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4-Core CPUs do not Leave Much Grunt for Other Tasks

Recently I bought a 2017 iMac 5K for solid reasons and yesterday I discussed the switchover and the gear I’m using.

I am generally reluctant to use a 4-core machine, because my work often involves getting work done while other stuff happens, like clone backups—and cloning takes a lot of CPU power—see the rsync processes below. On a 4-core iMac 5K, about 60% of the computing power is being used for these in-progress clones and while there are several at once, the I/O speeds are relatively low, which reduces the CPU load.

Bottom line: a 6-core or more machine is much better for workloads where background tasks are chewing up CPU time. It is one reason among several that I might end up with an iMac Pro instead of the 2017 iMac 5K. The only mitigating factor with the about $3699 top-end 2017 iMac 5K is that its 4.2 GHz CPU is the fastest available, matching or even outrunning my 8-core 3.3 GHz 2013 Mac Pro on some tasks.

Cloning takes substantial CPU time, disadvantage of a 4-core CPU
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