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View Full Version : Retina i5 vs i7 Air real world difference!




jomirrivera
Aug 9, 2013, 08:16 PM
Today I did a little test!
Using handbrake I converted one Full HD movie from mkv to mp4 H.264 using a 13 i5 macbook pro 8gb ram and a 13 i7 8gb ram 2013 macbook air.

I set the keyboar backlight to the highest point and the same for the brightness on both machines.

I started both machines with 100% battery and at the same time

The macbook air finished the test with 65 % of battery left and in 1 hour 7 minutes and 5 sec the retina macbook pro finished the test with 20% battery left and in 1 hour 17 minutes and 7 sec!

So the Macbook Air was 10 minutes faster or about 15% faster.

What do you guys think?

Considering the better battery life, being thinner and lighter and a litter bit faster for about the same price, is that good enough to forget about the retina macbook pro?



Boyd01
Aug 9, 2013, 09:03 PM
Cool. :cool: I just replaced my 2011 13" i5 MBA with a 2014 11" i7 MBA. I did ponder getting the 13" MBP instead, but the size of the MBA - and the lower price - tipped the scales. Glad to see that I am not missing anything in terms of performance.

I work with professional HD video, although not a lot these days. Only had the new 2013 MBA for a week, but so far I've been quite happy with its performance using my old version of FCP. The new i7 MBA definitely renders video faster than my 2011 i5 MBA.

But you didn't say what kind of disks your two machines have. Are they both SSD? What is the size? I think that would affect render time and battery life, especially if the MBP has a spinning disk.

My 2011 i5 MBA had 4gb RAM and a 256gb SSD. My 2013 i7 MBA has 8gb RAM and a 512gb SSD. The only real datapoint I can offer is that the 2011 machine showed about 13ms round-trip latency in Logic Pro. The 2013 MBA shows 9ms latency using the same settings. I attributed this to the reports I've read about faster SSD's in the new machines. But, come to think of it, the old MBA only had USB2.0, so that might also be a factor.

Suraj R.
Aug 9, 2013, 09:12 PM
Cool. :cool: I just replaced my 2011 13" i5 MBA with a 2014 11" i7 MBA. I did ponder getting the 13" MBP instead, but the size of the MBA - and the lower price - tipped the scales. Glad to see that I am not missing anything in terms of performance.

I work with professional HD video, although not a lot these days. Only had the new 2013 MBA for a week, but so far I've been quite happy with its performance using my old version of FCP. The new i7 MBA definitely renders video faster than my 2011 i5 MBA.

But you didn't say what kind of disks your two machines have. Are they both SSD? What is the size? I think that would affect render time and battery life, especially if the MBP has a spinning disk.

My 2011 i5 MBA had 4gb RAM and a 256gb SSD. My 2013 i7 MBA has 8gb RAM and a 512gb SSD. The only real datapoint I can offer is that the 2011 machine showed about 13ms round-trip latency in Logic Pro. The 2013 MBA shows 9ms latency using the same settings. I attributed this to the reports I've read about faster SSD's in the new machines. But, come to think of it, the old MBA only had USB2.0, so that might also be a factor.

He said he tested using a Retina Pro so it has an SSD, but then again the new Haswell Airs have faster PCIe based flash storage.

I got the i5 2013 Air myself because I don't really do anything processor intensive. I wouldn't have minded the i7 (why would I lol) but for the price I got a 23" HP 1080p monitor. I could have gotten the i7 if I wanted, I don't really know why I didn't (or why I wanted it). It performs LIGHT YEARS faster than my old iMac so its all good. And the old 2008 C2D iMac ran Logic 9 decently.

Geekbench scores are just a number.

Boyd01
Aug 9, 2013, 09:19 PM
He said he tested using a Retina Pro so it has an SSD, but then again the new Haswell Airs have faster PCIe based flash storage.

True, but I've read there's a significant speed difference between the large and small SSD. :)

I also have a 2008 c2d 15" MacBook Pro. I replaced it with the 2011 i5 MBA and ran a couple real-world comparisons that led me to believe that the cpu was almost twice as fast. My new 2013 i7 MBA is clearly faster than that, but not dramatically faster from what I've seen. Every little bit helps though. :)

jomirrivera
Aug 9, 2013, 09:37 PM
Both machines have 256Gb ssd, the Air is faster though with 650+ writes and 740 reads!

AXs
Aug 9, 2013, 10:15 PM
It's not ideal to compare this year's tech with last year's tech.

You'll get a better comparison when Haswell Pros are released.

Boyd01
Aug 9, 2013, 10:40 PM
Well it might be "ideal" for somebody who is trying to make a choice between those two machines today. ;)

AXs
Aug 9, 2013, 10:49 PM
:eek:

What's their to decide? Who on Earth would buy old, slower tech which is 1 month away from being obsolete?

Each to his own I guess.

Ronnoco
Aug 10, 2013, 01:00 AM
I agree that comparing last years tech to this years is somewhat apples and oranges, however, what this test DOES show is just how far the Air has come in terms of processing power (both CPU and GPU), storage space and access speed, battery power, heat resistance and memory. These new Airs are simply outstanding mobile computers for almost any need anyone has for on-the-go computing and the build quality is second to none...
I can honestly say that this new 2013 MacBook Air is the best portable computer I've ever owned (and I've owned well over a dozen Macs over the years) and the best "bang-for-the-buck" in Apple's lineup.

AXs
Aug 10, 2013, 01:53 AM
I agree that comparing last years tech to this years is somewhat apples and oranges, however, what this test DOES show is just how far the Air has come in terms of processing power (both CPU and GPU), storage space and access speed, battery power, heat resistance and memory. These new Airs are simply outstanding mobile computers for almost any need anyone has for on-the-go computing and the build quality is second to none...
I can honestly say that this new 2013 MacBook Air is the best portable computer I've ever owned (and I've owned well over a dozen Macs over the years) and the best "bang-for-the-buck" in Apple's lineup.

Agree with everything you just said, plus add the fact that they dropped another $100 off the price :eek:

The Haswell Macbook is the best laptop ever built, imo. No, actually not imo. FACT! :p

mtneer
Aug 10, 2013, 11:34 AM
:eek:

What's their to decide? Who on Earth would buy old, slower tech which is 1 month away from being obsolete?

Each to his own I guess.

oh come on... why would an Ivy Bridge i5 become "obsolete" in a month? It maybe "slower" than something a generation ahead and also happens to be an i7, but far from becoming obsolete for half a decade or more for layman usage.

jomirrivera
Aug 10, 2013, 03:12 PM
I agree that comparing last years tech to this years is somewhat apples and oranges, however, what this test DOES show is just how far the Air has come in terms of processing power (both CPU and GPU), storage space and access speed, battery power, heat resistance and memory. These new Airs are simply outstanding mobile computers for almost any need anyone has for on-the-go computing and the build quality is second to none...
I can honestly say that this new 2013 MacBook Air is the best portable computer I've ever owned (and I've owned well over a dozen Macs over the years) and the best "bang-for-the-buck" in Apple's lineup.

This is exactly what I'm trying to make clear with this test!
I agree with you because some people dont belive this but there are people out there buying 13 retina macbook pro's thinking that by default they are faster and more capable in terms of procesing power that the little Airs, when in fact they are completly wrong about it!

----------

It's not ideal to compare this year's tech with last year's tech.

You'll get a better comparison when Haswell Pros are released.

It is ideal when both models are "current generation" to apple and you have the option to purchase any of them as the "newest version".

Some people need the computere ASAP (this was my case) and cant afford to wait untli the Haswell macbook pro comes.

AXs
Aug 10, 2013, 11:03 PM
Okay, not you're just trying to play bad lawyer.

More like an equivocation on 'current'.

The rMBP is NOT current. Apple didn't release an upgrade in June due to a manufacturing bottleneck.

Ivy bridge is still last year's technology. It's obsolete because it's no longer in any manufacturing house. Sure, you can still use it to check your emails... but so can my 10 year old ddr1 1gb ram notebook I have stashed away.

Still obsolete... especially considering Haswell's power savings ability, the new SSD speed, and ofcourse new integrated graphics.

good day.

jomirrivera
Aug 10, 2013, 11:13 PM
Okay, not you're just trying to play bad lawyer.

More like an equivocation on 'current'.

The rMBP is NOT current. Apple didn't release an upgrade in June due to a manufacturing bottleneck.

Ivy bridge is still last year's technology. It's obsolete because it's no longer in any manufacturing house. Sure, you can still use it to check your emails... but so can my 10 year old ddr1 1gb ram notebook I have stashed away.

Still obsolete... especially considering Haswell's power savings ability, the new SSD speed, and ofcourse new integrated graphics.

good day.


So, if the rMPB is not "current" what do you get instead when you purchase one from apple.com??

Jesus christ sir, the vast majority of the computers right now are being sold with ivy bridge processors, they are not by any means "obsolete". I do understand that they are not the most updated piece of technology but calling the "obsolete" is just ridiculous.

PDFierro
Aug 10, 2013, 11:33 PM
You're still comparing the Air, which has newer technology and has recently been updated, to the rMBP which is about to be updated in a month or so.

rMBP will have that faster SSD and everything too. It would only be fair to do the comparing when the Haswell rMBP is out.

jav6454
Aug 10, 2013, 11:48 PM
An i5 vs an i7. One is much more efficient and has more to work with than the other... clock differences aside.

Of course there will be a noticeable difference!

MacPoulet
Aug 11, 2013, 12:00 AM
I'd be curious to see how both machines do the same test plugged in and not on battery.

Never thought about running something like handbrake off battery, but neat that you can do it in a pinch.

jomirrivera
Aug 11, 2013, 12:31 AM
You're still comparing the Air, which has newer technology and has recently been updated, to the rMBP which is about to be updated in a month or so.

rMBP will have that faster SSD and everything too. It would only be fair to do the comparing when the Haswell rMBP is out.

yes, that's right but I'm not trying to prove anything here, I'm just saying that you can pick up a macbook air right now and have more performance than a rmbp.

I did this test just to help those thinking that the MBA is underpowered. If you can't wait for the haswell rmbp go ahead and pick up the air and not the current gen retina, thats all am trying to make clear.

Boyd01
Aug 11, 2013, 07:24 AM
It would only be fair to do the comparing when the Haswell rMBP is out.

Nonsense. Jomirrivera is comparing two currently shipping models that you can buy today. That is completely "fair".

When a new model comes out, another comparison can be done and that will also be "fair".

AXs
Aug 11, 2013, 07:34 AM
Nonsense. Jomirrivera is comparing two currently shipping models that you can buy today. That is completely "fair".

When a new model comes out, another comparison can be done and that will also be "fair".

Yea sure, he's comparing 2 shipping models.

But is being 10% faster than a year-old product really something to be proud of and brag about?

Choice is yours.

kahkityoong
Aug 11, 2013, 08:25 AM
yes, that's right but I'm not trying to prove anything here, I'm just saying that you can pick up a macbook air right now and have more performance than a rmbp.

I did this test just to help those thinking that the MBA is underpowered. If you can't wait for the haswell rmbp go ahead and pick up the air and not the current gen retina, thats all am trying to make clear.

The purpose of your post seemed obvious to me. Too bad some of the minds here lack the plasticity to understand it despite your explanation.

Mike in Kansas
Aug 11, 2013, 08:31 AM
Yea sure, he's comparing 2 shipping models.

But is being 10% faster than a year-old product really something to be proud of and brag about?

Choice is yours.

When the comparison is made between this year's "convenient portable lightweight" model and last year's "pro level model"? Yes, I'd be proud indeed. People often look down their nose at the MBA for doing "real" work, particularly with respect to video rendering. The OP is trying to show that the current MBA is a worthy alternative to the current MBP. Since the MBA isn't positioned as a "pro level" machine but more of a "lightweight, portable, battery sipping" machine, I think it IS something to brag about that in real life tests the performance gap is decreasing and not as noticeable.

The point isn't about the FASTEST machine, the point is that the MBA brings all of those things that the MBA is known for, plus a level of performance that it isn't typically expected to have.

This exact discussion has been taking place over in the iMac and Mac Mini forums. The real life noticeable performance gap between the two machines has been decreasing over time, and now by getting an i7 quad core mini with 8GB of RAM and Fusion Drive, you are beginning to impede on iMac territory (which has impeded into Mac Pro territory).

I don't know why you don't understand this; hopefully this explanation will get you to see what the others are trying to say.

AXs
Aug 11, 2013, 08:49 AM
I think we have an agreement in belief, but disagreement in attitude.

I agree that Haswell Air is a masterpiece. Hence, I bought it as my first Mac ever, despite being an Apple handheld owner for about a decade.

I agree that it is the fastest non-15" machine from Apple.

But I personally dont see it as a special feat that my Air is faster than last year's Pro. New CPU, Better graphics, Better RAM, Faster SSD.

With all these factors, it SHOULD be faster than last year's tech. If only the cpu changed, that's 1 thing. The 2013 Air is basically an entirely new specie internally.

I understand that some people cannot wait for the new Retina, in that case I would also recommend anyone who NEEDS to buy a machine today, to get the Air. Always go with new tech. Should be automatic. Not only is it a better machine, but has more value and less depreciation.

You buy a 2012 rMBP today, it loses about 10-20% market value in 1 month... on top of being old tech.

Definitely go with new tech whenever possible.
My advice would still be to wait for the new rMBP before making a purchase if anyone has doubts. I really don't know why some people utterly can't wait 1 month.

But let us agree regardless, that the Air is the best laptop ever built. Just phenomenal.

kahkityoong
Aug 11, 2013, 08:51 AM
I think we have an agreement in belief, but disagreement in attitude.

I agree that Haswell Air is a masterpiece. Hence, I bought it as my first Mac ever, despite being an Apple handheld owner for about a decade.

I agree that it is the fastest non-15" machine from Apple.

But I personally dont see it as a special feat that my Air is faster than last year's Pro. New CPU, Better graphics, Better RAM, Faster SSD.

With all these factors, it SHOULD be faster than last year's tech. If only the cpu changed, that's 1 thing. The 2013 Air is basically an entirely new specie internally.

I understand that some people cannot wait for the new Retina, in that case I would also recommend anyone who NEEDS to buy a machine today, to get the Air. Always go with new tech. Should be automatic. Not only is it a better machine, but has more value and less depreciation.

You buy a 2012 rMBP today, it loses about 10-20% market value in 1 month... on top of being old tech.

Definitely go with new tech whenever possible.
My advice would still be to wait for the new rMBP before making a purchase if anyone has doubts. I really don't know why some people utterly can't wait 1 month.

But let us agree regardless, that the Air is the best laptop ever built. Just phenomenal.

Nope. You still don't get it.

AXs
Aug 11, 2013, 09:01 AM
Not do I want to 'get' your comprehensive mind-map.
Mine works just great for me and my career ;)

Good day.

merkinmuffley
Aug 11, 2013, 09:40 AM
The metrics from this comprehensive testing make it very clear the MBA is the superior platform.