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Apple's new Retina MacBook Pros bring faster benchmarks with slower clock speeds

post #1 of 31
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The team behind popular benchmarking suite Geekbench has rounded up the scores for Apple's newest Retina MacBook Pro models and finds that despite slower processor clock speeds across the board, the Haswell-powered laptops outperform their predecessors by as much as 8 percent.

Latest 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro Benchmark
Apple's newest high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro shows significant performance gains over its predecessor


Single-core performance for the 13-inch variants is up only two to four percent over the previous generation, which John Poole, founder of Geekbench parent Primate Labs attributes to the new revision's focus on power efficiency rather than speed gains.

The 15-inch variant sees much larger leaps in performance in its high-end configuration -- the newest 2.6-gigahertz flagship jumps eight percent in both the single and multi-core benchmarks over its 2.8 gigahertz predecessor, for example. Mid and low-end variants gain a more pedestrian two to four percent.

Interestingly, the latest high-end 13-inch MacBook Air trails the new 13-inch MacBook Pro by only five percent in the single-core benchmark, though the gap widens to thirteen percent in the multi-core benchmark. "Users with applications that only use one core won't notice much difference between the Air and the Pro," Poole writes. That does not extend to the laptops' battery life, however, as the MacBook Air still bests the new MacBook Pro by three hours in that category.

Poole calls the performance increases from the more conservatively-clocked Haswell processors "interesting," but notes that the processors are not always running at the advertised speeds. Thanks to Intel's Turbo Boost feature, the clock speeds can be increased as needed to handle more demanding workloads -- the 2.3-gigahertz Haswell chip in the newest MacBook Pro can boost up to 3.5 gigahertz, for example.

The Geekbench scores, which began trickling in on Wednesday, are based on processor and memory performance. GPU performance is not included, and as a result we have yet to see what effect the inclusion of Intel's Iris Pro graphics chip has on the Retina MacBook Pro's capabilities.
post #2 of 31

I would like to know why rMBP only has an additional hour of battery life when the CPU is turned down and Mavericks is suppose to bring big battery savings, and the entry 15" has integrated graphics. 

 

What else changed that all these battery saving technologies only gained an hour, when the MBA gained so much more, and then an additional hour with Mavericks. Somethings seems off. 

post #3 of 31
Quote:
Thanks to Intel's Turbo Boost feature, the clock speeds can be increased as needed to handle more demanding workloads %u2014 the 2.3-gigahertz Haswell chip in the newest MacBook Pro can boost up to 3.5 gigahertz, for example.
And how is this different than Sammy's "benchmark booster" for which we gleefully derided the company?
post #4 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

And how is this different than Sammy's "benchmark booster" for which we gleefully derided the company?

The Intel Turbo feature is available to every application, not just benchmarks.

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post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post


And how is this different than Sammy's "benchmark booster" for which we gleefully derided the company?

 

OK, Jean Luc, let me explain...

 

Samsung's "benchmark booster" feature specified certain applications under which it would "increase performance output", with those applications specifically

named being "benchmarking apps". The rest of the time, it does little "when needed", as those performance boosts significantly degrade battery life to the point of seriously degrading product desirability. 

 

Intel's "burst mode" appears at any time it's needed or requested, and is application-name agnostic. Because it operates efficiently, unless you're doing things like grinding heavy HD video edits in Final Cut while in the field, you won't see substantially degraded battery life, even with that kicking in from time to time as it's designed to.

 

In other words, one is marketing hype (and only really used when needed to make the company/product look better) and the other is an actual performance/efficiency enhancement. 

 

Get the difference? 

post #6 of 31
And how is this different than Sammy's "benchmark booster" for which we gleefully derided the company? I will assume you are asking a serious question.

Because the Turbo Boost feature is available to all software and therefore is a reasonable tool to use for benchmarking.

Sammy's boosted their speed beyond that available to any apps except for the benchmarks. Therefore - they are lying.
post #7 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post


And how is this different than Sammy's "benchmark booster" for which we gleefully derided the company?

 

If you did a benchmark score you would get a score representative of how it would typically run (it turns up the juice as needed).  In the case of Samsung they specifically looked to see if the app name matched common benchmarks and if so automatically turned them into full power mode.

 

Either way the scores are still representative of what the devices can do at full power.  In real usage they would burn up pretty quickly in that mode.

 

So it is a little in how you look at them.  When cars are tested for 'maximum horsepower' on a dyno they run them to a state they would probably blow up in if left there for more than a few minutes.  It is the accepted practice.  When testing phones, what are the norms?

 

If Apple's estimated battery life is given with Wi-Fi off and the screen brightness dimmed, is that cheating too?  Most people would say no, even though that's not how they normally use them- it is just perceived that that is an acceptable way to run that test in order to get a result that puts your best foot forward.

 

So make up your own mind on who is guilty or not :p  IMO Samsung's move was dubious at best.

post #8 of 31
The problem I have with this article is that they leave out an important feature of the 13" rMBP, that is the Intel GPU which is significantly better than the one in the AIRs

In any event the benchmarks don't mean much if the processor core isn't locked to one clock rate. There is no telling what the actual clock rates are here.
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post


And how is this different than Sammy's "benchmark booster" for which we gleefully derided the company?

Horrible trolling is horrible.

post #10 of 31
Samsung sees your Geekbench benchmark and raises you 20%...
post #11 of 31
8 percent. Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if the A7 was only 8% faster than the A6 processor? Instead it was about twice as fast and is 64 bit. Mobile processors are about to crash into the performance curve of Intel's desktop processors over the next year or two. It should be fun to watch.
post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post
 

I would like to know why rMBP only has an additional hour of battery life when the CPU is turned down and Mavericks is suppose to bring big battery savings, and the entry 15" has integrated graphics. 

 

What else changed that all these battery saving technologies only gained an hour, when the MBA gained so much more, and then an additional hour with Mavericks. Somethings seems off. 


Because of the retina display.

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post #13 of 31
Within the same power envelope and price category Haswell offers a 2.3GHz CPU with Iris Pro 5200 graphics and a 2.7GHz CPU with HD4600 graphics. The 2.7GHz Haswell would have turned in 17% better CPU scores in Geekbench and cost Apple roughly $100 less.

So clearly there's something else going on here and I think the Mac Pro's twin GPU is the key. I think Apple is trying to move toward a world where two GPUs are used at the same time: one for computation and one to drive the display. In such a world a 2.3GHz CPU equipped with a 5200 GPU is better than a 2.7GHz CPU equipped with a 4600 GPU even if you've got an nVidia 750M available.

Their secondary motivation is probably to get a larger share of the customer base to accept integrated graphics as "good enough". That's sad because Apple has always criticized others for shipping products that are merely "good enough".
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post

Within the same power envelope and price category Haswell offers a 2.3GHz CPU with Iris Pro 5200 graphics and a 2.7GHz CPU with HD4600 graphics. The 2.7GHz Haswell would have turned in 17% better CPU scores in Geekbench and cost Apple roughly $100 less.
Quote:
Their secondary motivation is probably to get a larger share of the customer base to accept integrated graphics as "good enough". That's sad because Apple has always criticized others for shipping products that are merely "good enough".

You're contradicting yourself. If Apple's "motivation" was to have people think that integrated graphics are "good enough" then they would not have gone with the Iris Pro over the HD4600 since for some it is "good enough". But since that is not their motivation they went with Iris Pro which is 2-3x faster in most compute tasks over the HD4600 because to their standard it was not "good enough".

 

 

The

post #15 of 31

if ([self.benchmarkName hasPrefix:@"geekBench"])

   self.turboBoostON = YES;

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post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post
 


Because of the retina display.

 

The old retina MBP did not have retina? 

post #17 of 31

LOL... just not the case poor guy.

post #18 of 31

The PCIe-based flash storage is noticeably faster at I/O based operations compared to the last generation SSD drives (let alone spinning discs).  Booting, starting applications, loading/saving files, etc.  Geekbench is great at processor-based metrics, but IMO doesn't adequately take I/O speed differences into account.

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post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post

The old retina MBP did not have retina? 

Sure, but it's a pretty significant part of the power needs of the device. Haswell only increases power efficiency in the CPU and chipset.
post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post
 

I would like to know why rMBP only has an additional hour of battery life when the CPU is turned down and Mavericks is suppose to bring big battery savings, and the entry 15" has integrated graphics. 

 

What else changed that all these battery saving technologies only gained an hour, when the MBA gained so much more, and then an additional hour with Mavericks. Somethings seems off. 

 

I believe they actually shrunk the battery capacity. This allowed them to make the Macbook Pro thinner and lighter with a modest gain in battery life.  I think the trade off was good. 

post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by akqies View Post


Sure, but it's a pretty significant part of the power needs of the device. Haswell only increases power efficiency in the CPU and chipset.

 

The screens did not change for either line. Stills seems disproportionate: 

 

Air: 7-12 hours is 70% improvement? 

Pro: 7-9 hours is 28% improvement? 

post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
The Intel Turbo feature is available to every application, not just benchmarks.

 

Ah, that explains a lot. Thank you SuddenlyNewton.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by MikeJones

Horrible trolling is horrible.

 

No, not intending to troll. Just a simple question. Thanks to those who actually replied in a helpful manner.  :)

post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by rats View Post
 

 

I believe they actually shrunk the battery capacity. This allowed them to make the Macbook Pro thinner and lighter with a modest gain in battery life.  I think the trade off was good. 

 

Although that sounds logical, I would not call that a good tradeoff. I much rather have a bit more weight and 12 hours battery, than anorexic and only 8 hours. 

post #24 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post

The screens did not change for either line. Stills seems disproportionate: 

Air: 7-12 hours is 70% improvement? 
Pro: 7-9 hours is 28% improvement? 

It doesn't sound logical to you that Haswell only affects the power efficiency of Haswell and not other components, most of which aren't even made by Intel? 1hmm.gif
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by akqies View Post


It doesn't sound logical to you that Haswell only affects the power efficiency of Haswell and not other components, most of which aren't even made by Intel? 1hmm.gif

 

No, its not logical that the MBA received such a huge increase in battery and the rMBP did not, especially when the rMBP has reduced processor speeds and Mavericks. I'm not sure how 'other' components enters into this logic? If the Haswell saved that much battery life, and Mavericks added another hour to the MBA, then why were there not equal gains in the rMBP? 

post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post

If the Haswell saved that much battery life, and Mavericks added another hour to the MBA, then why were there not equal gains in the rMBP? 

Because Haswell doesn't affect other components! If they used other components that use more power than the previous MBP that will then use more power just as if they reduced the battery size it will then have a lower capacity in which to store power and no matter how great Haswell is it won't be able to do any comparative power savings exact without the functionality of that chip.

As for percentages, you will need to determine how much power the microarchitecture used within the entire system for their battery testing parameter. As previously noted the components that drive the display (IPS LCD, backlight, and GPU) likely use a higher percentage of the overall power of the system than in the MBA.

Finally, there are testing parameter changes to consider, but in this instance I would think Apple has not altered them to make them more strict. Even though they have done this several times I believe they have informed us when they did.
Edited by akqies - 10/26/13 at 12:31pm
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by akqies View Post


Because Haswell doesn't affect other components! If they used other components that use more power than the previous MBP that will then use more power just as if they reduced the battery size it will then have a lower capacity in which to store power and no matter how great Haswell is it won't be able to do any comparative power savings exact without the functionality of that chip.

 

Correct, which is then to my original question, why not similar gains as the MBA? Or you can easily say, what changed in the MBP? Is PCIe that much more an energy hog? Did they shrink the batter that much to gain the increasingly anorexic look? The processor speed was reduced (thus voltage) so that should use less. Mavericks was added which gained MBA an extra hour.

 

If all things being equal from the last version, the rMBP should have seen a larger percent increase in battery life. So what I am asking here is, also changed? If the battery was reduced in size that much, I think that is a horrible tradeoff. I much rather have last years size/weight with an additional 3 hours of batter. 

 

All in all, it is curiosity. 

post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post

Correct, which is then to my original question, why not similar gains as the MBA? Or you can easily say, what changed in the MBP? Is PCIe that much more an energy hog? Did they shrink the batter that much to gain the increasingly anorexic look? The processor speed was reduced (thus voltage) so that should use less. Mavericks was added which gained MBA an extra hour.

If all things being equal from the last version, the rMBP should have seen a larger percent increase in battery life. So what I am asking here is, also changed? If the battery was reduced in size that much, I think that is a horrible tradeoff. I much rather have last years size/weight with an additional 3 hours of batter. 


All in all, it is curiosity. 

I would also much rather have longer battery life, but I do have to say that I'm quite happy with my new 15" MBP. I have been saying for years that I prefer the portability of the 13" MBP but after just an hour I don't know I ever got along with a 15" and can't imagine going to a smaller size.

That said, there is a nicety about my new 15" being ever so slightly lighter than my old 2010 13" MBP and it was a key part in getting me to spend about $1000 more on the larger size notebook.
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by akqies View Post


I would also much rather have longer battery life, but I do have to say that I'm quite happy with my new 15" MBP. I have been saying for years that I prefer the portability of the 13" MBP but after just an hour I don't know I ever got along with a 15" and can't imagine going to a smaller size.

That said, there is a nicety about my new 15" being ever so slightly lighter than my old 2010 13" MBP and it was a key part in getting me to spend about $1000 more on the larger size notebook.

 

My curiosity is not a factor in whether I get a new 15" MBP, as it is what it is. I also like the lighter and thinner, but question that at the expense of performance and/or battery life. 

 

What is your take on real world performance? 

 

Thanks! 

post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post

My curiosity is not a factor in whether I get a new 15" MBP, as it is what it is. I also like the lighter and thinner, but question that at the expense of performance and/or battery life. 

What is your take on real world performance? 

Thanks! 

Coming from a 2010 model which only had the iGPU my perception of the performance is very substantial. I haven't had a dGPU in a notebook since the 12" PowerBook back in 2006(?). I used an after-market SSD in that machine but we're only talking about about a 2011 model that was still using SATA II to connect so it was no where close to today's SSD performance or the PCIe that Apple now uses. I am quite happy all around, which includes the Retina display and at doubling my battery life.
post #31 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by akqies View Post


Coming from a 2010 model which only had the iGPU my perception of the performance is very substantial. I haven't had a dGPU in a notebook since the 12" PowerBook back in 2006(?). I used an after-market SSD in that machine but we're only talking about about a 2011 model that was still using SATA II to connect so it was no where close to today's SSD performance or the PCIe that Apple now uses. I am quite happy all around, which includes the Retina display and at doubling my battery life.

Thanks! 

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