2018 MacBook Pro Flagship Performs Worse Than 2017 Model
It appears that Apple’s MacBook Pro line-up of notebooks – among the most premium and priciest of Apple’s products – is still the subject of some controversy. After faulty keyboards from the 2017 models, the recently introduced 2018 MacBook Pro’s tend to perform worse than the previous generation models.
Throttling is the major issue here, as multiple independent benchmarks by test sites, reviewers and users indicate that the flagship MacBook Pro 15″, carrying the Intel Core i9-8950HK hexacore chip, actually performs notably slower than the 2017 MacBook Pro which runs on a Core i7 7820HQ.
For example, the 2017 MacBook Pro beats the newer version by a couple of minutes – despite having a significantly faster processor. It looks like the thermal design of the 2018 MacBook Pro – which is unchanged compared to last year’s model – isn’t able to handle the CPU’s workload. Rendering a 5K video to 4K takes up 39 minutes and 37 seconds in the test below, while the 2017 model beats the newer notebook with 35 minutes and 22 seconds. A similar test in Final Cut Pro reveals a rendering time of 15’17” for the Core i9 model, while the 2017 MacBook Pro handles that exact same task in just 13 minutes and 50 seconds.
Because the Core i9 processor runs too hot, it has to clock down. This is a process called throttling. The clock speed of the Core i9 has been reported to dip at 2.2 GHz, well below the base clock speed of 2.9 GHz.
The Intel Core i9 8950HK is a very powerful chip for laptop standards, having boost speeds up to 4.9 GHz and six cores. It’s remarkable that the chip has to lower the base clock speeds by as much as 700 MHz because it can’t keep up with the heat. Even with the two extra cores compared to the 2017 model, Apple’s latest generation notebook simply can’t keep up.
Even though this is mostly true for the 15-inch variants of the MacBook Pro, it appears that the smaller 13″ has significant throttling issues as well. Notebookcheck reports an overall disappointing performance for the new 2018 model with the new chip, both in terms of performance and power consumption.
Intel’s latest Coffee Lake generation of processors is significantly faster than the previous generation, mostly because of the extra cores, but will throttle if laptops can’t handle their temperatures properly – something the 2018 MacBook Pro models clearly know something about. It’s somewhat surprising that a company as large as Apple has failed to oversee this crucial flaw.