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Resolved Buying new MBA, i5 or i7?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by stchman, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. stchman, Sep 2, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

    Hello all.

    I am buying a new MBA, I have decided on the following (2) configurations:


    The price difference is $95. My biggest thing is battery life. Does the i7 drain the battery faster than the i5?

  2. macrumors 6502a


    I have the i7 variety of your config options, the battery does last a long time but don't own an i5 Air to compare it too.

    Here are some links that may help you make your decision:



    IMO, it depends on what you want to do with your laptop. The 8GB is viewed as the first-stop upgrade on here due to its 'bang-to-buck' ratio. If you do a lot of processor-intensive stuff, then i7 may be for you.
  3. macrumors newbie

    I would get the i5 solely because of battery time and heat. The battery will last ~45 minutes less on the 13" model with an i7 compared to the i5. It will be a bit hotter as well ;)
    You're better off upgrading the ram to 8GB instead of upgrading the processor as the difference between the i5 and the i7 is around 15% - the RAM is just that more future proof.
  4. macrumors 6502a

    I'm already getting the 8GB and 256GB SSD. I wanted to max out the RAM and maybe the CPU as these two components are not upgradeable. The SSD is upgradable.

    The upgrade to an i7 on the MBA at macmall.com is $95. Yes from reading the reviews the i7 can get a little warmer under load, but it accomplishes tasks quicker.
  5. macrumors 6502


    Nah, not worth it for the minor performance boost. Simple as that.
  6. macrumors 6502a

    That is debatable, but nothing really more to buy other than the grossly expensive 512GB SSD ($500). What would you suggest I get?
  7. macrumors 6502


    Sounds like you have already made up your mind...

    Having personally run both configurations side by side, I didn't see a noticeable difference, but, I didn't do any video rendering. i7 was slightly warmer, I ran both plugged in...
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Do you hold any solid evidence on this? I think you've just made that number up... It would also be interesting / nice / helpful to see some numbers on "how slightly hotter" does the i7 actually get compared to the i5.

    PS: If you don't have proper numbers and proof to back your previous affirmations up, then please don't waste your time replying with some random mambo-jambo...
  9. macrumors 6502a

    I'm still on the fence with the i5 vs. i7, but falling towards the i7 side of the fence.

    Also, is the video portion (HD4000) on the i7 going to be faster in gaming than the i5?
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    CPU intensive games will be slightly faster but not necessarily "noticeable faster". For gaming, the 8GB of memory helps the most in this case because the HD4000 will get more vram juice ( do please someone correct me if I'm wrong )... To my knowledge at least, the i7 doesn't eat up significantly more battery than the i5. Also, do keep in mind that the i7 will most likely finish some tasks a bit faster than the i5, so don't just look at a few -minutes in battery life as a disaster... pros and cons I think are quite balanced.
  11. macrumors 601

    Somebody here made a side-by-side and found the i5 fan comes on later when running everyday tasks. When both pushed, no diff.
  12. macrumors 6502

    IMHO upgrading RAM is futureproofing, upgrading the CPU in this case is waste, unless you need the power now: the i5 and i7 will both be obsolete at the same time.
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Ok, I was also looking at the Retina Macbook Pro secion and they have more CPU choices, but sometimes bigger price swings for the same processor family.

    I just sold my 2012 13" MBA and am going to get a BTO MBA, I just don't want to regret and say "geez, I wish I would have bought the i7".
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Then get the i7 and you will surely never have such regrets :rolleyes: Personally: I'd go with the i7 anytime over the i5... as a software engineer, I need all the juice I can get ( don't really care about a few minutes less in battery life when I can compile stuff faster and get stuff completed faster - even if "faster" is just a few minutes... all those minutes add up you know ).
  15. macrumors 6502a

    This is the only review that I've seen that compares various performance parameters between the 2012 i7 and i5.


    It looks like the i7 can lose anywhere from 6 minutes to 20 minutes of battery life compared to the i5, depending on workload.

    There are definite measurable differences in things like video rendering times, photo import times, Final Cut tasks, etc. If you don't do any of that stuff, chances are you won't really see much between the i5 and i7. I do a lot of video and photo, so I opted for the i7.
  16. macrumors 6502

    This question comes up frequently, the answer is i7 if you can afford it. It will future proof you just that much more.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Kind of what I was thinking as well. I have gotten so many opinions about this both ways.

    I figure that if I'm going to spend $1580, is $1675 really too much? Yes, Macmall charges $95 for the i7 upgrade.
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Well I decided to get the i7/8GB/256GB SSD. I figure the i7 isn't going to drain the battery that bad and I just wanted it.
  19. macrumors 6502


    Yes, that was obvious from the OP...
  20. macrumors member


    i was in the same scenario a couple of months ago. I didn't hesitate at all to upgrade the CPU. You said it yourself. It's only 95$. Also if i'm not mistaken isn't the I7 built on smaller architecture (28nm) which means better battery efficiency? Anyway i'm glad i went with the I7.
  21. macrumors 6502a

    TBH, I would get the 256/8/i7 (as I did) as it is fast as!

    My only thing I might suggest, is get it with 128GB SSD and buy the 480 from OWC, but I find my stock 256 in my 2012 MBA is faster than my OWC 240 in my 2011 MBA...
  22. macrumors regular

    I recently bought a Mac Air and choose to get the i7, I want to keep this computer for a while hopefully 3-5 years at least. I don't think it warms up at all, only when I watch like netflix or play a intensive game but even a i5 would at that point too. I can't say anything about battery since I have only used an i7.
  23. macrumors 6502a

    To be fair the 2012 MBA uses a different flash memory than the 2011 models. The 2012 SSDs are a significant upgrade in speed from the 2011 model.


    I already ordered the MBA with the 256GB SSD.

    Besides in the 13" model, the i7 can ONLY be had with a 256GB SSD.

    If the i7 could be had in the 13" model with a 128GB SSD and 8GB RAM, the OWC route could be good as you could turn around and sell the 128GB SSD for ~$150.
  24. Klingi, Sep 4, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012

    macrumors newbie

    No. The HD4000 GPU will be exactly the same for the two processors ;) But I agree with almost anyone here - don't buy the i7. It's simply not worth it.



    "MacBook Air 11" i5 MacBook Air 11" i7
    Take 1 94% Charge 92% Charge
    Take 3 89% Charge 85% Charge
    Take 4 74% Charge 65% Charge
    Take 5 71% Charge 60% Charge (finished encoding))
    Take 6 65% Charge (finished encoding)"

    "Battery -- Under heavy load, the i7 drew about 15% more battery (5% difference in battery level at the 60-65% level). Given the performance results indicated a 30% improvement with i7 over i5 (25min left vs. 17min left at the 17 minute mark), the bang for the buck seems to be there. Note, this was a heavy IO test using the optimized SSD which we all know is significantly faster than the previous model, so true performance difference between machines, as per standard benchmarks, is somewhere 15% mark."

    From the article: http://michael.olivero.com/post/201...i5-vs-i7-Heat-Fan-Battery-Speed-analysis.aspx
    Please don't say I'm wrong, and instead please read the whole thread...
  25. macrumors 6502a


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