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Apple's new MacBook Pro with Retina display models unboxed, SSDs speed tested

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Hours after Apple released its refreshed MacBook Pro with Retina display lineup, aftermarket parts reseller Other World Computing has SSD speed test results for both 13-inch and 15-inch models, as well as photos of a partial teardown.


Source: OWC


As noted in a recent blog post, OWC was able to get their hands on Apple's latest 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display models, both entry-level versions with 128GB and 256GB flash drives, respectively.

In its initial test, the firm saw minimal difference between the two setups, though average random write speed on the 15-inch model was more than twice as fast as that of the smaller laptop. Random reads were also accomplished at a faster clip with the larger model, though not at speeds noticeable to the end user.


OWC's Retina MacBook Pro examples use Samsung SSD modules for the 15-inch (top) and SanDisk with Marvell controller for the 13-inch model.


Flash modules for the 13-inch model are sourced from SanDisk and controlled by a Marvell chip, while the 15-inch version uses Samsung's memory and controller set. The vendor choice mirrors Apple's last update from October 2013.

OWC also went through the unboxing ritual and continued by removing the bottom covers of each laptop, revealing a familiar symmetrical component layout. From the looks of things, Apple has apparently left internal design largely unchanged, meaning the refresh consists mainly of CPU speed boosts and a new standard 16GB of RAM for the low-end 15-inch variant.
post #2 of 29
Bigger SSDs are usually faster regardless of manufacturer.
post #3 of 29
Good point.
post #4 of 29

I still love that angry face.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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post #5 of 29
So the machines are able to be upgraded to 32 GBs of memory?
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

So the machines are able to be upgraded to 32 GBs of memory?

They're still not.. and this is a massive let down.. What good is a Macbook'PRO' when you can't even upgrade or choose the option to have a maximum RAM configuration that the CPU supports.  I use the Adobe suite for work and having more RAM enables me to render and cache larger scenes and files. It's not always about how optimized the OS is.

post #7 of 29
First of all, 16GB of memory is a ton of memory for a laptop. More than enough for the overwhelming majority of uses. If you want to bitch to anyone regarding performance editing large files in adobe products, bitch at Adobe for their bloated user unfriendly spaghetti code. Otherwise, buy the right computer for your work - an expandable iMac or Pro - if the laptop doesn't meet your needs. As per the old saying, use the right tool for the job.
Edited by FreeRange - 7/29/14 at 7:47pm
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

First of all, 16GB of memory is a ton of memory for a laptop. More than enough for the overwhelming majority of uses. If you want to bitch to anyone regarding performance editing large files in adobe products, bitch at Adobe for their bloated user unfriendly spaghetti code. Otherwise, buy the right computer for your work - an expandable iMac or Pro - if the laptop doesn't meet your needs. As per the old saying, use the right tool for the job.

 

No, there's nothing unreasonable about wanting 32gb RAM on a MacbookPro for people using creative applications, if the chipset will support it.

"We're Apple. We don't wear suits. We don't even own suits."
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"We're Apple. We don't wear suits. We don't even own suits."
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post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennen View Post

No, there's nothing unreasonable about wanting 32gb RAM on a MacbookPro for people using creative applications, if the chipset will support it.
I'm sorry to differ, but it's not about the chipset! This is a laptop! It's about overall performance in balance with battery life, as well as issues with heat dissipation. Laptops ARE NOT desktop computers. If you really need that much RAM for your work the choices are clear.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennen View Post
 

 

No, there's nothing unreasonable about wanting 32gb RAM on a MacbookPro for people using creative applications, if the chipset will support it.

Just because a chipset and processor support it doesn't make any request instantly reasonable. 16GB DDR3 SODIMMs do not exist. I have yet to find one on newegg or amazon. Perhaps the limitation is due to the fact that they cannot fit 4 modules in the Macbook Pros enclosure, therefore limiting the maximum amount of RAM to 2x 8GB DDR3 SODIMM modules.

post #11 of 29
See - there ya go using facts to dispel reasonable demands ;-)
Pretty good for a 4 poster - you'll go well round here !
Edited by RobM - 7/29/14 at 11:13pm
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by willkill07 View Post
 

Just because a chipset and processor support it doesn't make any request instantly reasonable. 16GB DDR3 SODIMMs do not exist.

 

That's fair enough - hopefully when they do exist, they will be offered. Unfortunately for people who buy these MBPs, they won't be able to upgrade.

 

But (for another poster) to say a laptop doesn't need 32gb and you should get a desktop, that's just silly. There are many, many professionals who take their MBP from office to office and a desktop is not an option. Personally, I don't care about diminished battery life as when I'm working on my MBP, I always have it connected to power.

 

When the option is offered in the next 6 months or so, I wonder if this person will decry it as unnecessary and complain "Just get a desktop!!1!"?


Edited by sennen - 7/30/14 at 12:03am
"We're Apple. We don't wear suits. We don't even own suits."
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post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by willkill07 View Post
 

Just because a chipset and processor support it doesn't make any request instantly reasonable. 16GB DDR3 SODIMMs do not exist. I have yet to find one on newegg or amazon. Perhaps the limitation is due to the fact that they cannot fit 4 modules in the Macbook Pros enclosure, therefore limiting the maximum amount of RAM to 2x 8GB DDR3 SODIMM modules.

Do you even know, we are talking about retina Macbook Pros? SODIMM has nothing to do with retina MBPs. The only MBP that uses SODIMM, is "legacy" 13 MBP.

ACSP now, ACTC after Cebit. Aiming for ACSD one day. Some TTT meanwhile too
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ACSP now, ACTC after Cebit. Aiming for ACSD one day. Some TTT meanwhile too
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post #14 of 29
sodimm, rdimm, udimm - doesn't matter. No 16 gb modules !

I hear ddr4 is just around the corner maybe that's when 32gb will be offered.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Source: OWC
.

The RAM is in the middle there between the two fans. You can count that there are 16 chips. Just above them is the CPU under the heatsink. The GPU in the higher model would go to the right of the CPU, the Iris Pro model leaves the space but there's really no room for more chips. In the old models, these chips would go on memory modules and there were two modules supported. It would have needed 4 slots for 32GB.

DDR3 supports densities of up to 8 gigabits (1GigaByte) per chip, DDR4 supports up to 16 gigabits (2GigaByte):

http://www.micron.com/products/dram/ddr3-to-ddr4

It's also lower power. For the Retina MBP to support 32GB, it needs to get 16 gigabit chips so that won't come until the 2015 Broadwell model at the earliest. They could even save space by dropping to 12x 2GB chips to offer 24GB RAM but it's likely the high density chips will be expensive to begin with.
post #16 of 29
Hmm seems like this is update was largely the same as expected. Just a minor price drop and a CPU speed bump.

I dunno if any of you have noticed but one of the screenshots, I was hoping to see it say the model number and identifier. For instance mine says Retina, 15 inch, Late 2013. However the OWC posted pictures with the settings had nothing written. Does that mean Apple isn't using identifiers like they did previously.

If perhaps someone has the mildly updated model they could confirm. Quite interested to know.

http://blog.macsales.com/25770-owc-unboxes-tests-ssd-speeds-of-new-13-and-15-retina-macbook-pros?utm_source=affiliate&utm_campaign=cj#
post #17 of 29
I can't get over how much like the view I get lifting the hood (bonnet) of cars these days is like the view you get when you take the bottom off a new MBP! My wife's last car, a Merc 350 SLK looked almost identical!

I wonder when MBPs will get PCle SSD technology?
Edited by digitalclips - 7/30/14 at 4:52am
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rahvinous View Post

Hmm seems like this is update was largely the same as expected. Just a minor price drop and a CPU speed bump.

I dunno if any of you have noticed but one of the screenshots, I was hoping to see it say the model number and identifier. For instance mine says Retina, 15 inch, Late 2013. However the OWC posted pictures with the settings had nothing written. Does that mean Apple isn't using identifiers like they did previously.

If perhaps someone has the mildly updated model they could confirm. Quite interested to know.

http://blog.macsales.com/25770-owc-unboxes-tests-ssd-speeds-of-new-13-and-15-retina-macbook-pros?utm_source=affiliate&utm_campaign=cj#

That's a heck of a speed difference between the 13" and 15"!

Meanwhile ... if only SSD price / size would get to the same place as HDDs ASAP we'd all be happy campers!
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I wonder when MBPs will get PCle SSD technology?

They all have PCIe SSDs:

https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/specs-retina/
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by simtub View Post
 

They're still not.. and this is a massive let down.. What good is a Macbook'PRO' when you can't even upgrade or choose the option to have a maximum RAM configuration that the CPU supports.  I use the Adobe suite for work and having more RAM enables me to render and cache larger scenes and files. It's not always about how optimized the OS is.

 

Apple products are about engineering compromises and Apple's design choice to keep things as simple as possible.  

 

Clearly, doubling the RAM to 32 GB will only benefit the very top 2% of people who do heavy duty work on a MacBook Pro.  These people would only buy the highest-top-end configuration for the MacBook Pro (the $3600  MacBook Pro 15-inch Retina Display, 1 TB PCIe SSD, 2.8 GHZ Quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU with discrete nVidia GeFore GT 750M 2 GB GDDR5 GPU with Applecare Warranty extension).  How many people buy the custom-built top-end MacBook Pro with everything?

 

Yet 32 GB of RAM uses up a lot of energy.  And most of the space inside the MacBook Pro is dedicated to battery.  Running heavy duty Adobe actions also uses up a lot of battery life - filling all of available RAM, heavily using the SSD for scratch space, etc. In fact, running such tasks which also uses up the energy sucking discrete GPU,  uses up so much battery power, you are lucky to get 2-hours of battery life on the MacBook Pro.  You might as well keep it plugged into the wall.  Better yet, you might as well buy the even more expensive and more appropriate MacPro to do this task since it is also portable.

 

Since space is at a premium in the very very thin MacBook Pro 15-inch with discrete GPU,  Apple made the decision to limit maximum RAM to 16 GB in order to also maximize the battery life for the vast majority of people. 

 

If you run heavy duty Adobe tasks, then you simply have to wait longer to complete the tasks.  Don't be so impatient.  Realize you are using the wrong tool for the job - so it is a compromise.  Realize you should probably get a Mac Pro with custom 128 GB RAM, 1 TB PCIe SSD that will cost you $10,000+.  Don't be so cheap as to compromise by using a MacBook Pro as your only Adobe workstation.

post #21 of 29

For doing video work, which is highly labor intensive, the MacBook Pro with 16 GB RAM - using Intel's graphics processor Quicksync technology for hardware H.264 compression -  is twice as fast when doing H.264 compression as the best MacPro model.

 

Since H.264 compression is usually highly resource intensive, it is remarkable that Intel was able to do add hard-ware compression on its Haswell  and Sandy Bridge consumer CPUs (not in the Xeon Processor unfortunately) that is hugely fast and not dependent on available RAM.  

 

So for Video, which is generally more work intensive than Adobe processes,  there is very little difference between 16 GB and 32 GB RAM.  The primary difference is the hardware QuickSync compression in the Intel consumer CPUs that are much more powerful than any other method of video compression on the MacPro.

 

Therefore Apple - for videographers - chose battery life over 32 GB RAM. And that is an excellent choice since the extra RAM isn't needed by 98% of consumers and would only suck up battery power when idling.

 

The only complainers about the lack of 32 GB RAM who make a valid point and have standing are those who routinely can afford to AND ONLY purchase the $3600 top-end MacBook Pro 15-inch, and they upgrade their MacBook Pros EVERY YEAR, and they heavily do Adobe Photoshop work, not video work.  

 

This is a rare breed of user.  And Apple doesn't cater to rare breeds.  Just ask any hard-core gamer.  Hard-core gamers prefer to build their own high-end PC gaming rigs and purchase the rare high-end PC gaming laptops costing $3000+

post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I wonder when MBPs will get PCle SSD technology?

October of last year, I believe.

 

My year-old MacBook Air (Mid 2013) has a PCIe-based SSD too.

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They all have PCIe SSDs:

https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/specs-retina/

OK I didn't know that, my MBP is 2009 with a DIY pair of regular SSDs... so a bit out of the loop. So any idea when I can buy a larger PCle SSD for a nMac Pro?
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

October of last year, I believe.

My year-old MacBook Air (Mid 2013) has a PCIe-based SSD too.

Thanks for info.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post


I'm sorry to differ, but it's not about the chipset! This is a laptop! It's about overall performance in balance with battery life, as well as issues with heat dissipation. Laptops ARE NOT desktop computers. If you really need that much RAM for your work the choices are clear.

I beg to differ, laptop is a misnomer,  about practically 0% of macbook pro users use them on their lap, about 100% use them on a desktop.

I have been using a macbook pro daily for about the last 4 years. I'd say it's been used on battery power alone for about 6 hours during that entire time.  I want a practical powerful machine I can move from location to location. An iMac just wont work.  

post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

any idea when I can buy a larger PCle SSD for a nMac Pro?

They top out at 1TB just now. Samsung recently brought out an SSD drive using 3D NAND (special glasses not required):

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/185671-samsungs-850-pro-is-the-first-consumer-ssd-to-use-3d-nand
http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/minisite/Greenmemory/news-event/in-the-news/detail?contentsSeq=13227&contsClassCd=G

Apple uses Samsung's NAND in the Mac Pro. Samsung also has SSDs that go up to 3GB/s. The 3D NAND hasn't arrived at a lower price point, Crucial's drives still undercut them as well as the EVO drives but Samsung says that 3D NAND will eventually drive prices down:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7203/samsungs-3d-vertical-nand-set-to-improve-nand-densities

"Using up to 24 vertical NAND elements, Samsung predicts that they will be able to scale up to 1Tb per individual NAND chip. It’s not clear exactly how large the initial chips will be, but with conventional 19nm NAND currently shipping in 128Gb capacities we’d expect at least two to four times as much storage per chip. That means using current SSD standards of eight channels of NAND we’d see capacities for “commodity” SSDs move from 128GB to 256GB or even 512GB, and with four NAND die per package we could easily hit 2TB SSDs. The days of needing a secondary storage device with a hard drive could be quickly coming to a close depending on the timing and pricing."

Anantech has a lot of details on the 850 Pro:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8216/samsung-ssd-850-pro-128gb-256gb-1tb-review-enter-the-3d-era/2

They haven't aimed to increase capacity but improve performance. Toshiba is making moves to 3D NAND too:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwebster/2014/05/20/ssd-is-hot-so-why-is-toshiba-demolishing-a-nand-flash-fab/

"Regardless of underlying technology and road map issues, it is now clear that 3D NAND Flash will begin to replace its 2D NAND Flash predecessors starting next year with volume and increasingly attractive pricing in 2016."

There's some upcoming 2TB 2.5" SSDs this year:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8145/computex-2014-adata-booth-tour-2tb-sx930-ssd-micro-ssds-power-banks-wireless-chargers-and-more
http://www.maximumpc.com/leaked_intel_roadmap_shows_2tb_25-inch_ssd_coming_out_2014

If the cost doesn't come down, Apple may not go that high. Apple uses MLC NAND and it's higher quality. I'd be surprised if this year's Mac Pro gets more storage capacity but I could see it reaching 2TB by 2016. The only way to go just now is to get something like the M500 and put it in a USB 3 enclosure that supports the UASP transfer mode:

http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-2-5-Inch-adapter-Internal-CT960M500SSD1/dp/B00BQ8RGL6
http://www.amazon.com/Optimized-Inateck-Enclosure-Installation-Compatible/dp/B00FCLG65U

That gets over 400MB/s read/write from a Samsung drive at under $0.50/GB. You could fill a small quad 2.5" RAID with those drives to get ~4TB and hooked over USB 3 would give decent speeds.
post #27 of 29

I notice that the MBPr 13" has less than double the pixels of the MBA 13".  Does Mac OS X handle the retina display exactly the same way iOS handles it?  In that case, I would actually get less usable screen real estate with the Pro model over the Air model (although the text would be sharper on the Pro).  For example, if I'm working in X Code, would I feel more space constrained in the Pro than the Air, or could I take advantage of the extra pixels so that it feels like a machine with a LOT more pixels?

post #28 of 29
You gotta love how Apple gear is as good looking on the interior as it is on the exterior! Amazing!
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by patpatpat View Post

I beg to differ, laptop is a misnomer,  about practically 0% of macbook pro users use them on their lap, about 100% use them on a desktop.
I have been using a macbook pro daily for about the last 4 years. I'd say it's been used on battery power alone for about 6 hours during that entire time.  I want a practical powerful machine I can move from location to location. An iMac just wont work.  

I use my MBP on battery for at least 2 hours every single day. Some days far longer.
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