I'm thinking of buying either a high-end 13'' Air (i7 and 8GB RAM $1,549.00) or 13'' rMBP with an i5 ($1,699.00).

Setting aside portability, display and other differences which I'm still pondering, how does the 1.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 compare to the 2.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5 in terms of performance?

I do some photo editing and programming.

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    For starters, if possible, I'd wait a week until after the October 22nd Apple event, at which new Retina MacBooks Pro may be announced. The rMBPs haven't yet been refreshed with Intel's latest chip architecture, while the Airs have. – Dan J Oct 16 '13 at 20:40
  • I just heard of the 22nd event, that's definitely a good move. Thanks. – iign Oct 17 '13 at 10:50
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    This would be better if you could restrict / define what success means for you in terms of performance. Some photogs use PhotoMechanic to ingest and review 8,000 photos from a day's shooting and need the filesystem to be fast. Others care about applying heavy post production in VSCO film or another app like Photoshop and need RAM to edit 300 MB tiff files from medium format digital cameras and care more about RAM and GPU than the CPU. Basically, the more you can define your needs, the more we can help. – bmike Oct 25 '13 at 20:15
  • I just revisit this and thought I may comment. I ended up buying the 13 inch retina w/i5. It's been awesome so far. Also, even though for day to day tasks it's really fast, I could use even more power when processing photos. – iign Nov 19 '14 at 13:00

The Air is little slower than the retina, I suggest you to have a look here http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks

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  • Thanks, I'd like to have a bit more detailed info on how much slower is than the rMBP. I don't know much about hardware, so 1.7GHz seems a lot less than 2.6GHz, but they're a different processor, so :S I know it depends on what you work on and how you use it, but... is it a good investment to spend 200usd more only based on that? – iign Oct 16 '13 at 15:02
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    I've done serious editing on a 2012 MacBook Air and with it's SSD and thunderbolt expansion, it's almost always faster than I am in any realistic workflow I've put to it. Yes, another Mac might benchmark better, but even for video editing, it hasn't held me back. – bmike Oct 25 '13 at 20:16
  • I red that the '13 i5 Air, when attached to a monitor, has some graphical slowdowns with mission control, that the i7 doesn't have... can someone confirm it? – sekmo Nov 20 '13 at 16:12

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