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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:06 AM   #1
magbarn
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Anandtech's review on RMBP 13 up, no surprises on CPU performance

Anandtech's review on the rMBP 13 is out here

Looks like CPU has a bigger impact on smoothness of OSX UI. Seems pretty weird Apple hasn't offloaded it to the GPU after all this time. The quad core 15 just destroys the dual on the 13 in CPU intensive situations as expected.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 05:31 AM   #2
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"destroys" feels a tad bit too strong... I do agree it's quite faster, but then again, it's only for CPU and GPU intensive stuff ( something not commonly done by all users ). People doing heavy 3D rendering or video encoding and such would anyway perform those tasks on either a more powerful notebook or even better, on a desktop. We can come up with N scenarios where the 13" rMBP wouldn't stand it's ground, but that's really not surprising, considering it wasn't designed to be a 13" power-house in the first place.

An interesting and entertaining review nonetheless.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 06:05 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barna Biro View Post
it's only for CPU and GPU intensive stuff ( something not commonly done by all users ). People doing heavy 3D rendering [...] would anyway perform those tasks on either a more powerful notebook or even better, on a desktop.
Errr - isn't QuartzExtreme doing exactly this: rendering the whole desktop all of the time? And aren't all the core services working in the background (CoreAudio, CoreStorage, CoreImage etc. pp.) also utilizing the CPU and/or GPU hardware quite extensively?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barna Biro View Post
We can come up with N scenarios where the 13" rMBP wouldn't stand it's ground, but that's really not surprising, considering it wasn't designed to be a 13" power-house in the first place.
Ummm - if not a powerhouse, then what do you consider a MacBook PRO instead? It's not the "Air" line of notebooks we're talking about here...
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 06:18 AM   #4
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What was I talking about and what are you blabbering about...

But to answer: You must be mega-smart to start picking on the core rendering mechanisms of the OS. Seriously? So because one turns his notebook on, it means he is doing "heavy CPU and GPU work"? That's how you qualify it? What about not just turning on the computer, but also starting up some applications!!!! Man, now that's really pushing it... even worse if you start DOING STUFF within the software you have just started up!!! You're a mega-power-user for sure... Either way, great for you...

As for the "PRO" label... let me guess: You've recently turned 18 and you'll be soon heading to College. So your parents decided to buy a shiny new notebook for Starbucks use that has "PRO" written on it. Suddenly now you're a "PRO" yourself, aren't you? Wonderful...

+1 point to Apple... marketing WIN once again!
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 06:36 AM   #5
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For me there is absolutely nothing compelling about the 13" Retina other than the size, the 15" absolutely dominates the 13" in every aspect, anyone looking to buy the 13" Retina should think about it very carefully.

Apple set the standard for performance with the 15" Retina and now they are looking to cash in on those who are not able to live with the 15" footprint. A 13" with a basic CPU upgrade (dual core i7) costs as much as a base 15" Retina in many countries which is a bad joke to say the least.

It makes little sense to go with the 13" unless you are absolutely tied to the form factor; the CPU`s performance level of the 15' over the 13" in isolation is significant to say the least, anything CPU intensive is simply going to be completed far faster, any app that can take advantage of multicore architecture more so.

GeekBench Results:
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch Mid 2012) Intel Core i7-3520M 2900 MHz (2 cores) 7797 (High end)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch Mid 2012) Intel Core i7-3615QM 2300 MHz (4 cores) 10799 (Base)

My own base 15" Retina benchmarks at over 11K systematically (Link: just hit 11040 and 11043 and 11096) and on top of the far higher CPU rating you will have both the HD 4000 and GT 650M GPU`s, superior audio, higher resolution, twice the storage capacity. If i was forced to buy the 13" Retina i would be very unhappy to say the least giving up so much, saving just a couple of hundred dollars, just for the sake of the smaller footprint

The bottom line is the 13" Retina is priced far too high, i applaud Apple`s ingenuity and engineering prowess, equally their greed is staggering just when will enough be enough $$$$. The 13" Retina should have a base price range of $1200 - $1300, in general the 13" line is grossly over priced, as fundamentally it`s a basic computer with little to nothing changing since it`s introduction in 2008 as the Aluminium MacBook; duel core CPU, integrated graphics only, and very poor resolution on the standard model.

The straight up answer is buy a bigger bag, and you will have all the performance you need, at all times
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Queen6 View Post
For me there is absolutely nothing compelling about the 13" Retina other than the size, the 15" absolutely dominates the 13" in every aspect, anyone looking to buy the 13" Retina should think about it very carefully.
I thought about it very carefully, and wound up with the 13". Perfect for what I need and the form factor is awesome. Takes up even less desk space than an Air.

Is it just me, or is your whole post a copy-paste from another thread?
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by CausticPuppy View Post
Is it just me, or is your whole post a copy-paste from another thread?
... he copy-pasted the reply form a different thread.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:47 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Barna Biro View Post
... he copy-pasted the reply form a different thread.
Yeah I thought I was getting deja-vu.


Anyway, Anand's review captures it perfectly:

Quote:
All of that being said, I don't really view the 13-inch rMBP as an alternative to the 15, but rather a step up from the MacBook Air. The MBA may be lighter, but Apple definitely blurred the line between the MBA and MBP with the 13-inch Retina. For any power user, I don't know that I'd recommend the 13-inch MacBook Air over the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. It really is the best of both worlds.
I wasn't debating between a 13" rMBP and 15" rMBP. I definitely wanted the 13" form factor and I wanted to see the new retina machine in person before deciding between it and the 13" Air.

For me it was no contest....
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by CausticPuppy View Post
I wasn't debating between a 13" rMBP and 15" rMBP. I definitely wanted the 13" form factor and I wanted to see the new retina machine in person before deciding between it and the 13" Air.

For me it was no contest....
Exactly same situation here. So far, I couldn't be any happier.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barna Biro View Post
What was I talking about and what are you blabbering about...
Wow - insulting before the answer even starts! Must be a new record...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barna Biro View Post
But to answer:
(Condescending non-answer omitted.) Are you always running out of arguments that quickly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barna Biro View Post
You must be mega-smart
Chances are that i actually am. Envious?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barna Biro View Post
As for the "PRO" label... let me guess: You've recently turned 18 and you'll be soon heading to College. So your parents decided to buy a shiny new notebook for Starbucks use that has "PRO" written on it. Suddenly now you're a "PRO" yourself, aren't you? Wonderful...
Sorry that I don't fit your - again - condescending guess.

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Originally Posted by Barna Biro View Post
+1 point to Apple... marketing WIN once again!
Question is, which one of us actually fell for Apple's marketing.

If you are willing to politely discuss the matter, feel free to bring up arguments. Otherwise save your time...
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barna Biro View Post
"destroys" feels a tad bit too strong... I do agree it's quite faster, but then again, it's only for CPU and GPU intensive stuff ( something not commonly done by all users ). People doing heavy 3D rendering or video encoding and such would anyway perform those tasks on either a more powerful notebook or even better, on a desktop. We can come up with N scenarios where the 13" rMBP wouldn't stand it's ground, but that's really not surprising, considering it wasn't designed to be a 13" power-house in the first place.

An interesting and entertaining review nonetheless.
I think it's more than just that if you'd just read through the review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anandtech
The 13 I'm testing had demonstrably lower scrolling performance than my 15-inch rMBP, but I believe that has to do with the difference in CPU clocks more than anything else. My 13 uses a 2.5GHz Core i5 that can turbo up to 3.1GHz, while my 15 has a max single threaded turbo of 3.6GHz - an increase of 16%. There's also the fact that the 15-inch model features a quad-core CPU, leaving you with more idle cores in the event that you're actually doing more than just scrolling all day. I suspect the combination of these two things is why a lot of folks perceive the 15-inch rMBP to deliver faster UI performance.
He wrote that on this page:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6409/1...k-pro-review/5

It's not a strike against the 13" rMBP, but I'm just saying... the difference in performance is not just in CPU or GPU intensive tasks.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:21 AM   #12
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The worst case performance I recorded on the 13-inch rMBP was 16 fps when scrolling in Safari with Facebook loaded at the 1440 x 900 scaled resolution setting. Minimum frame rate at the default best for Retina setting ended up being around 18 fps. It's distracting and a clear regression from other, non-Retina Macs. That's the lowest performance you see, but not everything falls into that range. Scrolling down the AnandTech front page for example happens at around 40 - 50 fps at the 1440 x 900 scaled resolution. Other animations will happen as high as 60 fps, although you typically notice when things are slow not when they're performing as expected.
On the same note, you could also read stuff more carefully and not just dissect the article, picking out parts that shouldn't necessarily be look at individually.

From the same piece you've quoted:

Quote:
The 13 I'm testing had demonstrably lower scrolling performance than my 15-inch rMBP, but I believe that has to do with the difference in CPU clocks more than anything else. My 13 uses a 2.5GHz Core i5 that can turbo up to 3.1GHz, while my 15 has a max single threaded turbo of 3.6GHz - an increase of 16%. There's also the fact that the 15-inch model features a quad-core CPU, leaving you with more idle cores in the event that you're actually doing more than just scrolling all day. I suspect the combination of these two things is why a lot of folks perceive the 15-inch rMBP to deliver faster UI performance.
His quad core remark could be quite correct... I for one am not experiencing any UI lag on "Best for Retina" resolution, running on the 2.9Ghz CPU. I can only experience noticeable lag on 1680x1050 resolution BUT not everywhere... usually larger files or websites make it really visible ( or certain window maximizing actions for "bigger programs" ).

Since there is a lot of scaling going on, IMO, this is expected... not saying it's good the way it is, but it's expected. Maybe the scaling mechanisms will be improved / optimized in the future.

Again... on Best for Retina, I can not notice any lag or problems in general. Everything is smooth and works as it should. As you start scaling stuff, lag is more visible ( this is not a problem for me, cause I always use "Best for Retina" but I can understand the frustration of others who were expecting everything to be butter smooth at higher resolutions ).
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:22 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by CausticPuppy View Post
I thought about it very carefully, and wound up with the 13". Perfect for what I need and the form factor is awesome. Takes up even less desk space than an Air.

Is it just me, or is your whole post a copy-paste from another thread?
In general yes as for the facts they stand; the 13" is far from being poor computer, however it is grossly overpriced this is obvious to all. if it works for you it`s great. My own supposition is that Apple cut their extensive margins on the 15" Retina to "get it out there" build traction and set the standard for performance. The 13" they know a lot of people are locked into the form factor hence the pricing, so Apple has no need to push the boundaries on the 13" Retina, nor have they.

I like Apple`s product, i really do primarily OS X, their engineering is solid and they by far have the best control of their suppliers due to their "economy of scale" equally just exactly when will Apple have enough profit? apparently never. My objective is not to say the 13" Retina is a poor product more to highlight that one system offers so much more value over the other, the 13" Retina could also have been so much more, then again why do it when Apple can sell it as is at a higher profit margin....
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Queen6 View Post
My own supposition is that Apple cut their extensive margins on the 15" Retina to "get it out there" build traction and set the standard for performance.
Sorry, I have to ask: How did you come up with that conclusion? You do know that there are ( have been before the retina ) more powerful notebooks ( "real desktop replacements" ) out there? What Apple did indeed do, was to make a quite power-hungry notebook slim enough so it's not easily confused with a brick.

The "set the standard for performance" just sounds funny and silly. They have set no such "standard". They at best determined / pushed competition to make even more, more powerful and slimmer and slimmer machines ( this actually started with the introduction of the MBA... the rMBPs just pushes / enforces this trend event more ).
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:50 AM   #15
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Good review. I always like Anandtech's reviews.

Checked out the 13" rMBP yesterday at the Apple Store. What a gorgeous design, what a gorgeous screen. Played with the resolution and even the non-optimum setting the screen looked tons better than the 13" MBA next to it. While the 13" MBA has a higher resolution than the standard 13" MBP, I always found it to be a much inferior screen with poor view angles and color saturation.

However I just can't get around the lack of "Pro" in the 13" rMBP. Max of 8gb RAM, no quad core option and no discrete graphics option. Sure it is a nice screen and the form factor is great. However, since 80%+ of the time I would have it hooked up to a 27" display, the lack of ANY performance increase over a standard MBP 13" (with $60 for a 16gb RAM and $150 256gb SSD drive) on top of a hefty price premium is dis-hearting.

Looking at the 15" rMBP I just find it too big. Not heavy, but just too big/wide/deep.

What I, and many, wanted was 15" rMBP specs in a 13" form factor even if it ended up at the same price of the 15" rMBP.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:55 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barna Biro View Post
On the same note, you could also read stuff more carefully and not just dissect the article, picking out parts that shouldn't necessarily be look at individually.
I did quote the entire thing. I'm only highlighting the main points.

Quote:
His quad core remark could be quite correct... I for one am not experiencing any UI lag on "Best for Retina" resolution, running on the 2.9Ghz CPU. I can only experience noticeable lag on 1680x1050 resolution BUT not everywhere... usually larger files or websites make it really visible ( or certain window maximizing actions for "bigger programs" ).

Since there is a lot of scaling going on, IMO, this is expected... not saying it's good the way it is, but it's expected. Maybe the scaling mechanisms will be improved / optimized in the future.

Again... on Best for Retina, I can not notice any lag or problems in general. Everything is smooth and works as it should. As you start scaling stuff, lag is more visible ( this is not a problem for me, cause I always use "Best for Retina" but I can understand the frustration of others who were expecting everything to be butter smooth at higher resolutions ).
Well, I'm just saying that the "difference" may be noticeable even with general use, and not just with CPU or GPU intensive tasks. I'm sure not all people run at "best for Retina".
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:58 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Barna Biro View Post
Sorry, I have to ask: How did you come up with that conclusion? You do know that there are ( have been before the retina ) more powerful notebooks ( "real desktop replacements" ) out there? What Apple did indeed do, was to make a quite power-hungry notebook slim enough so it's not easily confused with a brick.

The "set the standard for performance" just sounds funny and silly. They have set no such "standard". They at best determined / pushed competition to make even more, more powerful and slimmer and slimmer machines ( this actually started with the introduction of the MBA... the rMBPs just pushes / enforces this trend event more ).
Just look at the pricing, between the 13" Retina and 15" Retina, one has a great deal more to offer, at only a slightly higher price point. One system offers extreme portable performance, another offers extreme profit margin, no rocket science needed.

As for "setting the standard" the 15" is out performing Mac Pro`s from just a few years back. Every review documents the strength of the 15" Retina`s performance, as Anandtech review clearly stipulates "All of that being said, I don't really view the 13-inch rMBP as an alternative to the 15, but rather a step up from the MacBook Air" So just why is it so expensive? Easy answer, people are prepared to pay nothing more, nothing less and Apple simply want s to turn as much profit as is possible....
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 10:07 AM   #18
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I don't own the 13 or the 15, but am close to pulling the trigger on the 13. I don't know why so many people are so stuck on the concept that the 15 is a better machine for the money. Hasn't that always been the case? Not just with computers, but with anything small and sleek...there are trade offs. Sometimes it's performance. Sometimes it's price. This time, it's a little of both.

For anyone who buys a 13 over a 15, the writing is on the wall. For them, size trumps power. So what?
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 10:21 AM   #19
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I don't own the 13 or the 15, but am close to pulling the trigger on the 13. I don't know why so many people are so stuck on the concept that the 15 is a better machine for the money. Hasn't that always been the case? Not just with computers, but with anything small and sleek...there are trade offs. Sometimes it's performance. Sometimes it's price. This time, it's a little of both.

For anyone who buys a 13 over a 15, the writing is on the wall. For them, size trumps power. So what?
Maybe, but now you have the privilege of paying more for it
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 11:00 AM   #20
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I think the review sums it up pretty nicely:

All of that being said, I don't really view the 13-inch rMBP as an alternative to the 15, but rather a step up from the MacBook Air.

Nothing more and nothing less. This is how it feels, this is what I needed it for and this is why I bought it. And I'm happy with it...
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 12:54 PM   #21
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Paying for what you don't get...

I now have a I5, iPad mini and 13rMBP. Three parts of the best quartet of devices for traveling that exists. All three have beautiful proportions and light weight...and black bezels. Add in a Galaxy note for foreign sims, Russian gps birds and drawing and all my bases are covered. When on thru hikes in strange places I will pay for what I don't have to carry- the weight and bulk of a 15 retina, 4s or Ipad2. Relative value is relative to use and beauty and form.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 12:42 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CausticPuppy View Post
Anyway, Anand's review captures it perfectly:

Quote:
All of that being said, I don't really view the 13-inch rMBP as an alternative to the 15, but rather a step up from the MacBook Air. The MBA may be lighter, but Apple definitely blurred the line between the MBA and MBP with the 13-inch Retina. For any power user, I don't know that I'd recommend the 13-inch MacBook Air over the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. It really is the best of both worlds.
I wasn't debating between a 13" rMBP and 15" rMBP. I definitely wanted the 13" form factor and I wanted to see the new retina machine in person before deciding between it and the 13" Air.
Exactly. Anand's insightful review is the best summation I've yet read of my own feelings as a 13" rMBP user.

No, it's not a perfect computer. For value for money, you can't beat the MBA. For sheer power, you can't beat the 15" rMBP. But for those of us wanting the absolute best option that doesn't involve lugging around 4.5 lbs of metal, it's hard to argue for the merits of the MBA over the rMBP (especially once you see the displays side-by-side in person).

Yes, there'll almost certainly be an improved iteration late next year. But there'll be an even more improved one the year after that (and probably for a lower price), and so on. In my experience (albeit moving from a 2-year old MBA and a 4-year old one before that), the 13" rMBP is already an excellent machine in its current state.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 12:58 PM   #23
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And once again, no one takes this as a real issue (especially for resale) :

Quote:
Non-permanent image retention has been a part of both rMBPs launched thus far. Keep any static image on the screen for a long enough time and you'll see a ghost of that image even after the screen has changed. Apple attributes the image retention issues to its use of IPS based LCDs in the rMBP, however the severity of image retention can vary depending on a lot of factors. I've personally seen image retention happen on both 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros. In my use, image retention was never a significant issue with either the 13 or 15-inch rMBP although I suspect how bothersome it is depends a lot on the user and usage model. There have been numerous reports of LG based Retina Displays behaving worse in the image retention department than Samsung sourced parts, however I don't have access to a large enough sample size of rMBPs to really validate those claims.
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