2018 'mid level' MacBook Pro versus the 2017 'mid level'
July 26th, 2018, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
July 28 - Updated FCPX and Compressor graphs after retest
How does the performance of the "Mid Level" 2018 MacBook Pro 15 inch 2.6Ghz i7 6-core compare to the "Mid Level" 2017 MacBook Pro 15 inch 2.9GHz i7 4-core? (I know, I know - "Where is the Core i9?" We will have one by August 1st. Stay tuned.)
2018 2.6GHz 6-core AP = 15in MacBook Pro 2.6GHz 6-core i7, 16G RAM, Pro 560X GPU AFTER the Thermal Patch
2018 2.6GHz 6-core BP = 15in MacBook Pro 2.6GHz 6-core i7, 16G RAM, Pro 560X GPU BEFORE the Thermal Patch
2017 2.9GHz 4-core = 15in MacBook Pro 2.9GHz 4-core i7, 16G RAM, Pro 560 GPU
DAVINCI RESOLVE RED 4K PLAYBACK
Looping playback of a RED clip at 3840x2160 with playback framerate set to 23.976. (The HIGHER the FPS, the FASTER the Mac.)
DAVINCI RESOLVE RED 4K EXPORT
Deliver (export) to QuickTime Apple ProRes 4444 XQ 3840x2160. (The LOWER the time in SECONDS, the FASTER the Mac.)
FINAL CUT PRO X BRUCEX 5K EXPORT
Import BruceX Benchmark Project. "Share" Master File as Apple ProRes 4444X XQ at 5120x2700 resolution. (The LOWER the time in SECONDS, the FASTER the Mac.)
Send BruceX to Compressor and transcode to Apple Devices 4K HEVC 10-bit. (The LOWER the time in SECONDS, the FASTER the Mac.)
Export 3 minute RED Video clip to Blu-ray HD 1080p 23.976 preset. (The LOWER the time in SECONDS, the FASTER the Mac.)
Render TestComp sample project using Mercury GPU Acceleration OpenCL Project Setting. (The LOWER the time in SECONDS, the FASTER the Mac.)
Export 100 Sony 7952x5304 images as Full Size JPEG. (The LOWER the time in SECONDS, the FASTER the Mac.)
Upscale a 4800x3600 53MB image by 400%. (The LOWER the time in SECONDS, the FASTER the Mac.)
WHAT DID WE LEARN
The performance of some apps (DaVinci Resolve, Compressor, Premiere Pro, After Effects, PhotoZoom) improved after the "Thermal Patch" from Apple was installed. Other apps ran slower (Final Cut Pro). Some remained unchanged (Lightroom).
BEFORE the patch was released by Apple, we observed major thermal throttling with DaVinci Resolve's processing of RED 4K video. Here are two screenshots from the Intel Power Gadget that show the BEFORE and AFTER behavior.
As you can see, the crazy oscillation of CPU frequency has been eliminated and it is now able to stabilize above the "mid level" MacBook Pro i7's 2.6GHz base frequency. We hope the same will be true of the 2.9GHz Core i9.
BUT.... that does not mean that there are not situations where thermal throttling does occur. Consider 2018 MacBook Pro 2.6GHz 6-core i7 running Compressor's 5 minute+ transcoding of ProRes 5K to H.265 4K and DaVinci Resolve's looping playback of 5K RED after 5 minutes.
CORRECTION: Apple claims that the 32GB of DDR4 memory is up to 2.8X faster than 16GB memory. If you read footnote 14 on that page, they base that claim on using Photoshop to rotate, unsharp mask, auto color, and scale functions using a 6.25GB file. Anybody who uses Photoshop knows you can process a big image faster with more memory. Duh. The "2.8X" does NOT refer to transfer speed of memory itself.
But we still wanted to know how fast the DDR4 2400MHz memory can transfer data so we ran Diglloyd's MemoryTester. The 2018 MacBook Pro's memory measured only 16% faster than the 2017 MacBook Pro. The graph below includes two Mac Pros and one iMac Pro. The latest MacBook Pros are knocking on the door of the 2010 Mac Pro but have a long way to go to catch up with the Mac Pro cylinder and iMac Pro in terms of memory speed. (The HIGHER the NUMBER, the FASTER the MEMORY.)
As stated at the beginning of this report we tested the 'mid level' 2018 MacBook Pro 15 inch is because it was attainable immediately. So to be fair, we compared it to the 'mid level' 2017 MacBook Pro 15 inch. We do plan to test the Core i9 top model as soon as we get our hands on one (ETA August 1st). Meanwhile two 'remote mad scientists' are sending us some test results. Now what we need is a volunteer with access to the 2.2GHZ 6-core 2018.
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