Don't forget that the listed GHz speed is no longer an accurate way of telling what the Intel Mac is actually capable of, ie: a lower posted i7 GHz speed chip will normally outperform a higher GHz speed i5 model, as will a lower speed i5 out perform a higher speed i3 model, etc. etc.
But as others have posted, if one is only doing some web browsing and some email, then you get need to figure out any excessive $$$ expenditure and how fast you can actually type - as if anyone could actually type faster than an old Classic Mac could even keep up to.
I already have a Core i7 MacBook Pro and several other macs in the house, but have decided that I want a desktop machine with a huge display that'll be super solid, possibly that can function as a server. I am a "heavy user" but don't use a lot of processor intensive applications; the most taxing items are probably that I use Aperture on a daily basis, Abode CS5 somewhat irregularly. Regardless, I do have 16Gb of RAM waiting to be dumped into this machine.
But to be honest, right now I'm more looking at bang for buck. I considered buying a Dell 27" monitor at $699 - it goes on sale every once in a while), and may still do that depending on how my 8Gb upgrade on my i7 MacBook Pro goes (feel like I'm hitting the 4Gb limit). Given that the iMacs are really not much more expensive than an Apple branded monitor, and could allow me eventually to go dual 27" screens (or 27" and 24"), that's why I am shopping for an iMac at this time.
I'm thinking that the 2.8 QC is the best deal at the moment, but anyone who has an opinion, please voice it here.
Well for only a couple hundred more the i7 2.93 adds hyper threading (the i5 does not have it) effectively giving you 8 cores instead of 4, so if you have the extra $200 I would personal go for the i7.
there was another thread like this a few weeks ago. i pulled my favourite quote from that article paddy posted then and ill do it again now
The quad core 2.8GHz Core i5 iMac also excelled in the few tests that take full advantage of multiple processors, like MathematicaMark, Cinebench and Compressor. Other tests, like Photoshop, iTunes, Finder file unzipping, and Aperture showed that faster-but-fewer processors can sometimes perform better than more-but-slower processors. If you’re not a heavy user of the few high-end programs that put to use all of those multiple cores, it might be wiser to spend $200 on the Core i5 processor upgrade to the stock 27-inch $1699 iMac than to spend an extra $300 on the quad core 2.8GHz Core i5 iMac.
some more info on which apps rock the multicore casbah and which do not
If you can wait two months, do that 'cause there may be new models, and the refurbs will have dropped.
Yes, I think you're right. These refurbs will only drop, and I have no real need for an iMac at this time. That 27" screen, however, is really alluring. Too bad the Apple monitor is super expensive and the Dell is super ugly. A $1349 3.6Ghz i5 would be a great deal.
In the interim, I'm upgrading my 2.66Ghz i7 MacBook Pro to 8GB, with a 128GB SSD and 500GB (using a Drive Doubler from OWC). That should keep my upgrade-itis in check for those two months, I hope ;-)