15" Macbook Pro i5 > 15" Macbook Pro i7

saniko

macrumors member
Original poster
May 1, 2010
57
0
All,

You probably already know this, but it seems like the Macbook Pro i5 is a better computer than the i7 for many users. They both have large performance gains over the Core2Duos, but the battery life of the i5 is significantly better in real world use.

I purchased an i7 and my friend purchased an i5 15" Macbook Pro. We both have the hi-res antiglare screen and we do the same type of work... web design with Dreamweaver/Fireworks CS4. We don't run any background apps except for quicksilver. We also both use 160gb Intel SSDs.

In the two weeks that we've had the machines, we've consistently noted that the i7 machine is warmer and that battery life is lower (by 30 to 40 minutes). We even switched machines using a blind test methodology to see if our usage was any different. Whatever the performance gain is with the i7, we could not perceive it in terms of our use. The battery loss was very noticeable... it was the easiest way either of us could tell who had the i7.

I'm a performance freak. Despite what the benchmarks tell me, I can't see the benefits of the i7. Unless we were gamers, I don't think we'd notice the difference in graphics memory.

To make a long story short, I've put my i7 on eBay and got myself the base i5 model. It has only been two days, but the battery life difference is clear.

Hope this helps anyone sitting on the fence. It could save you some cash.
 

broncopde

macrumors 6502
May 12, 2007
260
0
Conway, AR
Thanks for the anecdotal evidence. I had been thinking about this, and this is why I'll be getting the i5 as soon as the back to school promo starts.

Is this the 2.4 i5 you're referring to or the 2.53? Also, what is the average battery life you're getting with the i5? Did you have them set at the same level of brightness?
 

saniko

macrumors member
Original poster
May 1, 2010
57
0
on the 2.4 i5, 7-8 hours. We both keep it on auto-brightness... I hate messing with brightness settings and apple seems to have a handle on it.
 

a4209797

macrumors member
Apr 26, 2010
93
0
i can live with a 30-40min difference if i can future proof my purchase. just personal preference
 

kgeier82

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2008
1,013
0
my i7 constantly gets 7:45 when using the battery.

Good enough for me to own.

2.66 vs 2.53. vs 2.4 I fail to see that between all those chips, the difference in frequency causes a 30-45min difference overall.
 

saniko

macrumors member
Original poster
May 1, 2010
57
0
Surprised you can get 7:45 without an SSD! I think the SSD makes the biggest impact on the computer... the i5 and i7 speed differences might be imperceivable after an SSD upgrade.

That being said, I'm sure the i7 would save me a few minutes encoding videos in handbrake.
 

saniko

macrumors member
Original poster
May 1, 2010
57
0
Out of curiousity, how does an i7 future proof your laptop? Maybe I'm missing something here. I know the resale value is likely to be higher, but you're also spending a lot more in the first place.
 

choco

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2010
96
0
so glad i bought the base 15" after reading this. sorry you had to go through that though. :(
 

lomafor

macrumors member
Apr 29, 2010
38
0
i am also waiting for "back to school promo" to get my 15" MBP.
After reading this, I think i will get i5 too.

Guys, is SSD make huge diff in battery life?
 

millertime021

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2010
640
0
AZ
Out of curiousity, how does an i7 future proof your laptop? Maybe I'm missing something here. I know the resale value is likely to be higher, but you're also spending a lot more in the first place.
Resale value is more, obviously. And for my situation, I saved $200 by getting an i7 over $150 for an i5 because of the educational discount.

So basically, I got an i7 for the price of a high end i5 without a discount. So I am very happy with my i7.

Plus, its some bragging rights for now. ;)
 

a4209797

macrumors member
Apr 26, 2010
93
0
Resale value is more, obviously. And for my situation, I saved $200 by getting an i7 over $150 for an i5 because of the educational discount.

So basically, I got an i7 for the price of a high end i5 without a discount. So I am very happy with my i7.

Plus, its some bragging rights for now. ;)
what does your batt life look like?
 

mdatwood

macrumors 6502a
Mar 14, 2010
705
263
East Coast, USA
Out of curiousity, how does an i7 future proof your laptop? Maybe I'm missing something here. I know the resale value is likely to be higher, but you're also spending a lot more in the first place.
What exactly is a lot? Going to the i7 added $180 with the EDU discount to an already over $2000 machine. I look at the processor as the only thing that can't be easily user upgradable, so it made sense to get the best possible now. Later I'll take the RAM to 8GB, add an SSD, and move the HD to the optical bay.
 

Garrus

macrumors member
Mar 26, 2010
68
0
And acutally who care for a difference of 7:00 vs 7:30 of battery life when most pc battery last under 2 hours? :D
When are you that desperate of finding a power source...
 

steveLONDON

macrumors regular
Jul 12, 2009
132
0
UK
This seems to be your very first post on macrumors, so I'm inclined to take it with a big pinch of salt.
 

saniko

macrumors member
Original poster
May 1, 2010
57
0
I moved over from an X201s. I got 8 hours on a 9 cell battery and I could switch to a 6 cell and get another 5 before I needed an outlet. You don't have that option on a unibody MacBook. I hate having my workday be defined by carrying around an AC adapter and finding a plug. 7 to 8 hours means that I've got my independence for the entire day...

Anyway, that wasn't my point. In my case, the huge price premium for the i7 was not worth it (and i get the family discount). We didn't notice a performance improvement AND battery life took a major hit. The first time I hit the limit, I was nowhere close to a power outlet and my friend had 15% of his battery life left. To add insult to injury, I had to borrow his power adapter to make it through the day. So much for bragging about the i7.

Also, if future proofing is a concern, expect $300 net books to outclass your i7 in three years ;). Think about what you had five years ago. An atom notebook can outclass my old 12 inch PowerBook.
 

saniko

macrumors member
Original poster
May 1, 2010
57
0
Alright, I will take one thing back. We both installed the flash beta for Macs. His I5 didn't fare so well at all watching HD hulu. My i7 did seem to be significantly better.
 

a4209797

macrumors member
Apr 26, 2010
93
0
yea, it's really personal prefference. I would rather have to find a outlet then to have choppy HD video (and i love my HD video) while multitasking.

my philosophy is that once every few years i buy a computer, and i go all out on the specs and get the top of the line so it will last me the longest.
 

TxMacAddict

macrumors 6502
Feb 4, 2008
370
0
When the 100 off the i5 and 200 off the i7 come into play for education customers the i7 looks like the better deal.
 

tann

macrumors 68000
Apr 15, 2010
1,732
434
UK
What exactly is a lot? Going to the i7 added $180 with the EDU discount to an already over $2000 machine. I look at the processor as the only thing that can't be easily user upgradable, so it made sense to get the best possible now. Later I'll take the RAM to 8GB, add an SSD, and move the HD to the optical bay.
I'm 100% in agreement with you :)

I too am getting the fastest processor I can now because I know I can max out the ram and add an ssd at a later date.
 

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