13" i7 vs i5

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Jarhead1612, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Jarhead1612 macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2013
    I know this question has been asked a billion times already but I still haven't gotten a straight answer. I normally use my computer for light gaming, surfing the web, listening to/downloading music, watching/downloading HD movies. I just wanted to know the heat/battery consumption/fan noise difference between the i5 13" MBA and the i7. Is it worth it for me to get an i7?
  2. Saberon macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2008
    For what you're doing, you will notice no difference in performance whatsoever. Save $150
  3. Jarhead1612 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2013
    alright thanks! I'm just worried about future proofing. Would an i7 last longer than an i5?
  4. eyespii macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2008
    I7/8/256 here. For me, the i7 has been running cool, silent, and I've been getting awesome battery life. I also can tell that it's a lightning quick machine - super smooth and fluid. I have no idea what the i5 is like - maybe it would be just as fast in the tasks that I'm doing, who knows? Frankly, I've owned my Mac air now for 3 days, and I absolutely love everything about it.

    I was like everyone here - debating specs and cost. But eventually, here's how I saw it. $150 isn't going to break the bank. (And If it is, you probably shouldn't be buying a $1000+ computer). If you buy the i7, you'll likely experience what I am now - an awesome thin and light machine with phenomenal battery life that chews through everything you throw at if. I don't miss that $150 now. If you buy the i5, the moment you get some stuttering or the tiniest bit of lag, you'll ask yourself again whether or not that extra $150 would have fixed it.

    If you're anything like me, just get the i7 - you won't have any regrets. There's something about owning the fastest Mac air possible that is pretty comforting :).
  5. Steve121178 macrumors 601


    Apr 13, 2010
    Bedfordshire, UK
    i5 runs cooler, causes less fan activity and uses less power. It's a no brainer.
  6. Jarhead1612 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2013
    Is there a huge difference between the two?
  7. Porkaysi macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2012
    depends, basic task probably no difference but when work load kicks up the i7 probably uses more energy but that has not been documented scientifically. The battery difference between i7 vs i5 is not much if any at all.
  8. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    The i5 runs noticeably cooler and quieter than the i7, how much longer on the battery depends on what you're doing.
  9. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    The biggest difference (in my opinion) is the L3 cache. i5 has 3MB, i7 has 4MB. Cache makes a difference in RAM intensive applications, as more cache = faster access to RAM (in super super dumbed down terms, I know this isn't exactly what technically happens). Web browsers with tens of tabs open use lots of RAM.

    That being said, realistically you won't notice the 100th of a second time difference.
  10. Jarhead1612 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2013
    and performance wise i wouldn't notice the difference?
  11. Porkaysi macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2012
    sorry my post was only about batter life, i have had both i5 haswell and now he i7 haswell like i said i have not seen anything different in battery life. heat and noise is different the i5 is cold to the touch and i never herd the fan. the i7 gets warm but i never had it get uncomfortably hot, and the fans do kick on sooner/ louder the i5. that being said the fan noise is super quite, its there but its not close to being obtrusive or anything near it.

    also the difference in battery life between the two will be contributed to one factor is turbo boost. the TDP is based on the 1.3/1.7 clock speeds, when u enter into the turbo boost mode you go slightly over the TDP and the higher the frequency the more watts you consume.
  12. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    Not for the tasks you describe in your first post, no. Instead of spending $150 on the CPU upgrade, use $100 of that to upgrade to 8 GB of RAM.
  13. Morzak macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2013
    I still haven't seen any reliable comparisons, at least for the 13" model. My i7/8GB/256Gb runs cool enough for everything but the most tasking stuff. Never felt that the top or bottom got hot and fan never kicked in on normal tasks (light Dev work, 1080P stream/local, webbrowsing, audio playback).

    The only time the thing really got hot, was during a short test of Kerbal space Program, which is pretty harsh on the CPU, you probably will get the same for other games and rendering stuff.
  14. Jarhead1612 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2013
    Yea I was getting 8 GB of RAM no matter what. I'm just trying to pick a processor now and it looks like the i5 is better for me. Thanks!
  15. ctdonath macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2009
    Sounds like you're a "light user". Even the lowest level :apple: device short of Shuffle is optimized to run web surfing, music, and HD video without breaking a sweat. Battery life is measured on such use.

    Geekbench scores the 2013 MBA i7 as 22% faster than the i5. That's for when you're doing something where you'll actually have to wait for results (say, ripping a video) or straining discernible limits (high-end games, app simulation; runs better at higher speeds on a faster CPU).

    Which use of $150 is worth more to you?
    - knowing you have the fastest incarnation of the model, even if you don't use the speed
    - having $150 to spend on something else
  16. Jarhead1612 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2013
    I'm just scared I'm going to get it and notice some slow down and think to myself how I should've gotten the i7. But from what everyone is telling me I think I'll be fine with the i5.
  17. Jarhead1612 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2013
    Do you notice a big performance difference between the two?
  18. Porkaysi macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2012
    using word to make hierarchy charts the i7 did not get hung up like my i5 did. other then that no difference.
  19. Jarhead1612 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2013
    ok thanks! looks like its the i5 for me!
  20. radarx macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2013

    Just created an account to talk a bit about the 13" i7. I have the i7/256/8gb version.

    TLDR: No fan / heat when I'm just browsing with 10 chrome tabs open and listening to music / youtube. Running a VM cuts the battery, still no heat/fan. And running games takes it to the limit - but it's a miracle of modern computing that you can play them on this tiny machine.

    Long version
    I've been working it through the paces doing just about everything with it. I've read a lot about performance and heat. I'm a pretty average user, so hopefully this will help someone similar.

    Fan noise - I don't get it. Most of the time I'm surfing the net, listening to rdio, watching youtube videos, copying files, running vmware fusion with win 7 pro. The fan has never come on. Or if it has, it's so quiet, I haven't noticed.

    Photoshop / premiere, etc - Fast as hell. 8gb of ram helps here. Load almost instantly. Wife is a graphic artist, with a 2011 15 inch i5 pro. Mine kills hers. We haven't opened massive files in illustrator yet, but opening photoshop and doing filters, etc, was quick. What little bit of testing I did in adobe programs, again, no fan.

    Heat - In all the above instances, there was so little heat, I had to feel around just to make sure it was even a tiny bit warmer. Not as cold as a machine that was completely off. I would say nearly unnoticeable.

    Games - Here comes the fan. Here comes the heat. It gets warm. Not crazy hot, but moderately warm. And the fan goes full tilt. Both of which are actually much better than my 2 year old i3 by a long shot. The upside is the performance. I can play skyrim on low settings and it's buttery smooth. (bootcamp win 7 obv) Not jolty at all. I don't have an FPS to give you, but it's more than playable works great. Also tried minecraft, heroes V, l4d 2, Kings Bounty, and a bunch of indie games. Zero performance issues. But all come with heat / fan. Actually, one game - Cities in Motion 2 - was playable, but I could tell that once I had 50 transit lines, it would probably be trouble. However, I played it on OS X, and not in win 7 bootcamp - which would probably be much much smoother.

    Battery life - I get about 12 hours with everything excluding games. The virtual machine knocks it almost in half... but I figure I'm using one battery to run two systems. :) Games chew through the battery and I only get 3 to 4 hours. However, playing skyrim on a two hour flight and still having battery left over is a damn miracle.

    Virtual Machine - Running windows 7 in VM Ware Fusion 5 is pretty impressive. Again, 8gb helps a lot here. I run in both unity mode, and fullscreen. Very smooth. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to know if I was in a VM or bootcamp when I'm fullscreen - except for the graphics. However, I did run Heroes 5 in the VM, and it was smooth as hell. I'd much rather run in bootcamp as the graphics are better though.

    WIFI - I've had no issues connecting to my crap wireless N router in os x or bootcamp win 7.

    Screen Flicker - Yup. Except for me it happened once in VM Ware Fusion 5. Not photoshop. Just yesterday. When I closed the program, it went away. Haven't seen it since. I'm guessing a driver issue. No issues in win 7 bootcamp.

    This is also my first mac.
  21. lshirase, Jul 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013

    lshirase macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2008
    noticeably cooler and quieter? not really. i had both the i5 and the i7 and the difference is negligible. i feel like one too many people on here are trying to justify their i5 purchase. don't exaggerate the difference. the i7 is a solid machine that gives you an extra power boost with a small loss in battery life (if using intensive programs). with regular use, the i5 and i7 produce very similar temperature, noise (or lack of), and battery life.
  22. Mezmorizor macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2013
    I'll post what I posted in the RAM topic about this over here:

    If you're actually going to notice a performance increase between the i5 and i7, you should be buying a rMBP with an i7. There may be a few fringe cases where the i5 of an air isn't enough but an i7 air is perfect, but those are going to be rare.
  23. Koz60 macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2013
    You sounded just like me.. :) I'm in the same boat. Ready to pull the trigger, just wanting to make sure I get the right configuration. I'm a guy that doesn't like to purchase the "home owner" version of anything. Commercial grade is what I look for. Is it necessary? Probably not since I'm basically a home owner.. BUT I never regret having the best.. or should say the better if available. Yea it cost a couple bucks more but that only hurts when you pay the bill. EVERY time you use it you will appreciate having the better. Got a neighbor that always purchases the basic model everything and always complains when using it. If I don't get the i7 I will always be wondering IF this machine would run faster. i7, 8mb and I have no doubts.
    I'm still trying to convince myself that getting the 256 makes more sense over the 512...
  24. mattferg macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2013
    No. It's a waste of money. This answer has been given a million times now. Please stop making new threads.
  25. zipur macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2011
    The great state of Texas
    Get the I7 and be done with it. As you stated basic or advanced. You like the advanced. It's not like you'er buying a house or a Car. Get what you want, you worked for it, Get it and be happy. To much fretting going on here for $150.00. The time the I7 will save you in a year with quantified with your current hourly rate will be a wash. The I7 pays for itself, No Worries Mawn!

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