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BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

Three "Late 2008" Apple Laptops

Originally posted November 7th, 2008, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Updated December 3rd with MacBook Pro 2.4GHz 'late 08' results

This 'edition' of 3D Game test results now includes all three versions of the 15" 'late 2008' Apple MacBook Pro plus the 13" MacBook 2.4GHz. For perspective, we included results for the fastest Mac Pro, fastest iMac, and two previous models of MacBook Pro (2.6 and 2.4GHz).

Since the MacBook's 13" screen maxes out at 1280x800, we are making that our "common denominator" for this test session.

LEGEND of Graphs
MP 3.2 G8800T = Mac Pro 3.2GHz "Octo-Core" with GeForce 8800 GT
iMac 3.06 G8800S = iMac 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo with GeForce 8800 GS
MBP 2.8 G9600M = MacBook Pro 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo with GeForce 9600M GT
MBP 2.53 G9600M = MacBook Pro 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo with GeForce 9600M GT
MBP 2.6 G8600M = MacBook Pro 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo with GeForce 8600M GT
MB 2.4 G9400M = MacBook (13") 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo with integrated GeForce 9400M

In the graphs, we noted the fastest MacBook Pro in
RED. The iMac and Mac Pro tested are faster than any Mac laptop but we marked them in WHITE since they are a different kind of "beast." Games used for testing include...
ETQW = Aspyr Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (v1.5) using our recorded timedemo.
Quake 4 = Aspyr Quake 4 (v 1.42) using "id_perftest" nettimedemo
Halo UB = MacSoft Halo UB 2.03 with all settings at the highest except lens flare.
WoW = Blizzard World of Warcraft 3.03; All sliders at max except Shadow Quality with Multisampling set to 1x. We used our infamous "Narache Warrior run from Totem to Tree" benchmark that stresses the GPU.
Prey = Aspyr Prey using a timedemo file from Overclockers Australia

Most owners of 15" MacBook Pros will prefer, however, to run 3D Games in the native resolution of 1440x900. So here are those results for the three 'late 08' MacBook Pros:

The fastest "late 2008"
MacBook Pro* (2.8GHz) is about 20% faster than its fastest predecessor ("early 2008" MBP 2.6GHz) when it comes to 3D accelerated Game benchmarks. However don't expect it to be faster than the fastest iMac or Mac Pro with roughly comparable graphics processors. A fast laptop Mac is not the equal of a fast desktop Mac. Unless portability is required, hard core gamers (and professional 3D modelers) will want a Mac Pro with the fastest GPU option they can afford.

Some of you are debating whether the 2.8GHz MBP is worth $300 more than a comparably equipped 2.53GHz MBP. That is a 12% delta in price. That syncs with CPU intensive apps which average 11% faster, but when it comes to 3D games, the 2.8's advantage ranges from 0% to 10% (or 6% average for the five games above).

As you can see from the 1440x900 graphs, the three 'late 2008' MacBook Pros have plenty of "oomph" to run 3D games at the native resolution. If you want to see how much they slow down when you switch from the GeForce 9600M GT to the integrated 9400M, we have a SPECIAL PAGE for that.

When it comes to 3D accelerated graphics, the "late 2008" 13" MacBook 2.4GHz (with its integrated GeForce 9400M) is not as pathetic as the previous models of MacBook with the integrated GMA X3100 or 950. But its integrated GeForce 9400M is still no match for the dedicated GeForce 9600M GT (or 8600M GT) in the 2008 (and 2007) MacBook Pros.

It's about time that Apple add the iSight camera to a Cinema Display! It's more expensive than the Dell 24" UltraSharp 2408WFP with its landscape to portrait pivot feature, higher contrast ratio, and faster pixel response, but I think the new Apple 24" Cinema's LED-backlit screen, aluminum and glass enclosure, integrated iSight camera, and MagSafe charger make it worth the extra $$$. It's certainly better eye candy and matches the MacBook and MacBook Pro more closely than the alternatives.

But keep in mind that the 24" Apple Cinema DIsplay only works with MacBook Pro and MacBook 'late 08' models with their special version of the mini-DVI connector. Also be aware that if you are using it in dual monitor mode, your video memory is split between the two screens. For more info, see the LED Display SPECIFICATIONS PAGE.

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