i5 vs i7

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ToomeyND, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. ToomeyND, Jun 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016

    ToomeyND macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2011
    What are the practical benefits of the i7 over the i5? I am looking to get a new 13 MBP as I am going back to school (just an M.B.A., not a programing track). I do video editing for fun (maybe 5 real efforts put forth each year), but most of it will probably be advanced excel at the most for school, perhaps some matlab type modeling if I go crazy on courses. Is the 3.1 Ghz i7 worth $170 more than the 2.9 Ghz i5?

    What are the scenarios where the i7 will demonstrate a noticeable difference? Would I want the i7 if I got into programming?
    --- Post Merged, Jun 14, 2016 ---
    Also, is it fair to assume the i7 will have a worse battery life than the i5 because of the rated speed?
    --- Post Merged, Jun 14, 2016 ---
    Oh, there is also a good chance I'll be adding windows to this computer for coursework. Should that factor into my decision?

    Thank you for your help!
  2. kiwipeso1 Suspended


    Sep 17, 2001
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Yes, i7 gets more things done at the same time.
    1. Matlab will work best with i7.
    2. Video editing will be quicker on i7.
    3. i7 will have almost the same battery life, might be about 5 ~ 10 minutes less than i5 in total.
    4. Windows either in Bootcamp or VMWare fusion will run better with an i7 for coursework and gaming.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    All of the CPUs used in the 13 inch are dual core, the performance increase for the i7 is 3-4% so unless you are constantly hammering the machine at close to its full capacity I doubt you'd ever know which you have. In my book the money is better spent on Ram or SSD space or down the pub.
  4. kiwipeso1 Suspended


    Sep 17, 2001
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Ignoring the Best of British advice to waste your money at the pub, the i7 has hyperthreading for 4 effective cores in comparison to the i5.
    And in response to the inevitable strawman argument, the use cases for the OP are best covered by an i7.
  5. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Nonsense all the mobile core i5's are hyperthreaded even the core m in the MacBook through the 15 watt U class in the airs to the 28w U class in the pros. It's only desktops that have i5's without hyperthreading and they are all quad core.
  6. Samuelsan2001, Jun 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016

    Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    @kiwipeso1 nothing deranged or myth about it.

    Please see the specs for mobile processors from Intels own website

    Core m as in the MacBook, 2 cores 4 threads


    And the MacBook Air, 2 cores 4 threads


    MacBook Pro 13 inch, 2cores 4 threads.


    All core m or core i5, you are clearly still working on the desktop specs or core i3 from the original core sandy bridge mobile processors maybe you should have read intels own site instead of believing rubbish spouted in forums by the people as clueless as you, on toms hardware.

    You have also failed to note that only one of the threads you cite have any processors mentioned and those were desktop parts that I have already noted come without hyperthreading for the i5's.

    You have also included three threads with no real answers no detail and no evidence are you that gullible to believe this rubbish over intels own specs????
  7. kiwipeso1 Suspended


    Sep 17, 2001
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Could you please stop this petty arrogance @Samuelsan2001 ?
    You clearly haven't done any research, or reading of the situation, even when presented with material at your level of understanding.

    When a chip fabricator produces chips in a factory, they grade them according to efficiency of operation.
    Hence, intel do not specifically designate certain chips to be specifically i7, i5, & i3 at the point of manufacture.
    That process is determined at the point of testing the efficiency of the chip after production, and then those chips are fixed in firmware to perform at the level supported at that efficiency.
    They then further segregate certain chips which outperform a specified performance group for a certain percentage of operation to become the unlocked chips (the K models).

    For this reason, there is no such firmware in the i5 chips which supports the hyperthreading that the individual chip maybe capable of performing, but as it will be at an unacceptable rate compared to the i7, that ability is disabled.

    As a second generation chip designer, this is remarkably simple to understand the facts of electronics production, however there is no point in simply parroting the sales blurb without comprehension of the facts of production.

    Feel free to respond when you have actually done some critical research, but at the moment you sound like my former computer science lecturers: over-confident that you are knowledgable in the subject, and too arrogant to understand when a conversation is simplified for their benefit.
  8. Samuelsan2001, Jun 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016

    Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You clearly didn't read any of my links, you have no idea of the difference between mobile and desktop chips and have produced no evidence for your assertions other than a wall of rubbish text that is made up.

    When you produce some evidence from the manufacturers I'll take you seriously until then believe what you like and make ridiculous statements as much as you wish. Your arrogance is stupendous to give me that nonsense with no independent evidence.

    You could also just try putting OS X and hyperthreading into Google and see how to turn it off on all those machines that don't have it!!!!

    Or spin up your MacBook Pro (I have one) and watch as you get up to 400% CPU use in hyperthreaded apps as it uses 4 virtual cores.
  9. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    Same difference as a 4 lane highway vs an 8 lane highway in rush hour traffic.

    Deeper explanation:
    CPUs process information in series of 0s or 1s called bits.
    a 1 Ghz computer process 1 Giga(billion) bits per second (hz)

    An i5 has hyperthreading which means for every physical core, it can perform work for two threads. A thread is a pattern of 0s or 1s. A lane of the highway if you will.
    Since the i5 is typically dual-core it has 2 physical processing cores, each which can perform work for two threads. So you can work on 4 threads at any given time.

    An i7 also has hyperthreading but usually ships with a faster clock speed (2 Ghz for this example) and in the most common quad-core design it can perform work on 4 physical processing cores that each perform work on two threads or a total of 8 threads at a time.

    So lets just say you have a dual-core i5 running at 1 Ghz and a quad-core i7 running at 1 Ghz, do the math and it turns out to be 4 Billion bits per second in the i5 (4 lanes of traffic) and 8 Billion bits per second in the i7 (8 lanes of traffic)

    The only way they'd be close to equivalent is if you had a dual core i5 at 2 Ghz and an i7 at 1 Ghz, but you'd still see better response out of the system with the i7 since the processor can open up some threads to process more background tasks.
  10. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    I second Samuel here, in laptops i5 and i7 are similar in performance. In desktop, it's another story.
    The money is way better spent in ram or a bigger SSD than the i7 upgrade.
    All CPUs in the macbook pro 13", macbook air and macbook lines are 4 threaded. I have tested this empirically, with software that is capable of utilising all available cores. If you really want a a bump in performance you have to get the 15" model (8 threads).
    --- Post Merged, Jun 15, 2016 ---
    Not in the 13" macbook pro, both are 4 lanes highways.
  11. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    Yes, it is more common for the i7 to come in a quad-core configuration but you can still get both i5s and i7s in either dual-core or quad-core configurations. That being said, Intel developed tiers for their processor based on performance marks.

    Atom - Mobile processor single core, meant for low end tablets. ~1 - 1.5 Ghz
    CoreM - Mobile processor dual core, no hyperthreading. ~1 - 1.5 Ghz
    i3 - single-core with hyperthreading. ~1.5 - 2.5 Ghz
    i5 - dual-core and quad-core with hyperthreading. ~1.5 - 2.5 Ghz
    i7 - dual-core and quad-core with hyperthreading. ~ 2 - 4 Ghz

    Xeon - dual-core to 12-core with hyperthreading, no built-in graphics. ~1.5 - 4.0 Ghz

    Anything noted with an X at the end is an extreme processor that is overclocked and typically comes in 6 or 8 core variants.

    Anything noted with a K or an X at the end is an unlocked processor that allows the user to overclock the processor on their own or from the retailer. (only available for PCs)

    Naming convention is like this
    Quad-core i7-6700k - Quad-core describes the configuration - i7 is the tier, 6 is the generation of the CPU, 700 is the performance tier of the chip defined by Intel, and k is the identifier that it is unlocked.

    So going off the haswell-e chips, you can determine how powerful these are even if I didn't put them in order.
    6-Core i7-5820k
    6-Core i7-5930k - big performance boost over the 5820
    8-Core i7-5960x - slight performance boost over the 5930

    In laptops the visible performance improvement is minimal, but the system knows what it has and will be able to handle more at one time granted you have enough memory. You won't notice much of a difference until you change the first number in the naming convention, you won't notice any difference in the second number unless you are a performance geek.
  12. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    OP, for the tasks you've described the i5 will be more than adequate. Take the extra $170 and upgrade to an SSD or more RAM, or shop around for an external monitor or something.
  13. ToomeyND thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2011
    Thanks for all of the replies, everyone! Even the little tiff in the middle was helpful! I think I'm gonna stick with the i5. Now I just have to decide if i want to pay the extra $$$ for a 512 over a 256. Ugh!!! Haha. The ram will definitely be maxed out to 16. :)
  14. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    Apple upgrade pricing is hilarious, it's so sad... SSD are less than 50cents/GB but not with apple.
  15. jagooch macrumors 6502


    Jul 17, 2009
    Denver, co
    What did you end up getting? I'm torn between i5 and i7 as well. did the i5 work out for you?
  16. ToomeyND thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2011
    I got the i5, 16 g ram, 256 hard drive. I later bought a 512 G samsung usb ssd for extra storage (iPhoto and such). It's a great laptop in all. I do see slowdowns using iMovie, but those instances are few and far between. Doing my every day things, it's more than capable.

    I have noticed some issues using excel, but I think that I could remedy that from a clean install of Mac OS.
  17. ipos macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2011
    normal surfing and sometimes ms office, email etc , does it really worth to get i7?
  18. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Nope. Still the same story a year later. Just get 16GB of ram and at least a 512GB SSD and your computer will be good for the next 4-5 years.
  19. spooklog macrumors member


    Aug 10, 2015
    New Hampshire
    Best explanation here -- thanks much!
  20. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    This isn't helpful. You are stating the obvious....

    However, I do not believe the i7 is worth the cost increase over the i5.
    --- Post Merged, May 28, 2017 ---
    sigh.....the i5 has hyper threading too for mobiles for 4 effective cores
    --- Post Merged, May 28, 2017 ---
    What in the world? I have an i5 machine. It has hyper threading....
  21. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    Short answer, i5 v i7:
    In mobile CPU is not worth it, all i5 and i7 are hyper-threaded.
    For desktop, only i7s are hyper-threaded. So, they are way faster in multi core tasks.

    For the MBP13, the i5 and i7 are almost the same in performance (both HT).

    Attached Files:

  22. cl514x macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2017

    I really hate that the 13" rMBP cannot be configured to quad-core i7, stucking with a dual core i7 basically makes the i7 meaningless, most of the time, unless one enjoys staring at the CPU graph and appreciating the calibration lines marked as 3.1 GHz and 3.4 GHz...
  23. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    i5 just sounds "weak". Reminds of the 486SX vs 486DX and the Intel Celeron vs Intel Pentium.
  24. upandown macrumors 6502

    Apr 10, 2017
    You guys are cray cray. My 2012 rMBP i5 has hyperthreading. Just the same as the i7. I've personally seen the computer recognize 4 cores and it did the work.

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