i7 4GB or i5 8GB?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ted55, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. ted55, Nov 15, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014

    ted55 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 15, 2014
    #1
    Hello everyone!
    I finally decided to do the "big change": I've always used PCs and now I'm going to buy a Macbook for my first time.

    Since I'm a student and I don't have lots of money I opted for a MacBook Air and I was wondering if it's better to have:
    - intel core i7 with 4GB of RAM
    - intel core i5 with 8GB of RAM

    Keep in mind that I do not need a gaming laptop but I have plenty of apps running at the same time (outlook open 24/7 to download e-mail in push and to schedule appointments, itunes, word, excel, safari, spotify, skype) and I'm planning to switch to Mac because they're faster than my actual windows.

    Which one will give me a faster laptop and more durability?

    Thank you

    EDIT: I cannot have both i7 and 8GB, too expensive
     
  2. copa macrumors member

    copa

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2013
    #2
    take the i5 with 8gb.

    Especially with many apps running simultaneously, more RAM will do you more good than the faster processor. The i7 (at least in the 2013 version but I'd reckon it's nearly the same situation with the 2014 ones) has been shown to be faster by a maximum of 20% and only in very specific situations.
    I normal day to day usage you will only notice a negligible difference between the two processor version if any. More RAM will benefit you more directly as you system will have more headroom for memory intensive apps. It won't need to swap out as much memory if any and the system won't need to compress the memory nearly as often as with the 4gb.

    Also in terms of future proofing... OS X uses a fair amount of memory as it is and that amount is typically increasing with each iteration of the OS. Since you can't upgrade the RAM later on, it'd be wise (imho) to get the 8gb just to be in the safe zone for what's to come.

    I'd strongly advise you to get the RAM upgrade over the i7.

    This is just my opinion though, I'd be interest to hear other opinions and whether anyone would opt for the i7 over the RAM.
     
  3. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #3
    In general I agree with copa.
    With your usage however I'd recommend a larger ssd. You will see no difference between ram or cpu upgrades.

    Another idea is to get the base mba 1.4/4/128 on one of the many discounts. Use the saved money for better things.
     
  4. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #4
    Does it, though? The minimum RAM requirement for OS X hasn't increased in the last 5 years. Many people are reporting that Yosemite works well with 2GB of RAM, let alone 4GB. I would expect 4GB of RAM to be more than enough for the next 5 years at least, considering the OP's light workload.

    I agree that the i7 upgrade is pointless. For anyone.

    If I were the OP I'd just get the base model. Don't know why he thinks he needs to upgrade anything.
     
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #5
    Well, I am a huge fan of the form factor, poet and portability of the MBA. Indeed, I have had various MBA computers since 2010.

    Re the question asked, I'd recommend 8 GB over 4 GB - the difference is quite striking. However, - and I write as someone who has a maxed out CTO model, while the i7 is nice to have, it is not something which makes an enormous difference for most people doing most things.

    Moreover, I'll also add my voice to that of Meister when he suggests getting more SSD; my original MBA bought in 2010 came with 128 GB SSD, and by 2013, I had found that was no longer really sufficient for my needs. My advice would be to get 256 GB SSD if you can.
     
  6. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

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    #6
    Although the base model would suit you fine, if you are set on upgrading something, I'd definitely choose the ram.
     
  7. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

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    Jun 10, 2006
    #7
    Yosemite on my 8GB MBP from 2010 used just under 4GB on idle.

    ----------

    You might be able to have both, check the refurbished store

    http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac
     
  8. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #8
    I see a repeat of "How do I read the activity monitor ..." coming. :rolleyes:
     
  9. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

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    Jun 10, 2006
    #9
    So when I boot up, with no major start up apps, and the OS is using around 3.83GB, somehow it's my fault? Also Yosemite has been proven to have VRAM memory leak. That was on the nMPs though.
     
  10. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

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    Apr 19, 2014
    #10
    No, but in OS X, a large amount of memory used does not usually indicate a large amount of memory required. It will allocate RAM if it can, whether it needs to or not. It doesn't actually need 4 GB just to run the OS.

    OP: I would get the i5 with 4 GB and save money over either of the two options listed.
     
  11. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

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    Jun 10, 2006
    #11
    Yes true but it tells me that the OS would run better with 8GB, whereas Mavericks is perfectly happy on less RAM; that's a different discussion.
     
  12. fxbeta macrumors member

    fxbeta

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    Sep 23, 2014
    #12
    I tend to own several computers for many years, and eventually on every single one I end up wanting more RAM. Software (including the OS) typically demands more memory from one version to the next. Plus you already said you like to have lots of apps open.

    More memory FTW.
     
  13. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #13
    Not necessarily. Memory allocated doesn't mean memory used. You have no idea how much memory is actually being used.
     
  14. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

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    #14
  15. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #15
    I upgraded my last computer to 6GB because it was cheap and convenient.

    A couple years ago I bought a Mini which I currently use and it has 4GB.

    Going to the smaller amount of memory made literally zero difference in my life.

    I just checked and I can upgrade my Mini to 8GB for just $60 if I wanted, but I don't see the point and I don't foresee needing this in the next 5+ years.
     
  16. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #16
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1811480

    ----------

    It does make zero difference to light users.
     
  17. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #17
    While my memory requirements obviously aren't as much as some peoples', I don't know if I'd categorize my usage as light.

    As an app developer I always have XCode open, and usually the iOS simulator. XCode typically takes the most memory of anything I run. I also often have Photoshop open, although the files I edit with Photoshop are usually app graphics and not ultra high res DSLR photos or whatever. And of course I always have a web browser open (Chrome) with a bunch of windows and tabs. And then a bunch of other random stuff that doesn't take much memory--iTunes, Mail, Skype, Messages, an FTP client, various command line things (ssh, etc.), another text editor, blah blah blah.

    With all of this stuff running, I rarely use much swap, which means I would basically not benefit from upgrading my memory. (And if you do use some swap it's not really the end of the world anyway because you're probably swapping out stuff that won't be used later anyway so it doesn't matter if it's stored in physical RAM or not.)
     
  18. Dweez macrumors 65816

    Dweez

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    #18
    I'm in agreement with copa.
     
  19. crawler1975 macrumors regular

    crawler1975

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    Mar 22, 2011
    #19


    Just like majority of the comments here. I suggest ditch the CPU upgrade but get an 8GB RAM instead. Comparing your question to my recent experience with getting the rMBP - I opted to get 16GB RAM instead of the CPU and I'd say that it was a good decision since now I can comfortably open more APPS (than previously thought) as I wish... Plus I plan to use mine for long so it really made sense.
     
  20. macnewbieee macrumors member

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    Sep 14, 2014
    #20
    My personal opinion :

    Ram > SSD > CPU for mba
    GPU > RAM > CPU > Ssd(bcoz upgradable) for non mac.
     
  21. joshlalonde, Nov 15, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014

    joshlalonde macrumors 6502

    joshlalonde

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    Jul 12, 2014
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    Canada
    #21
    Perhaps a bit late, but I would suggest upgrading your SSD. I'm glad I did, else I would have run out of space ages ago.

    I think you should determine importance in this manner:

    SSD > RAM > CPU

    Storage space will be the most noticeable. You will need room for your documents, music, etc. I use Dropbox, anyways, but local storage is necessary of course. Also, room for all your applications.

    RAM will affect you for lots of multi-tasking, but you won't need 8GB for your purposes. I didn't upgrade RAM for financial reasons, and I still run VMs on this thing. It handles them perfectly, but sometimes it probably uses swap. So, 8 would admittedly have been better, but it's not necessary. I have recently been using more multi-tasking features such as multiple desktops and leaving more tabs open. I'm still not used to such a fast little machine.

    CPU will make the least difference on this MacBook line. I'm not sure if anyone has a difference in opinion, but it honestly won't be necessary.
     
  22. ted55 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2014
    #22
    Thank you so much everyone! You're so kind!
    Actually I was thinking to improve my RAM just because on my PC I have 4GB and when I run all the apps I need it becomes so slow (yes, I do use ccleaner, I don't have any toolbars, no virus etc...). For example when I open an outlook email with lots of images and I have more than 6 o 7 tabs of firefox open, outlook crushes or just starts not to respond (it is frustrating when happens!).
    Or, if I have open more than 4 firefox tabs, it is impossible to use google voice or website full of flash animations as firefox crushes or stop working.
    So, to avoid this, I was thinking to upgrade the RAM.

    Why do you think ssd is so important? I'll be happy with 128 GB since I'll save everything (photo, music, etc...) on my onedrive account and open it when I need something from the browser (that hopefully doesn't crush as happens now!)
     
  23. joshlalonde macrumors 6502

    joshlalonde

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    Jul 12, 2014
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    Canada
    #23
    I wouldn't compare your experience with 4GB RAM from your PC to your Mac.
    Your Mac has an SSD so caching is still slower than ram, but faster than a HDD.

    Also, virtual memory 'virtually' doubles your RAM.

    I have multiple apps open, lots of tabs in Safari, etc and I still have very little problems with RAM. Also, I have a program called Memory Clean that is sort of like a panic button. Doesn't do much, but makes me feel better.
     
  24. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #24
    Windows, Outlook, etc. are all a disaster. Shouldn't be compared to OS X.
     
  25. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #25
    Try to get a deal on the base mba. In any case upgrading cpu is money down the toilet.
    If you have the dough think about the mid range rmbp. That gives you 2.6cpu, 8gbram and 256gb ssd.
     

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