For the last three months I have been more or less enjoying my new late 2013 21" iMac. I already have an early 2011 MBP, which is pretty maxed out with a 512GB SSD and 8 GB of RAM, and still feels very, very fast.
The iMac has 8 GB RAM as well, but "only" the Intel Iris GPU and a 1TB SATA HDD. Both machines are running OS X 10.9.4.
Starting up a few apps, like Mail, Safari and maybe iPhoto, takes ages. Sometimes up to 20 or 30 seconds. Whereas the MBP takes only a handful seconds. It's clear to me that the SSD gives a great performance advantage. But is it really that much...?
I also noticed in the systems report that the Iris uses sometimes up to 1.5 GB of RAM. This seems like a lot. I imagine that this could also hurt performance.
I also get a lot messages like these in the system log:
24.08.14 19:57:32,827 WindowServer: disable_update_timeout: UI updates were forcibly disabled by application "iPhoto" for over 1.00 seconds. Server has re-enabled them.
These happen if I switch from one iPhoto event to another, or switch to my iCloud albums. On the MBP this happens instantly, without delay.
Update: Here are some screenshots of the activity monitor and Console logging: