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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.
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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.
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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.
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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)
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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.
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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).
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post #9 of 39
Get ram, lion runs terribly with 4gb. If you are running vms get ram, lots and lots of ram.
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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.
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