Time for our annual MBA i5 v i7 competition!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by warriorz, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. warriorz macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2010
    Whilst we all eagerly await Anandtech's (and others) report, what do you guys think? Which is 'better' and will you be going for? Do you think the differences in heat, fan speed & performance will be as pronounced as for last years IB processors? Or will Haswells low power consumption solve the heat and fan differences - to a minimum at least? (Note the clock speed on the base i5: 1.3Ghz!) Post your thoughts, opinions and purchase decisions!
  2. bp1000, Jun 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013

    bp1000 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2011
    Don't get too hung up on clock speed

    In reality general operation rarely needs more than the 1ghz to 1.5ghz range. The real advancements come at the os and program level where code efficiency and use of ram and faster ssd drives bring the real speed improvements. Rarely do everyday apps need high levels of computation but they do need to cache their operations in memory for faster access.

    If you want to see what CPU computation is used in daily routine stuff like, email, web, Skype etc you can look at system monitor. My CPU uses between 1% and 8% CPU idle with loads of apps running. Web browsing might utilise around 30% with a quick spike to 80-100% of just 1 core, leaving plenty in reserve. Don't forget we are talking about a dual core processor here that can turbo boost.

    Of course if you are manipulating a rendering, working with super high res raw photos or compressing video then the 1.3ghz chip will boost up and be more than capable.

    If you think 1.3ghz won't be enough for your needs I think perhaps a quad core MBP might be more suitable. You would have to be running high intensity stuff and remember not all program's can utilise all 4 cores anyway. It's reserved for creativity apps with quad core support usually.

    Otherwise the lower power requirements make the Haswell MBA a superb choice for the average user.


    I'm personally going to pick up a new 13" i5, 8gb, 256gb ssd in town once they come into stock, to replace my 2011 i5, 4gb, 128gb ssd machine.
  3. warriorz thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2010
    Yes I think it will be fine for most users who aren't doing heavy editing, or as you say manipulating large raw files for example. Actually when I brought up the 1.3 ghz I was noting it as a positive, it's great that we can get fully fledged computing at such low levels. Still I do think it will throw some people or potential buyers. And then there's the ever present advice about future proofing and purchasing the highest spec you can afford at the time - this I do think carries some credence for consumers, especially for those who feel they may make use of the processor in the future without necessarily wanting to upgrade again at that time.
  4. bp1000 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2011
    Yes it's a shame it will throw some people as all they loose is 100mhz at the too end which would be inconceivable.

    Yet they would gain massively from the ssd speed and much better gpu performance.

    A lot more apps are making use of gpu calculations and anyone who upgraded from a hdd to a solid state drive will know the incredible boost in load times you achieve. These new ssds in the MBA are silly fast. Yet if you put a 3.2ghz single core upgrade in replacing a 2.8ghz single core you would not notice any difference in the old days of computer building.

    I don't think anyone would notice the difference between 1.5ghz and 3ghz quite honestly. Unless they did the obvious, alot of heavy lifting
  5. warriorz thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2010
    That's a good point, I haven't looked into the new flash storage that was mentioned that Apple are now touting, I'll have to look into that, I think it's quoted somewhere as being up to 45% faster than last generation. All these things put together should equate to excellent speed gains. Though still, I'm really looking forward to some of the lab benchmarking tests to consider the effect of the difference of the two processors on temperatures, heat retention and when the fans kick in. And off course whether the i5 has benefits in terms of battery life, and how the i7 actually performs under load in comparison to i5 for heavy duty use. Should be interesting to compare with ivy bridge.
  6. ApplNat macrumors member


    May 18, 2013
    I certainly hope the i5 is a good option as that's what I went with (upgraded the ram to 8gb and opted for the 256gb HD). I don't do any video editing and as for graphics and photography, I'd say my usage is on the light side.
  7. warriorz thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2010
    Yup I'd say that sounds perfect, which you obviously already know if your needs are light computing. Like you I'd certainly upgrade to 8gb, in a way that's future proofing, and when you're spending the kind of money you are, the relative additional cost is 'minimal', sounds like a no brainier to go for the 8gb, obviously that's just my view and preference, others may be perfectly happy with 4gb. For me too the 256 storage is plenty, I might have gone for the 512 but there the additional cost is quite a bit more, Apple prices of course!

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