2016 Macbook Pros Analyzed, Benchmarked against prior Macbook Pro's

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MacDevMike, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. MacDevMike macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2012
    Discovery Bay, Ca
    Hey guys, in prior years I have provided some performance information when Apple releases new Macbook Pros. I wanted to put some data together and have a look at what we have seen Apple provide year over year for performance increases, and evaluate where the sweet spot may lie in purchasing one of these new machines. I hope the information is useful. GPU Benchmarks have come from my personal testing, as well as documented findings from Notebook Check.

    Nvidia GeForce 650M
    Introduced June 11, 2012 in first Retina Macbook Pro
    28nm Process, GK107/ 128 bit
    384 Shaders @ 850Mhz
    35-40 Watts

    Firestrike Graphics Score: 1421
    Firestrike Total Score: 1329
    Cloud gate: 10564

    Nvidia GeForce 750M
    Introduced October 22, 2013
    28nm Process, GK107/ 128 bit
    384 Shaders @ 967mhz
    35-40 Watts

    Firestrike Graphics Score: 1699 (19.5% Improvement from previous gen)
    Firestrike Total Score: 1609 (21% Improvement from previous gen)
    Cloud Gate: 11289 (6.9% Improvement from previous gen)

    AMD Radeon 370x
    Introduced May 19, 2015
    28nm Process
    640 pipelines @800Mhz
    35-40 Watts

    Firestrike Graphics: 2419 (42.4% Improvement from previous gen)
    Firestrike Total: 2283 (41.9% Improvement from previous gen)
    Cloud Gate: 15454 (36.9% Improvement from previous gen)

    AMD Polaris 450
    14nm Process
    640 shaders @ 800mhz

    Firestrike Graphics: 3252 (34.4% Improvement from previous gen)
    Firestrike Total: 3027 (32.6% Improvement from previous gen)

    AMD Polaris 455
    14nm Process
    768 shaders @ 850Mhz

    Firestrike Graphics: 3871 (60% Improvement over previous gen)
    Firestrike Total: 3545 (55.3% Improvement over previous gen)

    AMD Polaris 460
    14nm Process
    1024 shaders @ 900mhz

    Firestrike Graphics: 4616 (90.8% Improvement from previous gen)
    Firestrike Total: 4146 (81.6% Improvement from previous gen)
    Cloud Gate: 27623 (78.7% Improvement from previous gen)

    Intel i7 4980HQ (2014-2015 high end)
    Geekbench 4 Single Core:4303
    Geekbench 4 Multi Core: 13957

    Intel i7 4870HQ (2014-1015 mid tier)
    Geekbench 4 Single Core: 4036
    Geekbench 4 Multi Core: 13268

    Intel i7 6700HQ
    Geekbench 4 Single Core: 3952
    Geekbench 4 Multi Core: 12145

    Intel i7 6820HQ
    Geekbench 4 Single Core: 4119
    Geekbench 4 Multi Core: 12946

    Intel i7 6920HQ
    Geekbench 4 Single Core: 4242
    Geekbench 4 Multi Core: 13314

    As we can see, Intel hasnt seen much happen in the quad core mobile chips yielding much of a performance gain. What these numbers won't tell us is that the new chips are using Skylake, which has a tighter die and emits much less heat. So these new machines will put these numbers down without threat of thermal throttling for the most part.

    The GPU is another story entirely. We typically see around 20-50% in performance increase on the GPU's from year to year, but this year the Polaris 460 offers a massive gain of closer to 90% across the board. It should be noted that the 650/750 GPU's were pretty "behind the times" as 128 bit low wattage offerings leading into early last year. And while the new 460 isn't in the league of the GeForce 1060 that we see in just released gaming notebooks from Razer, MSI, Alienware and others, it is still a capable GPU and is very close in performance to a GeForce 965m at a much lower wattage. We can see that the gain in the 460 is coming from a shader count increase to 1024 from the 640 in the 450 and the 768 in the 455 (core clock speed increases about 50 mhz at each tier as well.)

    For those curious, I have also tested the latest Surface Book i7 with Performace Base (which did have a Geforce 965m) and the Firestrike Graphics score was about 5100 to the 4600 of of the Polaris 460. However, the Surface Book is utilizing a two core low wattage CPU, which only offered about 7700 in Geekbench 4 Multicore to the 13314 of the high end Macbook Pro processor. So those pondering a Surface Book should be ware that they are trading 10% more graphics for 40% CPU speed and a much slower storage write speed (1500 read and 600 meg write to the MBP's 3000/2000). Not a good trade in my opinion.

    I havent collected Cloud Gate scores for the 450 and 455 Polaris systems yet, but look for those to come soon.

  2. Truefan31 macrumors 68040


    Aug 25, 2012

    I think he's pretty much spot on. Wait for at least gen 2. The shorter battery life is really a detriment. Notice he's for the tb3 ports yet there's a lot that's not to like. The touch bar seems counterintuitive.
  3. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock
    Agree, he is right with a lot of factors, the 2016 MBP presents too many negatives for my usage/workflow. Might be worth reviewing the MBP again in a couple of years once Apple resolve the issues, equally the trend is not looking too good...

  4. dk808 macrumors 6502a

    May 13, 2015
    Problem is will apple update the macbook pro again next year for sure? We waited a year and a half for this one
  5. trifid macrumors 68000


    May 10, 2011
  6. runner77 macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2016
    @MacDevMike Great review, thanks! Luckily my CPU needs (software engineering) are still met very well even though there has not been much going on speedwise. I like the fact, that Apple is going the "more power per watts way". This makes working 12 hours a day on the machine much more convenient if heat is less of an issue and especially if thermal throttling is reduced a lot.
  7. Truefan31 macrumors 68040


    Aug 25, 2012
    I think they will if the negative press is loud enough. Most pressing is probably increasing battery life, kabylake, ddr4 ram so 32 gb can be achieved, etc. I agree a Taptic Engine on the touchbar would help. I'm a fan of snazzy vids. He's pretty thorough. Even a minor update with no big event can address these things.
  8. eulslix, Dec 4, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016

    eulslix macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2016
    Thanks MacDevMike, that correlates exactly with my findings. I mostly trust Notebookcheck, as I've bought three notebooks reviewed by them up to this date and their reviews were always spot on, very precise with a lot of data to back their arguments up. They also once stated, that the XPS series is one of their favourites, so they don't seem to be much of Apple fanboys either. Their ongoing review contradicts a lot of the youtube reviews and forum comments out there, sometimes in a very drastic way. I'm slowly getting the feeling that Microsoft has their hands within this. Either that or the sample variance between the different MBP is very high ... which would indicate a terrible QA on Apples side.

    That being said, when I look at Notebookchecks data, everything seems in line with a very power efficient machine. The power consumption peaks at very high 90 watt, which makes sense considering the extra bright display. I suspect power consumption increases exponentially with background lighting intensity. The 65 watt consumption on load is perfectly fine, considering the GPU alone has a TDP of 35, which is absurdly efficient if it's true. The idle power consumption is impressive as well.
    But maybe there are indeed samples out there with some software issues leading to increased power consumption, as indicated by some users over here. That 20% missing battery capacity won't save anybodies working day however, although I guess it would've been nice to have that extra bit of portability.

    I'm really excited, how well the new Surface Book is going to hold up. I'm pretty sure that it's going to end up being equally power efficient on the same brightness settings, considering the Surface Book has a less power consuming CPU but a much less power efficient GPU in it.

    Overall it seems like an impressive machine. If the data on Notebookcheck ends up being reliable, I'll get my 15" model next January. So long, I'm giving the users over here the benefit of the doubt.
  9. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan, Dec 4, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 601


    Jul 4, 2015
    Thanks, very impressive rundown of the CPU and GPU. Just really excited about the potential of the Touchbar. Apple should have made a shortcut to put the Dock on there because I have mine set to hidden mode. Check this...

  10. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    Obviously there's going to be workflow issues when you introduce a new way of doing things. The touchbar isn't an issue with the laptop as much as it an issue with perfecting how people will use it which is impossible to nail on the first iteration. I have no problem with Apple's first stab at it, but counting on them to improve it.

    I agree with his software gripes, but the larger the company and the more they sell, the more bugs there will be. Windows has been battling this for years. I don't have his battery life concerns. After a few discharges, I'm getting close to 10 hours. I also agree with his comments about the value of the laptop, the price is high.

    However, I have never found any of Apple's laptops offering value for performance. I'm paying for a premium material laptop that runs MacOS. I use Windows 10 everyday, I just don't like it as much. I definitely like the 2016 MBP much more than the 2013 I was using.
  11. Branskins macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2008
    Not everyone is coming from a 2015 MBP. This update is not aimed squarely at them.

    Coming from a 2009 MBP...I need to update as I can no longer update to the latest macOS...which I need for Mac development.

    Ya you can wait for gen 2 if you are coming from 2015...but not all of us are
  12. Macalway macrumors 68030

    Aug 7, 2013
    Diminishing returns.

    Personally, the positives outweigh the really minor issues presented here.

    Pro users may have a different story.
  13. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    Coming from a late 2011 MBP, I am very pleased with my 13" tMBP.
  14. MacDevMike thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2012
    Discovery Bay, Ca
    Apple's Macbook Pro updates are always the subject of interest/debate, and its been fascinating to see how much criticism the new machines are receiving. I can certainly understand it, as the decision to focus solely on the USB-C/TB3 port and the shallow throw keyboard switch are controversial.

    My personal thoughts on the matter have been:

    • I don't really care much about the machine being any lighter then it was. It's supposed to be a "Pro" machine not a feather weight. They sell iPads and 12" Macbooks if thin and light is your thing. Their obsession with "thin" still confuses me.
    • I use my MBP's as a central controller. I would much rather have 4 TB3 ports assuming each has their own dedicated bus with its own channel of 40gb/s available. I actually like that Apple provided all these TB3 ports as it lets me decide how to build my setup around the interfaces. And I especially like that they partnered with LG on the 4K and 5K displays, as it provides my desk with a predefined USB hub.
    • Another thing that TB3 will allow is for eGPU's like the Bizon Box or Razer Core to be leveraged for gaming if I want to use my system in that manner. This allows me decent gaming specs when I'm on the go, and allows me to dock with an external graphics solution at home. However, I will need a dedicated screen on the back of the box, as the 5K screen won't be supported via an eGPU. Just something to remember.
    • I don't spend alot of time thinking about battery life on a Pro level machine. I'm probably alone in this, as I know that people seem to always want "Thinner, lighter, and more battery." I really don't care much about any of the three. If the thing can go five hours, that's plenty. I would gladly trade a couple hours of battery life for more performance.
    • Touch Bar is a gimmick if the user doesnt plan a strategy around it. At the surface, its a cute idea that is thinking outside the box. However, the idea that I can customize it allows me to build it into my workflow and implement exactly how I want it. That is a five star concept. However, Apple's refusal to implement touch into the screen is beginning to feel defiant. Apple wrote the book on touch for the mass market, and that they havent taken some of the best parts of that and incorporated some of it into the MacOS is starting to make the OS feel stale compared to some Windows 10 features. MS Surface Products actually feel next gen in this way.
    • The 720p Facetime camera is a joke. WTF seriously. Surface Book/Pro4 have a 5k camera on the front for Skype, and it looks fantastic.
    • Highlight features for the new MBP's are storage so fast its silly, 90% graphics improvement if you care, Touch bar if you care (I'm curious to see how I'll use it), very solid screen update at 500 Nits and high contrast, and four dedicated TB3 ports. I happen to like the keyboard (I use their wedge keyboard already)
  15. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    Thanks for the video, that is how I feel about the MacBook Pro.

    Its a lovely machine overall, and maybe a few generations down I will make the shift, but for now I am going the 2015 refurb.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 4, 2016 ---
  16. BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    Brief thought about the 720p FaceTime camera --

    When video chatting, a consistent stream is more important to me than video resolution. 720p is plenty of pixels for doing a video chat with mom n' dad via my laptop (like we did this morning). Plus, if I'm using a network that's a bit laggy—such as most of the hotels where I've traveled—an ultra-high-def video camera would be wasted.


    Apple Insider's brief writeup and video similarly mentioned the better performance and much less heat of the new MBPs compared to last year's models. Seems like Apple's still going in the right direction.
  17. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 601


    Jul 4, 2015
    That 5K Skype cam is a blessing and a curse. On one hand it won't make your stubble look like a full on beard. On their other hand you have to crack out the moisturiser if your skin isn't on point
  18. MacDevMike thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2012
    Discovery Bay, Ca
    LOL legit point. I have a 250 megabit connection and I shave with Harry's stuff so I'm all set! ;)
  19. Truefan31 macrumors 68040


    Aug 25, 2012
    Get a 2015 and save a bunch of money
  20. MacDevMike thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2012
    Discovery Bay, Ca
    I haven't seen this guys channel before, but his work is really solid. I have to agree with a number of his points in the video. That being said, I think I am going to give the latest system a shot and see if it works well for my needs. I think the improvements may greatly outweigh the drawbacks in my case, and if not I can return the system.

    Thanks again for the video, he has some other reviews on his channel that include the eGPU that are also worth a watch for those interested.
  21. Truefan31 macrumors 68040


    Aug 25, 2012
    Yeah I'm a fan of snazzy. And I agree overall with his premise. I think the 2015 mbp right now offers better value and while he commends the moving forward approach, getting the next refresh would provide an improved experience along with give accessory makers the time needed to really make USB C mainstream.
  22. WhiteWhaleHolyGrail macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2016
    Trust me, when that next refresh comes, people will be back on here slating it (as it will no doubt fail to meet the sky high expectations reflected on this forum) and recommending waiting for the next refresh.
  23. Truefan31 macrumors 68040


    Aug 25, 2012
    I get it but in that time the accessory oems will provide a big market of accessories native to USB C. Prices will be competitive in these things. Ram will be updated, etc hopefully improved battery life, since brightening a screen, adding a touch led screen while reducing battery capacity doesn't make for long battery life.
  24. Truefan31 macrumors 68040


    Aug 25, 2012

    I think they'll address the battery life sooner than later

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