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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

BEST MacBook Pro versus BEST iMac

Posted May 28th, 2015, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Appended June 9th with comments on storage and GPU differences.

With the significant upgrade of storage and GPU speed, how close does the 'mid 2015' MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch come to the 'late 2014' iMac 5K Retina 27-inch?

GRAPH LEGEND
M2015 rMBP 15" = 'mid 2015' MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch Intel 2.8GHz Quad-Core i7-4980HQ CPU, 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L memory, AMD Radeon R9 M370X Discrete GPU (2GB GDDR5 memory), Intel Iris Pro Integrated GPU, 1TB PCIe-based Flash Storage (x4 Link Width)
L2014 iMac5K = 'late 2014' iMac with 5K Retina 27-inch Display, Intel 4.0GHz Quad-Core i7-4790K CPU, 32GB 1600MHz DDR3 memory, AMD Radeon R9 M295X Discrete GPU (4GB GDDR5 memory), 1TB PCIe-based Flash Storage (x2 Link Width)

RED bar in graph indicates the FASTEST result.

STORAGE SPEED

GPU INTENSIVE
RED bar in graph indicates the FASTEST result.


NOTE: rMBP used only M370X and iMac used only M295X to render


NOTE: RAM Preview render of complex completed 600 frame project

CPU INTENSIVE
RED bar in graph indicates the FASTEST result.

WHAT WE LEARNED
The top 'mid 2015' MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch wins the Storage shootout but the top 'late 2014' iMac 5K wins the GPU and CPU shootout.

Why isn't the M370X faster than the M295X? After all it is a newer mobile GPU. One big difference is the PCIe lane count. The M370X has 8 lanes. The M295X has 16 lanes. Also if you examine the specs of the two GPUs, there are other key differences. The M370X has 640 pipelines. The M295X has 2048. The M370X Memory Bus Width is 128 Bit. The M295X is 256 Bit.

Why does the 'mid 2015' MacBook Pro Retina's flash storage beat the iMac 5K's flash storage so badly? PCIe lanes and lane speed. The iMac's flash is 'fed' by 2 lanes at 5.0 GT/s. The 'mid 2015' MacBook Pro's flash is 'fed' by 4 lanes at 8.0 GT/s.

It appears that when Apple budgeted resources, they made GPU speed a priority on the iMac 5K and storage speed a priority on the MacBook Pro.

NOTE: Though we didn't have access to the top 'mid 2015' iMac 5K, nothing has changed from the top 'late 2014' iMac 5K.

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copyright 2015 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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