i5 or i7?

Mavimao

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 16, 2005
854
5
Lyon, France
Hello! After 8 years with a white macbook, I’m finally ready to upgrade.

But I’m not sure whether to get the i5 or the i7.

I would be using this for some video/audio/photo work. Nothing professional. Just small projects. Would the extra expense for the i7 be worth it?

Thank you!
 
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F-Train

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Apr 22, 2015
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NYC & Newfoundland
Hello! After 8 years with a white macbook, I’m finally ready to upgrade.

But I’m not sure whether to get the i5 or the i7.

I would be using this for some video/audio/photo work. Nothing professional. Just small projects. Would the extra expense for the i7 be worth it?

Thank you!
Some questions:

Video: 1080p or 4K, what editing software?
Audio: how many tracks and are you using sample libraries?
Photo: RAW or JPEG, what editing software?
RAM: how much are you planning on?
 

Snappers

macrumors member
Aug 31, 2016
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61
Probably not worth it for just small projects. The quad core i3 might serve you just as well.
 

Mavimao

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Original poster
Feb 16, 2005
854
5
Lyon, France
Some questions:

Video: 1080p or 4K, what editing software?
Audio: how many tracks?
Photo: RAW or JPEG, what editing software?
RAM: how much are you planning on?
Probably 1080p for now. I have a sony a6000 and an iphone se.

I cant imagine using more than 8 or 10 tracks.

I do jpegs now, but I’d like the option to do raw if possible. I have Photos and Capture One. I also like to do small projects in Pixelmator.

Minimum now. Upgrade later.
[doublepost=1541713078][/doublepost]Oh and I buy a computer like every ten years so a little bit of future proofing would be great.
 

F-Train

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Apr 22, 2015
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I think that the strongest argument for the i7 processor is that you can't upgrade later. Its main short-term merit is that it offers hyper-threading, which the i5 does not.

I think that the i5 would work for your current needs, but personally I would go with the i7, especially given how long you plan to own the machine, unless doing so is financially a problem.
 
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Wayan

macrumors newbie
Nov 8, 2018
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Canada
I would be using this for some video/audio/photo work. Nothing professional. Just small projects. Would the extra expense for the i7 be worth it?
Hello!

I am in the same situation as Mavimao. I have another question related: Can we hope a life expectancy significantly longer (before being technically outdated) for the i7 compared to the i5 or nothing significant?

Thank you!
 
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Mavimao

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 16, 2005
854
5
Lyon, France
I think that the strongest argument for the i7 processor is that you can't upgrade later. Its main short-term merit is that it offers hyper-threading, which the i5 does not.

I think that the i5 would work for your current needs, but personally I would go with the i7, especially given how long you plan to own the machine, unless doing so is financially a problem.
I hear all this talk about hyperthreading being the main differentiator between the i5 and the i7 but what exactly does it do and what applications take advantage of it? (Pardon my ignorance!)
 

F-Train

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Apr 22, 2015
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I hear all this talk about hyperthreading being the main differentiator between the i5 and the i7 but what exactly does it do and what applications take advantage of it? (Pardon my ignorance!)
I think that you need to research this for the specific applications that you are using. For some applications, it makes no difference. Others, like Lightroom and Photoshop, take advantage of hyper-threading. However, there is a debate among users about just how much practical difference it makes with the current versions of those applications.

This is one of those discussions where there are no black and white answers and that you pretty much have to research yourself.
 

Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
1,195
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Most computers made in the last several years should be fast enough to keep around for a very long time. This is especially true for a machine like the mini that has very fast ports that allow you to use external drives and GPUs. With that in mind, I would max the CPU. It cannot be upgraded later where the storage, graphics, and RAM can. With that i7, you have a machine that should be usable more than 5 years from now.
 

ilikewhey

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May 14, 2014
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No, put that money in to more RAM or some other upgrade.

It's old but take a look at this TechQuickie video. Hyperthreading is all well and good if it actually benefits your workflow but, much like yours, if it doesn't you're just throwing money away.
gonna have to disagree there, always spend more on stuff you cant upgrade urself later, ram is upgradable and its cheaper if you do it urself later.

i would opt for the 1k i7 256gb ssd option. i believe thats the best bang for the buck.
 

Ramias

macrumors newbie
Oct 22, 2016
24
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gonna have to disagree there, always spend more on stuff you cant upgrade urself later, ram is upgradable and its cheaper if you do it urself later.

i would opt for the 1k i7 256gb ssd option. i believe thats the best bang for the buck.
Is 256GB going to be enough storage?

Looking at the 1TB myself. But it is a lot more $.
 

ilikewhey

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2014
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Is 256GB going to be enough storage?

Looking at the 1TB myself. But it is a lot more $.
that 1tb option is $$$ too much if you ask me. your better off getting a thunderbolt 3 ssd and a 2ndary drive and save some $$$

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147691&Description=samsung 970&cm_re=samsung_970-_-20-147-691-_-Product

stick that in a tb3 enclosure and your set

https://www.amazon.com/Acasis-Enclo...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=PCJG45ZRG46J553HV9A4
 

rrl

macrumors 6502a
Jul 27, 2009
511
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i7 == headroom. Look at the task manager cpu/thread usage. i7 all day long. If you need to turn off turbo boost then do so, otherwise enjoy your lesser powered computer.
 

kaibob

macrumors regular
Jun 21, 2010
234
64
Prescott, Arizona
There's probably no correct answer to this, but I would go with the I5 and either save the money or use it to upgrade to a larger SSD. I ordered my I5 with a 256GB SSD and sure would have liked to go up a step. Also, if you're not comfortable replacing RAM yourself, additional memory is almost always a good investment.

Just browsing threads in this forum, though, it does appear that a lot of people have ordered the I7 and not near as many an I5.
 
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mikehalloran

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Oct 14, 2018
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The Sillie Con Valley
I hear all this talk about hyperthreading being the main differentiator between the i5 and the i7 but what exactly does it do and what applications take advantage of it?
The answer is easy: Time — as in less of it with the i7. If doing any kind of CPU intensive task such as audio, video, photo (especially Photoshop), graphics etc. projects will load, render and export faster (especially render).

The difference is not small. How much depends on the project and app, however.

Some find that heavy loads will cause the fans to roar and cause it to run hot a long time. This is easily solved by turning off Turboboost (there are apps). The tradeoff is, once again (stop me if you've heard this before) time — as in more of it.
 
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nutmac

macrumors 601
Mar 30, 2004
4,500
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Always the i7. You'll never wish you had a lesser processor but you may very well find yourself wishing you got more.
Depends on the use cases.

I use my old Mac mini as a home server for 3 primary needs:
  1. iTunes server, with ripped CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray contents: Apple TV 4K streams from it, iOS devices syncs to it (via Wi-Fi)
  2. iCloud Photo Library: Full original files with optimized storage turned off
  3. Backblaze backup
My Mac mini is connected to a TV, along with external disks and Blu-Ray drive. To me, quiet operation is more important than raw power. i3 should run cooler and thus more desirable for these use cases than i5 or i7.

For OP's use cases, however, I would definitely spend extra for i7. Even Photos app benefits from fastest processor.
 

Ice Dragon

macrumors 6502a
Jun 16, 2009
984
20
I was just about to ask this same question. My needs would probably not require the i7 or even the i5 (although I think I should go with i5 as a minimum so I have the mini for a while), but I think the i3 is too weak even for me. I currently have a 2014 i5 mini that I got in 2016 with a 256 GB SSD and 8 GB of RAM. That is fine and all but this time I want go all out. I want 32 GB of RAM (16 GB is not enough for future proofing and 64 GB is too expensive and I am NOT attempting it myself), I want at least a 512 GB SSD and I would go with 1 TB but that is too much for me now, and I want the 10 Gb Ethernet.

My last mini (2011) lasted me five years and I still have it and it still works (at least I think it does since it's been sitting in my closet for a while) and the only reason I didn't upgrade to a quad core in 2012 was because my 2011 mini was only a year old.

Edit: What I want to know is how well the cooling works for the i5 and i7.
 

ElectronGuru

macrumors 68000
Sep 5, 2013
1,516
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Oregon, USA
Just browsing threads in this forum, though, it does appear that a lot of people have ordered the I7 and not near as many an I5.
The logical reason to choose i7 is that the time you'll save not waiting over the life of the machine is worth more than the cost of the faster chip. People here probably make more per hour so for more, its worth it. The emotional reason to choose i7 is avoiding buyers remorse. Choosing the fastest option now makes you safe from wishing you had more later. If you choose something slower, you could end up regretting it later when it can't be changed. $200 peace of mind.

Logically, I can probably get away with 4 cores. Emotionally I imagine regretting not having 6 cores but can't imagine regretting not have hyprethreading. So would be fine choosing i5.
 
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SkiHound2

macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2018
186
121
I hear all this talk about hyperthreading being the main differentiator between the i5 and the i7 but what exactly does it do and what applications take advantage of it? (Pardon my ignorance!)
Hyperthreading basically means that each physical core acts as two logical cores. That doesn't mean double the speed but if the software exploits that architecture the i7 would be somewhat faster than the i5. For example, if you look at Geekbench scores the biggest difference is in multicore benchmarks. If you look at benchmarks for the iMac Pro you'll see that the single core scores might even go down (because base clock speed goes down) as the processors add cores, but the multiple core scores increase dramatically. Folks who are running lots of things at one time or who are doing things like rendering 4k video with some software will benefit the most. Some software makes little use of multiple cores and some seem to make use of a limited number. Most current games don't exploit multiple cores and an i5 is nearly as good as an i7. Many games are far more dependent on the graphics processing than cpu. So a lot of any differences will be software dependent. If you look at benchmark scores the i5 in the current Mini is pretty much on par with the fastest i7 from the prior generation (it would depend on the task, but differences are not huge). So it's a pretty darn fast cpu. My take is that unless you're doing tasks that really stress the cpu, all of the modern cpus will meet most needs. I'm trying to make the same decision, but other things to consider. The i9 in the Macbook Pro is virtually no faster than the i7 because the i9 generates enough heat that it is throttled to reduce heat. I've not seen anything definitive but you could see some of those constraints in the Mini when the cpus are really under steady load. I'm sure I've not helped you make a decision. Part of me says go for the i7 and have the fastest processor available. And part of me says says save $200 because I'll probably never notice any practical difference. I would say that if you're debating between an i7 with 8gb or an i5 with 16gb, and if you don't plan to dive in and install ram yourself, I'd go for the machine with more ram.
 

kaibob

macrumors regular
Jun 21, 2010
234
64
Prescott, Arizona
The logical reason to choose i7 is that the time you'll save not waiting over the life of the machine is worth more than the cost of the faster chip. People here probably make more per hour so for more, its worth it. The emotional reason to choose i7 is avoiding buyers remorse. Choosing the fastest option now makes you safe from wishing you had more later. If you choose something slower, you could end up regretting it later when it can't be changed. $200 peace of mind.

Logically, I can probably get away with 4 cores. Emotionally I imagine regretting not having 6 cores but can't imagine not regretting not have hyprethreading. So would be fine choosing i5.
As an inveterate worrier, I certainly agree that peace of mind is worth a lot.
 
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zandorf

macrumors member
Oct 24, 2013
39
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I am all for the i7 so long as under sustained thermal load it keeps its edge over the i5. Eagerly looking for some i5-vs-i7 high-load long-duration benchmarks.
 
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F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
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Well, here's a real life example of making this decision.

The most demanding things that I'll do with this machine are use Final Cut Pro X to edit 4K footage (UHD 3840x2160) and Capture One to edit RAW photos.

Tomorrow morning, I'm going to one of the NY Apple stores to have a look at a mini up close and personal.

If I like what I see, and the store has a mini with an i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of flash storage, I'll purchase it on the spot. I'll upgrade the RAM from 8GB to 32GB myself.

But from what I know right now, the store will in fact have a mini with an i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage.

I just might buy it.

I keep computers for two or three years. I'm not sure that the i7 will make that much of a difference over that timeframe, and on the graphics processing side I intend to purchase an external GPU.

Also, I use a computer's internal flash storage strictly as a workspace. All data that is not being actively worked on is kept on external drives. With that workflow, I think that I'm OK with 256GB.

I'll listen to the advice of the Apple sales people, and make a decision. Right now, I don't know what it will be, but it could be an i5 mini.
 
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