MBA 11" - i5 or i7 processor ??

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by igmolinav, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. igmolinav macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #1
    Hi,

    The 11" MBA I am looking into comes with a 1.6 GHz i5 processor. One has the chance for an additional fee to get a 1.8 GHz i7 processor. The maximum RAM is 4 GB. What kind of work does one need to be doing that may require to get the latter processor, or when is such a procesor really needed/helpful ??

    Thank you, kind regards,

    igmolinav
     
  2. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #2
    If you can afford it, get the i7. No one has ever complained about their laptop being too fast. On the 11" the boost from the i5 to the i7 is significant given the small amount of money it costs. Go for it! :cool:
     
  3. Oppressed macrumors 65816

    Oppressed

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    #3
    Its funny but the jump in performance from the i5 to the i7 is huge. Something like 25%, which is larger than the 13 inch's performance jump. At the same time one does has to ask himself wether or not they need such power.
     
  4. redbotsoftware macrumors regular

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    Jun 2, 2009
    #4
    In my experience, you need to be doing something like editing, rendering, music or video to need the extra horse power. But I agree with the previous post, it doesn't cost much for the i7.
     
  5. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #5
    Its not THAT much more power! :D
     
  6. marrzie macrumors regular

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    Mar 9, 2011
    #6
    i7 aiaec. Unless you are super concerned by any additional heat.
     
  7. IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

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    #7
    I am currently typing on my 6 month old 2010 13" 1.86 C2D 128 SSD. I have not pushed this machine to the limit so I ordered the 11" i5 128SSD to replace it. Hard to beat the $1199 price
     
  8. macmba macrumors member

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    Aug 10, 2011
    #8
    I would go for i5.

    The 11" is not meant to be a desktop replacement machine. The screen and battery life are both too small to be so. I mean when you add the i7 and 4GB of ram, would not it be at the same price of a 13" which has a bigger screen, 2 hours more of battery life, and comes already with 4GB of Ram? At that point its like buying an iPad, with a keyboard and an i7: whats the point?
     
  9. DieterRams macrumors regular

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    Aug 3, 2010
    #9
    I'm thinking of getting an 11" as my primary and only machine. Is this a bad idea? I do have a first gen iPad but I see this laptop is a Mac OS X machine, shouldn't be a conflict there.
     
  10. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #10
    Hi,

    @Marrzie - What is aiaec ?? Do you think it will get too hot right from the very beginning that one starts to work with it ?? At the moment I am very lucky working with a MBP 13" 2.3 GHz. i5 and it hardly gets hot after watching three hours of video non stop!

    @macmba - From time to time I plan to connect a separate and large screen to it to work on music, video, and photography.

    With the i7 processor and the 4 GB of RAM, is it possible to do a comparison of the 11" MBA, with these characteresistics, to any of the MBPs ?? Can we say that the maxed out 11" MBA is as powerful to this or that MBP ??

    Thank you again, kind regards,

    igmolinav : ) !!!
     
  11. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #11
    On some benchmarks, the i7-equipped Air is roughly the equivalent of the 2.3GHz i5 in the 13" MacBook Pro. The Pro's CPU is still faster at base speeds, but both the 1.8GHz i7 and 2.3GHz i5 turbo boost to 2.9GHz in single core mode and 2.6GHz in dual core mode. What that means is that in everyday tasks, the two will perform nearly identically, but in CPU-intensive tasks (which prevent turbo boost from taking full effect), the i5 in the Pro will win out. Also, the GPU in the 13" Pro has a base speed of 650MHz compared to 350MHz in the i7. Both GPUs turbo boost to 1.2GHz.
     
  12. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

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    #12
    The 25% increase in speed is enticing.

    But, in real world use how much battery life are you loosing going from the i5 to i7? With the battery life being short already on the 11" ... every bit of battery life counts, if there's a 30 minute difference, 'real world' use then get the i5 unless you're doing something in which you know you'll need the extra power.

    Further is the heat. Yes, the i7 does run noticeably warmer on the bottom or on your lap doing day to day tasks, that much I tested personally. I wish I had of held on to both long enough to test the battery life difference. From reading here it's no difference to over 30 minutes difference.

    In the end I went with the i5. When I had the i5 and i7 side by side and worked away I couldn't tell which was which, not even slightly. If someone was to switch and i7 with an i5 or vice verse without telling me the only way I'd be able to tell is the heat on the bottom and top corner of the i7 is for sure hotter...

    hth.
     
  13. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #13
    Hi,

    "the two will perform nearly identically, but in CPU-intensive tasks (which prevent turbo boost from taking full effect), the i5 in the Pro will win out. Also, the GPU in the 13" Pro has a base speed of 650MHz compared to 350MHz in the i7. Both GPUs turbo boost to 1.2GHz."

    "the i5 in the Pro will win out" - In spite of the fact that the 13" MBP will win out in CPU-intensive tasks, that does not hinder or prevent the smaller 11" MBA of doing the same tasks, or does it ??

    Thank you again, kind regards,

    igmolinav : ) !!!
     
  14. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #14
    Generally, there is very little to nothing the 13" Pro can do that the 11" Air with the i7 (or i5 for that matter) can't do. Encoding a DVD in Handbrake may be a little slower on the Air, but it will still get it done, and in close to the same amount of time on the i7-equipped Air as the base 13" Pro. The 13" Pro may get a few more FPS on some games, but neither are gaming machines (get the 15" Pro for that).
     
  15. DrNelly macrumors member

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    #15
    I don't agree with this, I have had both for a week and I could tell and time the differences when launching apps, loading videos, photos, rebooting and any other "everyday task". Put it this way, a 28-30% performance increase is more than the update from MBP 13" 2010 base to MBP 13" 2011 base (which was a 23% increase)

    I think it would be wise to simply accept the fact that both machines are incredibly fast and usable, but the i7 clearly has the speed edge for most everyday tasks, not to mention the i7 has about 2% longer battery life.
     
  16. macfly4 macrumors member

    macfly4

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    Apr 15, 2011
    #16
    After years of buying Macs I now look at it as future proofing. Buy the fastest processor you can afford. Apple always makes a cutoff somewhere when they make a major upgrade to operating systems. for example, 4 and a bit years ago i bought a core duo powerbook for my GF. a few months later i bought the core 2 duo macbook for me. Granted, its 5 years later but now I was able to upgrade my laptop to Tiger(which actually handles it quite well,sans multitouch) and she is stuck at snow leopard.
    So in general, you can't go wrong getting their most advanced processor at the time.
     
  17. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #17
    This. No one ever complained about their processor being too fast or their SSD too big. Apple gives you choices for people who are price sensitive. If you want to save a few hundred bucks, shave something off here, shave something off there. It is still an awesome system, but to dismiss it as "not noticeable" is disingenuous. There is a choice BECAUSE there is a difference. But hey, whatever floats people's boats, know what I mean? :cool:
     
  18. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

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    #18
    Interesting your results are different. Your comments on speed are in line with Anandtech, your comments about the battery are not. Frankly, hard to swallow your comments on the battery life, professional reviews are more in line with my experience for sure.

    Like I said, side by side, 11" i5/i7 I did not notice ANY speed difference whatsoever in *day to day* tasks ... money doesn't matter to me, I typically buy high end everything - not in this case. The heat and battery life are my priority, not speed I'm not going to notice, and I'm not using the 11" to render video either so why go i7? The windows mentality persists for many, specs, speed, power ...I used to be that way too, now I like to test first hand and read reviews then make my decision ... for me, this was the right decision.
     
  19. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Hi,

    "But, in real world use how much battery life are you loosing going from the i5 to i7? With the battery life being short already on the 11" ... every bit of battery life counts, if there's a 30 minute difference ... "

    "Further is the heat. Yes, the i7 does run noticeably warmer on the bottom or on your lap doing day to day tasks, that much I tested personally"

    Just a question, do you guys usually work with your computer disconnected, I mean, just with the battery power ?? I used to have an ibook G4 and I used all the time just the battery. What happened is that after a year more or less, I had already depleted the battery! I use now a MBP and I have only used the battery alone on very rare ocassions. I usually work with the cable connected to the energy source. Is that bad ??

    It is bad that it gets warm! For the MBP I built a set of four "little bases" that are round and like half an inch thick. I always place each of these four little bases under each of the four corners of the MBP. This helps to dissipate the heat a bit.

    Thank you again !!!

    igmolinav : ) !!!
     
  20. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

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    #20
    So buy the power no matter what? Even if respected reviews like Anandtech suggest doing so comes at the expense of heat and battery life??? I just feel that's bad advice, and it's advice I took ... I first bought the i7 .... she was toasty and the battery life under 4 hours too often.

    The i5 is cooler and I'm sure battery life is longer, how much longer I can't say ... point being this future proof advice can mean a hotter, louder, shorter run time machine ... are those disadvantages worth the peace of mind that you've future proofed your laptop and you may get $100 more for it when you resell it in 3 years. Or, would you rather have a cooler, quieter longer lasting battery during the duration of the time you'll be using it - I chose the later.

    Hey, to each their own, no problem there, I'll give you the power gain, on the 11" 25% is noticeable for heavy lifting no doubt, but future proofing, the i7 runs cool as the i5, the i7 has better battery life than the i5?? ah, no way.

    I'd like to read more feedback from those who've had both in their hands ... if you carefully read all the posts here, it really doesn't add up, it's 50-50 split decisions ... good news it means they're BOTH EXCELLENT machines!!
     
  21. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #21
    I don't thing the difference in heat and battery life are that significant to make a purchasing decision based on that. Those things tend to get a bit overblown in an OCDish environment. But you are right, to each his own. :cool:
     
  22. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #22
    Hi,

    "The 13" Pro may get a few more FPS on some games, but neither are gaming machines (get the 15" Pro for that)"

    I plan tu have a photography software, probably lightroom or photoshop. A music software, not sure which yet. A video software like final cut pro. And perhaps an architecture software like Archicad for Mac. Am I pushing it too much ??

    Thank you, kind regards,

    igmolinav : ) !!!
     
  23. IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

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    #23
    No but it sounding like you might op for a 256 GB SSD, if you plan on carrying around thousands of RAW files.
     
  24. DrNelly macrumors member

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    NJ
    #24
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4554/apples-11inch-macbook-air-core-i7-18ghz-review-update/5

    Please, take a look at this benchmarks by Anand. As I said, there is a 2-3% longer battery on the i7 because of the i7's ability to get things done quickly and shut itself down. Even on intense CPU tasks, the battery sustains around the same numbers as the i5.

    What's out of doubt land is this: the i7 does NOT have worse battery life than the i5, under all testing cases. It gets warmer (+3/4 degrees) but the i7 is the winner if money is not an issue.
     
  25. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #25
    Hi,

    "No but it sounding like you might op for a 256 GB SSD, if you plan on carrying around thousands of RAW files"

    I have planned on getting an external hard drive. Whatever I work on will be in the MBA and the rest in the external. What do you think ??

    Kind regards,

    igmolinav : ) !!!
     

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