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Buying a MacBook Air i5 or i7?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by MarcDean, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Hello MacRumors!

    I am starting college in a month or so.. I am going to need a new laptop, since I don't have any PC at all and I am looking to buy a Mac.
    This is going to be my first Mac ever. I've already have an iPhone 4S and a iPad 2, which I used a lot in High School, but it's not going to be sufficient for college, perhaps on those rare occasions where a notebook isn't required.

    I am mostly going to use my MBA for school stuff, like writing essays, surfing the intertet for personal use and for researching, itunes and youtube, you know the deal. I don't really use photoediting programs but I might be required to in school, but it'll only be lightweight.
    Also I've been researching that MBA's can handle some casual gaming like D3 and a bit of WoW, which I might also be using it for.

    I am going for the 13" MBA with 8GB of RAM, but here is where i am getting confused.
    Now I know I said casual gaming, but I don't play more than 1-2 hours every few days, but when I do play I want things to go as smoothly as possible.

    So here is my question - i5 or i7? Will I feel an increase in power while really using my MBA at it's maximum when pushing it with intensive programs like D3 or will it be minimal?
    Now the money isn't really the problem, neither is the amount of storage I get from upgrading to the i7. But if I can save the money I would of course like to, though if the investment is going to be noticeable I wouldn't mind spending the extra money.

    Thank you! :)
  2. macrumors 6502a

    There are many members in this forum (myself included) waiting for a i5 vs. i7 review before making our purchasing decision.

    There's been some benchmark tests that show that the i7 is about 10% to 15% faster, but there hasn't been any benchmark so far as far as the battery life and heat outputs. That's what I'm waiting for before swinging my credit card: I want to know how cooler (if any) the i5 is compared to the i7.
  3. macrumors member

    I will be doing all the same as you plus 1080p video editing so I went for the i7. Battery life isn't the be all and end all for me (like I suspect it won't be for you). Also I plan on keeping mine for a few years so wanted to future-proof it as best as possible.

    Hope that helps.

  4. macrumors 65816

    You can never have too many of these threads debating I5 v I7.

    Get the I7.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Agreed - the Macbook Air is not that powerful a computer (at least compared to Macbook Pros) and in my view needs all the help it can get, that's why I went for the i7 (and 8Gb RAM, which is a no-brainer).
  6. macrumors G3


    this is very true, but from a gaming stand point i do not think an i5 vs i7 dual core will make that big of a difference.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    I don't believe that Mac computer support Internet-7 yet, only Internet-5 anyway. So just get an i5. You won't be able to browse any faster with an i7.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Not a big difference, but a difference - an extra 200Mhz and an extra 1MB L2 CPU cache, and both of these will also help the GPU perform better
  9. macrumors 604


    If you want the fastest MacBook Air money can buy right now, get the i7.

    If you want to save a little bit of money and get a model that is a little bit slower, get the i5.

    Easy. :D
  10. macrumors 6502a

    You always throw the same over-simplified answer in all your posts. And you still fail to understand why someone might prefer an i5 over an i7, and it has nothing to do with saving a few bucks.

    I personally don't care for a 15% cpu-power boost. There's more than raw power to a mobile-focused laptop, you know. What about heat outputs? what about battery? what about noise levels? Those are the benchmarks we need to know to determine whether i7 is actually worth it over i5.
  11. Mikkel.kg, Jun 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012

    macrumors newbie

    Spot on, KohPhiPhi. I wouldn't mind spending the extra 100 dollars to get more processing power, but if it comes at the cost of increased levels of heat and noise and a higher battery consumption then I will definitely go with the i5.
  12. macrumors 65816

    Yes, let's over analyze a $150 option.

    Why, yes, I considered the I7 option, but studies show it generates .00001 C additional heat, .000002 db additional noise and reduces battery life by .3456 minutes.
  13. macrumors G4

    As far as gaming is concerned, there isn't much difference between the i5 and i7. They have the same GPU built in.
  14. macrumors newbie

    Why the sarcasm? It's a valid enough question. With the 2011 models various users experienced differences with regard to heat and noise levels, and some even went to exchange their i7 to get an i5.
  15. macrumors 604


    The question of worth is relative. What is not relative is that i7 > i5. If you want to rationalize your i5 purchase because of heat or fan noise, and that works for you, then great. But if you want the fastest MBA, you get the i7. Thats all I'm saying.

    And yes, it's that simple. i7 > i5. :cool:
  16. macrumors 6502a

    /sigh, you still won't get it.

    Whether i7 > i5 depends on WHAT is your goal for your laptop. If I want a quieter, cooler, longer battery laptop to do non-CPU-intensive tasks, then perhaps (still waiting on benchmarks) the i5 > i7.

    Do you realize that some people prefer a diesel car over a sports car, right? Would you always state that sports car > diesel car? that depends on your use for the car, correct? Geez... it's not really that difficult to understand, really... :rolleyes:

    Besides, if all you care for is CPU-power, then both the MBA i5 and MBA i7 are poor decisions. The right decision should have been the MBP. Do you see how there's more than sheer CPU-power in this equation?
  17. macrumors newbie

    The i5 is faster than the i7, no doubt that. But you're just reiterating a fact we all know and thus do not add any information of meaningful value to the question at hand.

    The OP isn't just asking for the fastest processor. He's asking if it's a worthwhile investment for his uses, or if it would be better just to save the money.
  18. macrumors 65816

    1. It's not an 'investment', it's an expense.
    2. Far too many people only buy what they need today, thinking they will never do anything different, or there wont be changes to OSX, or the products they currently use that will require more CPU or memory.
  19. macrumors newbie

    My i7

    I got the i7 and am thrilled with it. I don't have the i5 so I can't compare. But the laptop is fast, gets good battery life, and doesn't get too hot. It warms up a bit under heavy load but it's not scalding like my old Dell laptop.
  20. macrumors newbie

    1. Nitpicking, you get my point.
    2. I'm not arguing that you shouldn't be far-sighted when buying a new computer. I think you should. But with regard to the i5 v. i7 argument, the 10-15% extra power of the i7 won't make much difference when the i5 becomes inadequate, and you'll probably end up buying a new product instead of holding on to your old i7.
  21. macrumors 604


    No, I'm repeating it because you are still getting it wrong. The i5 is NOT faster than the i7. :rolleyes:


    I don't get it? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! :rolleyes:

    It doesn't matter what you want to use your laptop for. The i7 is faster than the i5. Period. End of discussion.

    If you want to continue rationalizing the i5 due to heat or fan noise, that is fine. I don't have a problem with that. I don't have a problem with people buying the i5 because they think they are going to get less heat and less fan noise. If that makes them happy, I'm happy.

    As long as they realize they are getting a laptop that is not as fast as what they could have gotten...
  22. macrumors newbie

    Minor typo. My point still stands though. You're not contributing anything by stating a fact that everyone is aware of.
  23. macrumors 6502a

    I'm now certain that you're simply trolling, because we've repeated over and over that sheer speed is not what we're concerned about (we care about heat, noise and battery life). I will stop addressing your posts from now on.
  24. kodeman53, Jun 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012

    macrumors 65816

    More pot calling the kettle black.

    Given this requirement, the key phrase being, "as smoothly as possible", you need the I7. Games use a lot of memory and processor.
  25. macrumors member

    I'm in nearly the same situation as the OP. I really don't feel like waiting any longer to buy it, especially since I would prefer getting good battery life in lieu of the small speed bump.

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