Late 2016 MBP13" Vs Mid 2014 MBP 15" tested

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by SoyCapitanSoyCapitan, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan, Nov 23, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 601


    Jul 4, 2015
    For my tests of the late 2016 MBP 13" (2.9Ghz i5, Iris 550) I pit it against a mid 2014 MBP 15" (2.8Ghz i7, GT750M).


    Great design, solid engineering. but what's with the massive trackpad? When comparing the two machines I can't figure out the benefit of the size increase here unless a user has hands the size of a polar bear's.

    First time I completed the set up process the keyboard froze and died. Rebooting fixed it.


    The older machine's screen would have faded slightly but nevertheless, the new 2016 MBP 13" clearly wins this. Colours are clearly richer and images pop from the screen. One thing to note : the Intel 550 is still driven by an 8 bit graphics driver and does not support 10 bit output. So pick how you want to define wide gamut. It's definitely not by industry standards.


    I played the movie Inception, noted for its loud epic Hans Zimmer soundtrack, and the latest Metallica tracks on their YouTube channel. Again, the newer machine wins clearly. Sound is richer, deeper and makes the older machine sound tinny.

    SSD performance

    Using AJA System Test with the 2160p 4GB test I recorded 2743MB/s reads and 1285MB/s writes on the new machine. The older machine is based on an older SSD that reads in the mid 700s and less than that for writes. Nevertheless, real world performance won't utilise the bandwidth of either SSD. You won't notice any difference in booting or launching applications. You will notice a difference if you unzip very large files or copy multi-gigabyte files from folder to folder.

    The keyboard

    I have berated the new keyboards but after spending half a day with the new one (I am using it to type this) I have gotten used to it. It's almost as good as the previous generation MBP keyboard and definitely better than the MB keyboard.

    Touch bar

    This has potential but right now it has a major issue that can be fixed with a software update. The most important keys you have on there for Mission Control or quickly adjusting brightness or volume are not always on display. The icons collapse and the touch bar has to be expanded to view these most common controls. This makes sense if you're using the Touch Bar with other applications but it doesn't make sense at other times to be presented with 12cm of blank space.

    Even when trying to edit text for this review in Chrome, there are no short cuts available on the Touch Bar for font formatting. Surely Apple could have programmed it to detect when we are using text in any application.

    I really like waking the machine up with Touch ID.

    Graphics performance

    I tested this with Unigene Valley.

    The Intel 550 scored a total of 398 points. The GT 750M scored 648. A clear win for the older machine.

    But things took a strange turn when I ran the OpenCL test in Geekbench.

    The GT 750M scored a very weak 13760 points. The Iris Pro in the older machine scored a higher mark than the discreet GPU : 29135!

    The Iris 550 in the new machine scored 30410. So in real world terms the 550 and the previous generation's Iris Pro are equally matched.

    I stay with Geekbench for CPU testing and here there is no surprise.

    The 4980HQ in the older machine scores 4479 and 14603 for single core and multi core respectively. The i5 6267U scores 3807 and 7500.

    Photoshop and Bridge worked well. However Bridge's icon in the Dock was broken on the new machine, but not on the old machine. In the Finder it was fine and no matter what I did I coudn't get the icon to show correctly in the Dock.


    I didn't buy any dongles but I do already have two devices I could test with USB-C.

    My iPhone already had a Lightning to USB-C cable I used with a high power adapter. This appears to work fine although I don't sync my phone with a computer so I didn't test sync speeds.

    My Samsung T3 is a USB-C device that supports SATA-3 transfer speeds of around 450MB/s. It came with a USB-C to USB-A cable so I have to use the USB-C charger cable that comes with the new machine for testing.

    Again, I used AJA System Test to benchmark the read and writes. I got...38MB/s reads and 39MB/s writes. What's going on here? I tried with different benchmark settings and different ports. I got the same terrible performance every time.

    Is the cable to blame for this or an incompatibility issue? Nevertheless, this makes the T3 completely useless with the MBP 2016's included cable.

    Also useless is my Logitech Performance MX mouse. This fantastic mouse works flawlessly on my PC and the older Mac. It has a tiny little adapter that plugs into any standard USB-A port and barely protrudes. But now, if I want to use it with a new MBP I would have to buy a dangling dongle or extra adapter on top of the adapter. This makes the configuration really ugly, distracting and unfriendly.

    I also really do not like not having Magsafe. The Thunderbolt 3 ports are very stiff and cables do not detach easily. If you decide to use the new machines wired then you have to be extremely sure that nothing can trip up a cable.


    So there we are. The predictable conclusion that this is a mixed bag. The keyboard isn't as bad as some say. Wear and tear should make it softer and less noisy. The Touch Bar needs a software update. Graphics and CPU performance is tolerable. But those damn ports - they belong in the future. Today they will cause you pain.

    If you have a 2013-2015 MBP 15" there is certainly no need to purchase the new 13" models. I would also hold off purchasing a new 15" model until it is clear there are no issues with the new generation.
  2. malikkamran macrumors 6502


    Oct 6, 2016
  3. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan thread starter macrumors 601


    Jul 4, 2015
    Haven't charged it yet. It's almost depleted right now. So that means 4 hours of testing since I opened the box.
  4. burgman macrumors 68000


    Sep 24, 2013
    What is the point of comparing a discrete GPU 750m with an integrated Intel 550 then declaring the discrete the winner? Then comparing a quad core CPU with a Dual core CPU. Looks like you are trying to use flawed test parameters to convince others to share your already formed opinion.
  5. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan thread starter macrumors 601


    Jul 4, 2015
    I actually declared the 550 a winner in OpenCL. Comparing the CPUs because it has to be done anyway, at least for seeing if two years has allowed i5s to catch up with older i7s.

    There's no flaw in the parameters - only in your reply. I have tested an older high end machine with a newer mid-range machine to see what progression there has been.
  6. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Hold up… a positive review of the new MBPs from SoyCapitan?

    *rubs eyes*
  7. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan, Nov 23, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan thread starter macrumors 601


    Jul 4, 2015
    Haha. It's positive for everything except the ports. I have a Wacom, monitor, external SSD, and Logitech mouse that will not like adapters and incompatible cables. The machine is going back to Apple and I'll only upgrade once the whole industry has moved to the new ports and cables.

    sell $btc
    sell $eth
    sell $ltc
  8. sziehr macrumors 6502a

    Jun 11, 2009
    I would just wait till there is an amazing dock solution that charges the laptop and allows you to be connected all at once with a single cable.

    This is really a single cable machine. I just wished apple had made an over priced dock to spur this along like dell did when they went all TB3 back in may.
  9. idark77, Dec 17, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016

    idark77 macrumors 6502


    Dec 2, 2014
    Very interesting review, but I cannot live with the new keyboard and with only TB3 ports... I wait a couple of years and hope Apple improves the keyboard !
  10. Clint_Barton macrumors 6502

    Oct 23, 2016
    The reason for the poor performance of the T3 is because the charge cable is rated as a USB 2.0 cable and is limited. You need to get a usb-c to usb-c cable at 3.1 spec

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