MBA 1.4Ghz i5 vs 1.7GHz i7

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by 212rikanmofo, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. 212rikanmofo macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Is it worth the difference in price to get the i7 model over the i5?

    I mean I will be using this computer for chat/surf/email and graphic design work, like Adobe CC, listening to music, web design, iWork, Office, iMovie/Garageband.

    I heard there's not a noticeable difference between the 2 models. Can someone offer some advice. Thanks.
     
  2. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

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    #2
    It depends on the usage. Just sitting down to do email or surf the net, you're not going to notice much difference.

    Adobe CC can start to make a difference, especially with Premier or heavy Photoshop use. iMovie/Garage Band, the faster CPU is also appreciated by most.

    I would say go with the i7 if it's not a big deal to swing it. What something's "worth" is completely relative.

    (have you considered a MBP?... if this is going to be your primary computer, you might want something with a little more power?)
     
  3. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #3
    With rendering in imovie there is a difference. With adobe CC it depends on what you do.
    Unless you spend a lot of time rendering or run calculations of some sort than I think the money for the upgrade would be wiser spent on a larger ssd, ram or a big steak and a cigar :)
     
  4. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

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    #4
    and a bottle of scotch!
     
  5. motrek macrumors 68020

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    #5
    The MBA has enough cooling headroom to run these chips at full turbo boost indefinitely, so you should be comparing the boosted clock speeds, i.e., 3.3GHz vs. 2.7GHz. That's a 22% difference.

    Oh, I just did some division and see that 1.7 vs. 1.4 is almost the same difference percentage-wise. Haha.

    Anyway, if you're doing something where you'd notice a ~20% difference, then go for it. Like, you're sitting at your computer waiting 10 minutes for it to finish calculating something and you wish it only took 8 minutes.

    I doubt you'd notice any sort of practical difference with CPU tasks that only take a fraction of a second, like bringing up web pages.
     
  6. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #6
    I had a 2011 i5 MBA and replaced it with a 2013 i7. Rendering video is noticeably faster and there is less latency recording in Logic Pro. Aside from that, the user experience is very similar (and the 2013 generation is already faster than the 2011).

    If you can afford the difference, why not go for it? Look at it this way… since you're already wondering whether it's faster, if you buy the i5 there will always be this lingering doubt in the back of your mind as to whether you should have gotten the i7. :D
     
  7. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

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    #7
    Nope

    Had a 2.0ghz i7 in my MBA, now have a 2.4ghz i5 in my MBP.

    The biggest difference is rendering times for video, which is a few minutes at best.

    Spend the money on more ram, unless you create videos or other high-end motion graphics for a living.

    i5 seems to have better battery life too, but that's non-scientific comparisons between my buddies' different models.
     
  8. motrek macrumors 68020

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    #8
    The i5 in the 2011 ran pretty hot and you might have been running into thermal throttling during video renders, which would have cut your speed in half. So it's not clear you'd see the same benefit going from an i5 to an i7 in 2014/2015.
     
  9. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #9
    The 2011 definitely ran hotter than the 2013. However the speed difference wasn't as great as 2x. I never clocked it in Final Cut Pro, but in Logic Pro, latency went from 13ms to 9ms using the same interface. Hard to know exactly what caused that though since the the 2013 SSD is faster and it also has 8gb vs 4gb on the 2011.
     
  10. cyb3rdud3 macrumors 65816

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    #10
    I've never owned the i5, but considering the small price difference I went straight for the i7/8GB/512SSD. You can't upgrade it later, so may as well now. I can handle anything I throw at it with ease, never found it running out of steam...Be it compiling code, design in Adobe CC, editing Video in FCP/Motion, handling RAW conversion in Aperture, music in iTunes...It is a very solid performer.
     
  11. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    #11
    The time difference on handbrake between the two adds up if you use handbrake at all.
     
  12. iphoneuserinyyz macrumors member

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    #12
  13. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

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    #13
    Bourbon here, Makers Mark "46":cool:
     
  14. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

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    #14
    One thing I haven't seen mentioned is that the battery in the 11" is smaller. This discussion really depends on which size Air you're talking about.

    That's one of the reasons I went for the i5 in my 11" that I've ordered. It also won't be my only Mac, so the i7 was not necessary for me.

    If I had only 1 mac, and it was a 13" Air, I would get the i7.
     
  15. matt550 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 7, 2008
    #15
    I'm glad I came across this thread. I've been looking at a MBA to replace my 2007 MacBook. I'm torn if I want to upgrade to the i7. While I don't do much if any gaming, mostly web, email, Netflix, pictures, iPhone/iPad backup. Etc... I doubt I'd notice a big difference at all. Ill wait until they announce the new models...
     
  16. cbautis2 macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    It's a shame to Intel that an i5 ULV can pretty much match an i7 ULV according to GeekBench. For example, my i5 surface pro 3 that I use for MS projects pretty much gives 99% performance the i7 in MBA

    http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/compare/1845901?baseline=1845544

    Just get the i5 and 8 GB RAM. You'll save lots of money in the process. I predict it'll be the same for broadwell.
     
  17. Algus macrumors regular

    Algus

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    #17
    I won't say there isn't a small market for people who would prefer the portability of the MBA but need a little extra muscle for their work but for most people, the i7 is a complete waste of an upgrade. If you need more CPU power, get away from the MBA and the ULV CPUs.

    I've never been a fan of the dual-core i7s though. Usually only marginal gains for much greater expense. If you've got the money to burn, the 8 GB RAM upgrade is such a better option. If you need more CPU, the Macbook Pros aren't that much more expensive ($1299 vs $1149 for i7 MBA) and you also get 8 GB RAM, retina and Iris GPU. 13'' MBP isn't that much heavier and still has great battery life.

    If the i7s were cheaper or the MBA already had 8 GB of RAM at stock, I'd be more inclined to recommend it. I just don't think it makes sense to spend MBP money on an Air.
     
  18. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Well said, my thinking exactly. The other factor for me is portability and battery life. i7 is too much of a compromise in the MBA 11", and if I was in the market for a 13" I would buy a rMBP.
     
  19. ixxx69, Feb 4, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015

    ixxx69 macrumors 65816

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    #19
    It's not a shame, it's by design. That i5 has a 37W TDP [edit: this is wrong, it only is 15W as well] while that i7 has a 15W TDP. What you're getting is battery life with the MBA... several hours more.
     
  20. motrek macrumors 68020

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    #20
    Intel often differentiates products by features. i7s usually have more features than i5s, e.g., to improve virtualization performance or similar. Such features may not matter to you. I would guess they don't to most people.
     
  21. cbautis2 macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 17, 2013
    #21
    Nope the i5 has the same tdp as the i7: http://ark.intel.com/compare/76308,75114

    The battery life is dependent on OS. OS X is far more efficient than Windows
     
  22. cyb3rdud3 macrumors 65816

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    #22

    Today, I agree. The rMBP with i7, 8GB and 512ssd is worth it. When I need to replace my stolen MBP the MBA was much ahead of the MBP as it didn't use the faster bus, lower resolution, shorter battery life etc.

    Basically it has been updated to the level that the MBA was already at, and now looks a better value proposition.
     
  23. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

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    #23
    I stand corrected. I confused the 4300M with the 4300U. Thanks for pointing that out. If it wasn't so late at night when I wrote that, it might have occurred to me that it wouldn't make any sense for the Surf3 to be using a 37W TDP CPU. :eek:
     
  24. Ronnoco macrumors 68030

    Ronnoco

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    #24
    The 2013/14 MacBook Air's seem to have greatly surpassed what Apple originally intended with the introduction of the Air. My 2013 MBA (i7/8GB/512) with it's PCIe SSD is as fast and powerful a portable as I have ever owned and for a while, blurred the lines between the 13" MBP and the MBA. It seems the next generation of the Air will be getting back to the less powerful but far lighter and insane battery life travel computer it was originally intended to be.
     
  25. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #25
    The only intention with the original MBA was for it to be thin and light.

    The design goal wasn't for it to be powerful. From 2008 to 2010 it was pretty underpowered.

    The design goal wasn't for it to have insane battery life either. From 2008 to 2012 it was supposed to get ~5 hours of battery life, which was less than MacBook Pros for those years.

    In 2013, Apple refreshed the laptops with Intel's new Haswell processors which made them as powerful as any other laptop and also gave them crazy good battery life. This isn't anything that Apple planned or designed or intended, they just got it for free from Intel.

    So it's misguided to make predictions or evaluate rumors based on the idea that the MBA's design goal is to be powerful or to have long battery life, as many people now seem to think because they can only remember the most 2 recent model years.
     

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