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

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited July 2015
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    bregaladbregalad Posts: 816member
    Bigger SSDs are usually faster regardless of manufacturer.
  • Reply 2 of 31
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,772member
    Good point.
  • Reply 3 of 31
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    I still love that angry face.

  • Reply 4 of 31
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    So the machines are able to be upgraded to 32 GBs of memory?
  • Reply 5 of 31
    simtubsimtub Posts: 277member
    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.

  • Reply 6 of 31
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,585member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 31
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    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.

  • Reply 8 of 31
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,585member
    sennen wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 31
    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.

  • Reply 10 of 31
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    See - there ya go using facts to dispel reasonable demands ;-)
    Pretty good for a 4 poster - you'll go well round here !
  • Reply 11 of 31
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    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!"?

  • Reply 12 of 31
    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.

  • Reply 13 of 31
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator

    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.
  • Reply 15 of 31
    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#
  • Reply 16 of 31
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,155member
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 31
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,155member
    rahvinous wrote: »
    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!
  • Reply 18 of 31
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    I wonder when MBPs will get PCle SSD technology?

    They all have PCIe SSDs:

    https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/specs-retina/
  • Reply 19 of 31
    jameskatt2jameskatt2 Posts: 708member
    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.

  • Reply 20 of 31
    jameskatt2jameskatt2 Posts: 708member

    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+

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