Is it worth getting the i7 over the i5 in the 2011 13" MacBook Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Smiller4128, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. Smiller4128 macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2010
    Just wondering if it's worth it to get the maxed out processor on the 2011 MacBook Air? I've been trying to hold off until the new 15" MacBook Pros hit (been rumored for this month but I have a feeling they'll wait until Mountain Lion is released) anyways, I'm looking into the MacBook air as I've wanted it for a really long time, any big difference between the i5 and i7 processors?
  2. matbook101 macrumors 6502


    Feb 8, 2010
    In the secret land of Cupertino.
  3. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    When buying mine I believe the gist of it was that the I7 is about 10% faster.
  4. riveting macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2009
    Not an expert here, but I don't think it is worth to get i7 over i5. Speed difference is like 10% and un-noticeable in everyday task. They are the same generation processor, i7 also means potentially more heat, for a ultra thin machine, I don't think it is worth it.
  5. hawk1410 macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    I dont think it is worth getting the i7 over i5, the performance bump is not noticeable enough. But if you have the money then why not.
  6. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    what r u tryin to do with the Air? converting videos?

    if you're just surfing the webs, do some programming, listening to music, and basic photo editing. then the i7 isn't worth it.

    better get the 256gb version of i5.

    just my 2 cents.
  7. henry72 macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2009
    New Zealand
    Nope. Save your money :)

    ... unless you really need the spend of converting videos?
  8. Stingray454 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2009
    I'd say that gaming falls into this category too. I own a 2010 Air with the 320m GPU, and while the GPU is decent, the processor isn't. When gaming and a lot of objects appear on-screen, the lag is horrible. I can't really say if the CPU or GPU is the bottleneck, but it seems to be the CPU from what I can tell. If a game normally runs at 40fps, but at "intense" moments the framerate drops to 10 fps, the faster processor would probably help a lot. I don't have any hard number, but I imagine it would be a handful of extra FPS in games :).

    But no, if you don't plan to do a lot of gaming or things like video editing, 3d-rendering and such, you would never notice any real-world difference between the i5 and i7.
  9. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    You would have to be looking at CPU meters when that's happening to determine the cpu is the issue or not. Intense gaming situations are tough on the graphics card as well. And in the case of an online multiplayer game, intense situations causing a lower frame rate could be caused by the amount of data the game server is sending through an internet connection that can't quite keep up (for whatever reason).
  10. Redbull916 macrumors member


    Mar 27, 2012
    Brighton, UK
    if you going to spend over £1300+ on a laptop whats another £100?
    OK, so you may or may not notice the extra 10% in most applications, but if you do run things like VMWare, the extra is noticed. But then I would say that as I'm a happy i7 owner.
  11. Mac32 Suspended

    Nov 20, 2010
    I would not trivialize the difference in heat, if it is noticable. More heat = higher fan RPM = more noise = less user comfort.

    Hopefully with Ivy Bridge the temps will be considerably lower. I still think that my 2010 MBA is brilliant, even if it's a 1.6ghz C2D. It is a very cool running machine, with good battery life (Snow Leopard) and good graphics performance.
  12. Smiller4128 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2010
    Well here's a quick run-down of what I usually do:

    -Safari/Chrome, Mail, and iTunes are almost always open at once.

    -I do some DVD/CD ripping

    -I use to Vuze to convert some tv shows to a format that'll let me watch them on my apple TV. (Not a lot though, I maybe do about 10 episodes a month IF that even)

    And that's about it.

    I mean I don't suppose an i7 would help too much over the i5 from what you guys are saying right? Would it even be worth it for me to wait for the ivy bridge launch or would I be fine with what's currently out right now?
  13. calganelle macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2012
    I had the same dilemma before I purchased my MBA 13''. I decided with what I usually do, I wouldn't wait until Ivy Bridge, seeing as the i5 and i7's are more than enough, but at the same time, I got the i7 just because I want to have my MBA for a really long time - basically, until it gives out on me. I wanted to at least know I went for the "faster" processor, plus, it was worth the extra $100 to me. So if you feel like you would feel more comfortable with it post-purchase, then I may opt to get it. So far it's been really great. Very fast in terms of processing, battery life is great, doesn't get hot easily at all... though on the other hand an i5 could be the same and I wouldn't know. :rolleyes:
  14. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    Macworld's Speedmark 7 testing scheme is rather odious, but I'm persuaded that it offers a better comparison of processors in day-to-day use than Geekbench or some of the more analytical alternatives.

    That said, the MBA i7's score is just slightly better than an early 2011 MBP with a quad-core i7. I chalk that up to the i7 "bump" and the effect of the SSD versus a 5K rpm HDD.

    All that said, if you can wait for Ivy Bridge, I'd probably wait. I hold out the forlorn hope of a larger SSD and a processor bump that would make the i7 MBA roughly equal to the current high-end MacBook Pro. Otherwise, go for the i7 now. The $100 you spend will help "future-proof" the machine ... insofar as it's possible to do so.
  15. whodatrr macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2004
    I went from the previous core2 11.6 MBA, to an i7. Really, I barely notice the delta in my day-to-day needs. This is a work machine, and I mostly use MS Office, with a bit of Photoshop & such.

    But I do notice my fan! The fan barely ran on my core 2, but it's incessant, on my i7. Frankly, I'd trade any minor performance benefits, for a cooler processor. Don't know if my machine is a fluke, but it might be another angle to consider?

  16. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    We have 3 C2D 2010 11" MBA's with 480 GB OWC speedy SSD's,everything is wicked fast, and we never hear a fan, just upgraded to Lion in all and await Mountain Lion. I have performed over 20 similar upgrades for friends, and to a person, they never had a computer that was so fast,with the ability to do everything thrown at it. Marvelous machine:cool:
  17. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    My i7 fan only comes on for Flash and video games as long as it is on a hard surface. On cloth materials though, it sometimes comes on since they're insulators but it doesn't always come on.

    My work is mostly web browser, text editors, Xcode, MS Office 2011.
  18. hchung macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2008
    Not only would an i7 be overkill, it sounds like even the i5 is overkill.
    I did way more with my 2008 MBP (Core 2 Duo) + SSD, and thought it was fine. I'd still be with that machine had I not literally worked it to death and work bought me a new one.
  19. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Worth is a relative term. So is "big". It depends on what you are doing, how much money you are willing to spend, and your personal computing philosophy.

    For me, getting the fastest MBA available at the time of purchase was worth an extra $100. That way I would never be left wondering if that extra 10% would have helped here or there. There is no such thing as too much RAM, too much SSD space, and too fast a computer. Unless of course those $100 would be put to better use, like say for instance feeding your family... :rolleyes:
  20. iansilv macrumors 65816

    Jun 2, 2007
    I don't know about whether or not you actually maximize the value for dollar you get with the top processor in the MBA 13", but I will say this- I did it and I could not be happier with the machine. It is absolutely amazing. I too was waiting for the updated MBP and just got this. You will be happy no matter what you do, but I say get the maxed out configuration- it's always going to have the highest resale value.
  21. Booji macrumors 6502a


    Nov 17, 2011
    I always buy maxed out configuration. No, I don't need it but for the small difference in price I like to know I've got the fastest model available.
  22. BlackBoltMac macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2012
    Depends if you are purchasing first or second hand. I price shopped for several days and figured out good used pricing, I picked up a i7 under $1400 with two and a half years of applecare.

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