What will give my Air more 'oomph'?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by DopeZilla, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. DopeZilla macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    #1
    Hey guys, just configuring my brand spankin' new MBA. I have two part question.

    I want to spend an extra $100 on configuration but I'm torn as to where to put the money. Is there much of a performance difference between the 1.8Ghz Intel Dual-Core Core i5 processor and the 2.0Ghz Intel Dual-Core Core i7 processor? Would it be worth putting my money there?

    Or,

    Should I just bump the memory up from 4gb to 8gb?

    What will provide the biggest performance enhancement?

    Thank you!
     
  2. DopeZilla thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    #2
    Just to provide more info:

    I'm not really going to be using the computer for very cpu heavy programs or anything like that. I know hyper threading is available on i5 now, so that isn't an issue. In terms of increasing longevity, CPU or Memory upgrade?
     
  3. angemon89 macrumors 68000

    angemon89

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    The place where Apple designs stuff
    #3
    Definitely the RAM. No brainer.

    It'll provide the most longevity because RAM usage is only going up.
     
  4. DopeZilla thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    #4
    Thank you!
     
  5. PeterJP macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #5
    Hi Dope,

    If it's anywhere similar to the previous MBA versions, then the 2.0GHz i7 will give you a decent speed benefit for compute intensive applications (photo processing, transcoding...) but at the cost of 1) shorter battery life and 2) worse thermals (the computer gets hotter). I will personally not go for the i7 because, in my experience with laptops, a hotter computer will always give up years before ones that don't run hot.


    That's what I will go for, but not for performance reasons. 8GB will future proof the MBA because you can't upgrade memory afterwards. In 3 years' time, 8GB will be like today's 4GB, so it won't seem like as much as a luxury anymore. On the other hand, except if you're planning to start processing (for example) 40 megapixel photos instead of your current 8-12MP, processing power will most likely be sufficient for many years to come.

    If you want a performance upgrade, you could get the cheapest MBA 11" with 4GB (or 8) and a 64GB SSD. Upgrade that SSD by hand to any OWC SSD. That's something you will notice, not only while doing lots of really heavy processing.


    Peter.
     
  6. DopeZilla thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    #6
    Thank you so much for the detailed reply! It does seem like the upgrade on the RAM is the way to go!
     
  7. JonLa macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2009
    #7
    RAM and storage - unless you're planning to upgrade in a year or so.
     
  8. FuNGi macrumors 65816

    FuNGi

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #8
    FYI, this is one instance where buying Apple's upgraded storage is a bargain. The only other MBA SSD replacement game in town is OWC. They want $750 for a 480 GB blade compared to Apple's $500. I say 8GB of RAM vs. processor but think hard about what storage you'll need now and in 2 years time. I got a 2010 128GB Air knowing it would never be enough until it is over the 350GB range - I'm still waiting for OWC's prices to fall.
     
  9. PeterJP macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #9
    That's not entirely correct. Apple's 512GB SSD is a €500 extra over the 256GB SSD. But there's no need to get that 256GB SSD if all you're doing is tearing it out. If you don't specifically require the 2.0GHz i7 processor, you can stick to the MBA with the 64GB SSD (which you can upgrade to 8GB RAM, too). From 64GB to 512GB, Apple charges a whopping €900. If you require the i7, then you're upgrading from the 128GB SSD, which is still €800.

    €750 all of a sudden seems like a steal for a 480GB 6G OWC SSD that beats the pants off Apple's.


    Peter.
     
  10. jgbr, Jun 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012

    jgbr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    #10
    I think if you get i7, you must buy it with 8gb , if you get 8gb i5 will be ok for most users.

    Ivybridge reviews are showing the i7 mobile CPUS to be cooler then the sandybridge version

    But if its covered by apple care for 3 years, what's to panic about? you'll be buying a new one even if the claim by some i7 machines last shorter times in 3 years anyway!

    Also a great website indicated i7 actually helped because it did jobs quicker, so in theory presented no difference to battery life.

    IE: i5 on full power for 60 seconds , i7 on full power for 35 seconds = same battery power usage, same heat for shorter time.

    (Intel confirms that i5 and i7 have same 14W stock power usage at either speed unless you speed step)
     
  11. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #11
    Bumping to 8GB will provide more future-proofing than the incremental processor speed upgrade will. 4GB is going to be very limiting within a couple of years. It's already very limiting if you run any of the pro apps.
     
  12. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #12
    RAM is a good choice.

    The processor is less, but if you got the mullah it's a good choice too.

    Finally if you already have a MacBook Air and am considering a 2012 model, perhaps a SATA 6G SSD [from OWC] for you 2010/2011 model would be a good choice instead of upgrading.
     
  13. FuNGi macrumors 65816

    FuNGi

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #13
    Excellent point - if you start low you save more upgrading yourself. I was thinking going from 256 GB to ~500. This is all you can do with a 13". As long as we're being entirely correct though, €750 is $940.8 ;)

    ----------

    I believe the 6G is faster than the 3G only on the 2011 MBA model though.
     
  14. PeterJP macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #14
    Hello Fungi,

    Yes, but I have to admit that I'm only interested in pricing here in Belgium, both for the OWC and for Apple upgrades :) Very selfish, I know !


    You are right. It seems the 2012 MBA has quite a decent SSD in it. If it's the Samsung 830, that would actually be my choice of SSD for a PC right now. Early benchmarks seem to confirm the OWC's advantage is quite reduced now.


    Peter.
     
  15. DaDalle macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    #15
    Just a note for those who want to go the OWC route: You CAN'T Upgrade the new MBA with the current OWC SSDs

    from: http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/12/teardown-of-mid-2012-macbook-air-reveals-tweaked-ssd-connector/
     

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