MacBook 1.1GHz m3 vs 1.3GHz m7

jamrolu

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 13, 2011
24
15
Manchester, England
Hi there

I've had a base model (1.1GHz m3) 2016 MacBook for a week, and began to regret my decision not going for the higher spec build to order model. So I requested a return and ordered the top model (1.3GHz m7). I now have them both side by side before the slower one needs to go back, so I can decide which to keep.

I've installed the Intel Power Gadget on both, and now then new one is set up and settled down, I have it running on both, and the numbers in it make no sense!

Both are running at 1.2GHz by default when not under load. The 1.3 is underclocking itself and the 1.1 over. The 1.3 is drawing around 0.3W of power when idle, as is the 1.1. But the temperature on board the 1.1 is 27C, the 1.3 is 35C.

Does anyone know enough about the efficiency and throttling of the Core m chips to work out how drawing the same power at the same clock speed, the chip being under clocked is running hotter?!

Is there anything anyone would like me to try while I have both?
 

SchodMC

macrumors member
Jul 29, 2013
76
12
Germany
Does this mean that the m7 gets hotter when ideling? That's interessting... Is there any noticeable difference on the OS X UI side and the normal office work? (Safari, Mail, Youtube, MS Office, ...). I'm starting to think that the m7 maybe to much for that design of that book while not bringing enough benefits in normal office usage to be worth the extra money and temperature. IMHO... (I'm just corious, because already decideced to go for the m3 (will get it next week) or the m5 if the m3 really will be a little bit laggy or if I finally will make a last minute decision that I need more space to have more stuff on the Macbook and less on an external USB HDD).
 

mrdeluxe

macrumors newbie
Nov 29, 2006
24
1
In day to day actions (browsing, email, writing, PDFs, photos), is there any discernible differences between the two? any visible lag or slow down on the m3 compared to the m7? And where do you indeed notice the bigger differences?
 

izzyfanto

macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2011
233
102
I've had a base model (1.1GHz m3) 2016 MacBook for a week, and began to regret my decision not going for the higher spec build to order model. So I requested a return and ordered the top model (1.3GHz m7). I now have them both side by side before the slower one needs to go back, so I can decide which to keep.

I've installed the Intel Power Gadget on both, and now then new one is set up and settled down, I have it running on both, and the numbers in it make no sense! Both are running at 1.2GHz by default when not under load. The 1.3 is underclocking itself and the 1.1 over. The 1.3 is drawing around 0.3W of power when idle, as is the 1.1. But the temperature on board the 1.1 is 27C, the 1.3 is 35C.
Why did you regret getting the m3? I got the m3 and it's great.

My readings from IPG are .3W, 1.2 Ghz, and 33C. Not sure why the frequency is at 1.2. Anyone else know?
 
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jamrolu

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 13, 2011
24
15
Manchester, England
Does this mean that the m7 gets hotter when ideling? That's interessting... Is there any noticeable difference on the OS X UI side and the normal office work? (Safari, Mail, Youtube, MS Office, ...). I'm starting to think that the m7 maybe to much for that design of that book while not bringing enough benefits in normal office usage to be worth the extra money and temperature. IMHO... (I'm just corious, because already decideced to go for the m3 (will get it next week) or the m5 if the m3 really will be a little bit laggy or if I finally will make a last minute decision that I need more space to have more stuff on the Macbook and less on an external USB HDD).
There's zero noticeable difference so far. I launched the Photos app (my library is 18,000 photos and 630 videos). It took around 4 seconds to load the library on the 1.1, and maybe 3.75 on the 1.3 - so negligible difference in real world use. There's zero lag in the UI except with many, many apps open, but even my 5K iMac stutters from time to time if I push it too hard :)

In day to day actions (browsing, email, writing, PDFs, photos), is there any discernible differences between the two? any visible lag or slow down on the m3 compared to the m7? And where do you indeed notice the bigger differences?
Except when I started apps simultaneously and watched both load, I can't notice a difference.

Why did you regret getting the m3? I got the m3 and it's great. My readings from IPG are .3W, 1.2 Ghz, and 33C. Not sure why the frequency is at 1.2. Anyone else know?
I dunno really! I was away for a weekend so I loaded my photos into Lightroom and obviously that wasn't a speedy experience. It handled it fine (I do 90% of my photo editing on my 5K iMac but I had the MacBook with me so...), but it made me think that maybe I'd regret opting for the low end model a bit down the line. Just a seed of doubt I suppose, but having them both here I'm not seeing that the 1.3 is worth 30% more in cost (with the additional storage too, but again having an iMac I won't need to store much on here).
 
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Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
From what I've seen around here is that the m3 and m7 actually have the same performance under longer CPU intensive tasks as they both throttle to around 2GHz. In burst activities the m7 is obviously a bit faster due to its higher Turbo clock, but the difference in those can be too small to really notice without a stopwatch.
 

jamrolu

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 13, 2011
24
15
Manchester, England
From what I've seen around here is that the m3 and m7 actually have the same performance under longer CPU intensive tasks as they both throttle to around 2GHz. In burst activities the m7 is obviously a bit faster due to its higher Turbo clock, but the difference in those can be too small to really notice without a stopwatch.
Lightroom is the only place (for me) where the m7 zips through loading images faster, but it's a second here and a second there rather than a life-changing amount of time.
 

SchodMC

macrumors member
Jul 29, 2013
76
12
Germany
There's zero noticeable difference so far. I launched the Photos app (my library is 18,000 photos and 630 videos). It took around 4 seconds to load the library on the 1.1, and maybe 3.75 on the 1.3 - so negligible difference in real world use. There's zero lag in the UI except with many, many apps open, but even my 5K iMac stutters from time to time if I push it too hard :)



Except when I started apps simultaneously and watched both load, I can't notice a difference.



I dunno really! I was away for a weekend so I loaded my photos into Lightroom and obviously that wasn't a speedy experience. It handled it fine (I do 90% of my photo editing on my 5K iMac but I had the MacBook with me so...), but it made me think that maybe I'd regret opting for the low end model a bit down the line. Just a seed of doubt I suppose, but having them both here I'm not seeing that the 1.3 is worth 30% more in cost (with the additional storage too, but again having an iMac I won't need to store much on here).
Well, that's interesting. Beside the fact, that there is a rapidly speed boost for a couple of seconds the m7 can bring in, it seems to me that there rarely is no real-life benefit, where the m7 comes in handy and will be worth the more of money. The price difference is 30%, where the scenarios where most of the users and the m7 can use that more of power seems to be far below 30%. The Macbook is not a book for hardcore gamers as well as not for power user (I define "power user" as someone who mainly going to do graphics intensive tasks and / or video editing most of the time).

And that also means, that the reason to go for the m5 is finally only the need of more SSD space. So going for another processor only is to feel better because of having a machine that is much faster, what can be proofed by a synthetically benchmarks, but rarely noticed in daily tasks. The more speed the m7 have of course, will not be able to show up for long because of the temperature related throttling and with this, because of the design of the Macbook itself.

Because of this I think we could say: for whom the "power" and "speed" of the m3 will not be enough, the Macbook itself will be the wrong Laptop, at least as main computer. But for those who want to have a "not that powerful but even fast enough" office working machine (with the option to do a little bit more than only office work with acceptable restrictions), the Macbook will be a helpful and productive tool even at the m3 base model.
 

jamrolu

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 13, 2011
24
15
Manchester, England
Because of this I think we could say: for whom the "power" and "speed" of the m3 will not be enough, the Macbook itself will be the wrong Laptop, at least as main computer. But for those who want to have a "not that powerful but even fast enough" office working machine (with the option to do a little bit more than only office work with acceptable restrictions), the Macbook will be a helpful and productive tool even at the m3 base model.
I think that's a pretty perfect summary. I'll be returning the m7 and keeping the m3 - not what I expected and a rare moment of logic in my Apple purchasing history!
 

Mollan

macrumors regular
Jul 29, 2013
111
71
The Netherlands/Italy
Because of this I think we could say: for whom the "power" and "speed" of the m3 will not be enough, the Macbook itself will be the wrong Laptop, at least as main computer. But for those who want to have a "not that powerful but even fast enough" office working machine (with the option to do a little bit more than only office work with acceptable restrictions), the Macbook will be a helpful and productive tool even at the m3 base model.
Very reasonable thought. If I'm going to keep my rMB, I won't go from m3 to m7. Otherwise, I'll switch to the new MBPr 13
 

SchodMC

macrumors member
Jul 29, 2013
76
12
Germany
I commented on a sort of usage where there is a pretty noticeable difference between the m3 and m7 here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/macbook-latex-speed-report.1971373/ Won't be that relevant to everyone, but will be to quite a few academic users.
Yes of course. What I wanted to say is, that this difference won't be noticable for all cases and users. Just to make it clearer. But you said it, too.

I never used latex. Because of this I don't know if the noticable difference is realy something that is worth the 30%. But that is a desicion each user has to decide himself.
 

PeterSmith

macrumors member
Nov 12, 2006
46
2
Cambridge, UK
.... Because of this I don't know if the noticable difference is really something that is worth the 30%. But that is a desicion each user has to decide himself.
Indeed. Though it's 19%, if you just go from m3/256 to m7/256.

And at edu prices, the extra discounted over four years (a reasonable timescale) works out at the cost of one espresso out in a café a fortnight ... To be honest, by my lights, you don't need a LOT of increased performance to warrant that small additional outlay!
 

SchodMC

macrumors member
Jul 29, 2013
76
12
Germany
Indeed. Though it's 19%, if you just go from m3/256 to m7/256.

And at edu prices, the extra discounted over four years (a reasonable timescale) works out at the cost of one espresso out in a café a fortnight ... To be honest, by my lights, you don't need a LOT of increased performance to warrant that small additional outlay!
That's right, but sadly not all of us are able to buy with an EDU discount. And we also have different prices in different countries (e. G. in sweden 1600$, in Germany 1650$, in Brazil (believe it or not) 3200$ - so for the base model!) I think I have to make holidays in the united states. :p
 

jamrolu

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 13, 2011
24
15
Manchester, England
I don't know if this is of interest to anyone, but I tried opening the Photos app on both machines with the Power Gadget open. The m7 seems to jump to a much higher power consumption and stay higher for longer? All I did was open Photos (both libraries fully downloaded and synced) and leave with just that app running on screen.

The m3:
m3-Photos-1.png m3-Photos-2.png
These show the idle state before launch (0W-1W), the peak during launch (7W) and the second image shows the state idling with just Photos on screen (2W-5W).


The m7:
m7-Photos-1.png m7-Photos-2.png
These show the idle state before launch (0W-1W), the peak during launch (14W) and the second image shows the state idling with just Photos on screen (1.5W - 7.5W).

So the m7 doesn't seem to get things done and power down more quickly?
 

izzyfanto

macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2011
233
102
From what I've seen around here is that the m3 and m7 actually have the same performance under longer CPU intensive tasks as they both throttle to around 2GHz. In burst activities the m7 is obviously a bit faster due to its higher Turbo clock, but the difference in those can be too small to really notice without a stopwatch.
So going for another processor only is to feel better because of having a machine that is much faster, what can be proofed by a synthetically benchmarks, but rarely noticed in daily tasks. The more speed the m7 have of course, will not be able to show up for long because of the temperature related throttling and with this, because of the design of the Macbook itself.
Very reasonable thought. If I'm going to keep my rMB, I won't go from m3 to m7. Otherwise, I'll switch to the new MBPr 13
This was my reasoning for why I went with the m3. The heat throttling will affect both equally, and so if I really wanted sustained speed, the MBP is the right choice, not the MB.
 

izzyfanto

macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2011
233
102
I don't know if this is of interest to anyone, but I tried opening the Photos app on both machines with the Power Gadget open. The m7 seems to jump to a much higher power consumption and stay higher for longer? All I did was open Photos (both libraries fully downloaded and synced) and leave with just that app running on screen. So the m7 doesn't seem to get things done and power down more quickly?
I'd be interested to know if both laptops were put on a performance loop and timed for battery life, if the m7 double (14W vs m3 7W) wattage draw would result in less battery life.
 

Trey M

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2011
945
312
USA
From what I've seen around here is that the m3 and m7 actually have the same performance under longer CPU intensive tasks as they both throttle to around 2GHz. In burst activities the m7 is obviously a bit faster due to its higher Turbo clock, but the difference in those can be too small to really notice without a stopwatch.
This may be true, I'm not sure exactly which point the processors will begin to throttle as I've not studied Skylake M processors too closely. However, something to note in this scenario-- clearly if you were running some intensive apps that required significant throttling, the m7 is going to have superior battery performance to the m3 equivalent running the same apps. Just something to note in your comparison; speeds are one thing, but battery life is another factor to consider between choosing processors.

History has shown the higher clocked models typically, not always, exhibit superior battery life. Assuming you're right regarding the throttling around 2GHz, the m3 is clearly going to have to work harder, and therefore decrease battery life, to accomplish the same task.
 

izzyfanto

macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2011
233
102
This may be true, I'm not sure exactly which point the processors will begin to throttle as I've not studied Skylake M processors too closely. However, something to note in this scenario-- clearly if you were running some intensive apps that required significant throttling, the m7 is going to have superior battery performance to the m3 equivalent running the same apps. Just something to note in your comparison; speeds are one thing, but battery life is another factor to consider between choosing processors.

History has shown the higher clocked models typically, not always, exhibit superior battery life. Assuming you're right regarding the throttling around 2GHz, the m3 is clearly going to have to work harder, and therefore decrease battery life, to accomplish the same task.
It doesn't seem like that according to the screenshots. The m7 is drawing double the watts, and idling at a higher watt usage. Am I missing something?
 

Trey M

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2011
945
312
USA
It doesn't seem like that according to the screenshots. The m7 is drawing double the watts, and idling at a higher watt usage. Am I missing something?
According to the screenshots yes I agree. But I certainly wouldn't evaluate a true processor comparison based on one use-case and 2 screenshots posted by the OP.
 

izzyfanto

macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2011
233
102
According to the screenshots yes I agree. But I certainly wouldn't evaluate a true processor comparison based on one use-case and 2 screenshots posted by the OP.
True. Wouldn't a higher clock pull more wattage though? I'm not a electrical engineer so I'm just guessing
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
True. Wouldn't a higher clock pull more wattage though? I'm not a electrical engineer so I'm just guessing
Yes. The m7 should be a better binned chip, though, so at the same clock speed it should pull a little less power than m3. On the other hand the higher turbo will likely negate this so ultimately the m7 might have slightly lower battery life than the m3 and m5 (at least based on earlier Macs with CPU upgrades).
 

jgbr

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2007
667
532
Surely this is still a matter of long term projection of the value of the comptuer to handle future tasks and OS? Longetivity performance wise over the period of apple care would be better with an m7?
 
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jamrolu

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 13, 2011
24
15
Manchester, England
One final Power Gadget comparison, opening Lightroom. Once open it was left idle to see how quickly things returned to a low power state.

m3 on the left, m7 on the right.
Screenshot 2016-05-11 12.38.18.png Screenshot 2016-05-11 12.38.13.png
 
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