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SchodMC
Jul 29, 2013, 07:07 AM
Hi folks,

for portability reasons, I'm currently going to switch from my 13" MBP (early 2011) with i5 2,3GHz CPU, 8GB RAM an Intel 160GB SSD to the current MBA Model with 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD. Now I wonder which CPU I should choose for the MBA, the i5 or the i7?

What I will use the MBA for is (from most often down to sometimes):


Office (iWork & MS Office, Internet, ...)
Multimedia (Youtube, iTunes music & video)
Developing using Xcode
Playing a little bit (f.e. Minecraft, Telltale-Games like Back to the Future, a little bit Civ V; no need for maxed out graphic settings inside the games)
Sometimes Parallels 8 & Windows (for a rarely used Office-Apps or some old games like Prince of Persia Trilogy oder Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic).
Once in two or three years, I render a Movie using iMoive. So I thing that this point can be neglected.


What I don't want:


I don't want to buy a MBA that will be a downgrade compared to my current MBP.
I don't want to buy a MBA that will get hot and raise the fan when doing the daily office work. For office work, it should be quiet (my current MBP is quiet most of the time, except when Time Machine is running or verifying the last backup - that's annoying but acceptable, but it shouldn't be worse).
I don't spend a lot of money for a Mac that will be noticeable underpowered in one or to years.


So take into account the things I said, what will be the better choice - will the i5 do the job fine or should I upgrade to i7?

Thanks for your help,

SchodMC

P.S.: I hope my english is not too bad. If so - sorry for that, I'm from Germany, so english is not my native language.



tann
Jul 29, 2013, 07:55 AM
Looking at geekbench scores alone the MBP you have scores 6400 in the 64bit test.

The i7 MBA scores 8100 and the i5 scores 6600.

Both are a step up in processing.

I went from a 2010 MBP with ~6000 score processor to the i5, and it feels a lot faster (due to the SSD speed, my old one had an ssd but speeds were 1/3rd).

For graphics the i5 and i7 reportedly make little difference, maybe 1-2 fps at most. The graphics in the new macbook airs is much better than the HD3000 you will have in the MBP you have at the moment.

The i5 MacBook pro reportedly runs a few degrees cooler, because of the lower clock. It should handle everything you do PERFECTLY.

As a reference I regularly stream YouTube and Netflix full HD on my 2013 i5 MacBook Air on my bed and it gets slightly warm, fans DO NOT even start (50-55degrees C).

On my 2010 MBP even with 720p youtube on a wooden desk well ventilated the fans would start after streaming some hd video!

I think the i5 would be great for you, and would be great for a few years of use.

B...
Jul 29, 2013, 08:40 AM
Go for the i5

ZBoater
Jul 29, 2013, 10:12 AM
Got for the i7... :D

Unless there is some compelling reason you want to save $150, getting an i7 is a no brainer. Any battery or heat issues have been overblown and exaggerated.

Believe me, no one has ever complained that their computer is too fast.

AXs
Jul 29, 2013, 11:12 AM
Got for the i7... :D

Unless there is some compelling reason you want to save $150, getting an i7 is a no brainer. Any battery or heat issues have been overblown and exaggerated.

Believe me, no one has ever complained that their computer is too fast.

It's called opportunity cost.

cookies!
Jul 29, 2013, 11:19 AM
^ Yep. Take that $150 and spend it on something you are more likely to notice. Like fuzzy socks.

SchodMC
Jul 29, 2013, 11:19 AM
5 MacBook pro reportedly runs a few degrees cooler, because of the lower clock. It should handle everything you do PERFECTLY. [...]
I think the i5 would be great for you, and would be great for a few years of use.

Hmm, sounds good. But what about lags? I heard, that the i5 sometimes lags a little bit inside the OS X GUI or when scrolling trough internet sites. Especially if the Air i5 is plugged to an external monitor. Did you noticed something like that? Or will you say that the i5 runs every task smoothly without lagging or something like that?


[...] Any battery or heat issues have been overblown and exaggerated.

Well, I think so (regarding to some comments from i7 users). Does this means, the fan will never be audible when doing video streaming, office work, YouTube and something like that? Or does it mean that the fan will be audible but in an acceptable way?

Unless there is some compelling reason you want to save $150

There is always a reason - saving money - there are a lot of other interesting things where 150 euros can go. :-P But I get the point.

greets
SchodMC

Zodiac.mj
Jul 29, 2013, 11:21 AM
I have a i7/8BG/256 to work while mobile and it's great! IMO it is worth every penny to upgrade CPU to 7, but on the other hand if you won't use it or don't care, get i5 and you'll be happy :)

About lags: even i7 will have lags on load die to low TDP. For example, I was downloading Dropbox contents (60GB) on LAN, setting up projects in XCODE from SVN and the interface was lagging a lot.

ZBoater
Jul 29, 2013, 11:50 AM
Does this means, the fan will never be audible when doing video streaming, office work, YouTube and something like that? Or does it mean that the fan will be audible but in an acceptable way?

No. The fan will be audible, especially if you're in a quiet environment and its running at 6000rpm. "Acceptable" is such a subjective term. When I am playing Civ 5 my i7 gets warm and the fans kick in. They don't bother me. I can barely hear them over the background music. If you push the i5 hard enough the fans will also kick in.

So I can't really tell you if they would be acceptable to you.

SchodMC
Jul 29, 2013, 12:45 PM
About lags: even i7 will have lags on load die to low TDP. For example, I was downloading Dropbox contents (60GB) on LAN, setting up projects in XCODE from SVN and the interface was lagging a lot.
Ok, that's interesting. Maybe Meverick will help a little, because it seems to me that the "lag" Problem is more a design than an hardware-power problem. From this point of view, potential GUI-lags won't be a criteria for the CPU-decission. Thanks for that info.


No. The fan will be audible, especially if you're in a quiet environment and its running at 6000rpm. "Acceptable" is such a subjective term.

Well, that isn't really surprising. Power produces heat, heat must be cooled down. The question is not whether the fan will be audible (and the heat noticeable) when demanding power form the i7. The question is what the fan will do while watching YouTube videos, working with office apps (Pages, Word, Keynote, ...), developing using Xcode and something like that.

(BTW: my MBP will be quiet, no fan audible. But the temp will be noticeable on my legs, when the MBP lies on my lap.)

cu
SchodMC

ZBoater
Jul 29, 2013, 01:02 PM
...The question is what the fan will do while watching YouTube videos, working with office apps (Pages, Word, Keynote, ...), developing using Xcode and something like that.

My fans stay around 2000RPM (and barely audible) through most of my web browsing, video watching, ms office using time. I have only really "pushed" my system hard when playing games, at which time the fans kick in on hi and I can hear them (that is, until the game starts and the game music/sounds drown the fan noise out). The Anandtech review (http://www.anandtech.com/show/7113/2013-macbook-air-core-i5-4250u-vs-core-i7-4650u/4) did a very good comparison between the i5 and i7 at three "levels" of usage and found:

"The impact on acoustics wasn't really noticeable. Under extended load both systems hit the same 6500 RPM fan speed, which given the same cooling system produced identical acoustic profiles. I tried to see if the i7 would ramp to 6500 RPM any quicker than the i5 but in most cases I don't believe it did, at least appreciably so."

tann
Jul 29, 2013, 01:24 PM
Hmm, sounds good. But what about lags? I heard, that the i5 sometimes lags a little bit inside the OS X GUI or when scrolling trough internet sites. Especially if the Air i5 is plugged to an external monitor. Did you noticed something like that? Or will you say that the i5 runs every task smoothly without lagging or something like that?


greets
SchodMC

Yes it can run everything and it doesn't lag for me at all.

Currently I have my i5/8g/256 plugged into a 27" dell 2560x1440 monitor as my second screen, i have about 15 chrome tabs open, itunes, spotify, mail, messages, skype and a lot of background apps (alfred, dropbox, drive, google music upload etc).

The laptop is at 50degrees C fans are at their default (2000rpm) and can't be heard.

There is no lag in either of the browser windows or in any of the applications i use.

SchodMC
Jul 29, 2013, 02:52 PM
Well, I that's interesting. Taking all informations (from this thread, from the Andtech article, from other threads), the conclusion will be the following:


The MBA 2013 i5 will definitely be an upgrade compared to my MBA (a little bit more CPU power, much faster SSD, also faster RAM and GPU, faster WLAN, faster everything ;-) ). Going for the i7 will be a bigger upgrade.
The MBA with the i5 will be fine for what I'm going to use it. The chance not run into performance-trouble for he next two years (in relation to what I'm using my MBP right now) will be very good. So the i5 seems to be a fine choice and nothing I will regret later on.
The i7 will make no noticeable difference in the daily work-jobs (office, internet, music, video, Xcode, Parallels with office app) compared to the i5. But to be fair, this also means that there will be no noticeable difference in heat an fan noise.
When it comes to power needs (e. g. rendering a movie, compiling something like the firefox, etc.), the i5 will do the job without problems, but needs more time than the i7. On the other side, in that cases the power of the i7 costs battery time, generates more heat what leads to a louder fan noise. (But that's ok for power consumption tasks).
About gaming: the kind of gaming I will do (including gaming under Parallels with old games (older than 3/4 years)) let the i5 work hard, but won't be excessive demand. The i7 seems to be no big difference except for CPU intensive games. In my case, for Minecraft. Well, so what... To play high-end Games it is better to buy a gaming console. Just my humble opinion...

That seems to be the whole story. Am I right or is there something that I forgot?

Seems that the i5 will be a good enough choice for my needs. So the final question I have to ask myself is: do I really need / want have more computing power and am I willing to pay 150 EUR for it? Or do I want to have a MBA that will be a little bit cooler and a little bit less noisy but also a little bit cozier. Well, the answer for this question is something you can't give to me. ;-)

cu
SchodMC

robvas
Jul 29, 2013, 10:09 PM
i7 is a 25% boost in some cases.

Sputnek
Jul 29, 2013, 10:26 PM
go for the i7. No regrets.

AXs
Jul 29, 2013, 10:53 PM
If you need performance, try to hold out for the haswell rMBP. You'll get a bigger bang for your buck- along with a much faster cpu, better graphics (Iris), way superior Retina Screen, more ports (including HDMI).

Anand from Anantech recommends people on his review of i5 vs i7 to go for the i5. The 20% gain when it comes to isolated CPU requirements isn't worth the 15-20% battery life loss, according to him.

20% gain in performance could mean (According to his testa), an increase in speed from 10 seconds duration to 8 seconds, for exporting 720p.
Yes, 2 seconds = 20% boost.

As for battery life, 15-20% could mean you lose over an hour of battery life. Battery life - the only thing the Air has going for it which is superior to the rMBP, which is almost just as thin.

For light work, the battery life was just about the same for Anand. But for both medium and heavy work, the i7 was losing over an hour or more compared to the i5.

http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph7113/56094.png

http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph7113/56095.png

Anand's final words
Both configurations are equally capable of hitting the same max battery life number. More active workloads however will likely show a 15 - 20% decrease in battery life when paired with the faster CPU. It's possible that you'll see a larger drop with a very aggressive CPU-bound usage model, but at that point I'd assume that you'll probably want to be plugged in regardless of what system you're using.

In previous MacBook Airs, the choice of what CPU to buy was almost always a difficult one. Do you opt for the in-between upgrade or go all the way to the top? With this year's model, the decision is greatly simplified. If you want ultimate battery life regardless of usage model, stick with the base Core i5. If you need performance, the Core i7 upgrade is absolutely worth it. My personal choice would be for the Core i5, but that's because I tend to fall on the battery life side of of the battery life vs. performance fence when it comes to the MacBook Air.

Hope this helped ya.
At the end of the day, buy something that will make YOU happy. Goodluck with whichever Mac you get, cause you'll be getting the best regardless.

froggyjo
Jul 30, 2013, 03:41 AM
Check this blog out @*laptopmag.com blog (http://blog.laptopmag.com/core-i7-macbook-air-2013). According to their test (granted not on the same level as Anandtech) the i7 has a better battery life.

I went with the maxed out ("ultimate") version and even though I come from a 15'' rMBP I'm happy with the performance - and of course extremely happy with battery life.

SchodMC
Jul 30, 2013, 04:39 AM
Check this blog out @*laptopmag.com blog (http://blog.laptopmag.com/core-i7-macbook-air-2013). According to their test (granted not on the same level as Anandtech) the i7 has a better battery life.
That's quite similar to the result, Anandtech figured out. But because I also want to use the book for coding, the battery life when only surfing in the net cant't be compared. I guess the i5 will provide more battery time when using Xcode.

Today a german website published an article about the price-performance ration of the current Apple products. From this point of view the i5 is better than the i7. To be honest, this graph only helps if money is the point. But if the i5 will fullfill the personal needs, it could be helpful (the line after "Power-Index" means "In Geekbench-Scores per 1 Euro of purchase price - higher values are better):
http://www.giga.de/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/preis-leistungs-verhaeltnis-notebooks1.jpg
(Source: giga.de (http://www.giga.de/tablets/ipad-4/specials/power-index-fur-iphone-mac-und-ipad-wie-viel-bumms-pro-euro/#utm_source%3Dgiga%26utm_medium%3Dfeed%26utm_term%3Dfeed) - german only).

So the i5 will give you more power per $ than the i7. But again: this is not to say the i5 will always the better choice, but it will help to figure out whether it will be worth to pay more if the power of the i7 wouldn't really be necessary for the daly work.

cu
SchodMC

SchodMC
Aug 1, 2013, 01:03 PM
Hi,

a little update from me. I ordered the i5 because it was on stock at my reseller. It really is a fine MBA. I was very surprised to seed, that f. e. it could handle the game "The Dark Eye: Drakensang" (don't know if everyone knows that game) with everything maxed out (except for HD textures) under Parallels without problems. And running other games( like Starwars Knights of the old republic) under parallels will run fine without even kicking in the fan. So the i5 seems not to be that bad. Except for Minecraft - no way to get it playable when using HD Textures (64x64) what is strange, because my early 2011 MBP i5 had no problems.

However, the really sad thing is the combination of the i5 MBA with an external monitor. Switching the spaces or changing the month in the calendar month view has noticeable lags. I tested both: using a HDMI adapter as well as the Apple VGA adapter. That's a little bit annoying. Also scrolling in Xcode could be faster on an external monitor.

Because of this I'm thinking about to finally go for the i7. But I'm a little bit afraid about the temp and fan noise. The fan of the i5 as a RMP of ~1200 during Office work (Pages, Internet, etc.). The temps are round about 60 degrees (celcius). That is really wonderful. When the i7 will be at the same or near the same fan & heat rate (however, I figured out that a fan speed of 2000rpm will also be not noticeable for me), it will be mine. If not, I had to figure out whether I could live with lags inside the OS X GUI. :-(

And also the question for me is: will the i7 have noticeable less lags inside the OS X GUI?

Cu
SchodMC

Ronnoco
Aug 9, 2013, 02:28 AM
Hi,

a little update from me. I ordered the i5 because it was on stock at my reseller. It really is a fine MBA. I was very surprised to seed, that f. e. it could handle the game "The Dark Eye: Drakensang" (don't know if everyone knows that game) with everything maxed out (except for HD textures) under Parallels without problems. And running other games( like Starwars Knights of the old republic) under parallels will run fine without even kicking in the fan. So the i5 seems not to be that bad. Except for Minecraft - no way to get it playable when using HD Textures (64x64) what is strange, because my early 2011 MBP i5 had no problems.

However, the really sad thing is the combination of the i5 MBA with an external monitor. Switching the spaces or changing the month in the calendar month view has noticeable lags. I tested both: using a HDMI adapter as well as the Apple VGA adapter. That's a little bit annoying. Also scrolling in Xcode could be faster on an external monitor.

Because of this I'm thinking about to finally go for the i7. But I'm a little bit afraid about the temp and fan noise. The fan of the i5 as a RMP of ~1200 during Office work (Pages, Internet, etc.). The temps are round about 60 degrees (celcius). That is really wonderful. When the i7 will be at the same or near the same fan & heat rate (however, I figured out that a fan speed of 2000rpm will also be not noticeable for me), it will be mine. If not, I had to figure out whether I could live with lags inside the OS X GUI. :-(

And also the question for me is: will the i7 have noticeable less lags inside the OS X GUI?

Cu
SchodMC

I run my i7 on a 27" ACD at full resolution and I have absolutely no lag whatsoever in Mountain Lion.

SchodMC
Aug 9, 2013, 02:49 PM
I run my i7 on a 27" ACD at full resolution and I have absolutely no lag whatsoever in Mountain Lion.

I ordered a i7 model an received it today. If you're interested, here (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=17710136&postcount=12) you can find my experience. Seems to me that the i7 will be the better choice. The 400MHz more in base-clock will be noticeable when plugged to an external monitor. Also it will be noticeable in the overall response of the system if you worked on a i5 model before.

I will have a look to it this weekend, but it seems to me that I will stay with the i7 model. ;)

cu
SchodMC

magbarn
Aug 9, 2013, 03:07 PM
I ordered a i7 model an received it today. If you're interested, here (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=17710136&postcount=12) you can find my experience. Seems to me that the i7 will be the better choice. The 400MHz more in base-clock will be noticeable when plugged to an external monitor. Also it will be noticeable in the overall response of the system if you worked on a i5 model before.

I will have a look to it this weekend, but it seems to me that I will stay with the i7 model. ;)

cu
SchodMC

I have similar findings as you albeit with a similarly configured 11 i7/8/256.
I used it to replace a 2013 MBA 11 i5/4/256 machine from Best Buy and even in basic web browsing, the reduction in lag is significant. My other OSX machines include a 4 Ghz i7 3770K Hackintosh, 2.6Ghz rMBP 15 so may be I'm 'spoiled' when it comes to machine performance. The i5 let me know I'm working with a slower machine whilst the i7 feels just as snappy as my rMBP when browsing.

robvas
Aug 9, 2013, 03:20 PM
Get the i7. The 2013 Air i5 is only about 10% faster, pure CPU-wise, than the 2011 i5 Air. It's generally the same speed as the 2012 i5 Air.

The CPU of the MBP is slightly faster than the ULV in the Air, but the Air has the advantage of the SSD.

Ronnoco
Aug 9, 2013, 03:36 PM
Get the i7. The 2013 Air i5 is only about 10% faster, pure CPU-wise, than the 2011 i5 Air. It's generally the same speed as the 2012 i5 Air.

The CPU of the MBP is slightly faster than the ULV in the Air, but the Air has the advantage of the SSD.

And the PCIe is truly a difference maker...the first thing I noticed on the 2013 Air was the speed of the PCIe based SSD...I've never experienced anything this incredibly fast on a laptop, never-mind an Ultra-Light.

Boyd01
Aug 9, 2013, 03:40 PM
I just went from a 13" i5/4gb/256gb mid 2011 MBA to an 11" i7/8gb/512gb mid 2013 MBA. The new machine is definitely faster. For example, with the same settings in Logic Pro 9, the new machine shows 9ms latency with my 4 channel interface while the old machine was about 13ms. Video rendering is also faster.

But I had them side by side while setting everything up and was switching between them. While the new i7 is faster than the 2011 i5, it certainly wasn't anything to say "Wow!" about. The overall "feel" was very similar. Using everyday stuff like mail, safari, starting programs, etc. I honestly didn't notice much if any difference.

Ronnoco
Aug 9, 2013, 03:44 PM
I ordered a i7 model an received it today. If you're interested, here (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=17710136&postcount=12) you can find my experience. Seems to me that the i7 will be the better choice. The 400MHz more in base-clock will be noticeable when plugged to an external monitor. Also it will be noticeable in the overall response of the system if you worked on a i5 model before.

I will have a look to it this weekend, but it seems to me that I will stay with the i7 model. ;)

cu
SchodMC

Good choice! :D

robvas
Aug 9, 2013, 03:57 PM
Here are some numbers from photoshop and cinebench tests - The 2013 is about the same speed as the 2012 in some tests and in some cases slightly slower than the 2011 model!

http://i.imgur.com/GpDNpWA.png

http://i.imgur.com/fk0RED2.png

The bottom line is the 2013 isn't really a jump in CPU power but a big jump in battery power. You might not notice much if you upgrade from a 2012, so don't be disappointed. If you need a jump in speed and you are coming from a 2011 or 2012 Air, make sure you get the i7.

SchodMC
Aug 9, 2013, 04:25 PM
But I had them side by side while setting everything up and was switching between them. While the new i7 is faster than the 2011 i5, it certainly wasn't anything to say "Wow!" about. The overall "feel" was very similar. Using everyday stuff like mail, safari, starting programs, etc. I honestly didn't notice much if any difference.
[...] I used it to replace a 2013 MBA 11 i5/4/256 machine from Best Buy and even in basic web browsing, the reduction in lag is significant. [...] The i5 let me know I'm working with a slower machine whilst the i7 feels just as snappy as my rMBP when browsing.

As I already told in the other thread, I realized a difference when plugged to an external monitor - which can also be a sign that something was wrong with the i5. But what I forgot to say: like magbarn I also noticed a snappier browsing experience.

Meanwhile I wonder what's going on. Am I to fussy about smoothness? Has my i5 a performance-problem - something strange went wrong inside the hardware? Or do I have a special Apple marketing-version of the i5 that leads the user to get an i7 upgrade? :p

Really don't know. :confused:

cu
SchodMC

Boyd01
Aug 9, 2013, 07:05 PM
l really don't know either. I used my 2011 13" i5 MBA perhaps 90% of the time plugged into an old 23" Apple Cinema Display at 1920x1200 resolution. Am using the 2013 11" mba with the same monitor right now, and I don't notice any real difference in the overall feeling as I type this in Safari.

That being said, I wanted the best configuration available and am glad I got the i7. If nothing else, I would always have wondered if I was missing something if I'd gotten the i5. ;)

AXs
Aug 9, 2013, 10:34 PM
Here are some numbers from photoshop and cinebench tests - The 2013 is about the same speed as the 2012 in some tests and in some cases slightly slower than the 2011 model!

Image (http://i.imgur.com/GpDNpWA.png)

Image (http://i.imgur.com/fk0RED2.png)

The bottom line is the 2013 isn't really a jump in CPU power but a big jump in battery power. You might not notice much if you upgrade from a 2012, so don't be disappointed. If you need a jump in speed and you are coming from a 2011 or 2012 Air, make sure you get the i7.

If you need the jump in speed, buy a 15" Pro