Should I get i7 MacBook Air or i5 2.6GHz MacBook Pro?

Pitusky

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 25, 2014
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I will buy a macbook but I don't know if I should choose a 8gb RAM i7 1.7GHz i7 processor with 256gb SSD Macbook Air or a 8gb RAM i5 2.6GHz processor with 256gb Flash Storage?

Which one do you think is better?
What is the differences?
Why?
 

Gman021

macrumors regular
Aug 21, 2012
143
0
The processor on the MacBook Pro is superior to any in the air. For dual core, i5 and i7 are very similar. The big difference is in the quad core processors. The MacBook Pro has a full 1 ghz faster clock speed so it will perform much better.


I know someone smarter will support or disprove what I said. I read all this somewhere but I reserve the right to be completely wrong.
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
The processor on the MacBook Pro is superior to any in the air. For dual core, i5 and i7 are very similar. The big difference is in the quad core processors. The MacBook Pro has a full 1 ghz faster clock speed so it will perform much better.

I know someone smarter will support or disprove what I said. I read all this somewhere but I reserve the right to be completely wrong.
So in principle you should be right. However I have a hard time proving it. Going to geekbench it seems that the i7 Air beats the i5 retina in single core, and is very close to it in multi-core applications.

Now we already know that clock speeds are meaningless these days. The CPU will just clock up to the maximal turbo state that the cooling can handle. So you would expect that the MBP will pull away on tasks that last longer, but I don't see that happening.

There is also a better GPU in the Pros. I'm just comparing the dual cores here, quad core of course is a different story.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,056
1,106
NYC
The MacBook Air processor is faster, but the GPU in the MacBook Pro is faster.
 

thunng8

macrumors 6502a
Feb 8, 2006
818
205
The MacBook Air processor is faster, but the GPU in the MacBook Pro is faster.
No it is not, according to geekbench, they are similar in single core, but the MacBook Pro is faster in multi-core.

http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks

64 bit benchmarks (single/multi)

MacBook Air i7 1.7Ghz 3144/6152
MacBook Pro i5 2.6Ghz 3124/6627

Also note that the MacBook Pro has a much higher thermal headroom (28W vs 15W) so if you are doing tasks that take a long period of time, the Macbook air processor will start to throttle (since it is over it's thermal limit for a long period of time) and be significantly slower, for example even comparing the latest air vs the Ivy Bridge i5 Macbook Pro retina

Eg. using handbrake, the air is quite a lot slower:

http://www.macworld.com/article/2042347/lab-tested-ultimate-macbook-air-2013-holds-its-own-against-the-macbook-pro.html

Handbrake Encode (sec, lower is better)

MacBook Air i7 1.7Ghz 122.7
MacBook Pro i5 2.6Ghz 107

And that is comparing the early 2013 macbook Pro with Ivy Bridge. Haswell Macbook Pro should be even fadter.
 
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Lucille Carter

Suspended
Jul 3, 2013
1,266
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If the OP is concerned with performance there should be little question that he should get the MBPro. If portability is more important, he should go for the Air.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Boston
I will buy a macbook but I don't know if I should choose a 8gb RAM i7 1.7GHz i7 processor with 256gb SSD Macbook Air or a 8gb RAM i5 2.6GHz processor with 256gb Flash Storage?

Which one do you think is better?
What is the differences?
Why?
I'd opt for the rMBP, its a better machine all around with one exception, the battery. The MBA will have better battery life.

Just my $.02


The MacBook Air processor is faster, but the GPU in the MacBook Pro is faster.
Would it be because isn't the MBA using the ULV version of Haswell so even though its an i7 wouldn't it be slower?