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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

SHOOTOUT: 12" Retina MacBook
versus two 11" MacBook Airs
and two 13" MacBook Pros

Originally posted April 22nd, 2015 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

We now have more comparisons of the 12" MacBook with rival Mac laptops. It can be a tough decision as to which to buy. If performance is an important factor, we have the answer.

E2015 rMBP 13" 3.1 i7 = 'early 2015' Retina MacBook Pro 13" with 3.1GHz Dual-Core Intel i7 processor (Turbo Boost to 3.4GHz), 16GB 1866Mhz LPDDR3 SDRAM, 512GB PCIe-based Flash Storage, Intel Iris Graphics 6100 GPU
L2013 rMBP 13" 2.4 i5 = 'late 2013' Retina MacBook Pro 13" with 2.4GHz Dual-Core Intel i5 processor (Turbo Boost to 2.9GHz), 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM, 256GB of PCIe-based flash storage, Intel Iris Graphics GPU
E2014 mba 11" 1.4 i5 = 'early 2014' MacBook Air 11" with 1.4GHz Dual-Core Intel i5 processor (Turbo Boost to 2.7GHz), 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM, 128GB of PCIe-based flash storage, Intel HD Graphics 5000 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 SHORTEST TIME in MILLISECONDS.)

We used this open source video transcoder to convert a 1080p two minute clip with the iPad preset. (RED graph bar means

GFXBench - T-Rex
This predictor of OpenGL game performance is run in offscreen mode at 1080p as a fair test since the native resolution of the laptops differ.
(RED graph bar means FASTEST in Frames 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.)

Heaven 4
This benchmark uses fly-by and walk-through modes to explore all corners of a magical steampunk world of shiny brass, wood and gears powered by the cutting-edge UNIGINE Engine that leverages the most advanced capabilities of graphics APIs. We chose the BASIC preset.
(RED graph bar means FASTEST in Frames Per Second.)

AJA System Test
To gauge the large sequential transfer speed of the flash storage in each laptop, we use a 16GB test file with 4096x2160 10-bit RGB video frame size.
(RED graph bar means FASTEST in Megabytes Per Second.)

As expected, the top 'early 2015' Retina MacBook Pro 13" dominates in all the tests.

Also as expected, the 'early 2015' Retina MacBook 12" can't compete on CPU tests against the MacBook Airs. However, it does beat them in the storage READ test. And it beats the 2012 MacBook Air in two of the three GPU tests.

What is NOT quantified here is the Retina screen of the 12" MacBook versus non-Retina screen of the MacBook Airs. For many, the Retina screen is worth the price of admission, even if it doesn't impress with performance. And don't forget it has a re-engineered keyboard and touchpad. One more thing: it's silent - no fan.


Check out our page featuring the 12" MacBook running Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Photoshop CC as well as four demanding games.

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