MacBook Air Processor Question

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by brklylp510, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. brklylp510, Aug 1, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013

    macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2013
    Hi there -

    I currently have this MacBook Pro:

    I'm thinking of switching to a MacBook Air. My one concern is the processor. The Air I would get has 1.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz. The current MacBook Pro I have is 2.66 GHz. I am not at all knowledgeable about this, so sorry if this is stupid, but should I be concerned about that? Will it be significantly slower?

    Also, what does the "i7: and "Turbo Boost up to 3.3 GHz" mean? Will that make up for the 1.7GHz vs 2.66 that I currently have?

    Thanks so much!
  2. macrumors member


    Feb 2, 2010
    Geneva, Switzerland
    In terms of performance of the CPU compared to yours, the core i7-4650U that you would get scores at about 7400 on geekbench. Your current computer scores at 3662 in 32-bits. So you would get a CPU that is about twice faster than your current one. So no concerns to have here.

    Turbo boost basically can ramp up the clock speed on one core if an application is running on a single core and needs more performance. Don't worry about it though, it will just give you a bit more performance than if it wasn't there.

    I hope it helps.

    Enjoy your new computer!
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2013
    Thank you, Dwinguel. That is very helpful!

    If I could ask you one more question: I am also considering the Pro with Retina Display. It would have 2.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz. Would you be able to do a similar comparison for that:

    Retina: 2.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
    Air: 1.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz

    I guess my question really centers around what the i5 vs i7 means, and if the fact that the Air is i7 makes the speed difference less between the two.

    Thanks again!
  4. macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago

    Choosing between the two really depends on what you use your Mac for...for most folks, an I5 is ample. I have a new rMBP 13" with the 3GHZ CPU but I do a lot of work in Logic and photo work in Aperture etc. the retina display is well worth getting if you can afford it.
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2013
    Thanks, Macman45.

    Ideally I'd like to get the Air, but have been concerned at the 1.7GHz processor vs the 2.6 GHz of the Retina. I won't be doing much photo or video work, so my sense is that the Air with 1.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz is more than enough for what I'll need, compared to the 2.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz of the Retina. My question stemmed from the fact that 1.7 GHz vs 2.6 GHz seems like a big difference, but then Dwinguel mentioned that the CPU of the Air I would get scored twice as good as my current MBP. So, I'm thinking maybe there is less of a difference than I think between these too. Basically, I was just wondering how the Air compared to the Retina I was looking at in terms of that.
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    You will not notice the difference in what you do.
    The air, even the i5 is wicked fast. The computer is faster in any way than your current MBP.
    Get the air with 8gb ram.
  7. macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2012
    Despite what people say to you, the 2.6ghz cpu will always be 50% faster than the 1.7ghz one. Nowadays the majority of the applications are multithreaded and almost of all them use at least 2 cores, so the fact that the Turbo Boost frequency is similar it's not so meaningful as many people seem to think (Turbo Boost is only active when one single core is used).
  8. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    Things are more complicated.

    All the Intel processors of the last years are limited by heat - the faster the processor runs the more heat it produces, running two, three or four processors produces more heat, and when there is two much heat, the clock rate is slowed down.

    Turbo Boost isn't active only when a single core is used; it is active as long as the processors aren't getting too hot. All cores can run at "Turbo Boost" speed for a short time. If you run all cores 24 hours a day, then you will get the rated speed (1.7GHz vs. 2.66GHz), but the way that most people use their computers, the computer will run at full speed all the time it is doing any work.

    BTW. The MBAs have an i7 Haswell processor, which can use virtual threads with multithreaded apps, unlike the i5, and runs a bit faster at same clockspeed because it is a newer processor model. So at 1.7GHz, it will probably do the same amount of work as an older processor at 2.0GHz.
  9. macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2012
    Any cpu from evey year is limited by heat. If you buy a cpu that has four rated rated at 2.5ghz each that is the frequence it can run before producing too much eat, not 2.1 or 2.2, 2.5. Sometimes OEMs limit the frequence to adapt to their form factors but this is a different story (and in this case, a MBA would be more limited than a MBP because is smaller, not the other way around). The TurboSpeed frequency intel gave you (let's say 1.7ghz / 2.5 ghz turbo boost) is the frequency you get when only one core is running, otherwise it decrease proportionally with the amount of cores used (check on wikipedia). This means that when you have 4 core in turbo boost mode, you don't get turbo boost at 2.5ghz, but more probably at 1.9-2.0ghz).

    The MBAs have an i5 cpu unless you upgrade it when you buy it. The same is true for any Apple laptops though, so it's not a MBA exclusive. Hyperthread multithreaded operations you have only when you use applications that support both multithreading AND Hyperthread. This is not as common as you may believe outside the professional realm.

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