Overclock.net › Forums › Mobile Computing Forum › Laptops and Netbooks › 11-inch MacBook Air (2012) - Core i7 or 8 GB of RAM?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

11-inch MacBook Air (2012) - Core i7 or 8 GB of RAM?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
I already have a 2011 11-inch MBA w/4 GB of RAM and I'm happy with it. I wish to upgrade to the 2012 Ivy Bridge MBA ($1,099 base model) for its superior battery life and gaming performance. I'll be selling the old one. For the new one though, I can't decide if I should get the Core i7 upgrade (from a Core i5-3317U to a Core i7-3667U) or 8 GB of RAM instead of the stock 4 GB. I can't do both upgrades due to budget restrictions.

I use the device for the following things:
- Work (all the work stuff runs in a Windows 7 VM, it's mostly just Outlook, RDP, vSphere Client and PowerShell stuff)
- General computing (web, music, movies)
- Gaming (anything it can handle -- which is a lot more than you'd think smile.gif)

I feel like the Core i7 upgrade might yield better results for gaming, while the added RAM could be useful for running my work VM, but then again, it runs smoothly on the 2 GB allocated to it. Or perhaps neither of those upgrades is worth it and I should just get the stock model? Anyway, if I get an upgrade, I'm leaning toward the Core i7, but I thought I'd get some opinions anyway, just in case I'm missing something.
Edited by Shub - 6/24/12 at 1:43pm
post #2 of 39
Go with the i7, it'll be a better choice overall. As it is, there aren't many applications that utilize upwards of 4GB or RAM.

But if you think the stock one can do all your stuff, save the extra cash.
:D
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 3570K [4.5ghz] Asus P8Z77 V-Pro Asus GTX 760 2X4gb Corsair XMS3 1600mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
WD Blue 1TB EZEX X 2 [RAID 0] [WD Black 640GB][2 X WD Blue 1TB EZEX] Corsair H80i Windows 7 64bit 
MonitorPowerCase
Dell Ultrasharp 23" Corsair CX430W v2 Corsair Graphite 600T 
  hide details  
Reply
:D
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 3570K [4.5ghz] Asus P8Z77 V-Pro Asus GTX 760 2X4gb Corsair XMS3 1600mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
WD Blue 1TB EZEX X 2 [RAID 0] [WD Black 640GB][2 X WD Blue 1TB EZEX] Corsair H80i Windows 7 64bit 
MonitorPowerCase
Dell Ultrasharp 23" Corsair CX430W v2 Corsair Graphite 600T 
  hide details  
Reply
post #3 of 39
RAM because you are unsure of future demands. Virtual Machines are notoriously RAM gluttons and an extra 4Gib of RAM will go further than an extra 300Mhz of clock speed. Since the MBA has an SSD, you won't notice the speed difference.

For the Intel HD 4000, the CPU at 1.7Ghz is more than adequate to supply enough calls; it won't be a bottleneck.
Po' Pimpin'
(11 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i5 2500k @ stock Biostar TZ68K+ [A3] 4GB  Sandforce 1222 64GB SSD 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
LG 22x DVD-+RW  Stock Windows 7 x64 Acer S211HL 1080p 
PowerCaseMouse
600w Diablotek Linkworld Electronic Inland 
  hide details  
Reply
Po' Pimpin'
(11 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i5 2500k @ stock Biostar TZ68K+ [A3] 4GB  Sandforce 1222 64GB SSD 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
LG 22x DVD-+RW  Stock Windows 7 x64 Acer S211HL 1080p 
PowerCaseMouse
600w Diablotek Linkworld Electronic Inland 
  hide details  
Reply
post #4 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chip94 View Post

Go with the i7, it'll be a better choice overall. As it is, there aren't many applications that utilize upwards of 4GB or RAM.
But if you think the stock one can do all your stuff, save the extra cash.

I'm sure it can do everything I need it for at stock (my current one is also stock), but I figure one or the other upgrade will enable me to do everything a little bit better smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by BizzareRide View Post

RAM because you are unsure of future demands. Virtual Machines are notoriously RAM gluttons and an extra 4Gib of RAM will go further than an extra 300Mhz of clock speed. Since the MBA has an SSD, you won't notice the speed difference.
For the Intel HD 4000, the CPU at 1.7Ghz is more than adequate to supply enough calls; it won't be a bottleneck.

Outside of gaming, you're right, I'm not concerned with the CPU speed. However, when it comes to gaming, the Core i7's GPU is 100 MHz faster, which may have an impact on gaming performance. It's just not the sort of thing that you'd ever find in a review, so I don't know if the difference may be worth an extra $150.
post #5 of 39
Ram will give you a more noticeable performance increase and especially with visualization software which eats up ram, you will need it.
Nameless
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7 965 Extreme EVGA Classified E759 Limited edition NF200 EVGA GTX 295 Corsair Dominator 6GB DDR3 Tri 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
WD Velociraptor 300GB LG Blue-Ray & HD DVD Drive Stock Intel Cooler Windows 8 Pro with Media Centre 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung SyncMaster 2233 & IIYAMA Prolite E2403WS Logitech G19 Gaming keyboard Corsair HX1000W SS TJ07 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech G400 Optical Gaming mouse Steelseries Qck + 
  hide details  
Reply
Nameless
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7 965 Extreme EVGA Classified E759 Limited edition NF200 EVGA GTX 295 Corsair Dominator 6GB DDR3 Tri 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
WD Velociraptor 300GB LG Blue-Ray & HD DVD Drive Stock Intel Cooler Windows 8 Pro with Media Centre 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung SyncMaster 2233 & IIYAMA Prolite E2403WS Logitech G19 Gaming keyboard Corsair HX1000W SS TJ07 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech G400 Optical Gaming mouse Steelseries Qck + 
  hide details  
Reply
post #6 of 39
Honestly, I'd either go all out or go stock. You won't see much of a difference with the i7 nor the 8GB of RAM. However, if you plan on keeping this machine for 3+ years then I'd say upgrade both for longevity. Otherwise, save your money! (I bought the 2012 13" MBP base model and stuck a 256GB SSD, Crucial M4, in it. Everything else is stock. I plan on replacing the machine in 2-3 years time anyway, so it doesn't matter. tongue.gif)
 
Frozen Fractals
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 3770K [4.5GHz] [1.15V] Asus Maximus V Gene [BIOS 1903] MSI N780 Lightning [1.3GHz/7GHz QDR] [1.2V/1.6V] Samsung 16GB DDR3 2133 [9-10-10-24-1T] [1.5V] 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung 830 Series 512GB [2x256GB RAID0] [OS] WD VelociRaptor 1TB [2x500GB RAID0] [Scratch] Seagate Barracuda 3TB [Games] Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB [Storage] 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Samsung D3 Station 4TB [Movies] Seagate Backup Plus 4TB [Backup] LG Black WH14NS40 14X Blu-ray Burner Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro [Push/Pull Exhaust] 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Microsoft Windows 8.1.1 Professional [64-bit] Acer GD235HZbid 23.6" [1920x1080] [120Hz] Ducky Shine 3 [Cherry MX Brown] [Purple LED] Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 620W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
SilverStone Precision Series SST-PS07W White Logitech G700s Razer Vespula Logitech G930 [Games/Movies] 
AudioOther
Fiio E7/Logitech UE 6000 [Music] NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5 3210M Apple Logic Board Intel HD Graphics 4000 16GB 1600 MHz DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveOSOS
Samsung 830 Series 256GB Toshiba 500GB OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks Microsoft Windows 8.1.1 Professional [64-bit] 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Apple Color LCD 13.3" [1280x800] Apple Keyboard 60W MagSafe Aluminium Unibody 
Mouse
Apple Trackpad 
  hide details  
Reply
 
Frozen Fractals
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 3770K [4.5GHz] [1.15V] Asus Maximus V Gene [BIOS 1903] MSI N780 Lightning [1.3GHz/7GHz QDR] [1.2V/1.6V] Samsung 16GB DDR3 2133 [9-10-10-24-1T] [1.5V] 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung 830 Series 512GB [2x256GB RAID0] [OS] WD VelociRaptor 1TB [2x500GB RAID0] [Scratch] Seagate Barracuda 3TB [Games] Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB [Storage] 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Samsung D3 Station 4TB [Movies] Seagate Backup Plus 4TB [Backup] LG Black WH14NS40 14X Blu-ray Burner Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro [Push/Pull Exhaust] 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Microsoft Windows 8.1.1 Professional [64-bit] Acer GD235HZbid 23.6" [1920x1080] [120Hz] Ducky Shine 3 [Cherry MX Brown] [Purple LED] Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 620W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
SilverStone Precision Series SST-PS07W White Logitech G700s Razer Vespula Logitech G930 [Games/Movies] 
AudioOther
Fiio E7/Logitech UE 6000 [Music] NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5 3210M Apple Logic Board Intel HD Graphics 4000 16GB 1600 MHz DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveOSOS
Samsung 830 Series 256GB Toshiba 500GB OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks Microsoft Windows 8.1.1 Professional [64-bit] 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Apple Color LCD 13.3" [1280x800] Apple Keyboard 60W MagSafe Aluminium Unibody 
Mouse
Apple Trackpad 
  hide details  
Reply
post #7 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aznboy1993 View Post

Honestly, I'd either go all out or go stock. You won't see much of a difference with the i7 nor the 8GB of RAM. However, if you plan on keeping this machine for 3+ years then I'd say upgrade both for longevity. Otherwise, save your money! (I bought the 2012 13" MBP base model and stuck a 256GB SSD, Crucial M4, in it. Everything else is stock. I plan on replacing the machine in 2-3 years time anyway, so it doesn't matter. tongue.gif)

It's probarbly wise to upgrade when you buy since both the RAM and CPU are soldered to the motherboard.
Nameless
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7 965 Extreme EVGA Classified E759 Limited edition NF200 EVGA GTX 295 Corsair Dominator 6GB DDR3 Tri 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
WD Velociraptor 300GB LG Blue-Ray & HD DVD Drive Stock Intel Cooler Windows 8 Pro with Media Centre 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung SyncMaster 2233 & IIYAMA Prolite E2403WS Logitech G19 Gaming keyboard Corsair HX1000W SS TJ07 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech G400 Optical Gaming mouse Steelseries Qck + 
  hide details  
Reply
Nameless
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7 965 Extreme EVGA Classified E759 Limited edition NF200 EVGA GTX 295 Corsair Dominator 6GB DDR3 Tri 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
WD Velociraptor 300GB LG Blue-Ray & HD DVD Drive Stock Intel Cooler Windows 8 Pro with Media Centre 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung SyncMaster 2233 & IIYAMA Prolite E2403WS Logitech G19 Gaming keyboard Corsair HX1000W SS TJ07 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech G400 Optical Gaming mouse Steelseries Qck + 
  hide details  
Reply
post #8 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnAimed View Post

It's probarbly wise to upgrade when you buy since both the RAM and CPU are soldered to the motherboard.
Like I said, all out or stock. tongue.gif IDK that's just my viewpoint on it. If you NEED (or want) the powerful machine then it's now or never..."Speak now or forever hold your peace"! Otherwise, just go for stock since it's still a powerful machine for all, but the most strenuous of operations (i.e. hardcore gaming, video editing, and the like).
 
Frozen Fractals
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 3770K [4.5GHz] [1.15V] Asus Maximus V Gene [BIOS 1903] MSI N780 Lightning [1.3GHz/7GHz QDR] [1.2V/1.6V] Samsung 16GB DDR3 2133 [9-10-10-24-1T] [1.5V] 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung 830 Series 512GB [2x256GB RAID0] [OS] WD VelociRaptor 1TB [2x500GB RAID0] [Scratch] Seagate Barracuda 3TB [Games] Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB [Storage] 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Samsung D3 Station 4TB [Movies] Seagate Backup Plus 4TB [Backup] LG Black WH14NS40 14X Blu-ray Burner Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro [Push/Pull Exhaust] 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Microsoft Windows 8.1.1 Professional [64-bit] Acer GD235HZbid 23.6" [1920x1080] [120Hz] Ducky Shine 3 [Cherry MX Brown] [Purple LED] Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 620W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
SilverStone Precision Series SST-PS07W White Logitech G700s Razer Vespula Logitech G930 [Games/Movies] 
AudioOther
Fiio E7/Logitech UE 6000 [Music] NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5 3210M Apple Logic Board Intel HD Graphics 4000 16GB 1600 MHz DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveOSOS
Samsung 830 Series 256GB Toshiba 500GB OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks Microsoft Windows 8.1.1 Professional [64-bit] 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Apple Color LCD 13.3" [1280x800] Apple Keyboard 60W MagSafe Aluminium Unibody 
Mouse
Apple Trackpad 
  hide details  
Reply
 
Frozen Fractals
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 3770K [4.5GHz] [1.15V] Asus Maximus V Gene [BIOS 1903] MSI N780 Lightning [1.3GHz/7GHz QDR] [1.2V/1.6V] Samsung 16GB DDR3 2133 [9-10-10-24-1T] [1.5V] 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung 830 Series 512GB [2x256GB RAID0] [OS] WD VelociRaptor 1TB [2x500GB RAID0] [Scratch] Seagate Barracuda 3TB [Games] Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB [Storage] 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Samsung D3 Station 4TB [Movies] Seagate Backup Plus 4TB [Backup] LG Black WH14NS40 14X Blu-ray Burner Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro [Push/Pull Exhaust] 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Microsoft Windows 8.1.1 Professional [64-bit] Acer GD235HZbid 23.6" [1920x1080] [120Hz] Ducky Shine 3 [Cherry MX Brown] [Purple LED] Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 620W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
SilverStone Precision Series SST-PS07W White Logitech G700s Razer Vespula Logitech G930 [Games/Movies] 
AudioOther
Fiio E7/Logitech UE 6000 [Music] NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5 3210M Apple Logic Board Intel HD Graphics 4000 16GB 1600 MHz DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveOSOS
Samsung 830 Series 256GB Toshiba 500GB OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks Microsoft Windows 8.1.1 Professional [64-bit] 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Apple Color LCD 13.3" [1280x800] Apple Keyboard 60W MagSafe Aluminium Unibody 
Mouse
Apple Trackpad 
  hide details  
Reply
post #9 of 39
Get ram, lion runs terribly with 4gb. If you are running vms get ram, lots and lots of ram.
Gnomewell
(13 items)
 
GnomeBook Pro
(13 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 4770k Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD4H EVGA GTX 770 4GB FTW Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3 1600MHZ 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
640GB Western Digital Black AALS NZXT Kraken X60 Windows 8.1 64-Bit Asus VH236H  
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Cooler Master Quickfire Pro Unbranded (Tenkeyless) SeaSonic SSR-550RM 550W NZXT Source 530 ZOWIE GEAR AM Black 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-2720QM Logic Board Intel HD Graphics 3000 and AMD 6750M 1gb Gskill 8gb 1333mhz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
750gb Hitachi 5400rpm 8x double-layer SuperDrive OS x 10.7.4 15.4" LED-backlit glossy widescreen display 144... 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Apple Keyboard Apple 85W MagSafe Power Adapter 2011 Unibody Magic Trackpad 
Audio
Built-in Stereo Speakers with Subwoofer 
  hide details  
Reply
Gnomewell
(13 items)
 
GnomeBook Pro
(13 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 4770k Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD4H EVGA GTX 770 4GB FTW Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3 1600MHZ 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
640GB Western Digital Black AALS NZXT Kraken X60 Windows 8.1 64-Bit Asus VH236H  
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Cooler Master Quickfire Pro Unbranded (Tenkeyless) SeaSonic SSR-550RM 550W NZXT Source 530 ZOWIE GEAR AM Black 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-2720QM Logic Board Intel HD Graphics 3000 and AMD 6750M 1gb Gskill 8gb 1333mhz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
750gb Hitachi 5400rpm 8x double-layer SuperDrive OS x 10.7.4 15.4" LED-backlit glossy widescreen display 144... 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Apple Keyboard Apple 85W MagSafe Power Adapter 2011 Unibody Magic Trackpad 
Audio
Built-in Stereo Speakers with Subwoofer 
  hide details  
Reply
post #10 of 39
I don't believe an I5 or I7 will bottleneck you, so I would go for the memory. If you had a really fast discrete video card, I might say go with the I7 to avoid bottlenecking it.
My System
(12 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 4970k 3.5ghz Asrock Z97E-ITX/ac Sapphire 270X Vapor X Kingston HyperX 2x2gb 1600mhz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
250gb Samsung 850 Pro SATA LG DVD Burner Windows 8.1 Professional X64 23" Asus 144hz 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 EVGA 500w Gold EVGA Hadron Air Logitech G400 
  hide details  
Reply
My System
(12 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 4970k 3.5ghz Asrock Z97E-ITX/ac Sapphire 270X Vapor X Kingston HyperX 2x2gb 1600mhz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
250gb Samsung 850 Pro SATA LG DVD Burner Windows 8.1 Professional X64 23" Asus 144hz 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 EVGA 500w Gold EVGA Hadron Air Logitech G400 
  hide details  
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Laptops and Netbooks
Overclock.net › Forums › Mobile Computing Forum › Laptops and Netbooks › 11-inch MacBook Air (2012) - Core i7 or 8 GB of RAM?