2012 i7 Air or 2014 i5 Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by theBlues1, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. theBlues1 macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2016

    i'm about to buy a 11" Macbook Air that i will use mainly for light Logic X projects.

    For the same price, i can buy:

    -2012 Air i7 2.0 8gb RAM 256 SSD
    -2014 Air i5 1.4 4gb RAM 128SSD

    What should i go for?
    8gb would give me more room for more complex tracks, but i'm not sure about the processors.
    Is the i7 faster even if the i5 is one generation ahead?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    2014 i5 Air is the i5-4260U. Passmark of 3542.
    2012 i7 Air is the i7-3667U. Passmark of 3937.

    So in terms of horsepower, the 2012 is better. But where possible, I'd always avoid buying tech that's 4+ years old. Conversely, the 2014 has much better battery life and considerably quicker Flash storage. You'll really notice the SSD speeds when loading projects & plugins.

    If possible I'd pay a little extra for the current gen 13" MacBook Air, as they now have 8GB RAM standard and even faster Flash memory. Regardless it may be cheaper still to buy a used 2012 13" MacBook Pro and throw an SSD in that. Even a 2012 Mac Mini.

    Is your heart is set on the 11" MBA and no other model?
  3. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I wouldn't get a 2012 MBA, regardless of the other issues. As has been pointed out, battery life is much worse (and the battery will be old and closer to needing replacement). The SSD speed is also an issue, and the 2012 MBA doesn't have the fast 802.11ac wifi. This can be a big issue if you ever use network drives, I can copy files across my LAN at over 50MB/sec over 802.11ac wifi. I think the 2012 model would only give you something like 15MB/sec.

    If those are your only options, you might want to shop around a little more. The 2013 MBA is really the "sweet spot" in terms of price/performance. It is very close to the performance and features of the current models.

    FWIW, I ran Logic Pro 9 on my 2011 i5/4gb/256gb MBA and it was fine though. I upgraded to a 2013 11" i7/8gb/512gb MBA and still love it. It also runs Logic fine, the only difference I noticed was that latency with my USB 4 channel interface went from 13ms on the 2011 MBA down to 9ms on the 2013 MBA.

    I love the 11" MBA. My 2011 MBA was the 13" model and I really didn't like it as much. :)
  4. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Dec 20, 2013
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    All things being different, I think the greatest advantage of the newer model is the improved graphics performance. But I ask that you seriously consider getting, for whichever model of Air, the 8GB of RAM.

    Do you mind sharing with us what that "same price" is.

    as to the preference for the 11", have you experienced Logic on a 1366 by 768 screen?
  5. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I have and it was fine for my modest needs. The point is that you have an incredibly powerful Mac in a tiny package that you can carry around all day and not even realize it's there. If you are in the same place for any amount of time, an big external monitor can be used. I also have an external USB keyboard, mouse, audio interface, DVD drive and disk drives connected to my 11" MBA at home.

    If I had to pick just one reason the prefer the 2014 over the 2012 MBA it would be the battery life, which may give you as much as twice the run time.
  6. Pugly macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2016
    I use Logic on a 11inch Air. The 256GB drive is a must I'd say, at least if you plan to do a full download of all the instruments. I have all the logic stuff plus Komplete 8 installed and I have about 80GB left for projects. It would be hard to do any sort of creative work on a computer with just 128GB... you need to have a good backup plan and constantly moving old projects to the backup.

    You can tweak Logic to work pretty well on the 1366x766 screen. Most of the side panels can be reduced, hid. Even the chunky control bar can be removed. I also had to get used to opening the editors in a new window, which I now like better than the all in one view anyways. Full screen and spaces is nice. I keep a piano roll open fullscreen, and the main view open full screen and 4 finger swipe to go back and forth. Swipe to main and select the region to edit swipe to piano roll and do some edits. It's pretty seamless.

    The only problem is when I have to compare parts or what to edit multiple things on the screen. It works, but sometimes I'd want to see more.

    I think Logic works well on the screen because most of your work is horizontal in nature. The loss of vertical space is not a problem. And if you compare resolution to a 13inch Air, 1366 is pretty close to 1440. Ditch the menu bar and hide or move the dock and you have enough vertical space.
  7. Isamilis macrumors 6502a

    Apr 3, 2012
    For me, as I use Air mainly for college and work, I would prefer 2012 version. 8 GB ram and i7 is better future proof. For SSD and battery you can replace/upgrade it later, but not RAM or processor. Your situation could be different though.

    Btw, have you consider 13"? It will be much easier for eyes if you work on spreadsheet or statistics applications.

  8. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Well you could replace the battery, but that misses the point. The 2013 and later MBA use processors that are more energy efficient. This is what gives them far greater battery life than the 2012 MBA and the difference is very significant. If you are really going to use it away from a power source, then getting one of these old machines is like running a race on one leg. ;)
  9. Isamilis macrumors 6502a

    Apr 3, 2012
    2013 onwards battery has higher capacity as well and - 2013 battery can fit in 2012 MBA perfectly (for sure for 13" - not sure for 11"). I have tried this and the difference in real usage is not that significant.

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