Intel's next-gen MacBook Pro chip candidates benchmarked

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Intel's new "Arrandale" dual-core processors, set to debut this month and expected by some to be the chips Apple will use in future models of the MacBook Pro line, have been found to have better performance than their Core 2 Duo predecessors without negative impact on battery life.



Intel sent out early versions of the chips to numerous Web sites where they have been tested and benchmarked. Across the board, the results were said to be positive. PC Magazine pitted a new 2.53GHz Intel Core i5-540M from ASUS against a 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P9500, as well as a 2GHz Intel Core i7-920XM.



"We've seen incremental bumps in speeds (percentages in the teens) when Intel launches new processors for the same platform, but when you swap out an entire motherboard and everything that goes with it, the change can be quite significant," they said. "Cinebench R10 is a multi-threaded benchmark test that took full advantage of the Core i5-540M's HyperThreading technology, beating the T400s's similarly clocked Core 2 Duo P9500 CPU by a 62% margin."



The Arrandale mobile processors were released alongside their Clarkdale counterparts. The two chips share the same architecture, which employs a 32nm Westmere core paired with a 45nm chipset. The new 32nm chips offer improved speed, better graphics performance and lower power consumption. They will also allow motherboards to become smaller.



Tom's Hardware found that the new processors strike a good balance between speed found on desktop machines, with power consumption low enough to support a mobile device. But those gains, in early tests, come without the inclusion of a discrete graphics card.



In a test of ripping CDs to the AAC format within iTunes, the new Arrandale mobile processor performed the task 10 seconds better than its Penryn predecessor, clocking in at 1:36 on the task.



The site found that the 35W Core i5-540M uses more power under load, but uses quite a bit less power than the Core 2 Duo P8700 during downtime. Average power consumption was said to be 32.9W for the Arrandale and 31.7W for Penryn.



"So long, Core 2 Duo," the site's review concluded. "The wheels of progress keep on spinning, and Arrandale is playing you out."



Further reviews are available from Hot Hardware, AnandTech, PC Perspective, and Legit Reviews.







The new processors are set to improve upon the previous line of Intel's Core 2 Duo chips, which have been utilized in versions of Apple's new MacBook, MacBook Pro, and iMac. Apple uses the mobile variants of Intel's desktop chips for those systems, meaning machines with chips based on the Arrandale architecture could arrive soon.



Unlike the Core 2 Duo CPUs, Arrandale processors will have the major northbridge chipset memory controller components built in. Currently, Apple uses Nvidia chipsets with its Mac lineup. But the architectural changes through Arrandale -- along with an ongoing lawsuit that has forced Nvidia to halt the development of future chipsets -- would likely make it difficult for Apple to continue with Nvidia.







Apple last updated its MacBook Pro line in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Those systems included Core 2 Duo processors and Nvidia graphics, along with cheaper prices, better displays and built-in batteries. Intel intends to release 17 new CPUs in early 2010, which will be highlighted at this week's CES.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    broadcom just released a $2 chip called crystalHD that can play back HD content very nicely. HP is going to release $300 netbooks with it tomorrow. not sure if they will have blu ray in them, but they will have the power to decode it
  • Reply 2 of 61
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,728member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Intel's new "Arrandale" dual-core processors …have been found to have better performance than their Core 2 Duo predecessors without negative impact on battery life.



    This is curious. PCMag and Tom's Hardware appear to have tested the same i5 processor, but PCMag noted a much worse impact on battery life:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PCMag.com


    Battery Life

    Processor and graphics power came in well above expectations, but battery life is currently the biggest question mark. It's difficult to pass a verdict given that we have a single test unit, and especially when the low voltage and ultra low voltage Core i7s and Core i5s have yet to show up on our test benches. From initial testing, though, the Core i5-equipped K42F was less than impressive, scoring just 3 hours 35 minutes with its 63Wh battery in MobileMark 2007 tests. The T400s, with its Core 2 Duo P9500, scored almost an hour better (4:31) despite using a much smaller battery (43Wh). We will take a more definitive stance once we have more review systems.



    They don't detail their test, so I guess it must have been quite CPU-intensive.
  • Reply 3 of 61
    adamwadamw Posts: 114guest
    These chips look very interesting. Let's see what Apple chooses to announce regarding using these chips or not...
  • Reply 4 of 61
    abster2coreabster2core Posts: 2,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    This is curious. PCMag and Tom's Hardware appear to have tested the same i5 processor, but PCMag noted a much worse impact on battery life:



    Interesting. Doesn't anybody give credit anymore?



    I did see

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PCMag.com

    Battery Life

    Processor and graphics power came in well above expectations, but battery life is currently the biggest question mark. It's difficult to pass a verdict given that we have a single test unit, and especially when the low voltage and ultra low voltage Core i7s and Core i5s have yet to show up on our test benches. From initial testing, though, the Core i5-equipped K42F was less than impressive, scoring just 3 hours 35 minutes with its 63Wh battery in MobileMark 2007 tests. The T400s, with its Core 2 Duo P9500, scored almost an hour better (4:31) despite using a much smaller battery (43Wh). We will take a more definitive stance once we have more review systems.



    but also verbatimon a blogger's post? i.e.,

    Performance Gains, Sometimes - My KTVU Blog post* http://my.ktvu.com/_Performance-Gain...0714/6704.html.
  • Reply 5 of 61
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    The bad thing about these are the bundled GPU's. If these come bundled with Intel integrated graphics, it will be poison from the get go.
  • Reply 6 of 61
    igeniusigenius Posts: 1,240member
    Very interesting.



    Apparently Apple's next-year chips beat last-year's chips. But next-year's Apple chips are inferior to the this-year's i7 chips.



    Very interesting.
  • Reply 7 of 61
    caljomaccaljomac Posts: 122member
    Wow....not bad...now all we need is a new macbook pro
  • Reply 8 of 61
    My nearly 5 year old powerbook is gasping its last--every time I boot up, it makes a horrifying clankity clank (sp?) and I'm running off the removable hard drive (the mac hard drive itself no longer appears on the desktop).



    Been waiting to replace it; hopefully this month?
  • Reply 9 of 61
    markbmarkb Posts: 153member
    I really disllike intels integrated graphics in anything but the most basic of netbooks. There is so much potential for use of discrete graphics chips with OpenCL and CUDA but Intel efforts seem focused on muddying the waters and poisoning any real progress in this area. I am in the market for a new MacBook pro in the near future, but if they put these chips with integrated graphics in them I will vote with my wallet and sit this round out.



    Even if they add a discrete chip from (I Assume) ATI, I would still think long and hard about it. Seems like you would be paying for a integrated chip no matter what. Seems wasteful at best.
  • Reply 10 of 61
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,728member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by markb View Post


    I really disllike intels integrated graphics in anything but the most basic of netbooks. There is so much potential for use of discrete graphics chips with OpenCL and CUDA but Intel efforts seem focused on muddying the waters and poisoning any real progress in this area. I am in the market for a new MacBook pro in the near future, but if they put these chips with integrated graphics in them I will vote with my wallet and sit this round out.



    Even if they add a discrete chip from (I Assume) ATI, I would still think long and hard about it. Seems like you would be paying for a integrated chip no matter what. Seems wasteful at best.



    The current MacBook Pros all have integrated graphics. The 13" and low-end 15" have only integrated graphics, and the remaining 15" and 17" models have an additional discrete chip. Those with both integrated and discrete allow you to choose between them, with the integrated chip offering better battery life.



    Moving to Arrandale would simply mean using Intel integrated graphics instead of Nvidia integrated graphics. In either case, you'd need a discrete card for any serious GPU related stuff.
  • Reply 11 of 61
    markbmarkb Posts: 153member
    Quote:

    The current MacBook Pros all have integrated graphics.



    Let me be more specific then... I really hate INTEL integrated graphics. I have had very bad experiences with them. My experience with the 9400M is actually quite good. I guess I had forgotten that it is technically an integrated chip.
  • Reply 12 of 61
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,728member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by markb View Post


    Let me be more specific then... I really hate INTEL integrated graphics. I have had very bad experiences with them. My experience with the 9400M is actually quite good. I guess I had forgotten that it is technically an integrated chip.



    I agree that it will probably be a step back for those machines that have only integrated graphics. But, I wouldn't hesitate buying a Mac with Intel integrated graphics and a discrete chip from Nvidia or ATI; most of the time I'd use the Intel graphics to maximise battery life.
  • Reply 13 of 61
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post


    The bad thing about these are the bundled GPU's. If these come bundled with Intel integrated graphics, it will be poison from the get go.



    On the contrary, because we are eliminating the Bridge chips and the GPU on Bridge, consolodating 3 Chips (two of which are LARGE- not CPU) into one we now have space for a dedicated graphics chip to go along with integrated, Ala MacBook Pro's 15/17". This will probably bring dual graphics to the 13" MBP and allow the MBAir to go slimmer, smaller, cooler (ULV chips not out yet...).



    Basically this consolidation will give engineers more space on the same size board and PC engineers can now make things cheaper and creakier.
  • Reply 14 of 61
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post


    The bad thing about these are the bundled GPU's. If these come bundled with Intel integrated graphics, it will be poison from the get go.



    If it's not nvidia, it would have to be ATI as the MacBook Pro needs to run motion and the likes.

    I can't see them using intel. No way.

    Unless if course, intc came up with something groudbreaking ehich they have not.



    Peace.
  • Reply 15 of 61
    These early benchmarks actually suggest that the new generation of Intel integrated graphics perform on par with the GeForce 9400M, so it won't necessarily be a step back in terms of performance. However, there are plenty of other reasons to dislike Intel graphics.
  • Reply 16 of 61
    Comparing only 2.53 variants is relevant but inconclusive. Comparisons of the fastest models of each chip is going to show a more useful result. More useful still will be results showing real world results in applications as opposed to theoretical results stressing capabilities of the chips which most software does not yet support. The realistic gains may be more modest than the original indications suggest.
  • Reply 17 of 61
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solarein View Post


    These early benchmarks actually suggest that the new generation of Intel integrated graphics perform on par with the GeForce 9400M, so it won't necessarily be a step back in terms of performance. However, there are plenty of other reasons to dislike Intel graphics.



    I'd like to see a reference link if you have one. Intel integrated graphics have always been horrible. I would be shocked if they produced anything comparable to a current discreet video card's performance.



    From what I'm reading, Apple has told Intel to ditch the GPU and give them only the CPU chip, which would be a win in my book.
  • Reply 18 of 61
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post


    I'd like to see a reference link if you have one. Intel integrated graphics have always been horrible. I would be shocked if they produced anything comparable to a current discreet video card's performance.



    From what I'm reading, Apple has told Intel to ditch the GPU and give them only the CPU chip, which would be a win in my book.



    Try Anandtech for a good brief on the new Intel Integrated Graphics



    ..and yes, before anyone says anything, I know this is a review of the Clarkdale integrated graphics unit, but arrandale's is identical aside from two things: clock speed variances depending on mobile chip, and arrandale's integrated GPU supports a form of "turbo mode".



    As far as Apple telling Intel to "ditch" the mobile graphics..yeah, don't think so. The memory controller and PCI-Express lanes are both built in to the graphics die (not to mention no one has licenses to build chipsets utilizing FDI or DMI). The only true integrated design is Intel's solution - anything else will be a pci-express add-in, which would qualify as discrete.



    I'm not too upset about losing the 9400m as the base graphics unit. Intel seems to have really stepped things up this round. Sure, it's most likely not an improvement over the 9400m, and we probably would have been much better off if we could have seen nVidia's next gen version of it, but as has been said it's certainly not a step backwards.
  • Reply 19 of 61
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brianb View Post


    Try Anandtech for a good brief on the new Intel Integrated Graphics



    ..and yes, before anyone says anything, I know this is a review of the Clarkdale integrated graphics unit, but arrandale's is identical aside from two things: clock speed variances depending on mobile chip, and arrandale's integrated GPU supports a form of "turbo mode".



    As far as Apple telling Intel to "ditch" the mobile graphics..yeah, don't think so. The memory controller and PCI-Express lanes are both built in to the graphics die.



    I'm not too upset about losing the 9400m as the base graphics unit. Intel seems to have really stepped things up this round. Sure, it's most likely not an improvement over the 9400m, and we probably would have been much better off if we could have seen nVidia's next gen version of it, but as has been said it's certainly not a step backwards.



    Actually, Intel is already known to give Apple custom chips. Apple has already rejected this processor if it included integrated GPU according to what I'm reading. It's certainly no stretch that they could get a custom chip from Apple as they've done it in the past.



    From the article, it appears that it just 'sucks less' than normal, but it's certainly not what I would call a thumbs up:



    "We’ll start off with Batman: Arkham Asylum. This is an Unreal Engine 3 based game. The first thing you need to remember about integrated graphics is that regardless of the game, you’ll want to go in and turn down every single quality setting at your disposal. In this case I ran Batman at 1024 x 768 with all quality options set to low. "



    "Next up is Dragon Age. Unfortunately, this game doesn’t look as good at its playable integrated graphics settings. It ends up looking like 3D Kings Quest played on a PS2."



    "Dawn of War II looks and plays like crap on Intel’s integrated graphics. Averaging 15 fps on the fastest Clarkdale, the minimum frame rates dropped as low as 3.4 fps. This is a huge improvement over G45, but definitely not what I would consider playable."



    "Intel is technically the leader here though. AMD’s 790GX only managed 12.1 fps. IGPs need not apply for this title at present."



    "Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is the first time that we see Intel losing. The game loses much of its visual appeal at the settings you need to run at in order to be playable on integrated graphics, especially on a larger screen. "



    I just see anything with Intel integrated graphics as a non-starter for me personally. I'm sure some folks won't mind if they just browse the web and do the occasional office doc, but for higher end MBP's, it just doesn't make sense.



    This doesn't say cutting edge, or even 'sufficient'. It screams 'low budget crap' to me, as it typical for integrated graphics.
  • Reply 20 of 61
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post


    Actually, Intel is already known to give Apple custom chips.



    So far, that looks to only be for machines that are more specialized.
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