MacBook vs MacBook Air - CPU Question

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by TiggrToo, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. TiggrToo macrumors demi-goddess

    TiggrToo

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2017
    Location:
    Out there...way out there
    #1
    Mrs TT may (just may) be starting to consider ditching her still functionally working, but unblessed with Windows 10 2009 Gateway Desktop (16GB) that still works well, but is, well, a desktop.

    Up for consideration are the Air and the MB. I grabbed me a 2013 Air a second machine at work to augment my Windows desktop when I'm at meetings, and I've found that I'm very happy with the speed, weight and surprisingly unfazed by the non-retina screen that my 2015 MBP has.

    So, given that whatever I obtain I'd want to last her as long as that ole Gateway desktop has, my big question (when looking at the specs) was the difference between the clock speed on the CPUs on each device. The Air is listed as coming with 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 or 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor and a Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz, with the MB having 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core m3, 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, or 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor and a Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz.

    On paper it would seem that the clock speed on the most expensive MB is potentially slower than the Air. However I wonder if any geeks out there can weigh in with what this really means in real life.

    Use cases for this laptop would be browsing, Office and War for the Overworld (which she's beed addicted to ever since it first came out as Dungeon Keeper).

    That said, I'm also cognizant that this baby needs to last 10 years. Does the lower reported clock speed on the MB really make much of a difference - and would upping the RAM to 16GB (whereas the Air currently locks you in a 8GB) [whilst not affecting the CPU speed I know] counteract any potential slower speed?
     
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 68030

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #2
    For those workloads you should actually be looking more at the turbo than the base clocks. The turbo clocks are what you'll run at most the time when you're not pushing multithreaded workloads. I can't remember exactly what CPUs the Air uses, but I also believe they're from an older generation, which means fewer instructions per clock - in other words, 100mhz on the MB is more power than 100Mhz on the Air. In multithreaded work, the Air will still be faster as a result of a higher TPD and more thermal headroom, but in "regular" office tasks and whatnot, the MacBook will run as well, if not better. – More RAM only really helps if you're running out of RAM. If you're a heavy multitasker, yes, it will make it feel less slow, if not, no it won't
     
  3. 06tb06 macrumors member

    06tb06

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2017
    Location:
    2,711 miles from Apple Campus
    #3
    The Air uses a 5th Gen "Broadwell" chip, a few generations past but still a respectable performer. If you enjoy the Air experience without a Retina display, then I say continue on this path. If you choose the i7 processor on the Air, it's only $150 upgrade, whereas the base MacBook is a $250 upgrade for the i7 chip with marginal performance gain. The MacBook i7 option has a higher boost but not the higher TDP or thermal headroom, as mentioned in the above post.

    If you take this route your also given support for legacy ports, including MagSafe, and traditional USB ports and SD card reader.

    Just my $0.02
     
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #4
    You can’t buy a computer expecting it to last ten years, any computer at any price. I am not saying that it can’t last ten years just that you can’t expect it to. Computers have a three year warranty for a reason, they wear out they are complicated and they can fail for any one of thousands of reasons at any time.

    Apple computers are pretty reliable as computers go and 5 or 6 years for a laptop is a reasonable expectation for a Mac but you really need to consider anything longer than that a bonus not an expectation.

    As for specs as long as her needs don’t change then just about any reasonable computer made in the last 5 years will be fine for her.
     
  5. TiggrToo thread starter macrumors demi-goddess

    TiggrToo

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2017
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    Out there...way out there
    #5
    Yes, you can. And I do. In fact there's folk who use 10 year old Macs on MacRumors. Not saying I expect it to, but that's my lifetime expectation. Anything working at 9 years we keep, the tenth year we replace. If it dies in the 6th so be it.
     
  6. gertruded macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Location:
    Northwestern Illinois
    #6
    Yes you can expect 10 years, We are still running a mid 2007 imac every day and mid 2009 mini everyday. Yes, the harddrives have been changed, but the machines still run great. A family member has a 2012 air that is not scheduled to be replaced and, with another a battery replacement, should last that long. New drives really sped up the older machines and they do all tasks required.

    i would like to purchase a new Mini but Apple is only selling 5 year old machines as new. No point in that.

    The iMac, at almost 11 years old is nearing the end of its life, but due to not being able to upgrade the software anymore. It will be replaced later this year.

    Take care of the machines, clean them out, keep the temperatures down, and don't abuse them.
     
  7. nathan_reilly macrumors newbie

    nathan_reilly

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    #7
    The temp thing is definitely valid - proper ventilation while watching movies - put it on a thin book if you're in bed!

    When my 2013 rMBP's GPU fried this past summer, I was playing battlefield. I'd often elevated its temperature to play games or run Solidworks inside of Parallels. Apple generously replaced my machine for free but it raised my awareness: silicon is a lottery. You can't ever know how good things are until they break. Two identical machines in identical conditions can have very different lifetimes.
     
  8. 06tb06 macrumors member

    06tb06

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2017
    Location:
    2,711 miles from Apple Campus
    #8
    Indeed. Same goes for vehicle engines. Identical engines built next to each other on the same assembly line can produce completely different performance metrics and lifespan outcomes. It's the same reason identical processors may score differently in benchmark comparisons.

    For example, Geekbench places the Core i5-7500 processor at around ~4,500 points for single-threaded performance, whereas the exact same chip in my iMac scores just over 5,000 points for the same test. The performance test may be showing incorrect numbers, or I just got lucky and got a great performer.
     
  9. nathan_reilly macrumors newbie

    nathan_reilly

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    #9
    Precisely. And to vamp off of that, one of those processors may last a year longer than the other. Just the nature of the beast. Good luck out there!
     
  10. Mr. Heckles macrumors regular

    Mr. Heckles

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2018
    Location:
    Around
    #10
    I’m still using a later 2008 MacBook aluminum. SSD and 8GB of RAM, and it’s not bad. I’ll probably get s new one next year. I just really don’t need a new computer. I got a System 76 laptop last year and having some fun with it.
     

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