Looking at the results of the 3.4GHz Core i7 iMac with and without an SSD, we see that the SSD-equipped system is 18% faster overall. With the SSD, duplicating a 1GB file in the Finder is 35% faster; uncompressing a zipped folder is 44% faster; opening a Word document in Pages is 17.5% faster; and an iPhoto file import is more than twice as fast. Differences in processor and graphics scores were understandably insignificant.
When comparing the 27-inch 3.4GHz Core i7 iMac with SSD to the BTO 21.5-inch 2.7GHz Core i5 iMac with SSD, the 3.4GHz Core i7 iMac is 16% faster overall. File duplication and uncompressing zipped archive results are identical. Our file compression, Pages, and iMovie export tests are all a couple of seconds faster on the 3.4GHz Core i7 iMac. The biggest differences between these two systems are in processor-intensive tests such as Handbrake, Cinebench CPU, and MathematicaMark, where the Core i7 with Hyper-Threading in the 27-inch iMac is 30, 37.5, and 41.5% faster, respectively, than the Core i5 without Hyper Threading in the 21.5-inch model.
You can see a complete list of Speedmark 6.5 results, which includes all of the current Mac models, as well as several older models.
James Galbraith is Macworld's lab director.