Deciding between i5 and i7 can be challenging for iMac lovers because both models are loaded with intriguing features, offering high-performance functionality.

More importantly, the differences are pretty subtle, so it’s easy for beginners to confuse the two models. So, an in-depth comparison between Core i5 and Core i7 iMac is understandably a point of discussion in the tech circles.

i5 vs i7 iMac- What’s the Debate?

The i5 vs i7 discussion comes up frequently because they are similar to entry-level computer users. However, if you’re a tech geek and understand the uses of these computers for personal and professional tasks, then features like graphic memory, several cores, GPU capabilities, and many others become a critical part of your analysis for the best option.

So, this article will talk about the tiny bits and pieces that make these two systems very different from each other.

Also, we will see whether switching to a Core i7 is a good option and whom it suits the most.

Brief Background of the iMac

The iMac is an impressive design that innovated a computer bringing it all into one device. In addition, it combined a processing unit inside the monitor hardware, making it a far more compact option.

So, while most other computers had a standard monitor, a tower, or desktop CPU with other peripherals, the iMac came across as a far more innovative design that offered better performance and space-saving options.

On top of that, it’s an excellent design that will fit most office and home setups.

What Makes Core i5 and Core i7 Different

This post will talk about the significant differences and some acceptable margins that separate the two iMac models. Knowing these differences will help you pick the right option for your needs. So, let’s get started.

CPU Power

Generally, the processing power of a computer comes from its number of cores. So, for instance, a quad-core computer will be more potent than a dual-core system.

However, with Core i5 and i7, the number of cores isn’t fixed. The Core i5 can be a quadcore or a six-core device depending upon the generation of the computer.

Likewise, according to its generation, Core i7 can be a quad-core or octa-core system. So, to make it easier to understand the CPU power, let’s take the examples of a quad-core device for both. So how does the processing power compare for both devices?

Core i5 quad-core iMac generates a clock speed of 2.8 GHz. A turbo-boost feature allows the system to boost up to 3.33 GHz. The six-core processor has a clock speed of up to 3.1 GHz and 4.8 GHz with the Turbo boost.

On the other hand, the i7 quad-core processor runs at 2.93 GHz, reaching up to 3.6 GHz at Turbo boost. For the octa-core 10th generation processor, the i7 boasts a tremendous 3.8 GHz speed that goes up to 5.0 GHz at turbo boost.

A Quick Word on Turbo Boost

If you’re wondering about the turbo boost technology, it’s a power add-on from Intel. You can enjoy higher power usage within the optimal battery range with the turbo boost feature.

It’s designed to address processing issues for systems to help heavy processing in graphic rendering or gaming on your Macbook Pro or other computing devices.


Most Intel i5 vs i7 analyses feature hyperthreading as one of the most significant differences between the two, which takes us to a necessary diversion:

What’s Hyper-Threading?

Simply put, hyperthreading allows a computer to perform at twice the rated speed of the number of cores in a processor. And therefore, it’s a distinguishing factor between i5 and i7 processors.

Unfortunately, quad-core i5 processors don’t have this feature, so it’s just the same core performance from each of the four cores.

However, the intel quadcore i7 features hyper-threading making it more efficient. So, each core can handle two threads simultaneously without any performance dip or compromise on the clock rate.

So, you can turn your quadcore system effectively into an octa-core device, making it an excellent option for high-speed operations.

Moreover, when you combine the turbo boost capabilities of the system with it, you get a perfect combination for a high-performance unit.

Therefore, the Intel i7 processors efficiently handle high-quality video editing, 8K filming, and even heavy gaming.

Long-Term Use

Whether it’s the i5 or i7, both processors are ideal for long-term use. Even though the i7 will feel like a pricier option, it’s more advanced in speed and handles more extensive applications.

It means that there is little difference in the durability and reliability of the two systems. So, if you’re looking for a regular personal computer for office or home, the i5 iMac can be a decent option.

Screen Flow Benchmarking

Benchmarking is a great option to understand the performance of computing devices. In this case, it is essential because screen flow sets apart the two devices considerably.

Screen flow is a critical element when it comes to graphical processing. Unfortunately, it’s something you cannot achieve with a standard dual-core processor, so you want something more robust like a quadcore or octa-core system.

So, if you work with Premiere Pro or any other heavy video editing tools, screen flow is a must-check feature for your new iMac.

When you export a 1080p h.264 format video of one minute, it takes around 1 minute and 55 seconds to export the entire thing on an Intel core i5. On the other hand, the same video exports in just 1 minute 27 seconds on an Intel i7 processor.

It may not be a significant difference if you’re an entry-level video maker. Still, if you’re looking for a professional solution, you know which option to choose between the Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

Moreover, you can import the same video quality in just 31 seconds on i5 compared to 23 seconds with an intel core i7 processor.

Similarly, the screen flow rate also predicts how these systems can help with image editing and software like Photoshop.

i7 Quad Core – A Clear Winner for Screen Flow

Especially when we talk about high-end devices, Intel Core i7 has a clear advantage over i5 regarding screen flow functionalities. Moreover, the more cores you have, the better results.

CPU Cache

Let’s check the CPU cache options for the two models. The cache ensures high-speed operations preventing RAM, SSD, and HDD lags.

So, it’s easy to understand that a higher performance speed could map directly to a better-performing cache as well.

The Apple iMac i7 processor offers a higher cache than the iMac i5 processor. So, if you’re looking for an Intel-powered processor for high-end 3D rendering and video editing, then you’re doing a big favor to yourself by opting for the intel core i7 processor.

Even though the latest iMac features the 9th generation Intel core i9 with AMD Radeon Vega Graphics, the i7 can be good enough if you are looking for an economical option.

On the contrary, the Intel i5 is great for Macs used for limited HDD and RAM operations.

For instance, if you’re looking for a system to support your studies to run specialized software, Intel i5 processors can be a good choice.

Gaming Support

There is very little to choose between the two models when it comes to gaming. If you look at the specs, both processors have Retina 5K, with the only variation being Coffee Lake features for i5 and Comet Lake for i7.

Simply put, there is a lot of depth when it comes to gaming speed, graphic quality, and memory. So, if you have an i5 and want to buy an i7 to upgrade your gaming, it won’t make too much of a difference.

However, because i7 has more cores and is more efficient at hyper-threading, it can run background applications more efficiently than the i5. But if you don’t need much from the background apps, i5 is a good enough choice for most of the current PC gaming options.


There is no doubt that the i7 is a much more expensive option between the two models. That’s why i5 is slightly more common and preferable among students and young professionals.

Like most devices, the price for an iMac i7 or i5 processor also depends on the processor generation and the added features.

But generally speaking, i5 is always a far more affordable option than an i7. So, go for an i7 only when you need multitasking and high-end gaming capabilities from your computer.

Also, the i7 is an ideal option if you’re willing to make a long-term investment to enjoy some highly advanced features in your computer.

Is it a Wise Decision to Use an iMac?

While the debate between i5 and i7 iMac stands, it’s also essential to know how buying an iMac is a good decision in the first place. Is it always the right option to buy an iMac. Does it give you many advantages over other regular PCs?

Here is a quick discussion about some of the best benefits you can get with an iMac.

Unmatchable Sleek Design

There are very few personal computers that can match the sophistication and aesthetics of the iMac. It’s a masterpiece showcasing a sweet combination of high-level technology with class and designing technology. The iMac is one of a kind machine offering a sleek and slim body in many ways.

It’s an aluminum structure that not only performs at the highest level but also lets you make a style statement of your own.

Highly Secure Computers

Apple’s device security is one of the best. Whether it’s the iPads, iPhones, MacBooks, iMac, or iMac Pro, the security is just immaculate. But, more importantly, such high security is one of the best buying attractions for the users.

Since it works with macOS on UNIX, iMac offers a high-quality and secure environment for personal and professional users.

So, your system will be highly secure and safe against malware viruses. The iMac is far more secure against cyber threats than a Windows computer.

Simplistic Design

Due to a minimalistic design, the hardware complexity is very little. In thin packaging, you get all the computer’s functionality, the IO ports, cards, and everything else that you might need for flawless performance.

Moreover, there is no compromise on the performance, given that it uses quadcore and octa-core Intel processors.

A simplistic design means you don’t need to worry about repairing and troubleshooting bulky CPUs. Instead, it’s a highly optimized design to fit the modern needs of the users.

Storage and Ports

The Macbooks don’t offer ports for USBs, mouse, or keyboards. However, you get these options with the iMac. So, you can connect any model of mouse and keyboards, USB devices, and other peripherals conveniently with the iMac.

So, if you were thinking of replacing the actual hardware, you only need to upgrade the CPU, and the rest of the hardware will integrate easily with your new computing machine.

Moreover, there are good ports to handle multiple devices at once. On top of that, iMacs also have a larger storage capacity than MacBooks and other competitor devices.

A Few Downsides

On the other hand, there are a few downsides to using the iMac. Generally, the iMac is always more expensive than the other models. Moreover, it’s not always possible to upgrade the iMac. So, as a user, it can be challenging for you to get around the system options at times.

For instance, if you want to upgrade your system RAM, you will need to take apart the entire machine.

Finally, iMac doesn’t have as frequent updates as in the case of Windows and other operating systems. And sometimes, some free software on different platforms is also available for a price with the iMac.


Whether you’re using an iMac Pro, Macbook pro, or any other mac device, the decision for buying an i5, i7, or even a Core i9 is always challenging to make, especially when the budget is not the question. So, it mainly comes down to the use and what device will best run your required applications.

However, if you are keen to know the better model between i5 and i7 iMacs, it’s safe to say that i7 is a better option in terms of functionality and overall specs. However, the i5 is an economical option if you’re looking to operate in a midrange.

Therefore, it’s about making the right choice as a consumer because choosing one of the two models is a decision that you will make on your own.