Need to Buy Something Now - i5 or i7?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Howard54, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Howard54 macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2009
    I need to pick up a Macbook Air today or tomorrow for an upcoming trip. I will be buying the 13" with 256gb.

    What is the difference in performance, battery life and heat/fan between the i5 and i7 models for an average user? (Word, Excel, browser, mail, movies, youtube, itunes, etc.)

    Is the i7 worth it for average use or is it overkill for my purposes?
  2. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    This has been discussed extensively earlier.
    I got the i7, to be more future proof. In the 13" model it sees a 10%, performance upgrade while the 11" gets a 25% upgrade.
    The i5 is probably sufficient as 10% will not be noticeable. The i7 also makes the battery a little worst and makes the machine warmer.
    You would have to choose which was more important.
    Keep in mind the apple store will only have the base (13", 128, i5) or the maxed out unit. (13" 256, i7)

    Enjoy your MBA
  3. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68020

    PBG4 Dude

    Jul 6, 2007
    If you're picking up a 13" MBA at the store today and want a 256GB SSD, most likely they'll only have the "ultimate" 13" model available to buy.

    Checked the Apple online store and the $1,599 model only has I5 (I7 is still an upsell) so you'll most likely find the $1,599 model in the store.
  4. Howard54 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2009
    I know the Apple store will not have all models in stock, but Apple has told me that they can ship me whatever I need in the required timeframe. Also, I can get it from B&H since I live nearby in NJ.

    Is there any reason not to buy from B&H or other reputable non-Apple resellers?
  5. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Nope. Go with who has what you need and the cheapest.

    As stated the i7 only has about a 10% speed advantage over the i5 in the 13" models, so while everyone states it's more "future proof", how much more "future proof" can 10% speed really buy you? I would venture to guess that both models of 13" MBA's will outlive their usefulness at the same time. If the speed difference were 25%+ then I could see the "future proof" argument, but 10% no way.
  6. anirudh macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2008
    A 10% performance boost is not noticeable in almost ALL tasks. Heck, for the tasks you have mentioned even a C2D processor would be overkill. I would recommend the i5 because you not only save some money (use it to buy good protection for the air while traveling) but also get better battery life (important when outdoors) and lesser heat generation.

    Also, is this your main computer? Coz, if its only meant for traveling, you might want to check out the 11" higher end model too. Just my 0.02$
  7. ND40oz macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2011
    If you decide on the i5, Best Buy has it in stock as well, $100 off retail. That's the model I went with, wanted the 256 GB SSD, but didn't really see the point of the i7 for my needs.
  8. TheJing macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2011
    Somewhere in Europe
    I would get the i5. Seems like it's not worth the upgrade if all you're gonna do is what you mentioned above.
  9. Akack macrumors 6502a

    Mar 5, 2011
    One thing to keep in mind is you get a 50% discount on Applecare if you buy the Air and Applecare at the same time from BH. ( ~ $100 savings )

    i5 is more than adequate for your use, i7 kinda overkill.
  10. tanhm macrumors regular


    Jun 7, 2011
  11. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    The i5 would be fine, particularly on the 13" model. The 13" i5/256 model is also one of the standard models, so Apple, B&H, MacMall etc. usually are well stocked.
  12. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    Sales tax could be a factor. As in paying it or not.
  13. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have the i5 and its damn fast. The reason I didn't get the i7 was because I wanted 128GB drive not 256.....and I wanted it that day...but I've heard the i7 gives a huge performance if you already want the larger storage than it would be worth getting the i7.
  14. convergent macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2008
    I bought the i7 in the local Apple Store without any special ordering. Was in and out in 10 minutes.
  15. Howard54 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2009
    Assuming that the price difference is not the determining factor, should I lean towards the i5 over the i7 solely because of the heat issue reported by some with the i7?
  16. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I didn't know there was a heat issue with the i5 is always very stable...even running intense 3d games in boot camp.
  17. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    There is not much difference with the heat. AnandTech back in August did a pretty detailed review, and from what I recall there wasn't much difference in performance, heat output, or battery life between the 13" i5 and i7.

    I have the 11" i7 and have had no issues with heat. Sure, it gets warm at times, but that's any Apple notebook.
  18. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I would personally recommend the 11" over the 13"....the screen quality is better, higher resolution and higher density. I really liked the 11" better...thats why I bought it.
  19. Howard54 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2009
    The 11 inch is just too small to function as my only pc for extended trips, so I am set on the 13 inch. Now it is just a question of the i5 or the i7.
  20. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Plug into a second display when you need extra size. I've been using the 11" for about 5 months and it is perfect for me. The 13" quite a lower res and a larger screen...weird.
  21. Outrigger macrumors 68000


    Dec 22, 2008
    Please explain how the screen quality is better on the 11" and how it has a higher resolution?
  22. eric/ Guest


    Sep 19, 2011
    Ohio, United States
    Suppose that depends on the store. I bought a 13, 256, i5 at the Apple store.
  23. ericDylan macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2012
    All of the reviews I have read on the pair stated the resolution and density is lower on the 11". I know the resolution is lower. Because of this, one can infer that the density is also lower. This means the screen shows less at one time.

    I believe the size difference of the 11" and 13" is not enough to justify lower battery life, smaller screen, and slower processor. Additionally, the op said he had already decided on the 13".

    Regarding his question, I think, for his purposes, the i5 will provide ample power. It will also prove easier on the battery (and the wallet ;))
  24. seepel macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2009
    Resolution is just the number of pixels horizontally by vertically. Obviously the 11" is smaller. The density is the number of pixels divided by the area. I believe the 11" is 135 ppi while the 13" is 130ppi. So the 11" is slightly higher.

    As far as the processor, everything I've read is that on the 11" it is worth the upgrade but on the 13" the i7 doesn't add a whole lot.
  25. Daishan macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2008
    It sounds your workflow isn't CPU bound. Then the i5 should work fine for your purposes.

    If your workflow was in content creation or gaming and you needed lots of CPU cycles to make it efficient then get the i7.

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