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BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

"BARE facts on Mac speed FEATS"
Rob-ART, Main Mad Scientist (aka Dr. Frankenstein)
Bet-TAY, Special Features Edtior (aka Frau Blucher)

2008 vs 2007 MacBook Pro

Originally posted April 1st, 2008, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

This is a CPU crunch test of two "early 2008" MacBook Pros against the fastest "mid 2007" Macbook Pro.

Here in the Bare Feats lab, we use our limited budget to buy what we can keep and use. When it comes to MacBook Pros, we bought the 17" MacBook Pro 2.4GHz model in "mid 2007," which was the fastest model at that time. (A 2.6GHz CTO option was added in late 2007.)

This year, our "keeper" is the 15" MacBook Pro 2.6GHz "Penryn" with 512M VRAM, the fastest 15" "early 2008" model. When it comes to MacBook Pros we don't plan to keep, we must borrow test time on them (or ask "remote mad scientists" to send in their results). We borrowed a 15" MacBook Pro 2.4GHz "Penryn" which is the "low end" option for 2008 to include in the three way comparision below.

MBP 2.6 '08 = 15" MacBook Pro 2.6GHz "Penryn" (6MB L2 cache)
MBP 2.4 '08 = 15" MacBook PRo 2.4GHz "Penryn" (3MB L2 cache)
MBP 2.4 '07 = 17" MacBook Pro 2.4GHz "Santa Rosa" (4MB L2 cache)
All three had 4GB of 667MHz SDRAM and ran OS X "Leopard" (10.5.2).

Some have said that the Penryn based "early 2008" MacBook Pros offer little in performance advantage over the Santa Rosa based "late 2007" MacBook Pros. But after running some real world tests on the Penryn based MBP we beg to differ.

Take, for instance, the Compressor test. Though the 2.6GHz "Penryn" MBP has only an 8% advantage in core clock speed over the 2.4GHz "Santa Rosa" MBP, it encoded the DVD 25% faster. The 2.4GHz "Penryn" MBP with less L2 cache than the "Santa Rosa" was 12% faster.

FYI, the Mac Pro "Harpertown" 3.2GHz completes the Compressor test in 91 seconds. Though it has 4 times as many cores running at faster core clock rate, it is not 4 times faster.

However, when you run the After Effects CS3 render test on the Mac Pro, it completes it in 127 seconds (or 4 times faster than the fastest MacBook Pro).

And, though all three MacBook Pros had 4GB of RAM, they could only render 308 frames of the 900 frame Blocks-Detail.HD template in Motion 3. You need at least 8GB of RAM to render all 900.

So when deciding between a Mac Pro and a MacBook Pro for "heavy duty" projects, unless you are on the road constantly, the Mac Pro's clear advantage in speed and capacity makes it the clear choice.

Check out our page with Pro App and 3D Game tests that stress the MacBook Pro's graphics processor.

Apple Online Store

When ordering products from Apple Store USA, please click THIS TEXT LINK or any Apple display ad as your "portal" to the online store. In so doing, you help to support Bare Feats.

Also check with Small Dog Electronics and Power Max. (Power Max takes trade-ins.)

We have tested the memory from the following third party companies in our MacBook Pro. We can recommend them wholeheartedly:

TransIntl.com is selling kits to take your MacBook Pro to 4GB.

Other World Computing sells various kits for the MacBook Pro.

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2008 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster