

As shown at right, I ordered the 2.93GHz, quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU with 4GB memory and 1TB hard drive. After some initial testing, mine is being upgraded to the MPG Pro One, for ultra high performance.

The iMac quad-core model is a powerful machine, offering compute performance similar to that of the Mac Pro.

Recommendations for photographers

With a built-in 27" display and high performance and compact size (relatively speaking), the iMac is sure to appeal to many. However, my preference remains the Mac Pro, as a more flexible and expandable machine, see my discussion of the iMac limitations.

For photographers, I strongly recommend the quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU. See the Mac Pro 2010 review for more on CPU clock speed and CPU cores (in general).

See also my discussion on Cores and Clock Speed at B&H Photo.

Best case

The graph below captures the approximate performance differences in the best case when all the CPU cores can be used by well-written software.

The actual gains usually fall somewhere between this graph, and the one below.

The Real World

Murphy’s Law says that real world differences will be much smaller for software that doesn’t use multiple CPU cores all that well. It all depends on what you do. Click to read more.

Click to read more...

See also

In-depth Review of the March 2009 Mac Pro Nehalem.

Mac Pro Nehalem Shootout


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