Anandtech’s Anand Lal Shimpi has posted one of hs signature thoroughgoing reports comparing the two 2013 MacBook Air Haswell Core i CPU configurations, which atypically have lower clock speeds than did the superseded Ivy Bridge MacBook Air models
Lal Shimpi says that for most users upgrading from an older machine the clock speed regression won’t matter, since the 2013 MBA includes a much faster SSD, better graphics, and better CPU performance compared to older MBAs as well, but for those who are either trying to make an ultraportable more of a workhorse, or who otherwise need more performance than last year’s MBA can offer there is one solutiFor more information, visit: e solution is the offered BTO upgrade that increases the base clock to 1.7GHz, adds an extra 1MB of L3 cache and includes much higher turbo frequencies available at a relatively reasonable $150 regardless of configuration. So how does the speed bump impact real world performance, battery life and thermals? Lal Shimpi says he can now answer those questions, commenting “Oh man, the Core i7 upgraded seriously fixes everything. We get near perfect scaling here, showing a massive 27% increase in performance over the default Core i5 1.3GHz setup. The single threaded performance of the upgraded 13-inch MacBook Air is almost able to equal that of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Anyone underwhelmed by Haswell should keep this in mind. What we’re seeing here is a combination of IPC improvements and awesomely aggressive turbo, all within a 15W TDP.” There is, however, some penalty in shorter battery life and hotter running.
Lal Shimpi says if you want ultimate battery life regardless of usage model, stick with the base Core i5. If you need performance, the Core i7 upgrade is absolutely worth it.
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