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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

SHOOTOUT: 12" Retina MacBook
versus two MacBook Airs

Originally posted April 17th, 2015 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

We compared the Retina MacBook 12" to two other models of Retina Apple laptops in previous articles. Now, the question is, "How does the Retina MacBook compare to the MacBook Airs?" We are in the process of collecting fresh results for various models of MacBook Air but here is a taste of what we are seeing.

E2015 mba 11" 1.6 i5 = 'early 2015' MacBook Air 11" with 1.6GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost to 2.7GHz), 4GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory, 128GB PCIe-based onboard Flash Storage, Intel HD Graphics 6000 GPU.
E2015 rMB 12" 1.2 M = 'early 2015' Retina MacBook 12" with 1.2GHz Dual-Core Intel Core M processor (Turbo Boost to 2.6GHz), 8GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory, 512GB PCIe-based onboard Flash Storage, Intel HD Graphics 5300 GPU
M2012 mba 11" 2.0 i7 = 'mid 2012' MacBook Air 11" with 2.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost to 3.2GHz), 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 onboard memory, 256GB SATA SSD, Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU

All laptops were running OS X Yosemite 10.10.3.

Cinebench R15 CPU test
We render the 3D Model specifying Multiple Cores with Hyperthreading. This is a 'real world' benchmark since it uses the same rendering code as the full professional version of Cinema 4D R15. (RED graph bar means FASTEST CB Rating.)

This tests the performance of the Javascript "engine" of your Mac. It's run using your browser. We used Safari. (RED graph bar means FASTEST in MILLISECONDS.)

LuxMark 3
This is an OpenCL benchmark. We rendered the default LuxBall scene.
(RED graph bar means FASTEST in Thousands of Samples per Second.)

Cinebench R15 OpenGL test
We playback the animation of a 3D car chase in a 1024x769 viewport. (
RED graph bar means FASTEST in Frames Per Second.)

1. In the two CPU intensive tests, the two year-old MacBook Air with its Core i7 processor wins.

2. In the two GPU intensive tests, the newest MacBook Air with Intel HD Graphics 6000 beats the new MacBook (HD Graphics 5300) and older MacBook Air (HD Graphics 4000).

Of course, what is NOT quantified here is the Retina screen versus non-Retina screen. For many, the Retina screen is worth the price of admission, even if the new 12" MacBook doesn't win the performance shootout.

We will add more MacBook Air examples and more tests to this page early next week.


Initial 12" Retina MacBook test page comparing it to two Retina MacBook Pros running Geekbench, Cinebench, Sunspider, Handbrake, LuxMark 3, GFXBench 3, Valley, AJA System Test, and QuickBench. The follow-up page featuring Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Photoshop CC as well as four games.

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