Comparing processing speeds of IMAC vs MacBOOK

TuckerdogAVL

Registered
Okay, I'm completely confused about "System Bus" "processing speed" and all the new configurations. (At least when I just had to decide between 100 and 133mhz bus it was easy). I am trying to decide between an iMac and MacBook, aside from the obvious: desktop vs. laptop, versatility of movement (and can hook up the 20" cinema display on the laptop but lose a lot of ports) vs. nice big new 24" screen. But, which is faster? Comparing close to same $$$, the IMacs feature either 800mhz or 1ghz System Bus Speed. I assume the 1ghz is faster correct? (Both are Core 2 duo processors). However, would a 2.4GHz processor speed with a 1GHz System bus speed be faster, slower or about the same as a 2.8GHz with 800Mhz system bus speed? And, for ease, is it always "ALWAYS" better to choose the higher processor speed and higher bus speed? Now, here's the tricky part: on the MacBOOK configurations, I don't see System Bus speed....so, how do I compare the MacBOOK Intel Core 2, 2.4GHz MacBook (with no ref to System Bus) with the IMac Intel Core 2, 2.4GHz with 800 MHz bus speed? Which of these two would be faster? What would I look for...and Finally, for argument sake, If the MacBook 2.4 with 1GHz bus has 1GHz Ram, and the IMAC 2.4 has 4 GHz RAM. Is the ram going to make a difference?

So, apples to apples, how do you compare speeds of MacBooks and IMacs?
 

nealt

Registered
I do not have either but don't forget that the Macbook's video is much slower than the iMac. Also the HD is 5400 RPM vs 7200 RPM for th iMac. In the stores I noticed that it took the Macbooks much longer times to load programs than any iMac. The Macbook pro is much faster but more expensive.
 

TuckerdogAVL

Registered
Yeah, MacBook is completely out of the question. I have an old iBOOK that I use to make powerpoint presentations, check email and work on Word Docs. Perhaps I should just keep it awhile longer, just for that, and put the money into the iMac. Still don't understand how to compare the "apples" to "apples." So, RPM has a lot to do with it, too? Thanks.
 

ElDiabloConCaca

U.S.D.A. Prime
Higher is always better in the numbers you're looking at.

If one hard drive spins at 5400 rpm and another at 7200 rpm, it's a safe bet that the latter will be faster (though there are a handful of exceptions, none that matter in this case, though).

If one computer has a bus speed of 800MHz and one with 1GHz (which is just 1000MHz), then the latter can transfer data between the memory and the processor faster.

You're using incorrect measurements when you refer to RAM, though -- what you mean to say is "1 GB of RAM vs. 4 GB of RAM," not "1GHz vs 4GHz." Both systems have comparable RAM "speeds", but in your case, higher GB is better.

Just keep that very simple rule in mind when you're referring to computers: higher numbers always equal faster computer. Just be wary of which components you're speaking of, and whether you're speaking about size or speed... a 100GB drive has more size than a 40GB drive, but is not necessarily "faster." A 100GB 7200rpm drive will be faster than a 200GB 5400rpm drive, for example. A 2.4GHz processor will be faster than a 2.0GHz processor. A 1GHz system bus will be faster than an 800MHz bus.

Things get kind of confusing when you start mixing-and-matching, though... for example, which is faster: a 2.0GHz processor with a 1333MHz bus, or a 2.4GHz processor with an 800MHz bus? Hard to tell, since the faster processor is on the slower bus, but the slower processor has a faster bus...
 

TuckerdogAVL

Registered
Definitely becoming clearer. Where is the fastest (no pun intended) way to find the RPM speeds when attempting to look at retail information ie comparing an iMAC, a MACBook or MacBOOK Pro? Will it usually show up in their "more stats" section? And under what? The Drive speed? Thanks again.
 

TuckerdogAVL

Registered
So, a 5400rpm with 4g ram will still be slower than a 7200rpm drive with 2g ram. Correct? First, look at the drive speed then the ram? Yes? Thanks.
 

ElDiabloConCaca

U.S.D.A. Prime
So, a 5400rpm with 4g ram will still be slower than a 7200rpm drive with 2g ram. Correct? First, look at the drive speed then the ram? Yes? Thanks.

Not necessarily, because now you're trying to compare apples to oranges.

The 7200rpm drive is faster than the 5400rpm drive... that is to say that the 7200rpm drive will be able to read and write data to and from the hard drive faster than the 5400rpm drive. This has nothing to do with the amount of RAM in your system.

A system with 4GB of RAM will be able to open more applications simultaneously and provide a smoother user experience than a system with 2GB of RAM... that is to say that a system with 4GB of RAM will be able to more smoothly handle situations where more data and applications are open at once than a system with 2GB of RAM. This has nothing to do with the hard drive in the system.

"Faster" is subjective, and objective at the same time. One system can have a very fast hard drive, but a much slower processor than another system. This system will be able to read and write data to and from the hard drive faster than a system with a slower hard drive (but faster processor). On the other hand, the system with the slower hard drive but faster processor will be able to "crunch numbers" faster than the slower system with the faster hard drive.

It all depends on what you're trying to do with the computer. Are you a video editor who needs mega amounts of hard drive space and fast hard drives for real-time editing? Or are you a scientist who runs simulations and crunches a lot of numbers, thereby placing emphasis on a faster processor and more RAM rather than storage space and speed?

It's nearly impossible to say "this system is faster in ALL respects than this other system here," or "this system is slower in ALL respects than this other system over here." Computers are extremely complex and are comprised of many different sub-systems all working together and it's extremely difficult to generalize them into "this one is faster" and "this one is slower." Unless all the factors (RAM, processor speed, hard drive spindle speed, etc.) on one machine are faster and better than another machine, it's nearly impossible to tell. My guess is that BOTH machines would be sufficiently fast for what you need to do...

...what DO you need to do with the computer, anyway? Perhaps if we had an idea of what you intend to use the computer for, we could point you to a complete system that would fit your computing needs as well as your budget. If you're simply looking for all-out speed, then get the fastest and most expensive computer Apple sells. That one will be the "fastest." Beyond that, though, any of Apple's current systems would be wonderful and plenty speedy for internet, word processing, music and light video work.
 

pacificmac

Registered
Hi, I'm in the same dilemma in regards to chosing between an imac and a macbookpro. I'll be using Adobe After Effects CS3 and Maxon Cinema 4D. I was looking into getting the lower end macbook pro 15" screen vs mid or top range iMAC. I'm a novice at these programs at the moment and learning as I go. I like the speedbump that these new macs have, and would appreciate some input as to what is the best for me.

I'm interested in the macbook pro just because of portability issues. I can take it to work and don't have to be stuck at home learning and using the program., but at the same time the high price is something I have to think about twice..
In regards to chosing an iMAC I like the big screen, hard drive space and speed of 7200 rpm. The only thing I'm not sure about is the graphics card. I went to Adobe system requirements site and they recommend NVIDIA over the ATI Radeon since issues such as crashing may occur..which of course puts a bigger question mark in my head about which one would suffice my needs..

This is the current set up I'm looking at:

iMAC20-inch
$1,499.00
2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
6MB shared L2 cache
2GB (two 1GB SO-DIMMs)
320GB Serial ATA, 7200 rpm
ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB of GDDR3 memory

MacBook Pro 15"
$1,999.00
2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
3MB shared L2 cache
2GB (two SO-DIMMs)
200GB Serial ATA, 5400 rpm
NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB of GDDR3 SDRAM
 

nixgeek

Mac of the SubGenius! :-)
Hi, I'm in the same dilemma in regards to chosing between an imac and a macbookpro. I'll be using Adobe After Effects CS3 and Maxon Cinema 4D. I was looking into getting the lower end macbook pro 15" screen vs mid or top range iMAC. I'm a novice at these programs at the moment and learning as I go. I like the speedbump that these new macs have, and would appreciate some input as to what is the best for me.

I'm interested in the macbook pro just because of portability issues. I can take it to work and don't have to be stuck at home learning and using the program., but at the same time the high price is something I have to think about twice..
In regards to chosing an iMAC I like the big screen, hard drive space and speed of 7200 rpm. The only thing I'm not sure about is the graphics card. I went to Adobe system requirements site and they recommend NVIDIA over the ATI Radeon since issues such as crashing may occur..which of course puts a bigger question mark in my head about which one would suffice my needs..

This is the current set up I'm looking at:

iMAC20-inch
$1,499.00
2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
6MB shared L2 cache
2GB (two 1GB SO-DIMMs)
320GB Serial ATA, 7200 rpm
ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB of GDDR3 memory

MacBook Pro 15"
$1,999.00
2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
3MB shared L2 cache
2GB (two SO-DIMMs)
200GB Serial ATA, 5400 rpm
NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB of GDDR3 SDRAM

My personal opinion would say that the iMac is faster specwise for the following reasons...

Aside from the CPU's clock speed being faster on the iMac over the MBP, it also has a larger L2 cache than the MBP. This definitely helps performance. Also. the hard drive in the iMac is larger and faster than the one in the MBP.

Of course, if portability is a necessity then that extra edge of the iMac won't help you one bit.

As for which one feels faster, that's more aesthetics than anything. Of course, there are instances where this is noticeable, but I doubt you would notice much difference here. If you don't mind being stuck in one place in order to use the Mac, then the iMac is the choice. Of course, the nice thing about the MBP is that you can take it with you and use it wherever you go. ;)
 

pacificmac

Registered
Thanks for the prompt reply. My question now is will the graphics card (ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB),on my selected iMAC, compete against the MacBook Pro's graphics card (NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB) even though the iMAC will have a faster hard drive, CPU clock speed, and cache?? Remember, I'll be running AE CS3 and CINEMA 4d on these machines. I guess my main question is which computer will render my files faster..thanks for thelp

-Sal
 
Top