It’s 2020 and the Razer Blade Pro 15 is still outperforming the MacBook Pro. The game has changed, but it appears that Apple might not be willing to adapt at this point in time.
The “razer blade 15 vs macbook pro 2021” is a comparison between the Razer Blade Pro 15 and the MacBook Pro 2020. The Razer Blade Pro 15 has an Intel Core i9-9980HK, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics card. The MacBook Pro 2020 has an Intel Core i7-8750H, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and AMD Radeon RX Vega56 graphics card.
We put the Apple MacBook Pro to the test and compared it against the Razer Blade 15 in terms of (gaming) performance, price, display quality, portability, battery life, and more.
The rankings and results can be seen above, while the in-depth test reports for the Apple and Razer Laptops can be found below.
Razer Blade 15 comes in first place.
- Performance of the GPU (Graphics card) is the best.
- In gaming mode / under load, it’s quieter than most other gaming laptops.
- 144 Hz display with excellent quality
- Priced more than the MacBook Pro
Blade is razor-sharp. Despite the fact that the Blade-15 series is just a year old, it already spans two generations of Nvidia GeForce graphics cards and has display choices ranging from 144-Hz FHD to OLED. We put the RTX-2070-Max-Q-SKU to the test in this review, comparing it against the GTX-1070-Max-Q variations.
At CES 2019, Razer introduced the redesigned Blade 15 with the GeForce RTX-Turing graphics card, as well as 240Hz and OLED display options. The Blade 15 RTX with GeForce RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Max-Q, or RTX 2080 Max-Q is now available, but the latter will have to wait until Q2 2019.
This is also the first time the Blade 15 series has a class 80 Nvidia GeForce graphics card, which was previously only available in the bigger 17.3-inch Blade Pro series.
The RTX-2070-Max-Q-SKU, which comes with a 512 GB Samsung NVMe SSD and a matte 144 Hz panel, is our current test device. There’s also a 256 GB NVMe SSD and a reflective 4K UHD touchscreen. Depending on the configuration, the Blade 15 with RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics card costs between $2,400 and $2,900 USD.
The competition in this field is always increasing. Other devices using GeForce RTX graphics include the 15.6-inch gigabyte Aero 15 Y9, Dell Alienware m15, Aorus 15, MSI GS65, and Asus ROG GL504. We also compare the Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q to the Blade 15 GTX 1070 Max-Q in our review to see how much more performance you can anticipate from the new model.
Many of our observations apply here as well, thus we refer to the previous Razer laptop reviews below. Since its introduction, the Blade-15 series’ design hasn’t altered much.
If Apple ever releases a black MacBook Pro 15, it will most likely resemble the Blade 15. Razer laptops are known for their smooth, minimalist appearance, and the Blade 15 series will keep that tradition alive.
Because the casing material, hinges, and quality have not changed, all of our previous remarks on prior Blade 15 Pro SKUs apply here as well. The system remains more stable and less flexible than the Alienware m15, MSI GS65, and Gigabyte Aero 15, which, when combined with the chassis that doesn’t creak under strain, creates an enticing initial impression.
4KTouch Razor Blade
We’d want to see a more sturdy lid and a smaller lower screen edge in future generations, as seen in the ZenBook 15 UX533, which would allow for a more compact layout.
The lid is more flexible than the XPS 15, while it is by no means weak, but these are minor characteristics that contrast with an otherwise pleasing and solid design.
The RTX Blade 15 is a little thicker than last year’s GTX Blade 15. In order to fit the physically bigger Nvidia Turing processor, Razer had to significantly raise the Z-height. The Blade 15 is one of the smallest 15.6-inch gaming laptops available, with the same length and width as prior Blade 15 SKUs.
The proportions are quite comparable to the XPS 15, but the graphics card is significantly more powerful. Although the Alienware m15 is billed as a thin gaming laptop, it is substantially bigger than the Razer.
The Blade 15 is heavier than the MSI GS65 in terms of weight, but it is also more compact, giving it a denser and more powerful appearance.
It is, however, far lighter and more portable than bulkier 15.6-inch gaming laptops like the MSI GT63 and Alienware 15. It’s also worth noting that the 4K UHD SKU is somewhat heavier than the other owing to the added reflective touchscreen.
Despite a modest increase in thickness, the connecting equipment and location remain the same as last year’s GTX Blade 15 professional model. It’s worth noting that RJ-45 is currently only available on the GTX Blade 15 basic model. Users who are expecting for a built-in SD card reader will have to wait for the next case release.
The Intel 9260 in last year’s GTX Blade 15 model has been replaced by the newer Intel 9560. Both WiFi modules support Bluetooth 5 and WiFi transmission speeds of up to 1.73 GBps, therefore their performance is generally equal.
The benefits of the Intel 9560 over the Intel 9260 are restricted to LTE coexistence and have no bearing on the Razer system. Competing versions, such as the Alienware m15, include the Killer 1550, which has more gaming-focused features than our Razer.
During our testing, our test device had no connectivity issues. Because our server setup is restricted by a 1GBps line, real performance may surpass the numbers shown below.
After releasing the T5 Torx screws, the bottom cover may be readily removed. As you can see below, the internal layout and upgrade choices are almost similar to those of the Blade 15 professional model.
A one-year limited warranty applies to purchases made in the United States. The RazerCare program, which is available as an add-on, extends the warranty by two years, for a total of three years.
Touchpad & Keyboard
The chroma-capable keyboard is still present. Future versions should have dedicated macro keys or volume hotkeys to make multimedia control easier.
The pressure point is gentle and the key stroke is tiny. Competitive machines, such as the Alienware m15 and GS65, provide sharper key feedback, which we like.
Pulse width modulation is used to regulate the brightness of the RGB key lighting. This implies that the LEDs go from “on” to “off” extremely fast, possibly causing eye difficulties in certain users. This problem is also linked to the flickering of certain laptop screens.
The huge touchpad (13 x 8 cm) is larger than the MSI GS65 (10.5 x 7 cm) and Alienware m15 (10.5 x 6.5 cm) touchpads, making pointer control and multi-touch input simpler at any pace. The panel’s natural 144 Hz refresh rate makes pointer motions seem extremely smooth.
The mild key feedback is still the touchpad’s main flaw. We would have preferred a clearer and more pleasant click here instead of the mild acoustic feedback.
In comparison to last year’s professional model, Razer has made no alterations to the display. The LG Philips LGD05C0 1080p IPS screen with 144 Hz on the Blade 15 GTX 1070 Max-Q and the Gigabyte Aero 15x v8 is the identical in this situation. As a result, key metrics like black-to-white reaction times, color space coverage, and contrast are outstanding and similar for these laptops.
This is a very high-quality panel that is devoid of picture grain issues and other flaws that are common in matt panels. The Blade 15 basic model’s 60Hz screen has much slower black-to-white reaction rates, which results in more visible ghosting.
Future Blade 15 SKUs will have 240Hz and OLED display choices, which will provide near-perfect black levels and smoother animation.
For the FHD SKU, Razer claims 100 percent coverage of the sRGB color space, and for the 4K UHD touchscreen SKU, 100 percent coverage of the AdobeRGB color space. The former obtained 95 percent sRGB coverage in our independent tests, which puts it on par with the MSI GS65 and Gigabyte Aero 15X v8.
Users who need a larger color gamut for professional applications will have to wait until a panel with that color range is available for laptops.
Additional tests with an X-Rite spectrophotometer reveal that the panel already shows colors properly out of the box. Our CalMAN findings clearly show the effect of Razer’s claim to calibrate each item before shipping from the manufacturer.
Despite this, our calibration experiments have resulted in average DeltaE values of 1.4 and 1.71 for greyscale and color accuracy, respectively. This even gets close to the MacBook Pro 15 in terms of performance.
Because of the usual 300 cd/m2 illumination on the matte screen, outdoor display readability is neither better nor worse than most other gaming laptops. It’s a shame, since the Blade 15 is slimmer and more mobile than many of its rivals, luring users to use it more often on the move.
Colors may seem washed out in direct sunshine, however dazzling reflections may be reduced by using the screen’s broad viewing angles. The colors and contrast will not be altered if you do not gaze at the display from excessively steep angles.
The Coffee Lake-H Core i7-8750H processor is back, and it’s accompanied by the new GeForce RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Max-Q, or RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics card.
Unlike many rival laptops, there is no Core i5 option or model with less than 16 GB of RAM that may have reduced the basic price. Razer, on the other hand, focuses only on providing powerful gaming laptops, as seen by the data sheet.
While the memory arrangement remains the same as the Blade 15 (DDR4-2666), each SODIMM slot now supports up to 32 GB, allowing for a total of 64 GB. Earlier variants had a total storage capacity of 32 GB. G-Sync is not supported since all SKUs are set for Optimus technology by default.
All Blade 15 SKUs employ the same Core i7-8750H at the time of this writing. Unfortunately, our Razer laptop’s multi-thread performance is 10% worse than the average i7-8750H CPU in our database, which includes 60 other laptops with same processor.
In the same CineBench test, the Alienware m15 outperforms our Razer with the identical CPU by 22%. In reality, the multi-core performance is quite similar to that of the Core i5-8300H. As the stress test section will indicate, this result is due to inadequate Turbo Boost preservation.
We can assess the impact of CPU throttling by running the CineBench R15 multi-thread test in a loop and recording the results (see below). The score lowers from 999 to 825 in the second test, whereas the Alienware m15, on the other hand, maintains better scores, averaging 1,164.
Our Core i7-8750H page has further technical information and benchmark comparisons.
The differences between our system and the Blade 15 GTX 1070 Max-Q-SKU in PCMark benchmarks are in the single-digit percentage range. As a result, switching from Pascal to RTX has no discernible effect on performance in regular usage.
Even the Digital Content Creation Benchmark, which is more heavily driven by graphics card performance, shows that the new Blade 15 is just 11 percent faster.
Unlike the Blade Stealth, which has several issues, this Blade 15 tester did not have any hardware or software issues.
Our test unit has a 512 GB Samsung PM981 NVMe-SSD, while the Blade 15 had a 512 GB PM961 last year. Users who want a second storage bay must choose between the Blade 15 basic model, the MSI GS65, or the Alienware m15.
The PM981 has a greater sequential write rate than the PM961 and most other manufacturers’ SSDs. The Toshiba XG5 in the Alienware m15, for example, has a sequential write rate that is over 40% lower. We applaud the choice to only use Samsung SSDs in the Blade 15 and Blade Pro models.
So, how much better is the graphics performance compared to the original Blade 15 GTX 1070 Max-Q? According to 3DMark Fire Strike and Time Spy, the new RTX 2070 Max-Q is around 15% quicker than the GTX 1080 Max-Q from the previous graphics card generation, making it almost as fast as the GTX 1080 Max-Q from the previous graphics card generation.
Furthermore, the new Port-Royal benchmark’s ray tracing performance is around 20% better than the RTX 2060, which is typical in laptops. When it comes to pure game performance, the gap from one generation to the next is far less with Pascal to Turing than with Kepler to Pascal.
If you buy an RTX 2070 Max-Q, be sure to employ ray tracing to get the most out of the new GPU architecture.
There aren’t many benchmarks to compare the Blade 15 to since it’s one of the first RTX gaming laptops, so we don’t know how it compares to other RTX laptops. Our information will, of course, increase with time, allowing us to better judge how the Blade 15 is doing overall.
The RTX 2070, like the rest of the RTX graphics cards, features Max-Q for improved gaming performance and DLSS. However, since this new Nvidia-exclusive technology is presently only supported by a select games, developers must first install it.
In actuality, gaming performance is comparable to a GTX 1080 Max-Q, or around 30% to 35% lower than a desktop RTX-2080. A desired continuous refresh rate of 144 FPS is preferable to fully leverage the capability of the 1080p display and its 144 Hz refresh rate, but challenging to attain in demanding games.
The technology, on the other hand, is ideal for popular eSports games like DOTA 2, Rocket League, CS:GO, and Overwatch.
In 4K gaming, Battlefield 5 on the “Ultra” graphics option will provide an average of 42 frames per second, which is similar to a GTX 1080 Max-Q. If you choose the more costly Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q, you can anticipate a 20 to 30% performance boost over the RTX 2070 Max-Q.
In The Witcher 3, there are no frame drops when idle, indicating that there would be no interruption from background activities in gaming mode.
Levels of noise and temperature
The cooling solution is visually similar to that of last year’s Profi model, with the exception of a minor increase in thickness. At low loads, such as browsing or video streaming, both fans are turned off in the energy-saving configuration, making the device almost quiet during use.
You may anticipate a fan volume of 29.4 dB(A) with a background volume of 28.8 dB if you pick the high performance profile (A).
The fan noise seems to be lower than on the GTX-1070-Max-Q-SKU, which makes it more intriguing at greater loads. For example, in the first scene of 3DMark 06, the maximum fan volume was 35.7 dB(A) rather than 46 dB(A) (A).
A similar change can be seen in the model from the previous generation, as well as in The Witcher 3. In gaming mode, the Razer outperforms the competition, including the Alienware m15, MSI GS65, and notably the Gigabyte Aero 15X. The maximum recorded loudness was 45 dB, which happened while Prime95 and FurMark were both operating at the same time (A).
In our test equipment, there was no electronic noise or coil beeping.
When the laptop is idle, the surface temperatures on both sides are the same. Because the temperature of the palm rests is usually somewhat higher than the ambient temperature, these surfaces are constantly warm.
The WASD keys, in contrast to the keyboard’s core, which may reach 48°C while gaming, remain relatively cool. The wrist-rest, on the other hand, achieves a temperature of 30 °C, which we find fairly warm.
Under the same gaming load, the Alienware m15’s wrist rests remain a little cooler than the Razer laptop’s.
The heated exhaust air is vented from the rear of the laptop, while fresh air is taken in from the side of the keyboard. The heat is kept away from the fingers and the external mouse using this method.
We subject the laptop to simulated loads in order to discover potential throttling and stability issues. The CPU achieves a clock frequency of 2.8 GHz for a few seconds under Prime95 stress, then settles down to a consistent 2.3 to 2.4 GHz.
The Blade 15 can maintain a Turbo Boost of +100 to +200 MHz because the Core i7-base 8750H’s clock is 2.2 GHz. These findings are consistent with the CineBench R15 loop test results, which are also lower than predicted on this CPU.
The reduced clock frequency does, however, have one benefit: lower core temperatures. The Blade 15’s CPU stabilizes at 60 degrees Celsius, compared to 80 degrees Celsius in the Alienware m15, which has the identical i7-8750H processor. The Alienware’s clock frequency, on the other hand, sets around 3.6 GHz, allowing it to provide noticeably better processing performance.
When Prime95 and FurMark are performed simultaneously, the CPU and GPU reach 80°C and 75°C, respectively. Under these harsh circumstances, the CPU operated a little quicker at 2.6 GHz. This is quite odd since when Prime95 and FurMark are both running at the same time, the CPU normally slows down.
Running The Witcher 3 is, however, a much better representation of real-world gameplay than the prior benchmarks. The CPU and GPU are both stable between 80 and 74 degrees Celsius, with the GPU receiving a continuous boost clock rate of 1.410 MHz. Fortunately, the reduced CPU performance in Prime95 and CineBench has no effect on game performance.
In battery mode, performance is lowered. Even in “prefer highest performance” option, a 60 frames per second restriction is imposed in battery mode.
Life of the Batteries
Despite their thinness, Razer laptops have rather big battery capacity. The Blade Pro GTX 1080, for example, has a 99 Wh battery, exactly as the Alienware 17, which is bulkier.
With around 6.5 hours of real WiFi usage, the battery life is above average for a gaming laptop. If you leave the computer entirely inactive on the lowest brightness setting, you may get up to 11.5 hours of battery life.
As a result, our RTX model’s runtimes are even longer than in our initial GTX-Blade-15 setup, which is likely owing to hardware improvements or lower background activity.
It takes 1.5 hours to fully charge the empty battery, which is typical for many computers. Unlike the MX150-based Blade Stealth, the Blade Stealth may be used and charged at the same time.
This early 2019 model, like the Blade 15, is one of the finest thin and light gaming laptops on the market in our view. It offers the same benefits (slim and stable casing, narrow display edges, pre-calibrated display) as the previous edition of the Blade 15 professional model, as well as the same drawbacks (low keystroke, restricted CPU turbo boost, no SD card reader, RJ-45, and no second internal memory slot).
In addition to the anticipated GPU update, Razer has improved the WiFi module and RAM from Intel 9260 to Intel 9560 and Samsung PM961 to PM981, respectively.
The RTX 2070 Max-Q is quicker than the GTX 1070 Max-Q in terms of graphics performance without being noisier or warmer. If you exclude the ray tracing feature, the gaming performance is comparable to a GTX 1080 Max-Q laptop.
So, if you don’t require ray tracing or DLSS (which 99 percent of PC games don’t support anyhow), you’ll only get roughly 15% greater performance here than on the far less expensive Blade 15 GTX 1070 Max-Q. As a result, for many consumers searching for a small and light gaming laptop, the earlier Blade 15 professional model is a far better option.
A lot has remained the same, which is a good thing. Everything we liked about the Blade 15 is back, along with Nvidia RTX, which is why the Razer Blade 15 beats over the Macbook Pro.
Apple MacBook Pro is ranked second.
- Most people are calm and cool in their daily lives.
- Razer Blade 15 is more expensive.
- Battery that works well
With four cores now. The MacBook Pro 13 is getting a facelift with a new quad-core CPU and True Tone Display, but only on the more costly Touch Bar variant.
We look at the performance of the new MacBook Pro, among other things, in our review. For the quoted price of $1500 (i5), what may be expected?
Apple’s MacBook Pro line has been upgraded softly, quietly, quietly. Nothing has changed on the outside, but the Cupertino company is now using Intel 8th generation CPUs with four cores (Coffee Lake U) for the processors. Aside from that, the screens now feature True Tone technology, which was previously only available on the iPhone and iPad.
The smaller 13-inch variant is the subject of this review. Only the more costly model with the touch bar receives the upgrades, which is apparent. Only the 2017 specification comes with the less expensive variant with function keys. Apple might be focusing on the MacBook Air, which hasn’t gotten an upgrade in a long time and has therefore grown increasingly less expensive over time.
However, we object to this trend since, as seen by the 2017 version evaluations, the more costly touch bar variant was not always the superior option for every consumer.
There are no pricing adjustments, since it continues to start at $1500. In exchange, the user will get a Core i5-8259U processor with Iris Plus 655 graphics, 8 GB LPDDR3-2133 RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. The RAM may be increased to a maximum of 16 GB and the mass memory to a maximum of 2 TB, with the typical high surcharges.
The MacBook Pro 13’s casing design has been known since 2016, and the latest edition comes in silver and space gray. We continue to have no complaints about the quality, which includes the feel of the metal surfaces.
We can affirm from personal experience that the casings remain in great condition even after extended usage, while plastic cases are more prone to display optical symptoms of wear (greasy surfaces, etc.).
The weight and proportions of the case indicate that it is currently in its third year. With a weight of little over 2.86 pounds and a size that isn’t unduly huge, the MacBook Pro 13 isn’t a heavyweight, but the competition has caught up and largely surpassed it in recent years. There are more and more gadgets with thinner screen margins, which allows for bigger displays while also reducing weight.
The core connection hasn’t changed at all, with four Thunderbolt 3 ports with USB-C connectors and a 3.5mm audio jack. This year, however, additional PCIe lanes are available due to the switch to Coffee Lake U CPUs, allowing all connections to run at maximum speed (the two right-hand connectors were previously only at 2x speed).
Although USB-C peripherals are becoming increasingly common, you will still need a dongle or converter in daily life.
We found WiFi connectivity issues with last year’s Apple MacBook Pro models when several USB-C devices were connected in certain situations. There were also some packet losses and longer ping times with the version, but the connection remained stable.
The new MacBook Pro’s communications module has also been updated. The support for Bluetooth 5.0 is the largest gain, however the WiFi module’s transmission rates (particularly when transferring data) are slower than last year’s model.
Apple consumers are still lacking a WWAN module, despite Apple’s commitment to include it with iPhones.
The T2 chip, which Apple created specifically for the MacBook Pro, combines numerous capabilities, including encrypted memory and secure boot operations.
However, the user is completely unaware of this. The touch-ID fingerprint scanner, which was also included on last year’s model, is available to secure access to the laptop. This works fast and consistently in practice.
Touchpad & Keyboard
Since its debut, the Apple MacBook Pro’s present keyboard has been the topic of heated debate. Because of the tiny base unit, Apple designed a keyboard with a very short stroke.
The (very loud) strokes are highly exact thanks to Apple’s proprietary butterfly keys, but the typing sensation isn’t for everyone. However, the integrated backlight, whose intensity can be changed in 15 levels, is a significant benefit.
It also adjusts to the ambient light automatically. Actually, there’s nothing unique about it, but it’s really useful, and regrettably, it’s not accessible on most Windows laptops.
Recently, there have been an increasing number of complaints of malfunctioning keyboards in Apple laptops, prompting Apple to create a specific repair program. Small items (such dirt, crumbs, and so on) might create issues (keys no longer work).
When presenting the updated models, Apple did not address this issue further, although the company did tout a quieter keyboard. Our iFixit colleagues have already disassembled a model and discovered a new silicone buffer behind the keys.
Apart from a lower typing noise, this most likely also stops extraneous items from accessing the keyboard, and so should be a response to the prior issues. We can’t, of course, test if this approach will work in the long term in such a short period of time.
Subjectively, the contrast between the old and new keyboards (for example, in the 2017 MacBook Pro 15) is obvious. The stroke has been significantly slowed and muted.
The change in loudness is only noticeable when the keyboard is used at a distance and with a swinging motion. It’s tough to determine if the touch has improved overall. However, a little time of acclimating to the keyboard is required at first.
Update: The new silicone barrier is meant to prevent dirt particles from penetrating, according to Apple’s internal service docs.
This year, nothing has changed on the huge touchpad. It is still the industry standard for touchpads and is very easy to use. Gestures with many fingers are also possible because to the broad surface.
The fundamental function works in Windows (Bootcamp), although the optimization isn’t nearly as excellent as with Apple’s own operating system. Moving files or windows, in particular, is more difficult.
The touch bar above the keyboard hasn’t changed either. Depending on the circumstances, several symbols might be presented.
In regular usage, these are the standard controls for screen brightness and volume, but you may alternatively show the standard function keys (F1 – F12) if you choose. The software support determines if the Touch Bar provides a meaningful productivity boost.
The 13.3-inch IPS panel’s core qualities haven’t changed this year: Retina display with 2,560 x 1,600 pixels (227 DPI), 500 cd/m2 brightness, and full coverage of the P3 color gamut. The support for TrueTone technology, which we already know from the iPhone and iPad, is new.
This changes the white balance automatically to the color temperature of ambient light, resulting in more natural vision. Night Shift, a manual night mode that decreases the image’s blue color components, is still accessible.
This may be changed in the system settings as well (automatic activation depending on the time of day, warmer or cooler image). TrueTone is subjectively quite nice, and you rapidly get used to it.
APPA03E is the name of the display, which is distinct from the two models released last year (APPA033 and APPA034 respectively). However, it’s unclear if this is merely a new panel version or whether the TrueTone feature need a new panel.
In this situation, we calculate an average brightness of somewhat more than 500 cd/m2 for our MacBook Pro Retina. As a result, the panel meets manufacturing specifications, although our two previous versions (particularly the one without a touch bar) were significantly brighter.
In exchange, the lighting is improved, and the black value is reduced to 0.33 cd/m2. As a result, dark picture contents look more saturated, and the contrast ratio (>1,573:1) may be enhanced once more.
The calibration of the display out of the box is also a little poorer than last year, at least when compared to the touch bar variant. However, we raise a severe criticism here, since all deviations (in contrast to the P3 reference) are already below the critical limit of 3.
CalMAN claims that the P3 color space is covered to 99 percent. The smaller sRGB color space is likewise totally covered, but the larger AdobeRGB reference is only around 77% covered. These figures are comparable to those of the previous year.
In previous years, Apple’s small MacBook Pro 13 Touch Bar used Intel CPUs with a consumption rating of 28 watts, giving it a significant performance edge over practically all other sub-notebooks using the standard 15-watt versions. Another benefit was the built-in eDRAM cache, which aided the CPU and, in particular, the integrated GPU.
Thanks to the new quad-core CPU, there is a substantial speed gain when utilizing several cores this year. In addition, the two available CPUs now have a larger eDRAM cache (128 MB vs. 64 MB), which should boost performance.
So far, Apple has been able to make excellent use of CPU performance over time, so we are eagerly anticipating the effects of the new quad core.
The new Apple MacBook Pro 13 is well-equipped for most tasks thanks to the inclusion of a true quad-core CPU. Depending on the needs, only GPU performance may become a limitation, albeit there are expansion options with external GPUs. In the chapter “Graphics Card,” we’ll go over this in further depth.
While the bigger 15-inch MacBook Pro is now equipped with DDR4 memory, the smaller 13-inch MacBook Pro will continue to be equipped with a maximum of 16 GB LPDDR3 memory. Coffee-Lake-U does not support LPDDR4, and Apple was presumably a thorn in the side of DDR4-greater 2400’s power consumption.
Since the end of last year, almost all new subnotebooks have used Kaby-Lake refresh CPUs, which now feature four instead of two processing cores and therefore greatly boost multi-core performance. Thanks to the usage of Intel 28-watt CPUs in its MacBooks, which are based on the Coffee Lake architecture, Apple is now catching up or exceeding the competition (Coffee Lake-U).
As a result, these Coffee Lake chips are less “bred” than fully bred Kaby Lake R versions, which also vary in manufacturing process (14nm++ vs. 14nm+). An updated microcode against Spectre v2 is also included in the new manufacturing process.
The Intel Core i5-8259U and the Intel Core i7-8559U are two Coffee Lake U versions that Apple provides. The only difference is the frequency (both CPU and iGPU), since both versions are quad-cores with hyper-threading but no vPro support.
The Core i5 has a base frequency of 2.3 GHz in our starting model, but Turbo Boost allows for rates of up to 3.8 GHz when utilizing a maximum of 2 cores; it’s still 3.6 GHz while using all 4 cores. An intriguing point to note is that the price difference between the two variants is “just” 111 dollars, according to Intel.
Of course, buying costs vary based on the manufacturer, but the Core i7 surcharge of 360 dollars is astronomically expensive.
Apple has nearly always allowed Intel CPUs full reign in the past, with temperature being the sole constraint. This is likewise true here, with consumption figures approaching 50 watts. We’ve seen that the Kaby-Lake refresh quad-core ULVs have become genuine hotheads at 3 GHz in recent months, and we were keen to see whether that would alter with Coffee-Lake-U and the better 14nm++ process.
The single-test result in Cinebench R15 is still within the predicted range, but we were shocked by the multi-test result. We had anticipated a value of more than 700 points based on our prior experience with the Kaby-Lake-R quad-cores, but it is just 608 points (tested under macOS).
As a result, the test device behind systems like Dell’s XPS 13 and Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Because several manufacturers dynamically modify the TDP, even the most common Core i5-8250U is quicker in numerous variants.
What is the purpose behind this, though? We used the Intel Power Gadget program on macOS to keep track of the processor’s clocking and power usage. The processor’s activity throughout a single multi-run is seen in the following screenshot.
The CPU runs at full 3.6 GHz for around 5 seconds at the start of the test, which translates to a power usage of slightly about 48-49 watts. However, the cooling system cannot keep up with this for long, and the CPU temperature increases to 100 °C, requiring performance reduction.
As a consequence, the power consumption swings dramatically (between 20 and 40 watts), affecting the clock rate. And that’s after only one run of the multi-test.
However, because to the high temperatures, even this level of performance cannot be sustained. After completing our Cinebench multi loop, the MacBook settles at roughly 580 points, indicating that it has lost around 5% of its performance.
In the meanwhile, Apple has published a software update that significantly improves CPU performance.
What shocked us the most was the Coffee Lake U processor’s seeming inefficiency. We’ve spent the last several months focusing on the Kaby-Lake-R quad-core CPUs, which are present in almost every contemporary subnotebook.
The regular Core i5-8250U is really the finest illustration here, since it is also restricted by temperature in the ThinkPad T480s, much as the MacBook. It runs at 3.4 GHz and achieves over 700 points with a power consumption of roughly 30 watts (little less than the new MBP 13).
Of course, we’ll look into it more, but for the time being, the Coffee-Lake-U chips seem to be less efficient than the Kaby-Lake-R chips. Of course, this isn’t just an Apple issue; it’s also an Intel one.
This begs the issue of why Kaby-Lake-R was not selected for the new 28-watt variants. Although the new MacBook Pro is speedier than the previous model from 2017, some Windows machines benefit from the apparently slower CPUs.
As a result, the optional Core i7 processor’s performance gain should be negligible at most, and it may even function slower than the i5 owing to greater temperatures (especially under constant load).
We wanted to get to the root of the comparably low Cinebench scores since we were a little confused by them. Massive changes in the clock rate are one possibility. Because the CPU instantly ramps up with some wiggle room, it must cool down for a while at a low clock rate.
So we wanted to see how the processor or cooling would react if we manually set the consumption. Under Windows, you can do this with the Intel XTU (freeware) tool, which has a lot of configuration options. Things appear to be more difficult in macOS.
For testing reasons, we utilize the Volta tool, which does not have as many parameters and is also charged (7-day trial). Furthermore, we can only adjust the consumption to the maximum of 28 watts; anything higher is not feasible. In this post, we’ve also detailed additional information, including the bigger MacBook Pro 15.
First, we set the usage limit to 31 watts, which is the same as the default settings. The outcome is surprisingly impressive, since the four CPU cores operate at roughly 300 MHz higher and the Cinebench loop results are consistent.
Due to the 28 Watt constraint, performance is somewhat lower under macOS (blue curve), but steady and still better than with the previous default settings. The green graph shows that after the software upgrade, CPU performance rose and remained constant.
The system responds swiftly to input and there are no lengthy wait periods thanks to the fast CPU, enough RAM, and a very fast PCIe SSD. A USB stick is no longer required for Windows installation through Bootcamp; an image file from Windows will suffice.
The test device can only surpass its predecessor in the PCMark 8 work test; in the other two situations, both last year’s models are quicker. However, the results in the synthetic PCMarks are not especially impressive, and the test device can only beat its predecessor in the PCMark 8 work test.
The missing optimization of the BootCamp driver for the MBP 13, which was recently published a few days ago, might be one factor.
Only fast PCIe memory is available for the MacBook Pro 13. In our test device, we utilized a disk with 256 GB of RAM; a maximum of 2 TB is available from the manufacturer as an option.
This is a fast memory, but it’s difficult to verify precise performance statistics since our typical tools only operate to a limited degree and also rely on the BootCamp drivers’ optimization. When reading, we find a maximum of slightly under 3 GB/s, therefore there are no performance issues.
The integrated graphics card in the Apple laptop is a familiar face, since the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 is just a standard Iris Plus Graphics 650 with a bigger L4 cache (128 MB vs. 64 MB eDRAM).
We’re still dealing with the Kaby-Lake GPU’s GT3e extension stage, which runs at a maximum clock rate of 1,050 MHz when paired with the Core i5-8259U. The highest frequency is 1.200 MHz if you use the faster Core i7 in the MacBook. You can get more technical information on the Iris Plus Graphics 655 here.
If you want extra graphics power, you should use an external Thunderbolt solution, which macOS now supports natively. There should be no severe CPU limits thanks to the new quad-core processor.
Apple, for example, provides a Radeon Pro 580-based solution from BlackMagic. We’ll be getting a comparable solution from Gigabyte (RX580 Gaming Box) for testing shortly, and we’ll be using it with the new MacBooks as well.
In synthetic 3DMarks, the integrated GPU can hold its own. In the older 3DMark 11, the new MacBook Pro 13 is around 10% quicker than its predecessor and the specialized GeForce MX130, although the MX150 is still somewhat faster.
In the more rigorous 3DMark 13 tests, such as Fire Strike or Time Spy, the image changes somewhat. Depending on the test, the predecessor is surpassed by 10-20%, whereas specialized products are also ahead of the test device. The contrast with the two integrated AMD GPUs, the Vega 8 and Vega 10, is equally fascinating, because they outperform the Intel iGPU in every test.
The inbuilt Iris Graphics 655 is only enough for the most basic games, although its performance stays consistent over time.
However, there is no benefit in terms of performance over the predecessor. By the way, we didn’t have any driver issues running Windows.
Levels of noise and temperature
This year’s cooling system for the MacBook Pro 13 has remained unchanged. Furthermore, two fans deal with the processor’s waste heat, with the speed of each fan being modified in real time according to the load.
The two fans spin at 1,294/1,285 rpm under idle and low load, but are only audible at 30 dB(A) when your ear is directly against the casing. This changes under load, when the speed is rapidly modified and the speed level often swings within a narrow range.
The maximum speed of the two fans is 6.336/6.864 rpm, which equals a sound pressure level of 46.7 dB. (A).
However, while testing, we only reached a high of 46.2 dB(A) at the start of the stress test on Windows (Prime95 + FurMark). After a period of time, the fans slowed down (35.4 dB(A)), eventually stabilizing at roughly 38 dB. (A).
However, with a smaller load, such as the first scene in 3DMark 06, the speed rises over time (32.7 -> 34.5 -> 36.1 dB(A)). It becomes substantially louder when gaming, as we discovered with the game Fortnite.
The fans visibly crank up and oscillate between 5,400 and a high of 6,800 rpm when gaming, and they are also plainly audible at 43 to 46 dB. (A). At the very least, the fan frequency isn’t too high.
In idle and mild load, the MacBook Pro 13’s whole chassis remains comfortably tempered. Because the components and heat pipes are also placed here, the back portion of the base unit heats up under load as predicted.
With a maximum temperature of 43°C, it is not really important, and usage on the thighs (albeit not directly on the skin) is feasible. In compared to the bigger MacBook Pro 15, the power supply remains substantially cooler.
Looking at the components, we can observe that the processor temperature in the stress test is a little lower than it is under pure CPU load. The integrated graphics card uses a portion of the TDP reservoir but produces less heat than the CPU.
At the same time, the CPU operates primarily at its base frequency, while the graphics card operates at about 600-700 MHz (maximum is 1,050 MHz).
Life of the Batteries
The MacBook Pro 13’s battery capacity has been raised from 49.2 to 58 Wh. We began our WiFi test by adjusting the brightness to 150 cd/m2. We also looked at how the results differed depending on whether the Safari browser was presented in window or full screen mode on macOS.
With 9 minutes, though, this difference isn’t worth noticing. Because of the larger capacity, the runtime is one hour longer than the 2017 MBP 13 Touch Bar, clocking in at over 9.5 hours. This outperforms the Windows competition, but with more than 11 hours of battery life, the MacBook Pro 13 2017 with function keys is still far ahead of the more costly variant.
The software upgrade has also increased the runtime, as we can now determine roughly 40 minutes longer in the WiFi test.
In compared to last year’s model, video runtimes might be extended, with software improvements likely playing a part. The version doesn’t quite match the previous model’s performance without the touch bar, but just under 11 hours isn’t terrible. Under load, you may anticipate to spend roughly 1.5 hours.
The charging time for the battery is delightfully set at 105 minutes, but there is no special rapid charge mode. After 30 minutes, 38 percent, 45 minutes, 55 percent, and 60 minutes, 71 percent are accessible.
The announcement of the new MacBook Pro models made the news. The performance of the new CPUs, in particular, was under the limelight, since it was not up to pace. A software update was published a week later to enhance performance.
However, at 1.5 GB, it was somewhat large, and it conveyed the impression that the program wasn’t quite ready for release. This is something we’ve seen from other manufacturers, but that wasn’t the case with the MacBooks.
However, the new quad-core processor’s performance is now steady, making it far better than its predecessors, which were still equipped with dual-core CPUs. However, two points stick out: Better cooling might improve performance, but it has been accepted unaltered and must now deal with additional cores.
In addition, the Coffee Lake CPU does not seem to be as efficient as the Kaby Lake R processors, which have shown superior outcomes with similar consumption figures. Under full load, the cooling, which is generally quiet, may become fairly noisy, and the power supply, with its 61 watts, is also on the edge.
Aside from improved performance, the new Coffee Lake chip also has extra PCIe lanes, which means that all Thunderbolt ports now have full bandwidth. The WiFi module has also been upgraded to accommodate Bluetooth 5.0, however the WiFi transmission rates are somewhat lower than before, and the WiFi issue with linked USB-C devices has been alleviated at least.
In addition, the keyboard has been upgraded. Apart from the fact that the new silicone buffers are designed to guard against dirt particles, the stroke is muted and quieter. Still, the restricted hub is a personal preference.
More horsepower and battery life, but otherwise not much has changed. The MacBook Pro 13 is a great Ultrabook as well, but the architecture, particularly the cooling, is nearing its limitations.
Apart from that, Apple continues to deliver a fantastic Ultrabook that has a few features that the competition does not.
Aside from the high-quality casing, the excellent 16:10 display, and the first-rate clickpad, there are also little details like as the automatically controlled keyboard lighting and the TrueTone feature on the display.
Whether or whether the TouchBar adds genuine value relies on software support and cannot be addressed in a generic sense. However, it’s a shame that Apple only upgrades the TouchBar model and ignores the cheaper variant with the function keys, which is why the Apple Macbook Pro falls short of the Razer Blade 15.
The “razer blade 14 vs macbook pro” is a comparison that will help you decide which laptop to buy. The Razer Blade Pro 15 has a larger screen and a better battery life. The MacBook Pro has a smaller screen but it’s more powerful than the Razer Blade Pro 15.
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