In Apple vs Intel, new fanless i5 tablets are a game changer

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Senior member
Nov 12, 2014
Honestly though I see very little reason to get the i5 or i7, when the core m3 7Y32 is such a good processor. 20% faster turbo is not worth $250 more for the i7 vs the m3.
Indeed. 20% more turbo makes you look good in benchmarks. In the particular case of Surface Pro it made sense for Microsoft to go with the U version, since they configured TDP to 10W. As was already mentioned the larger package makes it easier to dissipate the heat compared to the Y version. On top of this there is no 10W TDP option for the Y series.

Regarding Apple vs. Intel - Apple A10X plays in a completely different league compared with Kaby Lake if we are looking at efficiency (Performance/W).
Mar 11, 2000
Do you have a Macbook Adorable? Note the real name is the macbook but some people call it other nicknames like macbook one, or do you have a different computer?

Core m3 7Y-32 could go all the way up to 1.6 ghz with ctdp up for the base clock but apple with the macbook adorable decides on 1.2 ghz.

I am an ATP podcast fan and Casey Liss just recently got the 2017 Macbook Adorable which he loves

But Marco hated his 2015 macbook adorable but he hates everything ;):p

Honestly though I see very little reason to get the i5 or i7, when the core m3 7Y32 is such a good processor. 20% faster turbo is not worth $250 more for the i7 vs the m3.
No nicknames. :D

I was all set to buy a Core i5 MacBook, until I learned that Intel added a SKU. I was aware of the 7Y30 but was not impressed with its specs. Intel later added the 7Y32 which not only drastically increased the Turbo Boost speed, it also added full HDCP 2.2 support (as did a later stepping of 7Y30).

When I found out about the new m3 and that Apple was using it for the base model MacBook, I decided to get the m3 instead of i5. The main reason now IMO to get the i5 is to get a 512 GB SSD. You can't get that with the m3. (I don't need it though, so I got 256 GB. I keep my main data on a NAS, and my primary machine is an iMac with 1 TB SSD. I put the extra memory toward RAM, so my config is m3 / 256 GB / 16 GB.

I kind of agree with both those bloggers. My favourite PowerBook form factor was the 12" PowerBook. After the MacBook Air came out I thought it was a big step in the right direction, but the font size was off, and the screen quality was shit. Plus it was slow as hell. So I waited, and wished for an 1152x720 12" MacBook Air. Then when the Retina MacBook Pros came out I changed my wish to a 2304x1440 12" MacBook Air.

Then Apple released the 2304x1440 12" MacBook in 2015. Yay!

Except I hated it. Again it was kinda slow, but more importantly, its butterfly keyboard sucked. Plus it only had one USBC port. It was the laptop I had been waiting for for eons, but they crippled it in so many ways. So I waited until 2016 and nothing really changed, plus by then I figured I may as well wait for Kaby Lake's HEVC support.

Luckily I waited until 2017, because the m3 in 2017 is quite a noticeable boost in speed over the m3 in 2015, although I suspect it's a combination of SSD and CPU speed, since the SSD is way faster now too. Read speeds on that SSD are about 1.4 GB/s and write is over 1 GB/s. Nice. That's with a 256 GB drive BTW. Perhaps the 512 is faster, I'm not sure. But even more importantly, the new keyboard is vast improvement. It's still not an ideal keyboard IMO, but it's gone from really annoying in the 2015 to moderately decent in the 2017. However, the keyboard that comes with the iMac in 2017 is much nicer. They're both butterfly keyboards, but the one for the iMac is more substantial with better key travel.

BTW, I was just playing around the 120 Mbps jellyfish 10-bit 4K HEVC video from here:

The files are MKV so QuickTime can't understand them, but I remuxed the file to m4v. QuickTime in High Sierra 10.13 takes that file just fine, but playback on the Core m3 stutters a bit. I figured it may be the GPU, since the CPU usage always remained low, even with this 120 Mbps bit rate. The base clock speed of the GPU in the m3, i5, and i7 are all 300 MHz, but the boost speeds are 900, 950, and 1050 MHz respectively. I thought perhaps it would play better on the i7, I dunno.

However, the strange part is I then tried the 8-bit version of the file and got the exact same results. Then I took that original 120 Mbps 10-bit HEVC MKV and transcoded it using Handbrake using the 4K Roku preset, and ended up with a file that was just 18.5 Mbps and much, much smaller of course. However, that 18.5 Mbps file gave me the same stuttering in the same spots as the original 120 Mbps, so perhaps it's not the GPU speed after all, and instead is some peculiarity with the way the file was encoded, and QuickTime simply doesn't like it.


Senior member
Dec 2, 2007
Not to knock the i5, but isn't this more about the Surface's good thermal design?
Mar 11, 2000
Not to knock the i5, but isn't this more about the Surface's good thermal design?
Indeed. They probably could also have used the i5-Y but just cranked up the Wattage for decent performance too. But they chose the i5-U and cranked down the Wattage.

I'm no expert, but the experts here agree these chips are on a continuum, with some different packaging advantages and disadvantages. Apple chose to go as small as possible, which is nice, but has its limitations, not the least of which is inducement of throttling sometimes before it should happen. For example with the 2016 MacBooks:

The 2016 m7 was throttling fast enough so that with R15 Cinebench, it was consistently slower than the m5.

I bought the 2017 m3 mainly because it was so similar to the i5 this year in specs, and I also wondered if the 2017 i7 might yet again be another throttler in the MacBook form factor.

BTW, at the other end of the scale, I just returned my i7-7700K because it would heat up so fast. I ordered an i5-7600 (non-K) instead. This is in an all-in-one, the iMac, so no overclocking, and they all share the same fan regardless of the CPU installed so obviously the 7600 would run cooler - less fan noise. Hopefully anyway. The iMac i5-7600 arrives today. :)
Sep 10, 2016
Not to knock the i5, but isn't this more about the Surface's good thermal design?
It's also unrepairable but I guess that's the trade off. User serviceable tablets from Dell/HP/Lenovo throttled sooner and turned in lower benchmark numbers than the equivalent Y CPU in the Surface.