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Realistically, besides processing speed, what is the difference between the i5 and i7? Can you really tell a difference? I may be developing apps with it (I haven't tried yet, nor have I ever owned a Mac), so I'd also like to hear from a developer if there is a major difference or preference between the two.

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In fact it's even more complicated than that because some i7 are quad core (15'') others are dual core (13''). So, what model are you thinking about? – gentmatt Dec 22 '11 at 15:08
When talking about the 13'' model processors, here's an official comparison chart of all features. Differences are highlighted. – gentmatt Dec 22 '11 at 15:21
@Matt : make that an answer so we can give you the proper upvotes. – Asmus Dec 23 '11 at 13:28
Thanks. I'll do this then. – gentmatt Dec 23 '11 at 18:10
up vote 2 down vote accepted

i7 processors differ

I assume - since you are comparing the i5 to the i7 - that you are thinking of the 13'' MBP models. The 15''-17'' MBP models offer only i7 processors.

The i7 processors of the 15''17'' MBP are quad core, while both the i7 and i5 in the 13'' MBP are dual core.

2 important things to notice

  • Due to hyper-threading one can also talk of 2 physical cores (4 logical cores) and 4 physical cores (8 logical cores).
  • The clock speed you usually see is just the base frequency. The introduced Intel Turbo Boost technology allows the cores to dynamically clock at higher speeds. However, not all cores at once.

Comparison chart

An offical Intel documentation including all features of all 4 processors can be found here. The two processors offered in the 13'' MBP are on the right. Differences are highlighted yellow.

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Great stuff guys!!!Huge help thanks a bunch! LOVE THE STACK!! – Tim Jan 27 '12 at 14:41

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