When the new MacBook Airs came out earlier this year, deciding which model to get actually came with a bit of drama. I knew I wanted the 13-inch Air with the 256 GB solid state drive. But which processor?

Ordering the faster, 1.8GHZ Core i7 seemed like an easy decision at first. For only $100 I could get a newer generation processor with a faster clock speed and more L3 cache. Though, for the 13-inch model I wanted, going from the 1.7 i5 chip to the 1.8 i7 chip didn’t offer a huge jump in performance — in fact, it’s likely that in day-to-day use I wouldn’t even have noticed the difference — but, since I was planning to have this computer for a few years, I wanted to future-proof it a bit by going with the i7 rather than the i5.

When the new Airs were first announced, Apple listed the i7 as being build-to-order only. Now, I don’t know about you, but when you’re ready to purchase a new computer it’s always harder to order it online and wait for it to be built and shipped than it is to simply drive over to the Apple store and buy it that day.

But, since I was in Colorado at the time and I knew that I the i7 model was my first choice, I went ahead and ordered online, expecting my new Air to arrive back in Kansas City the day after I flew home. If only…

Once I received my email confirmation from Apple, the shipping time had changed from 24 hours to 5 – 7 business days. The longer the wait, the harder it is to be noble and deny the temptation for instant gratification.

To make a long story short, the Apple store in Colorado ended up having the BTO 1.8 i7s in stock and I was able to pick one up the next day.

With my i7 in hand I very much wanted to do some research about the differences between the i5 and i7 processors — were the speed bumps really worth the extra cost? What were the differences between the i5 and the i7?

Not only did I want to know for my own peace of mind, but I also wanted to know so I could write about it. That was my introduction to Geekbench.


My thanks to Primate Labs for sponsoring the RSS feed this week to promote Geekbench.

When reading reviews of Macs (which I very much enjoy to do), Geekbench results are very common. Geekbench is one of the industry-standard apps for measuring the performance of your computer. And so I decided to download and use it on my MacBook Air. I was glad to discover that it is a very easy-to-use app. Considering the amount of data Geekbench provides I was expecting a learning curve before I could use the app. But nope, it takes all of one click to use.

Geekbench runs a series of processor and memory tests to accurately measure your computer’s performance. You can anonymously submit your scores to their online database and then compare against other scores of the same hardware configuration, or compare against other computers altogether.

When I first bought my MacBook Air it ran a Geekbench score of 6281. I quickly compared it to the i5 Airs and found that they were scoring around 5900. Today, two months later, my MacBook Air scores 6259 in Geekbench — virtually unchanged from when it was brand new.

In short, Geekbench is a great way to measure and compare your computer’s performance. It has a free version, and a for-pay version (which is the one I bought a few months ago when testing my Air).

Geekbench [Sponsor]