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i5 vs. i7 Core CPU for Post-Processing
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Dec 1, 2019 12:36:06   #
wthomson Loc: Arizona
 
Is the price difference between the i5 and i7 Core CPU worth it? I use Photoshop and Lightroom for single image post and need to upgrade my Mac products. The price difference seems to run about $200.

Thanks.

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Dec 1, 2019 12:38:58   #
DWU2 Loc: Phoenix area
 
Depends on how you value your time. I'd say yes.

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Dec 1, 2019 12:40:03   #
johngault007 Loc: South East USA
 
I'm not sure how Photoshop and Lightroom utilize multiple processors, but I would imagine RAM would be a higher contributing factor to performance than the difference between i5 and i7 CPUs.

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Dec 1, 2019 12:47:41   #
burkphoto Loc: High Point, NC
 
wthomson wrote:
Is the price difference between the i5 and i7 Core CPU worth it? I use Photoshop and Lightroom for single image post and need to upgrade my Mac products. The price difference seems to run about $200.

Thanks.


Well, I think your money is best spent on hardware in this order:

Large SSD
Maximum RAM
Good graphics processor
Good CPU

The reason is simple: I/O (input and output) speed largely determines how fast you perceive your computer to be.

SSDs can be up over 100 times faster than rotating platter hard drives!

Maximizing RAM reduces the need for the OS to swap code in and out of memory, to and from the main drive. Using the SSD speeds up this sort of 'paging' when it happens.

A good graphics processor rips through raster images faster than Intel stock graphics.

The Core i5 is usually sufficient for still image processing. The Core i7 is better for video.

The latest Macs use the T2 chip for some tasks, greatly accelerating certain software (Final Cut Pro X 10.4.7 is one example).

I use a Late 2013 21.5" iMac with a quad-core i5. It sounds mundane, but I upgraded the base RAM to 16GB, and installed a 2TB SSD. It isn't slow! I don't wait much for anything, but I did when I had 8GB RAM and a 1TB 5400 RPM hard drive.

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Dec 1, 2019 12:57:28   #
wthomson Loc: Arizona
 
Many thanks--what graphics processor do you recommend? I'm not an expert on computer innards, but I've found that the slowest process on my current system is focus stacking. I assume that the graphics processor is intimately involved in that, but I could be mistaken.

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Dec 1, 2019 13:18:15   #
WestTnGuy
 
Burkohoto gave you a great answer as I understand but I sure could not have put it as well as he did!

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Dec 1, 2019 13:28:05   #
SteveR Loc: Dallas
 
Let me ask a question about i7 processors. They currently advertise 10th generation i7 processors. I don't know what generation ours is, but the computer is four years old. What is taking place in these new generations of the i7 processor?

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Dec 1, 2019 14:11:50   #
Dngallagher Loc: Wilmington De.
 
wthomson wrote:
Is the price difference between the i5 and i7 Core CPU worth it? I use Photoshop and Lightroom for single image post and need to upgrade my Mac products. The price difference seems to run about $200.

Thanks.


I would agree 100 % with what Burkphoto stated.... an SSD makes for speeding up access, reading and writing data. Max ram makes for less swapping/waiting, GPU processor off loads processing with newer software from the CPU, and when it comes to the actual CPU, of course the more cores and the faster the better, but in many cases the actual differences might not be all that noticeable, depending on what is being done.

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Dec 1, 2019 16:31:32   #
TriX Loc: Raleigh, NC
 
I also agree with Bill, but let me ask a couple of questions before replying: what Mac (or Macs) are you considering? And us your budget such that spending the extra $200 will cause you to skimp on the other important items mentioned (DRAM, SSD, Graphics)?

As a general rule, it depends on a couple of factors. First, what I-5 and what I-7? (There are fast I-5s that will outperform a slow I-7, and different generations of each have a different number cores/threads). Secondly, it depends on whether the application can use the additional cores and whether you will be running multiple processes simultaneously. I have an I-5 machine I edit on with zero speed issues, BUT it has 32GB of DRAM, fast SSD for everything, fast graphics, AND it its a top end I-5. However, I may swap the I-5 for a hot I-7 (my MB will support that) as my last possible upgrade to get a few more years out of this machine if I find it is getting too slow.

Bottom line: if I was buying a new machine (and it didn’t cause me to skimp on DRAM, SSD and graphics), I would buy a high end I-7 (or I-9 or Xeon). Remember, you’re not buying for today, you’re buying for the future as Macs are not so cheap that you trade every year or two, and aps are getting more complex and being designed to make use of more cores and threads.

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Dec 1, 2019 17:13:52   #
burkphoto Loc: High Point, NC
 
wthomson wrote:
Many thanks--what graphics processor do you recommend? I'm not an expert on computer innards, but I've found that the slowest process on my current system is focus stacking. I assume that the graphics processor is intimately involved in that, but I could be mistaken.


If Apple has three graphics options, pick the middle choice unless you need maximum speed for video production or gaming. (Buy a PC for gaming.)

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Dec 1, 2019 17:18:57   #
burkphoto Loc: High Point, NC
 
TriX wrote:
I also agree with Bill, but let me ask a couple of questions before replying: what Mac (or Macs) are you considering? And us your budget such that spending the extra $200 will cause you to skimp on the other important items mentioned (DRAM, SSD, Graphics)?

As a general rule, it depends on a couple of factors. First, what I-5 and what I-7? (There are fast I-5s that will outperform a slow I-7, and different generations of each have a different number cores/threads). Secondly, it depends on whether the application can use the additional cores and whether you will be running multiple processes simultaneously. I have an I-5 machine I edit on with zero speed issues, BUT it has 32GB of DRAM, fast SSD for everything, fast graphics, AND it its a top end I-5. However, I may swap the I-5 for a hot I-7 (my MB will support that) as my last possible upgrade to get a few more years out of this machine if I find it is getting too slow.

Bottom line: if I was buying a new machine (and it didn’t cause me to skimp on DRAM, SSD and graphics), I would buy a high end I-7 (or I-9 or Xeon). Remember, you’re not buying for today, you’re buying for the future as Macs are not so cheap that you trade every year or two, and aps are getting more complex and being designed to make use of more cores and threads.
I also agree with Bill, but let me ask a couple of... (show quote)


TriX makes good points about the future. Find out what your software needs for best performance, and cater to that.

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Dec 2, 2019 06:13:23   #
sb Loc: Florida's East Coast
 
I have used a laptop and desktop with i5 processors for years and have never felt anything was slow. When I upgraded the memory and upgraded to a SSD four years ago things really sped up.

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Dec 2, 2019 06:51:48   #
mborn Loc: Massachusetts
 
burkphoto wrote:
Well, I think your money is best spent on hardware in this order:

Large SSD
Maximum RAM
Good graphics processor
Good CPU

The reason is simple: I/O (input and output) speed largely determines how fast you perceive your computer to be.

SSDs can be up over 100 times faster than rotating platter hard drives!

Maximizing RAM reduces the need for the OS to swap code in and out of memory, to and from the main drive. Using the SSD speeds up this sort of 'paging' when it happens.

A good graphics processor rips through raster images faster than Intel stock graphics.

The Core i5 is usually sufficient for still image processing. The Core i7 is better for video.

The latest Macs use the T2 chip for some tasks, greatly accelerating certain software (Final Cut Pro X 10.4.7 is one example).

I use a Late 2013 21.5" iMac with a quad-core i5. It sounds mundane, but I upgraded the base RAM to 16GB, and installed a 2TB SSD. It isn't slow! I don't wait much for anything, but I did when I had 8GB RAM and a 1TB 5400 RPM hard drive.
Well, I think your money is best spent on hardware... (show quote)



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Dec 2, 2019 06:54:12   #
Gene51 Loc: Yonkers, NY, now in LSD (LowerSlowerDelaware)
 
wthomson wrote:
Is the price difference between the i5 and i7 Core CPU worth it? I use Photoshop and Lightroom for single image post and need to upgrade my Mac products. The price difference seems to run about $200.

Thanks.


which two exactly - there is no hard and fast rule on this, eg, if you are comparing an older i7 to a newer i5 it could be a dead heat, or the i5 could be faster. And the software you are using will be a factor. I generally agree with Tri-X with one exception - I would not spend the extra $$ for a XEON.

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Dec 2, 2019 07:52:19   #
mas24 Loc: Southern CA
 
wthomson wrote:
Is the price difference between the i5 and i7 Core CPU worth it? I use Photoshop and Lightroom for single image post and need to upgrade my Mac products. The price difference seems to run about $200.

Thanks.


I own a Windows laptop that is now 7 years old. It has an Intel i3 CPU, which was considered very good at the time. My next Windows laptop will be either a i5 or a i7 CPU. I have looked at some Windows 10 laptops, at Best Buy Store, including a Mac Pro. Some had AMD CPUs and some Intel CPUs. On display, there were mostly i5s. The one expensive laptop had the i7. I learned from two earlier threads, on this post ,that a recent generation i5 CPU is faster than an older generation i7, and the i5 is good for stills, and the i7 is better for Video. It appears to me, the best option is the newer generation i7. Mac or PC. It may be worth paying extra for it. And with a SSD.

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