Maxed-out 13" nTB vs TB: performance, throttling and heat

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Arto9, Jun 2, 2017.

  1. Arto9, Jun 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017

    Arto9 macrumors newbie

    Jun 2, 2017
    I’m curious about the performance difference between a maxed out 13-inch MacBook non Touch Bar or with Touch Bar.

    I found some information here:

    But from what I can tell those compare the difference of both base models, not the maxed out models.

    From what I can tell the relevant aspects to performance of the /w touch bar model is:
    • Faster memory at 2133MHz instead of 1866MHz
    • 28W CPU instead of a 15W CPU
    • CPU clock at 3.3Ghz-3.36GHz instead of 2.4GHz-3.4Ghz
    • Intel Iris Graphics 550 instead of 540 (only difference is clock speed from what I’ve read)
    • Has 3 vents instead of 1. Has 2 fans instead of 1.
    However I am not a hardware technician, so I wonder what this means in practical use. I am not really interested in specs, but what they feel like using in practice. The touch bar model is obviously generally faster and possibly cooler and more quiet, but I wonder how much better it is in practice. If the difference is negligible I‘d rather save some money and get the non touch bar model.

    What I am interested in knowing:
    1. What is the performance difference in practice? (Would it even be noticeable in tasks such as compilation or running games?)
    2. Is there a difference in how long they can run on full speed before they have to throttle in order to avoid overheating?
    3. Is there are difference in how warm they get? Is either uncomfortable on your lap?
    4. Is one quieter or noisier under stress?
    Tasks I do that make my 2011 i5 Air a noisy hot throttled mess:
    • Development using resource greedy IDEs such as Xcode and IntelliJ (taxes the system constantly analysing the your code)
    • Running creative coding projects written in Processing and openFrameworks (these basically behave as light-ish games in terms of taxing the system)
    • Graphics software (InDesign, Photoshop, AfterEffects, Sketch, etc…)
    • Some light-ish gaming (things like Limbo)
    • Watching video (Netflix, YouTube, etc…)
    For the record:
    • I don’t care either way about the touch bar itself. I’m fine with both having and not having it.
    • I don’t care that much about battery life (I rarely used my laptop unplugged)
    • I do not want a 15" as they are much to heavy (and expensive) for my needs
    • I don’t care about ports
    • I don’t care about wifi-performance difference
    I apologise if this belongs in an existing thread.
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 68040


    Jan 26, 2014
    Horsens, Denmark

    Whilst I can't definitively answer that much, not having experienced both computers in person, I can tell you a few things nonetheless. The RAM speed will practically make no difference really. We're talking 3% roughly. For code compiling and IDE usage, I'd say there'd probably be a rather big difference between the two, on the basis of the CPU alone. Games, probably less of a difference, but still I'd wager 10-20% performance difference.

    The 13" MacBook Pro will most likely still spin up to max fan speed on most the tasks you mention (aside from video, where it'll stay close to base fan speed with hardware decoders), as it'll prioritise getting as much done as quickly as possible over keeping it quiet. So for compilation, the more powerful hardware you give it, the harder it'll run it, instead of thinking "Well, I could do it 4x faster, but I'll do it 4x as silently instead". This is a bit ridiculous with games however, since it might go "I'm already running at 200 frames per second, but let's go for 230!". But that's on the developers not capping the frame rate to decrease heat, noise and battery consumption.
  3. satinsilverem2 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 12, 2013
    Richmond, VA
    I went from a 2011 13 inch i7 MacBook Pro to a maxed out 2016 13 inch tbMBP. my 2011 would thermal throttle within 2 minutes of doing something that stressed the computer ie. FCPX, Handbrake etc. I have yet to experience any throttling on the 2016 doing the same tasks. in fact I have yet to see the temperatures go above 85 degrees even when transcoding in FCPX or using handbrake. The fans hardly ever come on and when they do they are very quiet unlike the jet engine that was in the 2011 machines. I think Apple finally has the thermal issues in control at least in the 13 inch models. performance wise day to day performance has improved. It does get a little warm when stressing the computer on your lap but nothing that I would call uncomfortable. when watching youtube or just surfing the web its cool as a cucumber.

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