Is the 13'' MBP 2018 able to drive its own retina?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mortenjensen, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. mortenjensen, Dec 15, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018

    mortenjensen macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    Hi all,
    I have just received a MBP 2018, i5, 8 GB ram, 512. It is supposed to replace my 2013 MBA 1.7 i7. I like the resolution of the screen a lot - and the 3 gen butterfly keyboard is great, so no complaints there.
    However, I am experiencing far more lack/dropping of frames when doing regular tasks as shifting between programs than I find reasonable. Not always, but for example when switching from Lightroom in full screen to Safari.

    This surprises me quite a lot! I mean, the retina screen has been around since, what, 2013 or so, and the iris plus 2018 discrete graphics should be up for the job, one would think.

    I can accept that it struggles driving the LG 5K - but the build in screen?

    Has it always been the case that the 13'' with discrete graphics comes with sloppy animation? Or is it rather the mere 8 GB ram which is the bottleneck in my case?

  2. uncle.zed macrumors member


    Nov 17, 2009
    2014 i5 2.6 8GB 13"MBP with Intel Iris here. no Lags generally on retina screen. Just checked the full screen with Fuji XT-2 raw to safari and it goes smooth as butter.

    Only struggles when under havy load.
  3. filmbuff macrumors 6502a


    Jan 5, 2011
    I have the same laptop as you and I'm disappointed with the graphics. Of course it's better than my old laptop, but I would call it "barely adequate" and this is supposed to be the Pro version. In reality it's more of an ultraportable like the Air than a Pro laptop. Why doesn't Apple differentiate between these categories more? They're basically only making one type of laptop, ultraportable, and the only option for people who need power is a big 15" that costs $3000+. The fact that Intel and Apple apparently can't find a way to get decent performance out of the "Iris Pro" reminds me of the Intel GMA (Graphics Media Decelerator) days.

    Okay my rant about that is over. On my 13" MBP I don't notice much lag on its own display but there is a little bit. Gaming at native resolution is a no-go. Even though Apple says it can drive 2 4k displays, I find that with just 1 4k display there is significant lag and choppiness on all the GUI animations. I bet within 3 MacOS versions it is going to be unusably bad.
  4. mortenjensen, Dec 15, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018

    mortenjensen thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    I am really surprised by this to say the least. Already, when opting to upgrade my trusty old 2013 MBA i7 to a new MBP, I had to look deep into my wallet. Then to experience that a really simple, everyday thing such as providing butter smooth animation when going back and forth between different desktops is something a supposedly "matured" MBP 2018 retina is struggling hard to do just sucks.

    So I am pretty eager to hear if this a general experience for MBP 13'' users - or if I just have to adjust and accept af penalty for the admittedly wonderful retina screen!

  5. unglued macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2016
    I would give it some time to settle in, there's been conversations here about Spotlight, indexing, etc. taking up resources to prepare the new MBP. The Activity Monitor might shed some light.
  6. Upeo macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2018
    I have this years 13' too, the configuration is different from yours, I have the i7 and 16 GB of RAM but I don't think that should affect it. I've never experienced what you're describing, in fact, I may be wrong about this but if I'm not mistaken, those animations should be handled by the iGPU on both the 13' and the 15' versions, so they should in fact look smoother on the 13' than they do on the 15' because the iGPU is quite a bit better. I don't have the knowledge to troubleshoot your issue, but it doesn't seem normal to me.
  7. jakespeed macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002
    Just a few things to consider.

    One of the things that a lot of people mis-understand is that the fluidity of graphics / UI is not 100% the GPU. It's a balance of CPU and GPU. In reality, the CPU (os and app software) must describe the objects / graphics to draw and feed them to the GPU to draw 60 times a second. Then the GPU takes this information and renders it to something you see as fast as it can (the faster the better of course). If the CPU is waiting on a resource (network, disk, sloppy code), this means it may not be ready with new data to draw. The net effect is that sometimes, the stutters you see are not the ability of the GPU to turn the commands into graphics...but the CPU being late to deliver the information about what to draw. Keep in mind that the CPU has roughly 16ms to get the frame ready. If the CPU is working hard in the background, waiting on your internet or a file to open, it may be late enough that there isn't time to render the frame. It only takes a few missed or repeated frames (2-3) for your eye to perceive a small stutter.

    So you can have the fastest graphics in the world and still see stutters...unless the CPU is also able to deliver what it needs to in time for the GPU to render it.
  8. unglued macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2016
    Is it possible to give priority to specific applications/CPU/GPU similar to network QoS?
  9. jakespeed macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002
    Essentially that is what occurs in most modern operating systems. But it's a huge simplification of how CPU scheduling works. It's the responsibility of the OS to schedule the threads / processes with the CPU(s). MacOS is pretty good at this and Apple has many innovations (App Nap, Timer Coalescing, for example.) that allow it to keep the CPU at a low power state while still providing a great user experience. But from time to time, it may drop a frame.

    It seems (to me) that most people seem to notice the stuttering when either 1) they are using the UI to interact with slow resources (file system fast scrolling for example) or 2) switching between two resource intensive apps (Light Room with lots of high resolution pictures to Safari with a complex HTML site for example.) Both of these cases MAY cause the OS to have to shift resources from one task to another and its possible that this is could cause a few frames to drop.

    My point mostly is these stutters are possibly more to do with OVERALL system performance...and not purely the GPU. To optimize animations in these cases, you may need with more CPU, Memory, GPU or Disk IO Performance.....or heck...just improved software from Apple and the rest of us software developers providing software for your Mac.
  10. deadworlds macrumors 65816


    Jun 15, 2007
    Citrus Heights,CA
    Glad to see someone here who actually understands how graphics are first prepared by CPU and then rendered by the GPU.
  11. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    the 2012 rMBP 15” with intel hd4000 can on mojave... so yes it should or its faulty

    I have 13” i5 in shipping and I expect no less.
  12. mortenjensen thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    The bottom line to me, however, still is: Can it really be true that there is no change in overall performance with the eGPU connected? As a matter of fact, when connected with a serial setup, there is a worse performance. I have searched for reviews mentioning this, but they are mostly focussed on gaming issues - or are simply just measuring the speed with a GPU-program of sorts.

    So basically: For an office user like me, the Blackmagic 580 is the most expensive trashcan you can buy to your office - even more so than the Mac Pro that does deliver something after all :).

  13. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    you should see performance improvement. something is wrong at your side, if it's not the laptop hardware it might be software - still, it's not normal.

    I dont know. the rMBP 2012 I had before had terrible glitches on 10.8 and generally performed terrible on it. It works splendidly on Mojave, and we're talking about HD4000 iGPU.

    Power and laptop don't fare well together tho, and 13" 2018 is as powerful as last years 15". That's pretty damn good.

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12 December 15, 2018