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  1. #1
    Early 2015 11" MacBook Air i5 vs 2017 MacBook 12" "i7"
    I currently have an Early 2015 11" MacBook Air i5 4GB RAM, the screen resolution is too small for me - I would really like to get the 2017 12" MacBook "i7" 16GB RAM. I have been reading and I know the "i7" in the MacBook isn't really an i7 but rather a rebranded Core M. I browse the web with like 50 tabs open (Safari), Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and maybe the occasional game of Starcraft. No video editing and no gaming with any game newer than 2005.

    What kind of performance difference should I be expecting from these two machines? I am concerned about thermal throttling. I ask because Geekbench scores apparently take full advantage of turbo boost on the processor, thus appear to be pretty inaccurate.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Early 2015 11" MacBook Air i5 vs 2017 MacBook 12" "i7"
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    You've mentioned two things...and the one thing relies on the other thing for decision making.

    You mentioned that the screen resolution on your 11" MacBook Air is too small. Getting a 2017 12" MacBook is really not going to help. Thus being concerned about performance issues with a 2017 12" MacBook is really not important if you will still have screen resolution issues with it.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  3. #3
    How do you figure that to be remotely accurate? One has s resolution of 1366x768 and the other has a resolution of 2560x1600.

  4. #4
    Early 2015 11" MacBook Air i5 vs 2017 MacBook 12" "i7"
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxxx View Post
    How do you figure that to be remotely accurate? One has s resolution of 1366x768 and the other has a resolution of 2560x1600.
    Well (to be absolutely blunt)...and I'm sorry to say it...but you don't know what you're talking about...and I will try to clear things up.

    The display on your MacBook Air is what you might call a "traditional" display. The display the 2017 12" MacBook is a "retina" display. Retina displays have been around since about 2012 with Apple portable computers...and initially users back then were confused about retina display resolution...and I guess 5 years later there is still some confusion. Lol

    Retina displays have more dots or pixels per inch (ppi) than traditional displays (greater pixel density)...which results in chrisper & sharper images on the display. But the larger display resolution numbers DO NOT mean more display real estate (able to see more stuff on the display when in default or native mode).

    Basically when in default/native mode...the "screen real estate" on your 11" MacBook Air and a 12" 2017 MacBook will be similar. That's why I mentioned above that getting a 12" 2017 MacBook would not solve your screen resolution issue. Now with this being said...you can run an Apple computer with a retina display in a scaled resolution. Depending on the scaled resolution chosen...you can get more screen real estate...but the downside to this is everything will be smaller & harder to see (especially on a 12" display).

    Scaled resolutions supported by a 12" 2017 MacBook are:

    - 1440 by 900
    - 1280 by 800
    - 1024 by 640

    As you can see...these resolutions are not that much different than with your 2015 11" MacBook Air. In fact...two of them are smaller resolutions...and the one (1440 x 900) is somewhat larger.

    Here's an Apple article that explains retina display's in more detail:

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202471

    HTH,

    - Nick

    p.s. Also wanted to mention that the correct retina resolution of a 12" 2017 MacBook is 2304 x 1440 (you mentioned 2560 x 1600).
    Last edited by pigoo3; 10-02-2017 at 02:37 PM. Reason: added info
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5
    Gotcha. Thanks for the data! I did stop by the Apple store previously and did turn on the “more space” option. While it doesn’t sound like a lot I found the slightly extra work space (especially vertical) to be a lot better.

  6. #6
    Early 2015 11" MacBook Air i5 vs 2017 MacBook 12" "i7"
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Glad to help xxxx. Believe me...I understand how the resolution numbers at first look seem straight forward. But after understanding how the retina display technology effects things...resolution values between traditional displays & retina displays can't be directly compared.

    If you find the extra bit of vertical workspace a lot better...great. I guess I wasn't sure if that little bit of extra space was worth the cost of a new computer.

    As far as performance. CPU geekbench score for:

    - 2015 11" i5 MacBook Air = 5723.
    - 2017 12" i7 MacBook = 7266.

    And video hardware comparision:

    https://technical.city/en/video/HD-G...-Graphics-6000

    Overall the CPU is definitely better with the 2017 MacBook. And the graphics for the 2017 MacBook is mostly better...but the HD 6000 graphics of the 2015 MBA has some strengths too (but overall the 2017 MacBook seems better).

    My biggest concern is...after the 12" 2017 MacBook is upgraded to the i7 CPU and 16gig of RAM...you're talking an almost $2000 computer. Seems you could do MUCH better with a 13" MacBook Pro. With the 13" 2017 MacBook Pro...it also has the retina display...but it supports a scaled resolution of 1680 by 1050 (MUCH larger than the 1440 x 900 that the 12" 2017 MacBook supports). Although at 1680 by 1050 on a 13" display...things might be kind of teeny!

    I realize that you probably like the smaller footprint & lighter weight of the 12" MacBook. But $2000 for this sort of computer is kind of pricey.

    HTH,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  7. #7
    Thank you so much for your assistance!

    I am giving my current 11" MacBook Air to my father, hence the new purchase. It was my first Mac, hence why it was the cheapest one. The issues I have with it is the 4GB of RAM and the low resolution. I found that I everyday for hours a day so I don't really mind spending the money to get something that really fits my needs.

    What I am really worried about is thermal throttling. The MacBook Air's i5's 1.6GHz is pretty solid but the MacBook "i7" is only 1.4GHz (with a Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz) - I am worried that performance will always be lagging. I never had the Core M processor before.

  8. #8
    Early 2015 11" MacBook Air i5 vs 2017 MacBook 12" "i7"
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxxx View Post
    The issues I have with it is the 4GB of RAM and the low resolution.
    Totally agree with those issues. Considering that the 11" MacBook Air only has an 11" display...the low resolution issue may have been predictable (especially as needs change).

    Quote Originally Posted by xxxx View Post
    I found that I everyday for hours a day so I don't really mind spending the money to get something that really fits my needs.
    Sounds good.

    Quote Originally Posted by xxxx View Post
    What I am really worried about is thermal throttling. The MacBook Air's i5's 1.6GHz is pretty solid but the MacBook "i7" is only 1.4GHz (with a Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz) - I am worried that performance will always be lagging. I never had the Core M processor before.
    What makes you think that thermal throttling is even an issue...did you read about it somewhere? This is very likely the first time I ever seen someone mention this on Mac-Forums. If this is an indicator of a non-issue...I don't think you have anything to be concerned about.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

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