Would a new MBA 11" i5 or i7 match an Early 2011 MBP 2.3 i7 for performance?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Ianblackburn, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. Ianblackburn macrumors member

    Feb 21, 2011
    I am considering changing to an MBA for the portability.

    I currently have a MBP Early 2011 15" with 8GB, 512 SSD core i7 2.3 which I would pass on. I mostly use this connected to a Thunderbolt display and have been using a PC laptop or iPad on travels.

    However I would prefer a MBA for travelling and would also connect this to the Thunderbolt display when at my desk.

    So my question is: If I make the swap to 11" MBA i5 would I take a big drop in performance and is the same true of the MBA i7 upgrade?


  2. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2013
    I seriously doubt a 2011 i7 is better than a 2013/14 i5...but, if you want to be safe, just get the new i7.
  3. capathy21 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    I would think the current i5 would be on par with the older i7 for the most part.
  4. mripadmini macrumors regular


    Aug 24, 2013
    get the i7 because it is more powerful so when you do need the power you have it.
  5. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    The i7 MBA will be about 61% the speed of your old processor, the i5 MBA will be about 53% the speed of your old processor. This is assuming you are utilizing all 8 virtual cores. Programs that do not utilize all the virtual cores will perform about the same on both computers, so if you are just using consumer programs this will not hurt your performance, and the i7 may have higher performance for programs using 1-2 cores (although you can't get too much kick out of Safari anyways). If you use your MBP for professional programs, you will notice a hit to performance, and will want the i7, even though it will perform significantly worse. If not, then the MBA in either the i5 or i7 is a perfect consumer computer, and you probably do not need the i7.

  6. yosemit macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2013
    Second this. For daily usage, assuming limited parallel processing, a 2013/2014 i7 MBA is faster than a 2011 i7 MBP. The difference should be visible because the MBA also has faster SSD and DRAM.

    For workloads that can utilize all four cores and the discrete GPU (assume there is one), the 2011 i7 MBP still wins comfortably.

  7. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2014
  8. Naimfan macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2003
    It depends on what you do, and whether you benefit from having more processing cores.

    Since you have a SSD in your MBP, you won't notice any difference in day to day usage. If you run software that takes advantage of all 8 cores (4 physical; 4 virtual), your MBP will leave even the fastest (2 physical cores; 2 virtual) MBA for dead.

    Also - beware relying on synthetic benchmarks. Geekbench, in particular, will understate the processing power advantage of your current MBP because it tests in a burst, as opposed to a sustained test.

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