I must say:
1.8 is good, in regards that it uses modern OpenGL a bit more. I haven't dipped into 3d graphics, too much, but I'm pretty sure that VBOs are the modern way to go. In the 1.7.10 code, Mojang uses OpenGL 1.1 - it was released in 1997! Now that's old. At least in 1.8 they're probably using more modern graphics.