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View Full Version : Macbook Air 11" (2012) 8GB Ram, 128 GB SSD: i5 vs. i7 as travel companion for a littl




VinnieSpaghetti
Dec 30, 2012, 06:40 AM
Hello everyone,

I am about to buy a MBA 11" for my early 2013 four week trip to Asia. I travel about 2 1/2 months a year and was wondering if the 180 upgrade to i7 was really worth it?

Besides the obvious movies and web browsing I plan to be taking around 50 pictures a day with my Canon S100 and do some Lightroom 4 or Aperture 3 retouching on a dozen or so of them.

Any suggestions?

Best Regards,

Vincent



mag01
Dec 30, 2012, 07:27 AM
With i7 you'll get better performance (around 20%) but shorter battery life (around 10% I think) and you should also expect more heat issues with i7.
Check out the following articles:
http://www.macworld.com/article/1167418/ultimate_macbook_air_2012_models_put_to_the_test.html
http://michael.olivero.com/post/2012/07/29/Macbook-Air-2012-i5-vs-i7-Heat-Fan-Battery-Speed-analysis.aspx
http://michael.olivero.com/post/2012/08/01/Macbook-Air-2012-11-i5-vs-i7-Heat-Fan-Battery-Speed-Comparison-Part-2.aspx
and decide yourself what's more important for you (save money, i7, or larger SSD).

VinnieSpaghetti
Dec 30, 2012, 07:41 AM
Thanks for the links!

The Michael Olivero comparison is a very interesting read.

The problem with the Macworld article is they compare the specs of a maxed out MBA (i7 8GB Ram) VS a Base model with i5 4GB Ram.

I would imagine my 11-inch MBA i5 8GB Ram would give different results with the doubled Ram?

m00min
Dec 30, 2012, 07:47 AM
With i7 you'll get better performance (around 20%) but shorter battery life (around 10% I think) and you should also expect more heat issues with i7.
Check out the following articles:
http://www.macworld.com/article/1167418/ultimate_macbook_air_2012_models_put_to_the_test.html
http://michael.olivero.com/post/2012/07/29/Macbook-Air-2012-i5-vs-i7-Heat-Fan-Battery-Speed-analysis.aspx
http://michael.olivero.com/post/2012/08/01/Macbook-Air-2012-11-i5-vs-i7-Heat-Fan-Battery-Speed-Comparison-Part-2.aspx
and decide yourself what's more important for you (save money, i7, or larger SSD).

Not sure heat issues are really a problem on the Air. I had an i7 MBP (2010 model), it used to get egg-fryingly hot. My 2012 MBA i7 only seems to get warm, and then only when running Parallels and such. I don't game on it though, I'm guessing I'd see more heat then but compared to my other i7 experience it's like night and day.

I went with the i7 because I use Photoshop extensively, I've never used Aperture or Lightroom but working with large files I'd be inclined to go i7 unless money was tight.

VinnieSpaghetti
Dec 30, 2012, 08:36 AM
I bought the 2010 MBA w/ 2GB Ram for a 4 months tour in Afghanistan and that thing was a pain!

Any light editing of a picture with Aperture 3 would get me spinning wheels of death. Sold it when I returned home and got me a High end MBP 15" (late 2011) w/16 GB RAM. Now I love it but it's not really the best travel companion when you go from city to city & island to island in SE Asia.

Has anyone tested the Macbook Air 11" (2012) i5 w/ 8GB Ram for LR4/Aperture 3?

jzuena
Dec 30, 2012, 12:59 PM
I bought the 2010 MBA w/ 2GB Ram for a 4 months tour in Afghanistan and that thing was a pain!

Any light editing of a picture with Aperture 3 would get me spinning wheels of death. Sold it when I returned home and got me a High end MBP 15" (late 2011) w/16 GB RAM. Now I love it but it's not really the best travel companion when you go from city to city & island to island in SE Asia.

Has anyone tested the Macbook Air 11" (2012) i5 w/ 8GB Ram for LR4/Aperture 3?

Can't vouch for LR4/Aperture, but we have the exact i5 MBA you are talking about (8GB RAM, 128GB SSD) and it works fine on editing pictures with the latest Pixelmator.

landmark
Dec 30, 2012, 01:22 PM
Typing this from a MBA 11" 2012 i5/8GB/128GB. Would buy this configuration everytime again.

i5 -> i7 will not lead into a perceptible speed gain. Heat is an still an issue, MBAs get warmer than your typical notebook. I'm not sure about the TDP of both CPUs, but think the slower albeit cooler is the better pick for the MBA.

8 GB is a must as you cannot upgrade later on (RAM is soldered onboard and cannot be upgraded at all).

128 GB SSD is for sure better than 64 GB. Though 64 GB could be sufficient for use with OS X only (and no Windows Boot Camp partition or VMs), 128 GB is far more convenient with the 11". Be aware that the 11" has no SD card reader where you could expand the 13" with memory cards. So my 5 cents: 128 GB is perfect for the 11".

Rob.G
Dec 30, 2012, 01:26 PM
IMO, memory and disk storage (SSD) is more important than CPU. I would spend more on getting 8 gig of RAM and 256 SSD before upgrading the CPU; then if you DO have the money, do that too.

My 2012 is maxed out except for SSD (it's 256 vs 512) because I got it as a refurb and didn't have the option; besides, 512 right now isn't cost-effective, and with USB 3.0, an external hard drive is pretty blazing fast.

Rob

VinnieSpaghetti
Dec 31, 2012, 05:14 AM
Typing this from a MBA 11" 2012 i5/8GB/128GB. Would buy this configuration everytime again.

Do you use Lightroom 4 or Aperture 3 with it? I just want to make sure those Apps run fine with it.

Vince

----------

Can't vouch for LR4/Aperture, but we have the exact i5 MBA you are talking about (8GB RAM, 128GB SSD) and it works fine on editing pictures with the latest Pixelmator.

Hmm this is a program I had never heard of... Is it in the same league as the other two?

Regards,

Vince

jzuena
Dec 31, 2012, 07:20 AM
Pixelmator is a Photoshop clone. It is available on the Mac App Store or direct from their website (same as the product name). It does graphic layering and editing like Photoshop, but can be used to do photo touch ups like Lightroom as well. It doesn't do photo management, though... it relies on iPhoto or Aperture for that. I only mention it because it should require roughly the same CPU to do the same kind of work and the i5 doesn't have problems on the Air when we use it to Photoshop (or should I say Pixelmate?) photos for holiday cards and such. The photo management features of LR come down to disk space, and you are already looking to go larger there (and I believe will get a bigger improvement from that and the memory than the i7 upgrade). Good luck with your choice. It sounds like an Ultrabook is perfect for your needs, and the Air is the original Ultrabook and should be a good replacement for your MBP.

wolfpuppies3
Dec 31, 2012, 08:32 AM
LR 4 works fine on my 13" MBA. It needs memory and storage space. Never had an i5 so I don't know about that processor.

VinnieSpaghetti
Jan 2, 2013, 09:16 AM
Just to let you know I took my decision today and finally just ordered the 11" 2012 i5/8GB/128GB Model. Seems it is sufficiently powerful for my travelling needs :-)

As it's just a secondary machine, I rather save the 150€ and invest little more (+/-300€) in a Crucial 512GB M4 SATA to speed up things on my primary machine, a MacBook Pro 15" (High-End, Late 2011).

Thanks to everyone!

Vincent

cat.r.pillar
Jan 11, 2013, 09:34 AM
Hey OP, Just wondering how this worked out for you..?

I'm considering the same configuration for the same purpose - priority on portability, but still need to run LightRoom, Photoshop.

I'd love to hear how you find the performance with your configuration. Thanks!

derlockere
Jan 11, 2013, 10:33 AM
Hi Folks,

coming back from a 17 day travel through southern India with lots of pictures thrown onto LR4 and my MBA 11"/8GB/256GB SSD/i5 and I have to say that I was always happy with the performance and couldn't even sense a really huge difference when returning to my 2011 MBP i7 quad core which has roughly 40% more CPU power according to Geekbench.

That's my 2cents

micrors4racer
Jan 11, 2013, 10:54 AM
I have a 2012 11" i5/8GB/128GB and I use LR4 and Photoshop extensively while connected to my thunderbolt display and I do not notice any performance issues. I used to have a 2011 i7 11" and it wasn't any faster.

Rob.G
Jan 11, 2013, 10:57 AM
I have a 2012 11" i5/8GB/128GB and I use LR4 and Photoshop extensively while connected to my thunderbolt display and I do not notice any performance issues. I used to have a 2011 i7 11" and it wasn't any faster.

FWIW, the last-gen i7 is the same speed as the current-gen i5. :)

I agree though, that most people won't notice a difference. The i5's are getting so good that the i7 is mostly unnecessary.

Rob