MBA 13" 8GB/256 - i5 vs i7

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by paymonGT, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. paymonGT macrumors member

    Mar 26, 2009
    I almost pulled the trigger on the i7 this evening, but shied off because of what I read a while back regarding the i7's getting real hot. I rest my laptop, oddly enough, on my lap when I'm working in the evening on the couch. I don't want to burn the dudes down below. In terms of power, I don't necessarily need it. But I do need to purchase the machine on Amazon as I have $1600 in Amazon gift cards. Currently, there is an i7 8/256 on Amazon but no i5's.

    Experience/inputs greatly appreciated.
  2. boomboom2 macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    An i5 would probably meet your needs. If you really needed the power of an i7 you should get a 15" Pro.
  3. dkersten macrumors 6502a

    Nov 5, 2010
    If you have that much in gift cards, you might as well pull the trigger.
  4. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    I've heard from several posts here that there is relatively little heat difference between the two.
  5. paymonGT thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 26, 2009
    Again, my question is in regards to external heat production and to lesser extent battery life. I do NOT need the power of an i7, but there are no i5 8gb machines on Amazon (and there have not been for a while). In fact, the 8gb machines are damn near impossible to find. That said, I'd be willing to wait if the i7's are significantly hotter than the i5's.

    In terms of my uses, I would plan on keeping the machine for >4-5 yrs. I've had my current MacBook since June 2007 and could live with it for a while longer if necessary.
  6. dkersten macrumors 6502a

    Nov 5, 2010
    Oh sorry read through the OP to quickly. My friend has an i7 and I have an i5. I used his for an extended period of time the other day and it did not seem any hotter. I'm sure it ran a little hotter but wasn't noticeable to me.
  7. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    The i7 is fine. Perhaps it runs a little hotter than the i5 version, but unless you have a thermometer you are unlikely to notice it. I've been using an i7 (2011 and 2012) for over a year now, and I've never had an issue with it overheating or being uncomfortable. I run Windows 7 in a virtual machine, and so the processor has definitely been active.
  8. happyslayer macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    Not sure if this is totally relevant since I have the 11" Air, but I have the i7 and for about two weeks before trading it, I had the i5. I also use mine on my lap. I do not notice the difference in heat. Maybe a little bit warmer... maybe. Battery, however, is a different story. I get at least an hour less battery time. For that reason, I wish I'd stuck with the i5. But I had a similar situation with gift cards and got the i7 because I needed the 256 gig SSD.

    Anyway, the i7 is not that much warmer for me. It does get hot on games in boot camp Windows 7 (Really Hot!), but that is to be expected.

    So, get the i7.
  9. southerndoc macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    I've not used the i5, but got the 2.0 GHz i7 as my first MBA. Had an old MacBook Aluminum late 2008 model (2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo). The MBA is much faster, and it produces less heat than my old MacBook.
  10. ArtieFufkin10 macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2012
    Great thread

    I was wondering if anybody could sway me one way or the other.

    I plan to pick up a 13" 256GB MBA in about a week or two and I'm going to buy it using a university discount.

    The 8GB RAM upgrade is a no-brainer, but I'm sort of torn on the i5 vs i7.

    Mainly, this is going to be my "in-between" computer. I'll be working off other machines at home and the office, but when I'm traveling, I'll need to occasionally SSH into the other machines to run scripts, access files etc. When I'm traveling for work, I'll need to do some SW development (i.e. xCode), presentations and document editing (iLife). For fun, I see myself doing some "light" photo and video editing when I'm on vacation. I may also play around with DAW's to mix down some tunes.

    I guess one way of looking at it is the i7 upgrade is essentially "free" with the Uni discount, but I'm not sure I'll ever be pushing the machine hard enough to warrant that. And I could push the savings into AppleCare, etc.

  11. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    For most people, the i5 will be more than enough...that said, I got the i7 because it was a relatively "cheap" upgrade. I also plan on keeping this computer for ~3 years, so it might help future-proof it just a tad.
  12. Calot macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2012


    Get the i7.
  13. bullydog457 macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2012
    My wife has the i5 and I have the i7. I can't tell any difference in the temperature. When I've done video work on her i5 it gets pretty hot (I know, I know, it's not intended for that).

    Go with the i7. You'll be happy. I've had mine for about a month now (my first Mac) and I dare say I'll never go back. I have to boot into W7 sometimes for work and it is just dreadful. I can't believe most of the world still uses Windows as the benchmark.
  14. usmaak macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2012
    My wife's got the stock i5, and I have a BTO i7. I have them both sitting here right next to one another, idling on the Activity Monitor.

    i5: 99 degrees f
    i7: 101 degrees f

    I little while ago, the i5 was running four or five degrees warmer.

    I'm sure it would be a bit hotter under load, but at least in idle, the difference is negligible at best.
  15. kmzzp macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2012
    I have decided to go for i7, and I am satisfied with my decision. :)
  16. Calot macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2012
    i7 8GB 256 has made me a very happy individual. You can actually play games on medium settings at native resolution on this thing, at high fps! (just not very recent games like skyrim or Arkham CIty, you will have to compromise to native res and low settings to get 40+ fps)
  17. bubbleboyjones macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2010
    Also remember that the i7 will complete large tasks faster under load so while it will get hotter it won't last as long since the task will complete faster. Kind of like a race car getting to the destination first.
  18. paymonGT thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 26, 2009
    Thanks for everyone's input. I purchased the i7 8GB/256GB beast and got it yesterday. Playing around on it now, love this thing so far! Can't wait to see what it can handle. A nice little upgrade from my 2006 MacBook :D

    Time to browse the case/sleeve threads now!
  19. paymonGT thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 26, 2009
    Update: over 2 months with my i7 8/256 and I love it. I do crush the hard drive space though with some of my research video projects, so I'm looking for a good (Fast) external storage option but I am happy.
  20. Rachwomaninoff macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2012
    How much did the i7 upgrade cost? Do you think it'd cost different in upgrading the 8GB/128GB version?

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