rMBP 15" Performance

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by palpatine, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. palpatine macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #1
    Hi everyone! My questions are:

    (1) Will I notice a significant difference in terms of performance among the MBA 11", rMBP 13" and rMBP 15" models? It's not a huge factor in my decision, but it is something I am having difficulty wrapping my head around, because testing it out in the store isn't a "real world" experience. To my eyes, the Mac Pro and rMBPs are about the same speed (in the store), though I suspect real life usage is different.

    (2) Besides the obvious drawbacks (price, weight, size, late in the product cycle), are there any issues I should keep in mind that might make the 15" rMBP less desirable than a 13" or even my current computer? For example, it seems to me that the keyboard on the MBA is wonderful, even after a year of constant use, and I hear complaints about creaking for the 15". To be honest, so many people have 13" models, I kind of wonder if there is a reason they are avoiding the 15" one.

    I currently have a 2013 11" MBA base model that I have enjoyed immensely this past year, with the exception of the relatively poor resolution and small screen size. I did a lot of traveling with it, and was very willing to trade performance and screen real estate for portability, but with the Broadwell delay (who knows when the MBA line will get an update or if it will get a retina screen), and an upcoming change in jobs that will mean I can probably function fine with an iPad when I have to travel, I am thinking about an rMBP 15".

    On a daily basis I typically use: Word, browsers, nvALT, Evernote, VoodooPad, BBEdit, DevonThink, Adobe Acrobat Pro (OCR for scanned documents), and Handbrake. I suppose only Adobe and Handbrake get the fan going on my MBA now, but there are frustrating lags at times in all of the other apps (a Word document with hundreds of pages, for example), and it would be nice to see a noticeable improvement.
     
  2. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #2
    The 15" will be faster with encoding and other jobs which require a lot of processing power. I doubt you will see any difference between the MBA and the 15" model for 'normal' tasks like browsing or word processing. I also doubt that the 15" will be faster with large Word documents - the lag is a problem with how Word is programmed, not with the computer itself. You seem to work a lot with text - this is why I would recommend you the 13" rMBP as the middle of the road. The retina display offers excellent text quality (probably the best a contemporary computer has to offer) and for most, you won't see any difference with a bigger machine.

    I am also not aware of any differences you ask about in part 2 of your question.
     
  3. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #3
    Thanks. I hadn't considered the that Word might be the problem. I was really hoping for a performance bump going to the 15", because I feel like the screen real estate alone isn't justification enough. I guess the processor difference (slightly different than the 13") and extra 4GB of RAM aren't going to do me much good for my use case. Indeed, I do work with text a lot, and I would really appreciate the crispness and larger screen size I'd get with the rMBP models. Perhaps the 13" will be the way to go...
     
  4. RoboWarriorSr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2013
    #4
    The 15" has a Quad Core Processor which would allow you to process handbrake a lot faster, based off some previous forum post and estimates, it should easily convert a 30 min TV 1080p shows in MKV to 1080p MP4 in less than 10 minutes (someone who has one should test this) or have multiple video processed at the same time. Adobe acrobat should see a significant performance improvement due to the better iGPU. The 13" does have higher clock speed per core and may give similar results if the application isn't multithreaded for 4 cores (handbrake does use all four cores).
     
  5. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #5
    Good points. It appears that Adobe may not use multithreading, so only Handbrake would benefit in my workflow.
     
  6. simon48 macrumors 65816

    simon48

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    #6
    I have the top 15" and I average ~100FPS in Handbrake for high quality DVD encodes. That's a bit over 4x real time so your 22-24 minute show should take ~5 minutes to encode. When encoding high quality at 1080p it's around real time, so ~20 minutes.
     
  7. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #7

    Thanks a lot for weighing in on it. It helps to get a sense of the time it would take, though I probably won't be getting the top model, so I may have to settle for slightly slower speeds :)
     
  8. RoboWarriorSr macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 23, 2013
    #8

    The top model has a 750m which Handbrake does use, in other words Handbrake uses all cores and dGPU which is incredibly useful depending on the user. Not sure if it utilizes both GPU on the high end model like Final Cut Pro does though.
     
  9. simon48 macrumors 65816

    simon48

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    #9
    Not true. Handbrake on Mac (at least by default) does not use the GPU. And just to confirm again, those speeds I posted are not using my dGPU.

    Also a lot of the OpenCL video encodes I've seen look a lot worse then CPU encodes.
     
  10. RoboWarriorSr macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 23, 2013
    #10

    I remember seeing a post three years ago here saying that Handbrake at the time used the dGPU along with the CPU on the 2010 model.
     
  11. Sym0 macrumors 6502

    Sym0

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2013
    #11
    Handbrake does not use dGPU on my top r15 but other App Store converters do and they are faster and don't soon the fans up as much.
     
  12. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #12
    Thanks for clarifying the GPU information for me. My guess is that my workflow won't be much affected by the GPU.

    However, working on my MBA this morning, I have noticed a lot of pinwheels. Yes, I do work primarily with text, but when you move 8,000+ files, batch edit a bunch of the files, or even when I am doing searching with HoudahSpot, I notice pinwheels and/or lag. I sometimes wonder if it is simply a RAM problem, but I suppose it could be a processor speed issue as well.
     
  13. simon48 macrumors 65816

    simon48

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    Sep 1, 2010
    #13
    Drive speed can have a big affect on batch manipulating files too.
     
  14. palpatine, Apr 19, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014

    palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #14

    From everything I have seen, the rMBP is significantly faster with write and read speeds. It would be nice if that were actually the case! Certainly, you would think with a faster processor, more RAM, and faster read/write speeds that I would notice some improvement.

    At the moment, I have Handbrake (conversion) and Adobe (OCR) running. The fan is 6493 rpm (loud), page ins are 3 million, and page outs are just 16,904 (surprisingly low). I don't always have the two apps running at once, but it does happen, and they seem to tax the MBA quite a bit.

    [EDIT:] By the way, I have Word open right now with a 300+ page file and I can't do anything in it. I can't get past page one. It's this kind of stuff that really gets annoying. Perhaps the MBP would at least be able to alleviate this problem, but I guess it could just be a failure somewhere in Word...
     
  15. The Mercurian macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #15
    Dont' know about your other programs, but you would probably notice a big difference with the OCR on Adobe on any new machine compared to your current machine. That task involves cycling between disk accessing, and processing - both of which are improved on the new machines. But probably anyone of the new machines will seem alot faster since they would all be faster in disk accessing and processing than your current machine.

    I use a 2011 15"mbp with 16GB and a SATA3 SSD fitted, and also a late 2013 13"rmbp, and for a while used a 2013 11" Air. In terms of everday stuff the 2013 13" and 2013 11" were much quicker at booting and opening documents etc because the SSD on the newer machines is ridiculously fast - even compared to the SSD in the 2011 machine. But in terms of raw processing the 2011 machine wins because it has 4 cores. But it is only when I'm doing processor intensive statistical programming, or running virtual machines that the 2011 machine comes into its own - in all the everyday stuff the two newer machines are effectively faster.

    I have to say though - the fan on the 2011 machine really annoys me since getting the 2013 13" machine.
     
  16. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #16
    Thanks for your input. I have nearly constant bottlenecks with all kinds of things you wouldn't think would be a problem, but OCR and HandBrake seem to provoke the worst results, and even the relatively quiet fans get a little irritating after a few hours. The fans on my old tower, and even on my 2010 netbook are considerably worse, so I can't say I am suffering terribly these days, but I would still appreciate some improvement. I'll be giving the 15" a try tomorrow and I'll see how things go. At this point, I'll just be excited to have so much screen space for work!
     
  17. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #17
    I'm still getting up and running with the 15" rMBP, but so far I am not noticing any drastic speed improvements. The screen, though, is gorgeous. I didn't know , for example, that the Thunderbird icon had brown eyes. It's weird to be able to see details so well, and a little sad that Adobe, Microsoft, and other major companies still have awful support for high resolution displays.

    I'll report back with some numbers so that it might help someone thinking about switching from the 11" MBA to the 15" rMBP.
     
  18. The Mercurian macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #18
    Run a batch of identical pdf's through the OCR on both machines at the same time and see if it makes much difference. I'm not sure if the number of cores will matter as I don't know if whatever version of adobe you run will take advantage of them, more RAM does matter, but faster SSD should also matter. A good number that will take a while - like 50 multipage documents or something (I once had about 6,000 to do.......took days split into batches!!)
     

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