Cubase performance on iMac quad; i5 or i7 ?????

Hi everyone!

I’m about to buy an iMac (OsX Lion), and I was wondering if there was a big difference in performance and technicalities between i5 and i7 quad core iMacs.

I’m looking to buy one of these two:

  • 2.5GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
  • 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7

On one of these two, I would like to run Cubase, SampleTank, Toontrack Superior Drummer 2, Waves plugins.
(Probably all in 32 bit)

Would it be a big difference in performance between these two cpu’s ?

Also, feel free to let me know if there is some bugs running Cubase on these new iMac’s.

Thanks! :smiley:

With my limited knowledge (not being a hardware designer for Intel and not reading every technical processor specification they publish) the main advantage of i7:
it has hyperthreading and larger cache

For hyperthreading: Cubase doesn’t take advantage of anyway.
Larger cache: MAY have some boost on performance.

So … basic advantage is this 2.8GHz vs 2.5GHz performance boost (12%).


For me, 2.5 and 2.8 are the same.

So I was wondering if I shouldn’t take the i5 for certain reasons.

Some of you guys have great success with an i5 iMac (OSX Lion) and Cubase 5/6 ?

Greetings; I’ve got the i5-2500k (Sandy Bridge), and 30-40 track songs made mostly with VSTi’s, with plenty of FX plugins, group channels, etc., barely raise a blip on the performance meter. It’s crazy how powerful these SB CPUs are. This is on a DAW w/ 8 GB DDR3, 3 * SATA II HDD, a silent Radeon HD 6450, and a couple of DSP cards.

Having said this, depending on the price diff when you buy, you could get the i7 SB and have the 4 extra virutal cores, as a way of future proofing. You can bet that there are plugins coming down the pipe that will eat up lots of more additional CPU power.

But really, you can’t go wrong either way.


Thanks Braineeter!

What’s your soundcard?

Do you have this setup for a long time?
Really stable?


If you have the money to go for the i7 go for the i7. Otherwise the i5 will run nicely too. I have the i5 with cubase 6 and it runs smoothly and I haven’t hit the max yet. Running 30+ audio tracks with fxs and 10+ vsti’s with fxs.

I’ve just started using an iMac with an i7 and I have to say I’m a little underwhelmed. I’m detecting very sloppy timing (virtual instruments only) in my projects, but when I move them to my Windows machine (which I purchased in 2010) the timing is rock solid. I’m not sure though if this is the Mac or the Mackie Onyx. Anyone else notice timing issues on iMacs?


… And what advantages an i7 iMac could have for a computer that would not be only for DAW ?

What is your audio card?

What is your sound card?

Anyone else having good or bad experiences with C6 on an actual iMac (OsX Lion) ?

Most of the people you just asked what soundcard they have, have that info published in their signature :slight_smile:

…Hmmm… not really…
If you read the posts and signature well, they are talking about the processor, and not necessarely about an iMac.
And most of them are on PC!
(Said in their text or signature)

Only “Sector 119” clearly have a 27" iMac with Mackie Onyx 1220i.

That’s why I’m asking…

Yes, but it is not on an iMac…

Maybe my question wasn’t clear…

This topic is all about iMac’s (i5 or i7)

I have an iMac (see below) and I am very satisfied with it. I run a lot of vst’s (se plug-ins below) at the same time, instruments and effects and I have not had any problems.

'Cause I thaught that You had a i5 iMac for your Cubase/Nuendo only DAW…