Just ordered an 11" MBA and have a quick question

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Anthony81586, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Anthony81586 macrumors regular

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    Oct 15, 2011
    #1
    So I just purchased the 11" MBA and I'm pretty excited about it. My wife has the same computer and I love the portability of it. Mainly what I use it for is office type documentation, browsing, watching movies and very rarely gaming (really the rare game of Starcraft). I opted for the 8GB of RAM and stuck with the core i5 processor. I did this because I didn't really see a need to spend the extra $150 for the i7 for what Id use it for. Well after looking through some reviews of the differences between the two it would seem that the performance bump is pretty substantial and from a "future proofing" standpoint might have made sense.

    What do you all think? With the stuff I get into on a regular basis would this bump really be noticed? Also, I do plan on getting a Cinema Display with a docking station in our home office that my wife and I will share, would the CPU affect this up scaling performance at all??

    Thanks!
     
  2. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

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    #2
    I use my 11" MBA with a Thunderbolt display; I've had 2012 and 2013 models with the i7 processor. I've also had a 2012 i5 for a brief period. Honestly, for your intended usage, I think you'll be fine with the i5. The i7 does make a difference, but it comes at the cost of battery life.
     
  3. Anthony81586 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 15, 2011
    #3
    Cool, thanks for the reply. That's what I figured but thought I'd ask. I'm looking forward to having that nice Cinema Display and finishing up our home office. Initially I planned to use an iPad as my daily device and an iMac at home but thought the 2 MBA's with a display setup might be the best way all around.

    Thanks again for the reply
     
  4. ionjohn macrumors 65816

    ionjohn

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    #4
    If I were you, I'd go with the i5, buy it, use it, test it, see if it's enough, you have 14 days to return your mac and get your money back if it's not. ;)
     
  5. Anthony81586 thread starter macrumors regular

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  6. Obi Wan Kenobi macrumors 6502

    Obi Wan Kenobi

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    #6
    I have similar usage to you. The i5 is more than good enough. A colleague has the i7, and the dent in battery life is very noticeable.

    I've come to think that buying a faster processor for 'future-proofing' is unnecessary with Macs. My 2011 MBA seems as fast as when I first started it up. I have a 2008 Aluminuim MacBook that's still going strong.

    But I do believe in buying more RAM if you can. It gives your processor more workspace for future OSs.
     
  7. michaelsviews macrumors 65816

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    Upstate NY
    #7
    Battery life

    Overall what's the battery life difference between the I5 & I7 in the OP's usage, I have a coworker who does light coding and he's trying to make up his mind which one is the better to go with long term
     
  8. Anthony81586 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Obi wan, thanks for the reply. That's a good point with the future proofing. The 2011 MBP I have is still lightning fast, just need more portability. Thanks again guys, glad I went with the i5
     
  9. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
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    #9
    I have a 2013 11" i7/8gb/512gb MBA. I think the battery life is phenomenal on this little machine. Have never run it all the way down, but it looks like it would get about 12 hours if I did. Last night I was using MS Word, browsing the web and watching ripped DVD's in iTunes for over 4 hours and it was showing over 70% for example. Maybe it would be even better with the i5, but I have no complaints.

    I previously had a 2011 13" i5 MBA and I don't think I even got half the runtime that I get with the new machine. But for the OP's use, I doubt that the i7 is necessary. I'd even go so far as to say that 4gb would also be fine. My MBA is my primary computer and I run stuff like Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro. I never really bought into the "future proofing" concept though. I just buy whatever computer I need today. 3 or 4 years down the road, anything you buy today is going to seem slow compared to what will be available.
     
  10. Anthony81586 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Thanks boyd. I ended up doing the bump in RAM anyway because like some others mentioned the updates and what not. Plus what I've read with the air is that the CPU and RAM cannot be upgraded while the ssd can. So I figured I'd at least bump the RAM. The CPU I was basing more on usage.

    You really decked that little machine out did you? Was the size the main reason you didn't go to the rMBP? Especially for the price of the upgrades you put into the MBA? Just curious.
     
  11. michaelsviews macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Do not mean to steal the OP's thread , but were you running wireless also while browsing the web ?
     
  12. robvas macrumors 68020

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    USA
    #12
    Anandtech covered the i5 vs the i7 battery life

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/7113/2013-macbook-air-core-i5-4250u-vs-core-i7-4650u/4

    The tradeoff in battery life is pretty easy to understand. In mostly idle workloads, I wouldn't expect any real degradation in battery life compared to the Core i5. Both configurations are equally capable of hitting the same max battery life number. More active workloads however will likely show a 15 - 20% decrease in battery life when paired with the faster CPU.
     
  13. Boyd01, Feb 4, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014

    Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #13
    Anthony: I went from a 2008 15" MBP to a 2011 13" MBA. The MBA was about twice as fast for CPU bound tasks and much, much, much faster for anything involving disk. So from my perspective, it was a huge performance bump while also much smaller and lighter.

    Then last summer I helped a friend out by selling her the MBA in a "sweetheart deal". As small and light as the 13" MBA was, whenever I travelled I wished it could have been even smaller and lighter. And I was feeling too crowded with the 256gb SSD (the largest available in 2011). The other improvements were just more icing on the cake - 8gb RAM (4gb was max available in t 2011), 30% faster CPU, 200% faster SSD, much longer battery life. Am going to Europe next month and the little MBA will be perfect. I can watch my own movies on the whole transcontinental flight and still have battery power left when I arrive. :)

    BTW, third party SSDs are available for older MBAs but I don't think any have come out yet for the 2013 model. And the older third party SSD were very pricey - I considered upgrading my 2011 MBA with a 480gb OWC SSD. But it was going for about $700 last time I checked (may be lower now). Made more sense to just get a new 512gb MBA and also have the other advantages mentioned above.

    Michael: yes, wifi is always turned on. Perhaps it helps that the router is only a few feet away and I live in the middle of nowhere so there are no competing signals from neighbors. Watching my ripped DVD's gives really impressive battery life if I turn the screen down (in a dark room I only need it to be up about 4 dots). What surprises me is that the battery gets sucked down quite quickly when I watch the same movies while connected to my 46" Sony TV via HDMI and the internal screen is set to only one dot.
     
  14. Anthony81586 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    @boyd - that's awesome to hear that you're so happy with it and it fits what you do perfectly.

    Like I was saying I have a 15" MBP and an iPad mini. I kind of wanted to consolidate those two devices so a nice portable and compact MBA seemed like the perfect medium. Also, I do a ton of reading and prefer the kindles e-ink to the LCD display of the mini (just a personal preference) so it seems like I'll have that perfect setup for me. Now into the office setup with thunderbolt Cinema Display! Thanks again, you've been very helpful!
     

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