MBP 13" non-touch (2.3ghz) - how long does turbo mode last?

ls1dreams

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 13, 2009
558
190
I'm considering buying one of the lower end macbook pros (2.3ghz base / 3.6ghz turbo).

The things benchmarks/info I'm having a really difficult time finding are:

1. How long do these devices typically sustain the burst mode for?
2. When not running in burst mode, what does performance look like?

I'm hoping someone has benchmarks on any long runs of things (handbrake encoding, xcode compilation times, blender renders, slow photoshop or lightroom filters, etc).

I guess I just don't trust geekbench and other synthetic benchmarks since they are really comparing turbo vs turbo and not base clock vs base clock.
 

asoksevil

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2010
473
153
Taipei, Taiwan
You just created an exact topic for one of my posts. A lot of people are saying get the extra RAM, storage and linking geekbench results that are not reliable for a sustained test.
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,694
2,118
Turbo will depend on need and temperature it will run as fast as it needs to as long as it can before throttling for thermal limits.

In short its on a use by use basis and is an utterly pointless thing to want to know. In fact for the vast majority of people knowing benchmarks and testing mean nothing for what they do, if you do need this information, then you'll just have to buy one try it out for a week and return if it doesn't meet your requirements.

Tell us what you use a computer for and which models you are considering and we'll try and tell you which machine will best suit your needs.
 

ls1dreams

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 13, 2009
558
190
Turbo will depend on need and temperature it will run as fast as it needs to as long as it can before throttling for thermal limits.

In short its on a use by use basis and is an utterly pointless thing to want to know. In fact for the vast majority of people knowing benchmarks and testing mean nothing for what they do, if you do need this information, then you'll just have to buy one try it out for a week and return if it doesn't meet your requirements.

Tell us what you use a computer for and which models you are considering and we'll try and tell you which machine will best suit your needs.
I disagree with utterly pointless. Outside of web/office there are hundreds of programs that people can run that can be impacted by burst vs non-burst mode. I listed 5 alone that I'm interested in.

I've also read plenty of other threads around macbooks (non-pro) that, despite their high burst speeds (1.3ghz -> 3.1ghz), they end up feeling very laggy on even just bloated webpages compared to regular cpus with good base clocks.
 

bjet767

macrumors 6502a
Oct 2, 2010
964
313
In today's computer there's really no "turbo mode."

For us ancient types we used to have a button on the face of our computer marked, "Turbo" and what it did was boost the speed of the CPU. I believe some motherboards would do this via a slight increase in voltage and those with that supported dual speed CPUs would do what ever to clock them up.

But as many will write, these days it's all automatic and beyond the user's control. Of course, you could build a machine for gaming and increase the clock speed yourself. However, that would not be OSX.
 
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New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
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Turbo boosts are just a marketing way of saying factory overclocked. It means the base frequency can operate at XGhz forever and a day, by pushing this frequency up in increases energy usage and heat creation. Which is why things tend to be underclocked on a notebook when compared to a desktop.

So 'Turbo' is just what the processor can actually do, but it is far from perfect. It means that they can push XGhz up to YGhz but at the cost of greater energy usage, the cooling system will be more or less adequate at handling the increase in heat.

So basically, sell a CPU that operates at 2Ghz and gives 10 hours battery life, however if we push it to 3Ghz it'll only do 2 hours. So they sell it with 10 hours, but it's capable of being pushed for a time when needed, at the impact of greater energy and heat usage.

In normal circumstances, it'll probably be able to sustain turbo for a long time without any impact (Or noticeable impact, it'll reduce down if heat generation begins to exceed safe operating temperatures).

Either way, I really wouldn't worry about it. A 2Ghz dual core is a very fast processor, and is going to be fine for 99% of tasks. Very few computer tasks actually push a CPU to the max, only massive computational tasks. And when this is required, it'll push the frequency up in order to calculate this quicker. But it's not going to be operating at turbo speed for 99% of the time, like 1% when you hit render and the fans kick in. Which if you're used to rendering you'll probably be on the way to make a brew anyway.
 
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KGB7

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Jun 15, 2017
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In today's computer there's really no "turbo mode."

For us ancient types we used to have a button on the face of our computer marked, "Turbo" and what it did was boost the speed of the CPU. I believe some motherboards would do this via a slight increase in voltage and those with that supported dual speed CPUs would do what ever to clock them up.

But as many will write, these days it's all automatic and beyond the user's control. Of course, you could build a machine for gaming and increase the clock speed yourself. However, that would not be OSX.
I miss the Turbo Button and the bragging rights of having my pc able to run 10mhz faster than my friends pc.
Good times.

We do have a Turbo Mode persay on today's custom built computers, but it's done via software. So it's kind of the same. But having a physical button to push, was more satisfying.
 

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
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Shanghai
I miss the Turbo Button and the bragging rights of having my pc able to run 10mhz faster than my friends pc.
Good times.

We do have a Turbo Mode persay on today's custom built computers, but it's done via software. So it's kind of the same. But having a physical button to push, was more satisfying.
Did that button ever do anything? I always likened it to the 'Turbo' button on a car. Or 1980s 'Turbo' everything, microwaves, vacuums...

Pretty sure it just boosted voltage to the fans and delivered a placebo boost to your mental wellbeing.
 

KGB7

Suspended
Jun 15, 2017
925
749
Rockville, MD
Did that button ever do anything? I always likened it to the 'Turbo' button on a car. Or 1980s 'Turbo' everything, microwaves, vacuums...

Pretty sure it just boosted voltage to the fans and delivered a placebo boost to your mental wellbeing.
It did work and gave you few Mhz boost. There was even a digital number next to the button that would change and show new cpu speed.
 

PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68030
Jul 6, 2007
2,773
1,979
Did that button ever do anything? I always likened it to the 'Turbo' button on a car. Or 1980s 'Turbo' everything, microwaves, vacuums...

Pretty sure it just boosted voltage to the fans and delivered a placebo boost to your mental wellbeing.
You could see the change in older videogames. Hit the turbo switch and watch the animations speed up. That was a looong time ago though.
 

Ries

macrumors 68020
Apr 21, 2007
2,182
2,567
Turbo boosts are just a marketing way of saying factory overclocked. It means the base frequency can operate at XGhz forever and a day, by pushing this frequency up in increases energy usage and heat creation. Which is why things tend to be underclocked on a notebook when compared to a desktop.

So 'Turbo' is just what the processor can actually do, but it is far from perfect. It means that they can push XGhz up to YGhz but at the cost of greater energy usage, the cooling system will be more or less adequate at handling the increase in heat.

So basically, sell a CPU that operates at 2Ghz and gives 10 hours battery life, however if we push it to 3Ghz it'll only do 2 hours. So they sell it with 10 hours, but it's capable of being pushed for a time when needed, at the impact of greater energy and heat usage.

In normal circumstances, it'll probably be able to sustain turbo for a long time without any impact (Or noticeable impact, it'll reduce down if heat generation begins to exceed safe operating temperatures).

Either way, I really wouldn't worry about it. A 2Ghz dual core is a very fast processor, and is going to be fine for 99% of tasks. Very few computer tasks actually push a CPU to the max, only massive computational tasks. And when this is required, it'll push the frequency up in order to calculate this quicker. But it's not going to be operating at turbo speed for 99% of the time, like 1% when you hit render and the fans kick in. Which if you're used to rendering you'll probably be on the way to make a brew anyway.
Apple has notoriously weak cooling. You can double the MacBook 2015 benchmark score by “water cooling” it.


The performance is purely limited by weak cooling.
 

satinsilverem2

macrumors 6502a
Nov 12, 2013
733
211
Richmond, VA
My TB MBP with the i7 doesn't thermal throttle at all. I did a 4K render for two and half hours and it held at 3.40 GHz the whole time which is the max for two cores active. Temperatures leveled out at 89 degrees. I think Apple has been getting better about the thermal issues. I remember my 2011 i7 MBP would overheat if you even looked at it wrong.
 

jerwin

macrumors 68030
Jun 13, 2015
2,686
4,555
Did that button ever do anything? I always likened it to the 'Turbo' button on a car. Or 1980s 'Turbo' everything, microwaves, vacuums...

Pretty sure it just boosted voltage to the fans and delivered a placebo boost to your mental wellbeing.

For the modern "turbo" you can monitor the state using Intel Power Gadget.
 
Last edited:

HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
5,850
1,810
Western US
With my 2017 2.3 GHz 13-inch NTB, when under full CPU load (both cores), it goes to the 3.6 GHz boost, then very quickly drops to 3.3 GHz. However, it seems to maintain the 3.3 GHz speed pretty much indefinitely. I kept it loaded for almost an hour (modo render) and it never dropped further.
 

ls1dreams

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 13, 2009
558
190
With my 2017 2.3 GHz 13-inch NTB, when under full CPU load (both cores), it goes to the 3.6 GHz boost, then very quickly drops to 3.3 GHz. However, it seems to maintain the 3.3 GHz speed pretty much indefinitely. I kept it loaded for almost an hour (modo render) and it never dropped further.
How is the fan noise? I read that the NTB models, because they have only one fan instead of 2 on the TB models, run that fan at a lot higher RPM and it gets really noisy.
 

HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
5,850
1,810
Western US
How is the fan noise? I read that the NTB models, because they have only one fan instead of 2 on the TB models, run that fan at a lot higher RPM and it gets really noisy.
It gets pretty loud at full CPU load. I find the noise less objectionable than my old MacBook Air because by comparison the sound is more of a whooshy air moving sound than a high pitched whine, but it's pretty loud just the same.

Under normal use, I rarely ever hear the fan. But I would not buy this machine if I were going to be maxing out the CPU for long periods of time regularly, I'd be looking at a 15" quad-core instead if that were the case, it's a much better tool for that type of job.
 

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