Register FAQ / Rules Forum Spy Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Go Back   MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Notebooks > MacBook Air

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Jan 16, 2013, 12:46 PM   #1
Grmnracing
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
MacBook Air 13. I5 or i7?

I will be purchasing a MacBook Air. I don't have a need to get the i7 with 8gb of RAM, ( as of now). I know the i5 4gb would be fine for my use. However, my question is should I spend the extra money to get a higher spec MacBook Air or just get the base? I'm trying to decide if by upgrading the Air is worth the money in the extra amount of time I will get out of it.

Secondly, from what I researched the i5/i7 only turbo boost in some apps that are optimized for the chips. How popular is the support for the ultra low voltage i5/i7?
Grmnracing is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 16, 2013, 12:51 PM   #2
danistyping
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boston, MA
They sell a ton of these things, so my guess is that support is widespread for ULV turbo boost. I have the i7 after returning the i5. You won't notice a day to day difference - they're both very fast. You will notice a difference when you do processor intensive things like compressing files, working with HD video, file conversion and audio recording.

I strongly suggest the 8GB RAM upgrade. This is important for future proofing the device (unless you don't plan on owning it long). More significant than the i7 upgrade. Do both if you can afford it.
danistyping is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 16, 2013, 12:56 PM   #3
Nimravus
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
i7 runs hotter and uses more power so if you don't need it, stick with the i5. The i5 in the Mid 2012 MBA from what I researched now hyper threads as does the i7 so the performance bump is minimal. Maybe worth it if you are doing heavy processing but at a battery hit. i5 is overkill for most consumers I think, who check email, sur the web, light video/photo edit, etc.

I would however get the 8gb ram for $100 more. It's not upgradable later so you will be stuck with 4gb if you don't order it with 8gb.

The SSD is upgradable so I would go with the 128gb and if you need to later, upgrade the SSD and use the one that came with the MBA as an external SSD in a USB 3.0 enclosure. For the same $300 it will cost you to get the 256gb SSD from Apple, you can upgrade after but now have the extra drive.

Just my thoughts, MBA is an awesome choice for portability.
Nimravus is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 2013, 03:39 AM   #4
krspkbl
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: UK
Originally, when first considering the Air, I was gonna just max it out with i7/8GB/256GB. I ended up getting i5/8GB/128GB. Coming from a 4 year old MacBook, the i5 feels like a beast!

Like others have said, the i7 only has minimal speed advantages when doing intensive processes. It runs hotter and uses more battery. If you absolutely need more processing power and don't mind the lower battery life then I'd suggest looking at a Pro model.

The i5 is great and it's perfectly fine for just browsing the net, watching YouTube (4K playback is smooth!), listening to music, watching films, word processing and light gaming (chess/minecraft/football manager) That's about all I need it for. I can't tell you how far these machines can be pushed as I haven't really tested it myself.

Again, I'm comparing this to an 4 year old MacBook but i was impressed by how cool the Air runs! It's get warm of course but still very cool especially for such a small computer! Depending on settings/usage you can get anywhere between 6.5/9hrs usage out the battery.

I'd suggest i5 Air or a Pro model depending on what you want to do. Maybe the i7 isn't really as bad as I seem to be making it out to be but this is just my thoughts. Finally, the i5 can turbo boost up to 2.8ghz and has 2 virtual cores. It is a dual core but each core runs a virtual core so in some sort of definition you potentially have a 2.8ghz quad-core CPU. This is only available if needed of course.

As for other specs. Definitely get 8GB if you can afford it! I never seem to use more than 4GB but it's there if you need it, it'll future proof the machine when you update to upcoming OS releases. Also, it'll get you more if you want to sell it for whatever reason. The SSD is can be upgraded by yourself. I have ~71GB free still and once it fills up I can just put some stuff on an external HD. Hopefully by that time SSD prices drop a good bit and there are more 3rd party drives available for the Air.
krspkbl is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 2013, 04:40 AM   #5
Grmnracing
Thread Starter
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Thank you everyone. It will be the i5 8gb Air. And it will be my first Mac!
Grmnracing is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 2013, 07:07 AM   #6
designs216
macrumors 65816
 
designs216's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Down the rabbit hole
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grmnracing View Post
Thank you everyone. It will be the i5 8gb Air. And it will be my first Mac!
Enjoy and report back. I'm thinking about getting the very same model for my wife.
designs216 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 2013, 09:42 AM   #7
krspkbl
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: UK
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grmnracing View Post
Thank you everyone. It will be the i5 8gb Air. And it will be my first Mac!
Awesome! It really is an amazing little machine. Nothing like your first Mac! If you have any questions feel free to ask

Hope you enjoy it when it arrives!
krspkbl is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 18, 2013, 02:37 PM   #8
wolfpuppies3
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Virginia, USA
Do it, go for the i7. whatever is adequate today will be overtaxed tomorrow. unless, of course, you upgrade every year.
__________________
2012 MBA 13, 2 Ghz i7, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD; 2011 MBA 11, 1.8 Ghz i7, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD; 2010 MB Pro 15, 2.66 Ghz i7, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD; two iPad 3s and a mini, two iPhones and a bunch of iPods
wolfpuppies3 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 18, 2013, 05:15 PM   #9
docal97
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Southampton
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grmnracing View Post
Thank you everyone. It will be the i5 8gb Air. And it will be my first Mac!
only thing that i particularly surprising is that Apple does not carry an 8gb model in stores. They are special order items and take about 7-10 days to receive.
docal97 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 09:21 AM   #10
sam84
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
which is best machine for web designer

i am i web designer always used windows.
thinking to buy macbook 13" but confused what is best option for me.

i need to use simple notepad,programming languages like jquery, java script, little bit php, photoshop and dreamweaver. not big fan of games.
i am currently looking at macbook air with 256gb flash storage.

should i upgrade from i5 to i7? if usefull
should i upgrade from 4gb ram to 8gb? if usefull

i have been using amd turion dual core mobile rm-75 2.20ghz hp windows laptop with 4 gb ram and i was facing only two problems.
1) heated all the times, always using cooling pad
2) it takes some time to open photoshop
everything else is fine.

what should be the best macbook for me at starting level
after few months i will also buy imac for sure.

thanks
sam84 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 09:51 AM   #11
robvas
macrumors 68000
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: USA
I would get the 8GB machine. the i7 is about 20% faster but if you were using a Turion before the i5 will be a BIG upgrade. The SSD will help with programs like Photoshop taking forever to load.
robvas is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 10:23 AM   #12
sam84
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by robvas View Post
I would get the 8GB machine. the i7 is about 20% faster but if you were using a Turion before the i5 will be a BIG upgrade. The SSD will help with programs like Photoshop taking forever to load.

i want to upgrade only one part either i5 to i7 or 4gb to 8 gb.
then according to you, shall i go for 256/ 8gb /i5? or 4gb and i5 are fine with 256 gb
thanks
sam84 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 10:37 AM   #13
mattferg
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: May 2013
i5/8/256 is the sweet spot for the Air, you should go for that one
mattferg is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 11:06 AM   #14
magbarn
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by sam84 View Post
i want to upgrade only one part either i5 to i7 or 4gb to 8 gb.
then according to you, shall i go for 256/ 8gb /i5? or 4gb and i5 are fine with 256 gb
thanks
If keeping your MBA longer than a year or two, get the 8GB for sure. Even heavy web browsing already causes page outs (memory runs out and has to write to SSD, while much faster than HDD in the past, still much slower than RAM) on 4gb. Yes, Mavericks has that fancy memory compression, but unless there has been serious breakthroughs in this tech, it's going to be more hype than substance.
__________________
13" 2012 rMBP i5/8/512
15" 2012 rMBP 2.6/8/512
magbarn is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 11:16 AM   #15
sam84
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by magbarn View Post
If keeping your MBA longer than a year or two, get the 8GB for sure. Even heavy web browsing already causes page outs (memory runs out and has to write to SSD, while much faster than HDD in the past, still much slower than RAM) on 4gb. Yes, Mavericks has that fancy memory compression, but unless there has been serious breakthroughs in this tech, it's going to be more hype than substance.
thanks alot for your support.
one more question
is mba good decision since we have retina display ans mbp.not sure
sam84 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 11:24 AM   #16
magbarn
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
It depends on your priorities. If battery life and portability are the most important criteria, then MBA. If performance and screen quality are tops, then Haswell rMBP. Although Haswell will add at least an hour or 2 to rMBP battery life, it's not going to be as significant as in the MBA as the Retina screens are serious power hogs. It's unlikely this year's rMBP will have Sharp's IGZO tech which will allow Retina screens that consume much less power. Apple is probably saving that for next year's Haswell refresh as Broadwell has been delayed to 2015.
__________________
13" 2012 rMBP i5/8/512
15" 2012 rMBP 2.6/8/512
magbarn is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 01:54 PM   #17
SchodMC
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Germany
Quote:
Originally Posted by sam84 View Post
i am i web designer always used windows.
thinking to buy macbook 13" but confused what is best option for me.

i need to use simple notepad,programming languages like jquery, java script, little bit php, photoshop and dreamweaver. not big fan of games.
i am currently looking at macbook air with 256gb flash storage.

should i upgrade from i5 to i7? if usefull
should i upgrade from 4gb ram to 8gb? if usefull

i have been using amd turion dual core mobile rm-75 2.20ghz hp windows laptop with 4 gb ram and i was facing only two problems.
1) heated all the times, always using cooling pad
2) it takes some time to open photoshop
everything else is fine.

what should be the best macbook for me at starting level
after few months i will also buy imac for sure.

thanks
Looks for me that the discussion i5 vs. i7 is a never ending story.

I had both machines, yesterday I send back the i5. The reasons you can find here, also some words about the "hotter" i7. While doing office work, the temp is equal to slightly higher on the i7 - my experience is, that (while in idle / office / light usage) heat, battery life and rpm speed is nothing to complain about.

Just have a look inside the forum. Some users say, that everything is fine with the speed of the i5, while others (like me) come to the conclusion, that the i5 is fine but you will notice that it is a slow machine, also during web browsing and something like that. On the other hand, none of the i7 owners regret it to bought an i7. Neither heat nor battery life or fan noise will be a problem. If I'm wrong, just let me know (wait, I think there was one exception, but it could be the guy has a defect machine because he seems to be the only one with the problem he reported). Battery life an heat only will be worse compared to the i5 if you drain power from your system (e. g. while using handbreak, iMovie, something like that). And how often will you use this apps without the ability to put your MBA on a desk and plug it to your power adaptor?

You will only have one problem with the i7. That will be the feeling that you have to say "sorry" inside this forum because you ordered an i7.

I think it's not sure that you won't notice the difference of the machines in your daly work. You will notice it, maybe only if you can compare them side by side. Just go to the Apple store and have a look for your own.

However, buy an i5 or an i7, just as you want and what your moneybag tells you to do. IMHO the i5 is a good machine, the i7 will be the cherry on the cake.

Regardless of the CPU I think you should go for 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD. (The 256 GB SSD is faster than the 128 GB model). I think the order of upgrade-option should be RAM, SSD, CPU. Well, it could also be RAM, CPU, SSD because the SSD could be changed later if you accept that all warranty will be gone. If possible, go for all update.

Just my two cents.

cu
SchodMC

Last edited by SchodMC; Aug 13, 2013 at 02:02 PM.
SchodMC is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 02:06 PM   #18
mattferg
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: May 2013
SchodMC, I've used both the i7 and the i5, and day to day tasks there's literally no difference whatsoever. If you've noticed something it's entirely psychological.

All the benchmarks have shown that in any form of task where the extra power of the i7 is needed, battery life is cut dramatically as a result of having the i7.
mattferg is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 02:15 PM   #19
ZBoater
macrumors 603
 
ZBoater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Sunny Florida
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattferg View Post
SchodMC, I've used both the i7 and the i5, and day to day tasks there's literally no difference whatsoever. If you've noticed something it's entirely psychological.

All the benchmarks have shown that in any form of task where the extra power of the i7 is needed, battery life is cut dramatically as a result of having the i7.
Yes, but you continue to miss the point and exaggerate the difference. The point is that you have the power for when you need it. And that "dramatically" different battery life is precisely that - "drama". And the "literally no difference whatsoever" is 20-25%.

You can continue to downplay the difference all you want, but there is a reason Intel made the i5 and the i7. For those who need or want a more powerful processor, the i7 is there. And Apple has managed to give you the option with a "very slight" difference in battery performance, which is further made insignificant when you consider people wanting to do heavy lifting on their computer will likely be plugged in anyway. So I'd rather have the more POWERFUL and FASTER processor for when I need it than save $150.
__________________
iPhone 5 | iPad Air | Dell Venue Pro 8 | Nexus 7.2 | MacBook Air | Thunderbolt Display | Apple TV | Time Capsule
ZBoater is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 02:20 PM   #20
mattferg
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: May 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZBoater View Post
Yes, but you continue to miss the point and exaggerate the difference. The point is that you have the power for when you need it. And that "dramatically" different battery life is precisely that - "drama". And the "literally no difference whatsoever" is 20-25%.

You can continue to downplay the difference all you want, but there is a reason Intel made the i5 and the i7. For those who need or want a more powerful processor, the i7 is there. And Apple has managed to give you the option with a "very slight" difference in battery performance, which is further made insignificant when you consider people wanting to do heavy lifting on their computer will likely be plugged in anyway. So I'd rather have the more POWERFUL and FASTER processor for when I need it than save $150.
ZBoater you continue to miss the point. For day to day tasks (what most people do on an Air) there's no benefit whatsoever to having an i7, the extra power just isn't used. Both CPUs stay at their base clocks and don't max out.

For tasks where the power is needed, you get maybe a 15% increase (25% compared to the base model, I tested myself with various configs) but you also lose 35% battery life on the i7 vs the i5 doing these same advanced tasks. All the benchmarks show this.

It's also important to remember that most modern applications that max the CPU before anything else are programming, and other CPU intensive tasks, of which gaming is not one of them, as the GPU is the bottleneck. As such the i7 starts to become more and more of a niche option.
mattferg is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 02:32 PM   #21
jadAce
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattferg View Post
i5/8/256 is the sweet spot for the Air, you should go for that one
+1
Works great. On a student budget, so couldn't afford the i7, but this is an excellent, excellent config - very cost effective.
jadAce is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 02:37 PM   #22
ZBoater
macrumors 603
 
ZBoater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Sunny Florida
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattferg View Post
...For day to day tasks (what most people do on an Air) there's no benefit whatsoever to having an i7, the extra power just isn't used. Both CPUs stay at their base clocks and don't max out.
Precisely. So no extra heat, power loss, blah blah. But for when I need the power, I have it, where in the i5 I am stuck. See the point?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattferg View Post
It's also important to remember that most modern applications that max the CPU before anything else are programming, and other CPU intensive tasks, of which gaming is not one of them, as the GPU is the bottleneck. As such the i7 starts to become more and more of a niche option.
No, not really all that important. That broad generalization is completely inaccurate. Calling the i7 a niche option is like calling the v8 a niche engine. If you are happy with your i5, good for you. But for those of us who prefer a more powerful and capable processor, we prefer the i7. Thank you for your concern though.
__________________
iPhone 5 | iPad Air | Dell Venue Pro 8 | Nexus 7.2 | MacBook Air | Thunderbolt Display | Apple TV | Time Capsule
ZBoater is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 02:47 PM   #23
magbarn
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Like some of the other posters here, I had access to 2 identical MBA 11's other than for their CPU. Both had 8gb Ram and Samsung HDD. The i7 is noticeably faster not just in photo editing RAW files, but also in heavy websites like Facebook/Verge. The i7 machine loaded the websites quicker and scrolled smoother too. Unfortunately (or fortunately hehe) you're not going to know this unless you have both machines side-by-side. Also, I've been to 3 Apple stores and NONE of them have MBA's with i7's out for comparison. Some had different SSD sizes, but all were i5/4gb machines. As they say 'Ignorance is bliss'. Once I saw the difference in performance, the i5 machine went back...
__________________
13" 2012 rMBP i5/8/512
15" 2012 rMBP 2.6/8/512
magbarn is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 03:04 PM   #24
SchodMC
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Germany
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattferg View Post
SchodMC, I've used both the i7 and the i5, and day to day tasks there's literally no difference whatsoever. If you've noticed something it's entirely psychological.

All the benchmarks have shown that in any form of task where the extra power of the i7 is needed, battery life is cut dramatically as a result of having the i7.
I noticed a difference when using the MBA on an external monitor. In this case, I got some really annoying lags inside the OS X GUI (e. g. switching space). The i7 is snappier - noticeable not psychological. And I tested it on two monitors (one with HDMI, one with VGA). Maybe it is because I have a lot of Apps open or because I had an i5 model with some hardware problem. Don't know. But this was the main reason for me to go for the i7. BTW, both systems have 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD.

About the battery life - benchmarks also had shown, that in office / idle usage, the battery life was equal (while the i7 is still a little bit faster in base clock than the i5). Sure, under medium load there will be a difference. But for me, it's similar whether the battery life lasts for 8,9 (i5) or 7,8 hours (source: AnandTech). For me also the lower battery life will be enough to work a whole day without getting plugged or work mobile when I need to. Especially because I don't have a whole day of medium load work.

To be honest: the i5 was not unusable! It is a fine machine. But there will be a noticeable difference (except when typing / writing texts - no one can write that fast, that current CPU's will ran out of power ;-) ). The question is: will you notice the difference? I have some situations where I notice them.

So - a simple solution: buy the i5, have a look to it, use it for the tasks you normally use them and also plug the system to you external monitor (if you use one). If you happy with it, than keep it. If not, go for the i7. Thats the whole story.

cu
SchodMC

P.S.: Am I wrong or do the i7 owners really have to defend themselves for owning or recommending the i7?

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattferg View Post
For tasks where the power is needed, you get maybe a 15% increase (25% compared to the base model, I tested myself with various configs) but you also lose 35% battery life on the i7 vs the i5 doing these same advanced tasks. All the benchmarks show this.
You maybe right, but having low power day to day tasks for now won't say anything about the future. And a lot of users will use the MBA also for more than just the day to day tasks at work. I think this is the reason that leads Anand to his conclusion: If you want extreme battery life, go for the i5. If the MBA is your own machine, he "[...] can definitely make a case for opting for more performance."

So the i5 vs. i7 discussion isn't only a money / need-the-power discussion. It's also about whether the MBA will be a second system you use or the only on with an ultra-portable option.

Again - just my two cents. ;-)

cu
SchodMC
SchodMC is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2013, 03:49 PM   #25
DisplacedMic
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattferg View Post
SchodMC, I've used both the i7 and the i5, and day to day tasks there's literally no difference whatsoever. If you've noticed something it's entirely psychological.

All the benchmarks have shown that in any form of task where the extra power of the i7 is needed, battery life is cut dramatically as a result of having the i7.
so restated - all things being equal, tasks requiring more computing power will also require more battery power. That's not surprising. Additionally, I question your claim that the battery life is cut "dramatically" on the i7.

Last edited by DisplacedMic; Aug 13, 2013 at 03:54 PM.
DisplacedMic is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Notebooks > MacBook Air

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
HELP for BOOT CAMP on macbook air early 2008,macbook air 1,1 abraarukuk Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac 2 Jan 11, 2014 03:51 PM
2012 refurb MacBook Air 13" or 2013 Haswell MacBook Air 13" IrtazaSafi MacBook Air 5 Jul 9, 2013 12:02 PM
Resolved: 2010 Late MacBook Air, 2012 MacBook Air Hexaedro MacBook Air 5 Jan 15, 2013 07:55 PM
MacBook Air + Cinema Display vs Macbook Air + iMac dmw16 MacBook Air 12 Jan 11, 2013 03:37 PM
Macbook Air When To Buy? I pick MacBook Air over RMBP sysProgrammer MacBook Air 22 Nov 2, 2012 01:13 AM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:40 AM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC