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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

2011 MacBook Pros versus
last year's MBPs and iMac

Originally posted Thursday, March 31st, 2011, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist.

We decided to push three different 2011 MacBook Pros to the limit with a demanding pro app, Adobe After Effects CS5. By demanding, I mean it uses all available RAM and all available cores when you enable multiprocessing mode in preferences. Now there is a sweet spot combination of both in the preferences. For example using more memory per core and less total cores (virtual or real) can result in faster render times. We played with all test units to achieve the best combo. The RED bar signifies the fastest MacBook Pro. The Orange bar indicates the lone iMac included in the test session.

2.93 16G = 'mid 2010' iMac Quad-Core i7 2.93GHz with 16GB of RAM
2.3 8G = 'early 2011' MacBook Pro Quad-Core i7 2.30GHz with 8GB of RAM
2.2 8G = 'early 2011' MacBook Pro Quad-Core i7 2.2GHz with 8GB of RAM
2.2 4G = 'early 2011' MacBook Pro Quad-Core i7 2.2GHz with 4GB of RAM
2.66 8G = 'mid 2010' MacBook Pro Dual-Core i7 2.66GHz with 8GB of RAM
2.7 8G = 'early 2011' MacBook Pro Dual-Core i7 2.70GHz with 8GB of RAM

(special thanks to OWC Test Lab for providing the 2.2GHz results)

1. The Quad-Core i7 MacBook Pros were clearly faster than the Dual-Core i7 MacBook Pros.

2. We posted results for the 2011 2.2GHz Quad-Core i7 running both 4G and 8G of RAM. Having more memory does affect render speed in a significant way -- at least in this case. OWC has a 16GB kit for the 2011 MacBook Pro. Once we have some test results for that config, we'll add it to the graph above so you can see what effect it has on the render speed.

4. We included the top iMac model for perspective. Even with double the RAM, it was only slightly faster than the top 2011 MacBook Pro. I'm looking forward to an iMac "refresh" featuring the Sandy Bridge chipset and Thunderbolt.

FLASH: Adobe is taking preorders for Creative Suite 5.5 which now supports HTML5. The Web Premium Suite supposedly enables you to create apps for the iPad and iPhone.

If you have questions or comments, email . (BTW, you can also follow us on Twitter @barefeats.)

WHERE TO BUY A MACBOOK PRO or other Apple products
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WHERE TO BUY ADOBE CREATIVE SUITE (or portions of it like After Effects)
Order directly from Adobe USA.
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copyright 2011 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster